glgazza25
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Hi,

I've just started studying towards the ACCA qualification and I'm in the middle of the F1 Module.

I'm turning 29 this year and don't have any experience in relation to finance or accounts. I have been working in the insurance industry for the past 6 years investigating fraudulent motor claims and am looking for a career change. I have always been interested in accountancy and was going to study it at university but ended up doing Mathematics instead.

My main concern with my undertaking the ACCA is the lack of experience I have and also my age. I have seen a number of jobs for people with no experience but they are mainly targeted at school leavers with wages around 12K. Now this wouldnt be enough for me given the other financial commitments I have. I am however willing to take a pay cut to gain this experience but it has to be financially viable.

Would it be worth looking for a job in accounts/accountancy ASAP or do you think it would be worth me completing a few exams (say F1-F4 within the next 6 months) and then looking to obtain a job. This way it might show the employer I am serious about completing the ACCA rather than applying to jobs before I've passed a single exam?

Thanks
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glgazza25
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Is it even worth me studying at my age? I was going to sign up with BPP to study the next module however I'm unsure now as to whether I'm just wasting my money if I can't even find employment
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Tokyoround
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Short answer: yes, it's never too late.
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glgazza25
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What would be the best way to do it though? Am I going to have to get a starting at the bottom job on 12K a year just to get experience whilst also studying in my own time? Or is there other ways to do it.
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sonic_dream
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(Original post by glgazza25)
What would be the best way to do it though? Am I going to have to get a starting at the bottom job on 12K a year just to get experience whilst also studying in my own time? Or is there other ways to do it.
A number of employers will fund your studies, and, I'm very sure you could get an entry level job - maybe even slightly higher than that if you're lucky - for higher than that (maybe *at least* 15-16K).

It depends on what's out there at a point in time, and of course your success in getting the job.

Personally, money permitting, I'd certainly go through with your ACCA/CIMA studies whilst your looking for jobs - time permitting of course. A lot of employers do look for people who have embarked on their studies, and obviously the knowledge you gain in these studies can only aid you in the job.

Another thing that I would suggest you brush up on - and would definitely help in your application (and be a good selling point for yourself) - are your Excel skills. Many a time, this is one of the requirements for the job, and practically, when it comes to the job itself, this can only bode you well. At least further your knowledge into being able to handle a fair volume of data; skills like vlookups (index/match if you wanna be fancier), sumifs, and pivot tables will, in my personal opinion , make you stand out from the rest.

With regards to the basic accounting skills that entry level or 'assistant' jobs would cover, most of the core stuff would obviously involve having a good understanding with double entry, accruals and prepayments, reconciliations (this is where your data handling spreadsheet skills will come in handy) and the basic layout of your financial statements.

It's certainly not too late. A lot of people have career changes at some point in their lives, and with your background, combined with your experience elsewhere previously, you will already have some transferable skills to help you transition in the world of finance.
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glgazza25
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I didn’t realise I received your response on this. Thanks for that.

I was just wondering when I'm applying for these entry level jobs what I should put in my covering letter. I don't want to sound too qualified as such (even though I’m not qualified at all for an accounts job)*when I mention I have a maths degree and currently studying the ACCA in my own time as it might look like I'm just using there company to get some experience of accounts to just leave again,*especially as a lot of these jobs are probably aimed towards people who have finished school or*college.*

I've come across a number of entry level jobs and they seem to want you to start on the AAT which seems a step back if im already studying the ACCA. I don't really want to put the ACCA on hold to join a company to do the AAT, especially given how I registered for the ACCA years ago not realising the 10 yrs starts from that date rather than when I actually started studying. I think I have 6 and half years left to complete it so I don't really want to do the AAT and not have much time to complete the ACCA.*

I've tried emailing accountancy companies in Leeds to see if they have vacancies or are prepared to have me volunteer but no luck. None of them*seem to give me any advice either and find it hard whether to go for advice on the best course of action for me.

Thanks again

(Original post by sonic_dream)
A number of employers will fund your studies, and, I'm very sure you could get an entry level job - maybe even slightly higher than that if you're lucky - for higher than that (maybe *at least* 15-16K).

It depends on what's out there at a point in time, and of course your success in getting the job.

Personally, money permitting, I'd certainly go through with your ACCA/CIMA studies whilst your looking for jobs - time permitting of course. A lot of employers do look for people who have embarked on their studies, and obviously the knowledge you gain in these studies can only aid you in the job.

Another thing that I would suggest you brush up on - and would definitely help in your application (and be a good selling point for yourself) - are your Excel skills. Many a time, this is one of the requirements for the job, and practically, when it comes to the job itself, this can only bode you well. At least further your knowledge into being able to handle a fair volume of data; skills like vlookups (index/match if you wanna be fancier), sumifs, and pivot tables will, in my personal opinion , make you stand out from the rest.

With regards to the basic accounting skills that entry level or 'assistant' jobs would cover, most of the core stuff would obviously involve having a good understanding with double entry, accruals and prepayments, reconciliations (this is where your data handling spreadsheet skills will come in handy) and the basic layout of your financial statements.

It's certainly not too late. A lot of people have career changes at some point in their lives, and with your background, combined with your experience elsewhere previously, you will already have some transferable skills to help you transition in the world of finance.
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sonic_dream
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(Original post by glgazza25)
I didn’t realise I received your response on this. Thanks for that.

I was just wondering when I'm applying for these entry level jobs what I should put in my covering letter. I don't want to sound too qualified as such (even though I’m not qualified at all for an accounts job)*when I mention I have a maths degree and currently studying the ACCA in my own time as it might look like I'm just using there company to get some experience of accounts to just leave again,*especially as a lot of these jobs are probably aimed towards people who have finished school or*college.*

I've come across a number of entry level jobs and they seem to want you to start on the AAT which seems a step back if im already studying the ACCA. I don't really want to put the ACCA on hold to join a company to do the AAT, especially given how I registered for the ACCA years ago not realising the 10 yrs starts from that date rather than when I actually started studying. I think I have 6 and half years left to complete it so I don't really want to do the AAT and not have much time to complete the ACCA.*

I've tried emailing accountancy companies in Leeds to see if they have vacancies or are prepared to have me volunteer but no luck. None of them*seem to give me any advice either and find it hard whether to go for advice on the best course of action for me.

Thanks again
Have you tried agencies? Admittedly, I haven't had any experience with them myself, but a number of people I worked (or still work) with, and some from my ACCA studies, have gone down that route. Whenever I search for what's on the market, there usually seems to be a fair share of decent looking entry level accounting jobs.

I would say if you're set on becoming a fully qualified accountant, I'd rather just skip the AAT and go straight for the ACCA/ACA/CIMA etc.
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glgazza25
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(Original post by sonic_dream)
Have you tried agencies? Admittedly, I haven't had any experience with them myself, but a number of people I worked (or still work) with, and some from my ACCA studies, have gone down that route. Whenever I search for what's on the market, there usually seems to be a fair share of decent looking entry level accounting jobs.

I would say if you're set on becoming a fully qualified accountant, I'd rather just skip the AAT and go straight for the ACCA/ACA/CIMA etc.
Yea I've tried a number of agencies and they just say they basically all their clients come to them wanting some previous accounts or finance experience. I had premium in Manchester call me today and when I said I had no accounts experience she just said there probably isn't anything they can do for me. This was paying for an accounts job paid between 12 and 14 k. Maybe it's just a bad time of year to be trying I dunno. Were these people on the ACCA graduates with 2:1? I've only got a 2:2 so lots of places taking on graduates and providing full study support seem to want 2:1 degree. I do want to be a qualified accountant yes.
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sonic_dream
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(Original post by glgazza25)
Yea I've tried a number of agencies and they just say they basically all their clients come to them wanting some previous accounts or finance experience. I had premium in Manchester call me today and when I said I had no accounts experience she just said there probably isn't anything they can do for me. This was paying for an accounts job paid between 12 and 14 k. Maybe it's just a bad time of year to be trying I dunno. Were these people on the ACCA graduates with 2:1? I've only got a 2:2 so lots of places taking on graduates and providing full study support seem to want 2:1 degree. I do want to be a qualified accountant yes.
I don't which one's are "mainstream", but the (accountancy) ones I usually hear of are Robert Half, Michael Page/Page Personnel and Hays.

You're not just looking for practice jobs, are you? Many of the jobs I've come across are in industry, and a lot of the adverts don't really specify grade requirements, though perhaps some of them do use grades to filter out popular applications - but you never know!

Don't despair with that 2:2. It may be understandably a bit more difficult to get a job, but it's not impossible. This is something I've mentioned a million times in this forum, but Ihave a landed a job in finance myself, having achieved an unspectacular Third in my degree.

I hope you manage to also get a job. Just keep persevering.
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