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Post Info TOPIC: Best path to take?


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Best path to take?


Hi Everyone

I am currently a stay at home mother of my nearly 3 year old and 11 month old. In 2007 I joined my partner in his very successful small retail business. Within a few years I found myself pretty much running the shop floor (directing staff, merchandising , buying, costing and deciding our price, looking for the next big product, advising customers, inputting invoices on Microsoft Dynamics RMS, running sales reports etc.) as he decided to tap into and grow the internet side of things (Facebook, newsletters and everything the mail order involved ).
However after 10 years it was time to be parents and we sold our business 18 months ago.
I am looking for information and hopefully guidance to a new beginning. I am considering bookkeeping or possibly in the longer term accountancy. Have I left it too late or is it still doable? My long term aim is to be self-employed in order to work around school pick-ups and drop-offs.
Luckily I am in a position were I don't need to earn immediately. My question is with all the courses out there where should I start.

Many thanks



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Melinda



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Hi ??
Can you add your first name so that it appears on your posts under the line (edit profile, signatures)

Have a dig round the site. This question has been asked and answered a million times.

You will need to consider how you get experience before going it alone.

Am sure you will know that being self employed is not easy, nor are the hours less than employment.

Downsides are that everyone these days seems to want to come into this industry so there are not enough jobs for candidates nor clients to go around and everyone seems to think they can do it themselves rather than employing someone with the appropriate knowledge.

its not the best time to ask, January is an Accountants silly season. Search on here for AAT. It will bring up all the debates and info.





-- Edited by Cheshire on Monday 22nd of January 2018 11:33:49 PM

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Thank you, Joanne


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Melinda



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Hi Melinda

I had a finance background but came into the industry when I fell pregnant with my first child (now 11!). My husband is in the military and spends long periods of time away so I needed a career which would also allow me to be a full time Mum.

I studied and began to take on clients as soon as I felt comfortable but I was lucky that what I earned was extra money so I could concentrate on the children, never needing to use childcare and I found clients to be very understanding. Fast forward to the present and all my children are now in school. I have been able to take on a great deal more work in addition to freelancing for a local accountant who give me as much or as little work as I would like, allow me to work in or out of the office and never give me any work during school holidays.

For me it has been the perfect career. I have never missed a child's nativity or sports day. You do have to be well organised and accept that you have to be structured in work/life balance but I have no regrets.

I studied with the IAB which was ideal for becoming self employed but if I was to do it all again I would take the AAT. It is much better recognised and if you did decide to progress or work for an accountants it would stand you in a better position.

Hope this helps and good luck

Valerie

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Master Book-keeper

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Hi Valerie
No idea why but I had in my head that you were AAT! Dare I suggest- why not take it now? You could start at level 3 with your IAB exams behind you, possibly even at level 4 if you can persuade the right trainers (I could suggest one who might let you!)

Hi Melinda
Thinking about this overnight, I'm wondering if you might be a candidate for chartered Accountancy. Still young enough, you mention not needing the money just yet, you can do the study round the children whilst they are young and move into a training contract whilst they are a bit more independent/still at primary school and self employed once you have your full letters. Guess it depends on what kind of career you want, how far you want to go and also future earning potential. (My philosophy is always be the best you can be, rather than settling)

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Hi Joanne

I have many times tried to put aside the time to do the AAT but never quite go there. My end aim was ACCA but I didn't like the idea of being restricted while learning.

I've ordered past papers before and taken the skills test. As a matter of interest which trainer would you recommend?

I enquired about doing it classroom based simply to get out of the house and meet new people but they wanted a fortune for it.

Valerie


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Master Book-keeper

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Hi Valerie
If you are young enough - do the ACCA, you wont look back. Worth being restricted for a bit to my mind. Besides you have a friendly Accountant on board dont you - if they are a fully certified ACCA practice then it might well be that you can do a deal with them for supervision/sign off!

If looking to do the AAT, I would look at First Intuition (they might let you start later if you talk to them -they are more personalised to my mind). Although I have to say - I reviewed a level 4 course from Kaplan and was very impressed with their new 'on demand' offering, although they are likely to expect you to start at level 3. Worth a check with both of them.

I think you would be frustrated by the slow pace of the classroom, never mind the cost. Ive not seen anything encouraging from local style colleges in this respect in the main (Im sure there are good ones), although the larger ones such as Kaplan and BPP might put on a better show!


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Joanne  

 

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Thanks Joanne

I'll take a look at those.

Its probably a Feb/ March slump time thing to do

 



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Master Book-keeper

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Hi Valerie 

I've twice tried to get started with AAT, but always been too busy to get very far.  After February I'm going to be quiet for a while, so intending to start afresh and see it through properly over a couple of years.  Am I right in think you're in North Yorkshire?  I live in Ripon so maybe not that far away.



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John 

 

 

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Hi Melinda

Welcome to the forum, I agree with the others in choosing AAT



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Doug

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Thank you all and thank you Valerie for your encouraging reply. I'm am fortunate enough that due to our previous business I don't have to earn immediately however I am also helping to support my half paralysed mother and her full-time carer, my dad, for 11 years now. Sadly where they live my mother's disability pension does not even cover all her medication and their skint treasury decided that my dad does not deserve a carer allowance as he is a relative and he would look after her regardless :( very frustrating but hey hooo life goes on and so far I was able to top them up in order to put food on their table too. I am very grateful for having such an understanding partner.

I worked very hard in our business to prove primarily to myself that I can afford to send my parents the money without filling guilty in front of my partner. I am willing to put the hours in however as I have no relatives to help me with childcare at all, my ultimate aim is to be self-employed again and therefore work during their school hours and evenings and some weekends. I need to be able to cover school drop offs, sick days etc.

I have been looking at First Intuition AAT for a few days, however I will check Kaplan and BPP too.

Thank you Joanne for you kind words. I have been thinking about the accountancy route for the long run, however I wasn't sure if starting from the bottom i.e. bookkeeping would help me to earn sooner and at the same time offers me the opportunity to get my foot in the door and practice during my studies. 

Many thanks ladies for the encouraging advicewink



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Melinda



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Picuri wrote:

Thank you all and thank you Valerie for your encouraging reply. I'm am fortunate enough that due to our previous business I don't have to earn immediately however I am also helping to support my half paralysed mother and her full-time carer, my dad, for 11 years now. Sadly where they live my mother's disability pension does not even cover all her medication and their skint treasury decided that my dad does not deserve a carer allowance as he is a relative and he would look after her regardless :( very frustrating but hey hooo life goes on and so far I was able to top them up in order to put food on their table too. I am very grateful for having such an understanding partner.


Hi Picuri 

I made a scathing remark (not against you, against the system) to this then realised they might not be in this country. Fortunately for us, carers allowance is available for relatives in the same household and medication is covered for those on low income and a max fee of approx £116 a year for those who receive a lot of medication.  Thankfully you are in a position to help them, credit to you for caring.

 



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John 

 

 

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Hi John

They are in a country were the system is ridiculous beyond belief. My mother has been totally paralysed on the right hand side as a consequence of her 3rd and nearly fatal stroke in 2006. She hasn't left the flat in 10 years yet she still needs to be seen by a commission of medical experts on a yearly basis to sign off her pitiful disability living allowance. My father is not yet of retirement age. 

 



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Melinda



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Picuri wrote:

They are in a country were the system is ridiculous beyond belief. My mother has been totally paralysed on the right hand side as a consequence of her 3rd and nearly fatal stroke in 2006. She hasn't left the flat in 10 years yet she still needs to be seen by a commission of medical experts on a yearly basis to sign off her pitiful disability living allowance.

 


 So that would be the UK then...



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Hi John

Yes, I'm in North Yorkshire.  Relatively close to Pickering so not too far from you.

Lets get our heads down in February and get this studying lark done wink

Valerie



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Leger wrote:

Hi Valerie 

I've twice tried to get started with AAT, but always been too busy to get very far.  After February I'm going to be quiet for a while, so intending to start afresh and see it through properly over a couple of years.  Am I right in think you're in North Yorkshire?  I live in Ripon so maybe not that far away.


 

Hi John

Yes, I'm in North Yorkshire.  Relatively close to Pickering so not too far from you.

Lets get our heads down in February and get this studying lark done wink

Valerie



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Hi Joanne

Would you suggest to start with AAT and then go ACCA? What route did you take and would you do things differently now? Thanks



-- Edited by Picuri on Wednesday 24th of January 2018 11:44:04 PM

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Melinda



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AAT is a great route to take especially if you then want to study further. For someone wanting to be a self employed bookkeeper though I have seem many do pretty well with IAB or ICB route. Depends on how much further you see yourself wanting to go.
I agree with Joanne very early comment 'Am sure you will know that being self employed is not easy, nor are the hours less than employment.
' There is a lot of work outside of earning to put into the equation, even to keep up to do with your CPD requirements.

Good luck which ever route you decide

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Hi Donna

Thank you Donna for your good wishes.

I worked in my partner's business for 10 years. A very busy retail environment that was closed 5 days a year and due to the nature of the business my partner and I worked even on those days behind the closed doors. We both worked 7 day weeks, morning to the evening. I carried on working during pregnancy beyond staff hours and up & down the ladders, receiving deliveries and lifting 10-20kg sacks as our staff. I worked through my early stages of labour with my waters broken, smiling to our customers. Went back to work with my daughter in the sling when she was 3 days old following an episiotomy with forceps. I am a determined person to get the job done and we made hay while the sun shined. We left kids late in order to be able to enjoy them a little. My first child spent 5 or 6 days at the childminder and before Christmas even the Sunday no

I aim to have a bit more flexibility in life but I do appreciate I need to put the work in to succeed. 

My dilemma is bookkeeping now with a view to take it further at a later date (entering this industry approaching 36 is that too long a route) or should I consider accountancy now using up our savings and get it done and dusted. Would accountancy be too much on my plate with two very young children and no relatives to help out.confuse My eldestMy partner is also reviewing his future path so neither of us earning much is not as appealing to him. no I guess I need to make a decision soon and stick by it. 



-- Edited by Picuri on Thursday 25th of January 2018 03:08:48 PM

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Melinda



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That is certainly a history of determination.  Study depends on how much time you want to take up now and how much your brain can store!  Children grow up very fast and study is long hours but can be completed swiftly with dedication and time.

It is a hard choice - if you were thinking of going further than bookkeeping at any stage then I would certainly say the AAT route.



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Donna Curling - Complete Book-Keeping Ltd (CBK Training) - 07939 101900

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Thank you Donna

Is any particular provider better, I keep coming across First Intuition and Kaplan but I haven't compared them yet. Are there any other good ones? I will be taking the distance learning route. 



-- Edited by Picuri on Friday 26th of January 2018 11:37:27 AM



-- Edited by Picuri on Friday 26th of January 2018 11:52:25 AM

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Melinda



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Hi Melinda
Donna is a trainer, has won an award for it from BKN and is currently up for another one from PQ mag (again Donna, massive congrats!). Based not too far from you as well.

Nick Craggs from First Intuition has won awards from BKN too.

That aside, for distance learning I don't think you can beat FI/Kaplan. I've seen people promote Osborne books so worth a look. BPP is a bit dry reading.

For DL you do have the option of just books or books plus support, so care when you compare each.

Some folk do AAT first but if you are doing ACCA I think that is largely a waste of time and money as you will covers everything you will need at ACCA level (unless you have gone the former route not expecting to then want to progress further, some folk get the bug for learning or find their true potential is much higher than they ever realised). Having AAT would give you some exemptions at the earlier stages of the ACCA, but you could've just been doing ACCA in that time and taking exemptions on the easier ones means you are not getting used to the ACCA exam process (which is very different to AAT).

If doing just AAT then I would also recommend you do further tax exams afterwards such as COIT as most clients are looking for tax mitigation and this provides more options for better paying clients in the long run.

John/Valerie.....go peeps, get that study started.

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Joanne  

 

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Firstly thank you for the huge plug Joanne - much appreciated. Yes I have just been short listed which was a huge surprise for me.

I had not realised you were so close by as I am in New Forest. I privately support AAT students that home study - they basically buy the home tutorials whether via a distance learning provider or the publishers books (3 main ones BPP; Osborne or Kaplan). Any of these I am able to purchase for you if you require.
Students then contact me for support on sections they are struggling which is phone; email; skype or if necessary Skype and pay for the time used. An example of my support, I have had a student recently for computer accounts (Sage 50) who was completely struggling, after my Skype support sat the exam with confidence. Other students ask me to work through a test paper and provide feedback which often helps point out their weaker areas, I can then provide further advice on how to study them.

I cover support of level 2 and 3 - most students having been in an accounts back ground at all have not struggled at level 2 with the books and support. Some books I have to say have had mistakes, most do have the updates on line to work through.

Hope helps and good luck what ever way you decide. First Intuition have a good reputation and so does Accountancy Learning. The publishers, Kaplan I am aware students have found good for distance learning.


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Donna Curling - Complete Book-Keeping Ltd (CBK Training) - 07939 101900

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Thank you both very much, now I need to sit down with my partner and discuss a realistic schedule with regards to the kids and study.awwconfuse



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Melinda



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very sensible - work out if you are the sort that needs to hide away in a corner and study a few hours or can easily work through smaller amounts of study during the day regularly.  It is important with such a commitment to know what suits you and whether it fits with your life style.  That may be what makes one choice better for you than another.

Good luck with which ever path you take.



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Donna Curling - Complete Book-Keeping Ltd (CBK Training) - 07939 101900

Payroll & bookkeeping solutions - info@completebookkeeping.co.uk

www.completebookkeeping.co.uk

 



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Hi Donna,

In the past I studied better in the night when everyone slept but that may not be possible, so I will have to try different things and see how I get on. My partner agreed with me to start ACCA rather than AAT but I am yet to decide the provider.  The Isle of Wight College offers only AAT classes so I am looking at First Intuition or Kaplan.

Thanks again ladies

 

 



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Melinda



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How about you try ACCA-X for starters and see how you get one. Good grounding for ACCA and you can do it for free, up to the point of taking the exams and then you have to join the ACCA.

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Joanne  

 

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Cheshire wrote:

How about you try ACCA-X for starters and see how you get one. Good grounding for ACCA and you can do it for free, up to the point of taking the exams and then you have to join the ACCA.


Hi Joanne, 

Yes I enrolled at ACCA-X just as I replied to Donna. biggrin BTW I forgot to say congratulations Donna for the PQ magazine shortlist.

So my partner and I have agreed for me to take another year out and get as many exams done as possible however still very much enjoying the company of our kids. I feel robbed of my daughter's first 18 months as I worked 7 day weeks with very long hours (she was picked up at 6pm every night) and even though she was in the business at weekends sadly customer service had priority. Now she is 3 and started pre-school so I get to enjoy some time alone with my youngest (he is my last baby and they are growing up far too fastno). Also with tandem breastfeeding and frequent night feeds my energy levels are not as high as they can be for starting work experience in conjunction with study so I will be looking for work next year in the hope that by then I am more employable. Hope it makes sense. 

Thank you again for you kind help.



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Melinda

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