Where to look for the right info/group? | AccountingWEB

Where to look for the right info/group?


I have just signed up for a home study bookkeeping course.  I work in accounts but I am aware that there are gaping holes in my on-the-job training.

The course I have signed up for jumps right in at the deep end with Balance Sheets and the like and I am already strugging.  I do have a tutor I can contact but I was wondering if there was an area on this site for those who are studying.  I've looked through the groups list and can't see anything.  Can anyone point me in the right direction?

Thanks heaps


johnjenkins's picture


johnjenkins | | Permalink

with the greatest respect, if you want to be an Accountant then the best training you could get is in an Accountants office. The reason I say this is because there is not just bookkeeping and accounts to learn, there is a heap of laws, practices etc. that you need to know.

The local colleges do an AAT "apprenticeship scheme" whereby you go to college for 3 days and spend 2 days in an accountancy environment. This is a 14 month course and if you pass you may become a MAAT (Member of the Association of Accounting Technicians). You need a sponser for this course.

If you just want to become a bookkeeper then I suggest keep plugging away with the course and hopefully stuff will start sinking in. Think of a Balance Sheet as scales which always have to be level and you won't go far wrong.

Paul Scholes's picture

What a good idea    2 thanks

Paul Scholes | | Permalink

John, there should be no need to start any posting "with the greatest respect" especially when the rest of it hints at  "< the greatest respect" eg hinting that Heather "just" wants to become a bookkeeper.  I've known "bookkeepers" who are more capable than "qualified" accountants.

Back to the question, I don't know of a student area but what a good idea that would be, maybe a Student Any Answers or Student Discussion Group.  I'm sure regular members would have no problem looking in and helping out.

Have a go at the "contact us" bit and ask about this.  In the meantime, PM me if you have any specific bits you are stuck over.

Um... with the greatest

Evurr | | Permalink

Um... with the greatest respect John, I didn't say I wanted to become an accountant.  I said I was doing a bookkeeping course.  That would be because I want to be a qualified bookkeeper.

I personally believe that bookkeepers are just as important as anyone else who rolls up for work in the morning and not "just" anything.  My full time work is not my reason for living, it is what I do to pay the bills (I actually have qualifications in horticulture and complimentary therapies and I would much prefer to be doing that but it doesn't pay the bills).  I am not driven to have a "carreer" but I do want confidence in what I do and I want to be able to work for a company on my own, doing a range of jobs, rather than being in a credit control department or purchase ledger office doing drudge work.  I seem to be fairly good at number herding and being organised so accounts seems to fit for me. But this does means I need some proper training and a certificate to prove I can do it.

......  why am I justifying wanting to be a bookkeeper?

Paul... thank you for your help and understanding.  I will use the contact us link to suggest an area for students.  However, going on John's reply I am questioning whether this website is only for Accountants and not lowly bookkeepers like me :o(

If it is the right place I'll contact the admin, if not I'll continue my search.

Marion Hayes's picture

Well done Heather    1 thanks

Marion Hayes | | Permalink

Firstly, I want to say you are to be congratulated for realising that you want to know more about the work you are already doing, and for actually taking steps to do something about it. You say you are working in accounts but that can and does mean a massive range of differing things to differing people.

When you are already working full time, and your employer is not always as supportive as you might like, this is a good way to find out how you would like to proceed in the future.Book-keeping surely is the foundation of all accounts?

Paul's idea of contacting Aweb about a student area is good - Henry can you update us please as to the outcome? -  and I will be happy to help by pm too. I am not an accountant but as a tax person I can help explain the consequences of different methods of treatment.

Good luck

EDIT: p.s. Heather I see that you posted while I was away from my desk having forgotten to press post first. There are always questions in the any answers section about different things and there is not usually any shortage of answers.

johnjenkins's picture

@ Heather

johnjenkins | | Permalink

The reason I said "with respect" is just that. Anyone who posts something like you have done deserves respect. Your post wasn't clear as to which way you wanted to go so as your last comment was "can anyone point me in the right direction" I tried to give you some sort of direction depending on which way you choose to go. As far as bookkeeping is concerned, as Marion says, bookkeeping is the foundation of all accounts. My intention was not to belittle bookkeeping but too highlight the difference in training between being an Accountant and a bookkeeper.

@ John

Evurr | | Permalink

Thanks for your reply and clarification.  Text communication is so prone to missunderstanding.

The "please point me in the right direction" was in reference to me looking for a group on this site that can help with those trying to learn. Being new to the site is it easy to miss the obvious.

I have every respect for those that have worked hard enough to become accountants, I just know that it is sooo not for me in so many ways.  I enjoy number herding at this level and that is fine for me.  I'll leave the high pressure stuff to those that can handle it.

number herding

Alan Davies | | Permalink

This is a great saying - I'm stealing it to use from now on, thanks!

@ Alan

Evurr | | Permalink

As I don't define myself by what I do for a living it is a nice easy way of making it clear that what I do for 40 hours a week is not important.  My dad was an engineer before he retired, a very good one, but he always called himself an Iron Fighter as again, it wasn't what defined him.

It also makes me laugh that people think I should be good at mental arithmetic (not even sure I can spell it) because I work with numbers all day and a geek with spreadsheets, so I tell them "I only herd them into the right places, I don't actually do any maths in my head"


update on student group

Evurr | | Permalink

Have been chatting with Andy and there may be things in the pipeline...

in then meantime... is there an area for bookkeepers in general?

using your head

Alan Davies | | Permalink

I always say that its darts players who are good at mental arithmetic not accountants and if I have to pick a calculator up for them they'll get a invoice.

I take great pleasure when people say I'm not a typical accountant as its only what I do not what I am.


John Stokdyk's picture

Student discussion group not far away...

John Stokdyk | | Permalink

Thanks for the prompt, Heather. Your post has been an important signal point on what is quite a long term journey for us.

A student area of the site has been on the cards for a while and we had a few other positive comments when we floated the idea earlier in the year. We were thinking along the same lines for bookkeepers, so it might be interesting to know which appeals to you most (or both?).

I'll be back *very* shortly with more news. Now there's some tangible interest, what we'll probably do  is start with a discussion group and start threads for the different professional bodies (and training organisations). As these grow, we can give them their own areas and if things progress as we hope, establish a more defined area on the site where students can go for things like exam tips, information-sharing, news and reference materials..



@ John

Evurr | | Permalink

That's great news!!!  Thanks heaps.

For me Bookkeeping is what I am looking for.  I don't want to fill my head with stuff I don't need at the moment.  For me it's learning tips along with study tips.

Had a breakthrough this morning in the shower... where I do my best thinking.  I was struggling to remember which were debits and which were credits and trying to think of a way to remember... then I realised, you buy stuff with a credit card... I can work everything else from that!!  Whooohoooo!!

Just got to get my head round the balance sheet equasion they were talking about in the last module and I am caught up on what I am supposed to have learnt so far *grimace*

Old Greying Accountant's picture

Don't want to confuse things ...

Old Greying Acc... | | Permalink

... but things you buy are debits!

Debits are ins, credits are outs

not according to my folder,

Evurr | | Permalink

not according to my folder, says that I record the gross purchase amount on the credit side of the day book.

Oh, well will go back and look again, but I checked it this morning and I'm pretty sure that was what the folder said.....

Yes, Debits are ins... but when you spend money that is an out.....

Old Greying Accountant's picture

The gross purchase ...

Old Greying Acc... | | Permalink

.. is the liability, a credit yes (money out or due out)

(although a day book is just a list, the ledger has the debits and credits!).

The net expense (goods/services in) is a debit, as is the related VAT.

So book-keeping fees, debit expenses (service in) £100.00, debit VAT (debtor due (in) ) £20.00 and credit liabilities (money (due) out) £120.00.

When paid you debit liabilities and credit bank (money out)

 If not on credit terms you can bypass the ledger and credit bank direct without creating a liability first.

I just know a lot of people have trouble getting their head round the fact an expense is an in, thus a debit - you have to separate each transaction in to its to constituents, the cash part and the goods/service part - an out of cash is an in of goods/services and an in of cash is goods/services out (sales).

I just found it easier breaking it right down like that to get your head round things, especially when you get into less straight forward areas in your studies, it's a bit like Newtons law of equal and opposite reaction.

You seem to be doing well though, as was said above, keep at it, it is one of thise things that you just have to keep amassing knowledge then one day it all falls in to place.

Just think yourself lucky you are not from a banking background - they get really confused with debits and credits!



Evurr | | Permalink

It appears we are talking about different books. As i am learning about double entry each will be a debit and a credit in different books.

So we are both right.... but to me I start with one of the daybooks.

It's confusing for me as I work with a computerised accounting system now that does the nominal and vat stuff in the background.  The last company I worked for put the net, vat and total all in one purchase ledger; there wasn't a Debit and Credit column at all.  Just minus figures for credit notes.

I am learning about using purchase/sales daybooks, a cash book, a vat book and a general (nominal ledger).  The process I am learning starts with the day book where you enter the gross of the invoice against a page for the supplier (this allows you to know how much you owe a supplier) then you split it down into the net in the general ledger and the vat in the vat ledger.

So it starts as a credit in the purchase daybook and then is entered as a debit in the general and vat ledgers.  (I know this is right because I'm sat at work and I just looked at the nominal ledger to see what column it is in)

It's all good tho coz the more often I explain it the better I learn it.

Democratus's picture

Ah I remember it well

Democratus | | Permalink

When I went to 3rd level education to study Accountancy I had no idea what it was. The first few days were a whirl of strange jargon, confusing Latin sounding words, and acronyms.

What on earth was an SSAP? ( That'll age me)

Debits and Credits?! I swear i must have spent two days in the library trying to figure that one out.

But thanks to debits to the door and credits to the window I eventually figured it out. (Though i have a nasty tendency to always start a Journal with a debit irrespective of what the posting should actually be so i have a lot of reversals on my TBs.

There's another thread on Mnemonics, but you don't really need them for the book keeping once you get your head round it.

Good Luck Heather




Old Greying Accountant's picture

Back in the day ...

Old Greying Acc... | | Permalink

... the supplier invoices were listed in an analysed purchase day book and credited to the relevant account in the purchase ledger. At the end of the month the columns would be cast and cross cast and transferred to the debit of the nominal ledger (of which VAT was part) and the total column would be credited to the purchase control account in the nominal ledger.

Likewise the supplier payments would be entered in the payments cash book and also to the debit of the relevant purchase ledger account. The book would be cast and cross cast at the end of the month, the analysed columns would be posted to the debit of the nominal ledger (of which the purchase day book payments would go to the debit of the purchase control account and the total column to the credit of the bank control account.

Then came the fun bit, balancing off all the purchase ledger accounts and listing them out and totalling them, then reconciling them to the purchase control balance in the nominal ledger.

Ah, happy days, I'm going all misty eyed as I write this, thinking of the fun we had double handed ticking trying to find that £7.23 difference. All those tricks we had to track it down like dividing by 9 to see if it was a transposition error, or seeing if it could be halved in case something was on the wrong side. And when it worked, we had 92p as 29p and £3.30 credit note as an invoice - oh, what joy! - we sunk a few pints that night for sure ;o)

I had one client who sadly died this year who had insisted his book-keepers maintained a full twinlock double entry system right to the end, and I tell you this, it is a darn sight easier finding stuff in a manual system on a day to day basis, but, computerised systems win hands down when it comes to extracting the accounts!

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