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Post Info TOPIC: Practical advice


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Practical advice


Hello my name is Alex. I am looking at a career change at 44. I looked into bookkeeping years ago but for one reason or another I didn't take it up. I have been working in service and hospitality jobs for several years and I am truly sick of it all now. I am sorry if this subject has been covered already and I have read a thread similar but I want to apply this to my own individual circumstances. Abit of my background; I recently went to careers service and asked how to get into this field. I more or less had answered all my own questions already. I looked into the AAT courses and have decided the Levey 1 is a waste of time and to go into the Level 2 foundation in bookkeeping with AAT. I understand it's equivalent to GCSE level D-G grades. Hmmm,no wonder people are saying you need to complete Level 3 or 4 before an employer will look at you. Here comes my dilemma; I like many others trying to get into this field as a newcomer don't have the necessary experience. I am reading lots that did both level 2 + 3 AAT certificate in bookkeeping yet are finding it very hard to find a job. I don't mind going into an entry level job but I am reading that many who did both level 2 and 3 are still struggling to find even that. My question therefore is how? How to get out of the catch 22 and get the experience? I thought already of voluntary work somewhere. I see even some people who trained are even getting knocked back from that. How did people here get their foot in the door to gain the experience and get their job? A few years ago during the last recession I did an NVQ in Business Admin with the hope of finding a basic admin role but after applying for quite a lot of admin/office roles I got nowhere after 6 months, I gave up on the idea. The closest I got to actually working in an office was some voluntary work around 2011 and 2012. I then ended back up in the usual service industry roles I so much despise (read kitchen work!). Is it worth even doing the level 2 foundation course in bookkeeping? As I understand it employers won't even be interested in you as an employee till you complete Level 3 and maybe even level 4. Is it worth spending hundreds of pounds on several courses or are the alternative ways to learn the basics and then go straight into level 3? Thanks in advance for any advice and sorry for the long winded post.

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Alex



Master Book-keeper

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Hi Alex
Belated welcome to the forum. Its all a bit manic at this time of year and into January /mid Feb with tax returns and then a huge catch up with other stuff so its all a bit quiet on here as folk are ultra busy (bit like the hospitality trade)

Quick response then Im afraid for now.

Dont do the AAT level 2 bookkeeping, look at the AAT level 2 Accountancy course. Thats the one you need.

Not completely true that employers will not look at you at level 2, there are some who will. The biggest issue is for students at any level with no experience is that, most jobs when they do get one, even with level 4 sometimes, are at entry level (so many have to take a drop in pay and work their way back up the greasy pole). But worse still there are a lot of folk getting into this industry and therefore there is an over supply of people. Not saying this to put you off, just look at it realistically. You have to be able to differentiate yourself on your CV from all the others - not matter what level you are at. Plus bear in mind that when they receive your CV it might be in a pile with 200 others - so if you were looking at those CVs would you read them all? You might say yes, but in reality most do not - they look at one linke that grabs them, yep just one line that stands out - but stands out for the right and not wrong reason.

I think one thing you can do is play to the strengths you will have as a result of your background.

One thing I say often is never ever give up when applying for jobs. I do see people ready to throw in the towel after applying for 50 jobs and not getting anywhere. Well sometimes it takes a lot more applications than that and not just in this industry. Yes there are many who are struggling, but what you dont know is what they have, or have not got to offer compared to yourself. Neither do we.

Its not about the short term gains, but about the long term goals. Nothing worth having is easily gained.

Remember also that qualifications are never wasted.

What is it about this industry that appeals? Why did you look before but not take it up? Such should influence the decision making process more than how hard it is to get into.

__________________

Joanne McCormick

Fallows Hall Ltd

Winner - Bookkeeper of the Year 2015, 2016 and 2017

Thoughts are my own/not to be regarded as official advice,which should be sought from a suitably qualified Accountant.



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Thanks for the reply Cheshire Ah OK people are busy with tax returns now, I see. Thanks for taking the time to reply. So forget AAT Bookkeeping Level 2? OK right, this changes the goal posts abit now. Thanks for the encouragement, its what I need. No, no way would I read 200 CV's, I guess they just either skim read them or software on a computer picks out key phrases that stand out. I know recently I got picked out of 180 candidates to the last 10 simply because I had experience of the role required from 20 years ago! Anyways thanks Cheshire. Merry Christmas

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Alex



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Sorry just read your last part. The reason I didn't get into it before was I moved south to be in a relationship and it was around the time the recession started, so finding a job in itself was a real challenge then. My motivation now is to ultimately work from home self employed and do a job where I can engage my brain, possibly a job that could suit an introvert just working to a minimum with clients based from home or else working a steady 9-5 in an office instead of working in hotels or restaurants which never suited me.

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Alex



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Sorry two more questions; why is the AAT Bookkeeping Level 2 not worth doing and can you suggest any introductory books (Kindle or otherwise) to get me started? I looked at a free introductory book by the O.U already on bookkeeping. Thanks

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Alex



Senior Member

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You may find the following thread on the AAT forum helpful;

https://forums.aat.org.uk/Forum/discussion/446408/realistic-advice-for-a-career-changer-at-31

David.



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Thank you David

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Alex



Master Book-keeper

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AAT Accounting rather than AAT bookkeeping as its keeps your options open (and wider appeal), albeit you can stop after level 3 (bookkeeping) or go on to level 4 (Accounting).

Have a look at this, might help (not sure, not watched it, wish I had the time!) www.firstintuition.co.uk/bookkeeping-certificates-vs-accounting-qualifications/

Not sure what you mean by 'just working to a minimum' .

For books - see the sticky threads - loads listed and covered lots of times in other threads.

__________________

Joanne McCormick

Fallows Hall Ltd

Winner - Bookkeeper of the Year 2015, 2016 and 2017

Thoughts are my own/not to be regarded as official advice,which should be sought from a suitably qualified Accountant.



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Date:

Thank you Cheshire

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Alex

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