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Mature starter seeking views

  • Student
  • 5 posts
  • # 115579

Hi everyone.

At 56 years and after many years in the public service I am looking at embarking upon training courses, aiming to achieve ICB level 4 in Bookkeeping (plus payroll and income tax), with a view to being self-employed. My previous experience in accountancy goes back well over 30 years (junior audit clerk for a year in a chartered accountants) and I have a little bit of experience of self-employment but reading up on it all I am clearly still familiar with many of the basics.

Obviously this would be a big commitment for me but before going down this path I just wanted to ask for any views on two points in particular:

1. A family member who was in banking and did a little bookkeeping after retirement tells me it is not worth doing as there are so many in this line of work that I would only get minimal payment!

2. Whilst planning on self-employment, clearly it would make sense to get some practical experience under my belt and I wondered what options might be availableout there for somebody of my age?

Any views or suggestions would be very much appreciated.

Many thanks, John

  • Fellow PM.Dip
  • Practice Licence
  • 398 posts
  • # 115580

Hi John

Although I have an accounting background i'd never completed the full qualifications so when I took voluntary redundancy I decided to do the ICB qualifications through Ideal Schools.  I did the Career Path.  The good thing is you can do it in your own time and once your AICB qualified you can set up in practice.  I went on to complete the MICB as well as SAT and payroll.   

 

Although there are plenty of bookkeepers out there there is also plenty of self employed  or SMB's that require our services.   With MTD coming into force eventually (HMRC keep moving the goalposts on that one) I think there will be even further need for qualified bookkeepers.  

Regarding age.  I'm in my fifties so dont let age be a hindrance.  If you look on the Ideal Schools 'spotlight' you'll see Terry Ramm who competed his ICB studies at 63 and is now planning on going nationwide.  

Regards

 

Liz

 

 

  • Fellow
  • Practice Licence
  • 14 posts
  • # 115582

as I was mentioned I should reply. Feel free to call me one evening to discuss how it's been for me. 07907 615247

  • Student
  • 5 posts
  • # 115590

Thanks Liz and Terry for responding. Positive and helpful comments and I hadn't considered the potential impact of MTD on demand. (I will probably take you up on your kind offer Terry after I have got my head around some of the issues I'd like to explore).

My real concern with my age is in trying to establish where I might be able to get practical hands-on experience to give me the confidence to go self-employed with this. (Assuming I am successful with my studies of course!). I am not necessarily looking at employment, which might not be so easy at my age with no current experience (though I wouldn't dismiss that), but I am wondering how other people may have got their hands "dirty"? 

John

  • Student
  • 1 post
  • # 115911

Lizzie59 said:

“Hi Liz,
I'm new on here and am looking to do the complete course to self employment.  Can you tell me approx how long it took you to do the career path and who did you do it with?  I would appreciate your comments about your provider.  I was considering doing one module at a time in fear of being overwhelmed with the whole course in one go but how did you feel receiving the complete pack?
Many thanks.
Mary

Hi John

Although I have an accounting background i'd never completed the full qualifications so when I took voluntary redundancy I decided to do the ICB qualifications through Ideal Schools.  I did the Career Path.  The good thing is you can do it in your own time and once your AICB qualified you can set up in practice.  I went on to complete the MICB as well as SAT and payroll.   

 

Although there are plenty of bookkeepers out there there is also plenty of self employed  or SMB's that require our services.   With MTD coming into force eventually (HMRC keep moving the goalposts on that one) I think there will be even further need for qualified bookkeepers.  

Regarding age.  I'm in my fifties so dont let age be a hindrance.  If you look on the Ideal Schools 'spotlight' you'll see Terry Ramm who competed his ICB studies at 63 and is now planning on going nationwide.  

Regards

 

Liz

 

 


 

  • Student
  • 45 posts
  • # 116411

So glad to see other more mature people are making a go of it. I am 47 and having been a driving instructor for years am desperate for a more sane career - hence me doing the career path. I am always optomistic, but was a little bit scared also. But it seems there is plenty of work out there for someone who isn't too scared to try.

 

My outlook to it is aftr qualification I am sure we know a darn site more than your average Jo who is starting a business or self employed builder.

 

Smile You've given me confidence. I intend to set up a practice and have my daughter work for me and train herself in the bargain.

 

Thanks for that.

 

Digit

  • Fellow PM.Dip
  • Practice Licence
  • 8 posts
  • # 116414

With regard to gaining experience, I have a former student (I used to teach AAT) who now volunteers for a charity.  It has worked out well for all concerned.  The charity approached me as they wanted to upgrade their spreadsheets to accounting software and were not sure where to start.  They wanted to do their own books but have me review the accounts on a monthly basis.  Cloud software was the obvious choice.  On talking to them, it became apparent that although they were completing their own spreadsheets and had done so successfully for a number of years, time was becoming an issue.  I didn't want to take the student on in my own practice as that would involve changing my insurance requirements, so the charity took them on as a volunteer under their own insurance and I liase and provide monthly management accounts.  This has been ongoing for a year now and is working very well.  I have a client whose records are being input by someone who knows what they are doing, the charity is keeping costs down by using a volunteer and the student is gaining valuable experience.

  • Fellow PM.Dip
  • Practice Licence
  • 33 posts
  • # 116446

Hi John

I just wanted to tell you my story in the hope that it will help you strive for what you want.

I had my own retail business which had run its course over the years but then went into decline. So I worked in a post office  and did the ICB course at the same time.(I was 53)

I completed all the modules and qualified and managed then to get a part time job at a small local Accountancy firm where I gained some experience on minimum wage.

I then kept a look out for a better position and went to work for a larger Chartered Accountants full time and over 5 years gained alot of experience in bookkeeping and payroll for many types of businesses. I also progressed to be manager of their Bookkeeping and Payroll department with a team of 6 Bookkeepers.

Two years ago (at the age of 60) I decided to leave my position and start my own practice, which was a bit of a struggle at first, but I am now in a position where I am  turning work away as my time is fully alocated with the clients I have!

If you are determined to succeed then age should not be a barrier and many older people have a wealth of life experience to bring to the table.

As far as getting experience is concerned, it may be worth doing as I did and contacting small local accountants offering your services at minimum wage or free if you can afford it!

Alternatively if you go to your local ICB branch meetings you may be able to offer your services to other ICB practices to help them if they have busy times.... just a thought.

Good luck with everything, I hope it goes well for you!!

Regards

Gail

  • Student
  • 5 posts
  • # 116447

gwizz said:

Hi John

I just wanted to tell you my story in the hope that it will help you strive for what you want.

I had my own retail business which had run its course over the years but then went into decline. So I worked in a post office  and did the ICB course at the same time.(I was 53)

I completed all the modules and qualified and managed then to get a part time job at a small local Accountancy firm where I gained some experience on minimum wage.

I then kept a look out for a better position and went to work for a larger Chartered Accountants full time and over 5 years gained alot of experience in bookkeeping and payroll for many types of businesses. I also progressed to be manager of their Bookkeeping and Payroll department with a team of 6 Bookkeepers.

Two years ago (at the age of 60) I decided to leave my position and start my own practice, which was a bit of a struggle at first, but I am now in a position where I am  turning work away as my time is fully alocated with the clients I have!

If you are determined to succeed then age should not be a barrier and many older people have a wealth of life experience to bring to the table.

As far as getting experience is concerned, it may be worth doing as I did and contacting small local accountants offering your services at minimum wage or free if you can afford it!

Alternatively if you go to your local ICB branch meetings you may be able to offer your services to other ICB practices to help them if they have busy times.... just a thought.

Good luck with everything, I hope it goes well for you!!

Regards

Gail


 Hi Gail,

Thanks for commenting on this and others have made some interesting points too. Well I took the plunge anyway, having spoken with Terry last year. I have just completed my Level 3 and started on level 4, so the studies are going well and it will be the hands-on experience that I will be looking for next.

I am planning on getting along to a local meeting as you suggested and will look at making contacts. That will be as steep a learning curve for me as the studies I am sure with my background primarily in the public service sector rather than business or retail.

Regards,

John

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