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How much practical experience do I need to do small business accounts?

Discussion in 'Accounts & Finance' started by matt101, Dec 10, 2015.

  1. matt101

    matt101 UKBF Newcomer Free Member

    Posts: 12 Likes: 1
    I am studying AAT level 2. I am looking to get a paid job, whilst studying levels 3 & 4. After a year, or so of experience in an accounting practice, I want to start working for myself. I will look for someone with experience, who I can go to for advice, in return for being paid. Is this practical?
     
    Posted: Dec 10, 2015 By: matt101 Member since: Apr 19, 2014
    #1
  2. john1989

    john1989 Guest

    Posts: 0 Likes: 0
    I don't think the AAT equips you to be let loose on paying clients without first obtaining a good few years of experience.

    I would focus your energy on securing employment that will give you this experience.
     
    Posted: Dec 10, 2015 By: john1989 Member since: Jan 1, 1970
    #2
  3. Energise Accounting

    Energise Accounting UKBF Enthusiast Full Member

    Posts: 876 Likes: 155
    Which ever qualification you take you will need about 2 to 3 years of solid experience before taking on clients of your own.
     
    Posted: Dec 10, 2015 By: Energise Accounting Member since: Sep 24, 2014
    #3
  4. David Griffiths

    David Griffiths UKBF Legend Full Member - Verified Business

    Posts: 11,437 Likes: 3,565
    When you start working for somebody with no practical experience beforehand I'd be surprised if they let you anywhere near a tax return within the first year or even two. Providing a service for small businesses is about dealing with the tax as well as accounts
     
    Posted: Dec 10, 2015 By: David Griffiths Member since: Jun 21, 2008
    #4
  5. MyAccountantOnline

    MyAccountantOnline UKBF Legend Full Member

    Posts: 11,899 Likes: 2,225
    Have you considered further studies after the AAT eg ACCA?
     
    Posted: Dec 11, 2015 By: MyAccountantOnline Member since: Sep 24, 2008
    #5
  6. matt101

    matt101 UKBF Newcomer Free Member

    Posts: 12 Likes: 1
    Hi Nicola, I don't really see how studying ACCA (or any of the other chartered qualifications) would benefit me? As far as I understand, these are for larger companies, & I want to do accounts for small businesses.
     
    Posted: Dec 14, 2015 By: matt101 Member since: Apr 19, 2014
    #6
  7. Scalloway

    Scalloway UKBF Legend Free Member

    Posts: 11,594 Likes: 2,518
    Chartered (in the wide sense) accountants do accounts for all sizes of businesses.
     
    Posted: Dec 14, 2015 By: Scalloway Member since: Jun 6, 2010
    #7
  8. matt101

    matt101 UKBF Newcomer Free Member

    Posts: 12 Likes: 1
    Hi Scalloway. 90% of businesses are small, so most accountants don't need to be chartered? I hope you don't mind, but I just googled your company's name, & I see that you are MAAT. How much experience do you think I need before I can work for myself? (if you don't mind me asking). I am a self taught web developer, so am highly motivated. Is it possible to study the AAT qualification, & then get a year of experience with an accountancy company, then work for myself? Thanks for your time, it is very much appreciated :)
     
    Posted: Dec 14, 2015 By: matt101 Member since: Apr 19, 2014
    #8
  9. john1989

    john1989 Guest

    Posts: 0 Likes: 0
    David already mentioned the experience you will need.

    I would say three years as an absolute minimum.

    I have worked in practice and industry roles (mostly industry) for 10 years. I still feel like I'm still learning and don't have the experience to take the plunge in to self employment!
     
    Posted: Dec 14, 2015 By: john1989 Member since: Jan 1, 1970
    #9
  10. Bob

    Bob UKBF Big Shot Free Member

    Posts: 3,672 Likes: 928
    ... and I've got 40 years and still learning :eek: Mind you doesn't help that they keep changing the rules :rolleyes:
     
    Posted: Dec 14, 2015 By: Bob Member since: Jul 24, 2009
    #10
  11. john1989

    john1989 Guest

    Posts: 0 Likes: 0
    That fills me with confidence :)

    I'm still learning debits from credits :p
     
    Posted: Dec 14, 2015 By: john1989 Member since: Jan 1, 1970
    #11
  12. Bob

    Bob UKBF Big Shot Free Member

    Posts: 3,672 Likes: 928
    That's easy and HASN'T changed over the years.
    Debits are near the door and credits near the window :)
    Obviously a problem if you have a room without a window ;)
     
    Posted: Dec 14, 2015 By: Bob Member since: Jul 24, 2009
    #12
  13. David Griffiths

    David Griffiths UKBF Legend Full Member - Verified Business

    Posts: 11,437 Likes: 3,565
    Not as much a problem as if you have a room without a door! :D
     
    Posted: Dec 14, 2015 By: David Griffiths Member since: Jun 21, 2008
    #13
  14. matt101

    matt101 UKBF Newcomer Free Member

    Posts: 12 Likes: 1
    Thanks John, I was just looking for a few more opinions :)
     
    Posted: Dec 14, 2015 By: matt101 Member since: Apr 19, 2014
    #14
  15. matt101

    matt101 UKBF Newcomer Free Member

    Posts: 12 Likes: 1
    You should try being a coder then.You have to learn new coding languages/ frameworks every year. Within a 5 year period EVERYTHING has changed.
     
    Posted: Dec 14, 2015 By: matt101 Member since: Apr 19, 2014
    #15
  16. john1989

    john1989 Guest

    Posts: 0 Likes: 0
    It seems it's agreement you're looking for, not opinions.
     
    Posted: Dec 14, 2015 By: john1989 Member since: Jan 1, 1970
    #16
  17. Bob

    Bob UKBF Big Shot Free Member

    Posts: 3,672 Likes: 928
    Just remember that 40 years ago coders were just a gleam in their mother's eyes :)
     
    Posted: Dec 14, 2015 By: Bob Member since: Jul 24, 2009
    #17
  18. Bob

    Bob UKBF Big Shot Free Member

    Posts: 3,672 Likes: 928
    Have you had a look at the Member in Practice regulations?
    By the way, it's not that easy to get a job in an accountancy practice that will give you sufficient experience to do the job in full yourself after 12 months.
    You would be a risk to the people who engaged you as their accountant
     
    Posted: Dec 14, 2015 By: Bob Member since: Jul 24, 2009
    #18
  19. Scalloway

    Scalloway UKBF Legend Free Member

    Posts: 11,594 Likes: 2,518
    To give you a summary of my experience

    3 years at college passing exams that allowed me to me to become an MAAT.
    3 years working for chartered accountants doing accounts for sole traders and partnerships.
    After 15 years working as a financial accountant (and qualifying with CIPFA) with a local authority I started doing sole trader accounts as a sideline. My role at work ended up being administering a large loan scheme that invested in small local businesses so I always had a handle on that sector.

    My clients had very simple businesses. However that did not stop one having an investigation due to my mistaken handling of a balance sheet item. The client was completely clean but it gave me pause for thought.

    I have always stuck to taking on very simple businesses and small charities. The amount of knowledge you need to keep up with doesn't make it worth my while to take on anything more complicated, such as limited companies. So even after 40 years in the game I stick to what I know.
     
    Posted: Dec 14, 2015 By: Scalloway Member since: Jun 6, 2010
    #19
  20. Karimbo

    Karimbo UKBF Ace Free Member

    Posts: 1,576 Likes: 155
    i am not an accountant but i do my very own book keeping using freeagent which is a no brainer really. but the y/e stuff i pay an accountant to do for me. The trouble is as a junior MAAT you're not going to have breadth of knowledge that a client is going to expect you to have. So much of accounting is about informing your clienting about things they they don't dont know that they didn't know. Even for my small straight forward business I didn't know a lot of stuff and I asked on this forum and another bookkeepers forum to help get the knowledge I needed. It's really slow going but it's my own time and my own business so I can work through this very slowly.

    If you're doing this for a client and inexperienced it's going to transpire very easily and you'll potentially end up costing your client a lot in avoidable taxes or worse. they may have an urgency with an issue and if you cant provide an answer for them off the top of your head they're not going to be impressed.
     
    Posted: Dec 15, 2015 By: Karimbo Member since: Nov 5, 2011
    #20