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Car dealership accounting

Why is experience important?

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I have been looking at job adverts recently with a view to move from practice to industry, ideally as a management accountant. 

There appear to be a lot of vacancies within the motor industry at the moment, but all the adverts say that motor industry experience is essential. 

Can anyone explain why the motor industry jobs all seem to require this, but management account roles in other industries do not require such specific experience? 

I am a qualified accountant with 15+ years experience of working in practice. Over that time I have prepared management accounts for many different clients in different areas. 

We have also acted for motor dealers - accounts, management accounts, attendance at stock takes, audit, etc. 

Would an experienced qualified accountant find it difficult to make the transition, or would they even be considered for the role?

I'd be interested to hear peoples thoughts. 



Replies (8)

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By Paul Crowley
30th Oct 2020 20:47

Just about every trade thinks it is special
Apply and talk your way through on motor trader client as relevant experience.
You probably know more than the interviewer what really needs to be done and can bring perspective other businesses, not having been locked into one trade

The only thing that matters is an honest CV

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By tom123
30th Oct 2020 21:07

I suppose there must be all sorts of incentive schemes to understand.

Motor factors accounts.

Deposits and new car duties and taxes.
Margin schemes.
Industry specific accounting software.

Leasing and finance plus commissions thereon.

I can think of a few things.

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By paul.benny
31st Oct 2020 10:37

As Paul Crowley says, every industry thinks it's unique. And very often lazy recruiters (internal and external) think the 'best' candidate is one who comes from a similar role at a competitor.

Tom123 mentions some unique features of the motor trade. I can also add
- new car stock is often consignment stock but manufacturers levy finance charges
- there are significant monthly/quarterly/annual rebates which can hugely influence pricing
- used car stock is declining in value all the time
- manufacturers exercise a lot of control over what the dealer must do and cannot do

The finance function has to support decision-making, mostly around pricing, and has to be capable of responding quickly.

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paddle steamer
31st Oct 2020 11:46

There are more nuances in the motor trade than other activities, trade ins, HP settlements, margin scheme re vat, commission and bonus receipts re volumes, consignment stock (as mentioned above), calculating bonus payments to sales staff, warranty issues and their accounting etc- none of it is insurmountable to learn but familiarity would certainly assist (I did a lot of audits of Nissan dealerships in my apprenticeship as Nissan UK were one of the firm's clients so our office landed all the dealership in Glasgow and its surrounds, also did a couple of Ford dealerships and a generic motorcycle one over the years)

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Replying to DJKL:
By I'msorryIhaven'taclue
31st Oct 2020 12:15

I'd prepared accounts and audited for car dealerships (back in the good old days when you audited your own work. First day on the job I was told "Always start by cobbling together a set of accounts, then you'll have something to audit).

OP, start with the (optional, but widely used) VAT margin scheme that DJKL mentions

Then think about how you'd break down the books into departments and how, as a separate matter, you might use job-costing to track and post the expenditure on each vehicle.

Finally, I recommend "Getting the Job you Want" by Howard Dowding and Sheila Boyce IDN 10:0706362020 / ISBN 13: 9780706362022 published by Littlehampton Books.

It's a little dated, but pure gold, and will change your mindset by taking the tack that it's the interviewer who has the greater problem (of hiring the right person). The book also walks you through the entire application / interview(s) / post-interview process, with excellent tips on how to be the stand-out candidate by demonstrating your learning / research skills (by knowing all about the company) as well as interpreting the underlying reasons behind an interviewer's questions.

Good hunting!

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By Tobywhiteuk
31st Oct 2020 12:25

Thanks to you all for the really helpful and detailed replies. Certainly given me some food for thought!

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Replying to Tobywhiteuk:
By paul.benny
31st Oct 2020 12:34

Glad you found the responses helpful - and took the time to say so. There are too many question-askers here who fail to do so.

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By lionofludesch
31st Oct 2020 13:25

I remember doing some accounts for a Ford dealership when the Daft Stock Relief was on - inflation index x closing stock allowed as a deduction from profits.

They had a July year end so their stock at 31st July was huge.

HMRC weren't happy. "They've sold all these cars."

"No, they've been paid but they can't send them out of the showroom until 1st August."

"Oh. Well, they've manipulated the year end to maximise stock relief."

"No, they've had a July year end since 1961 when they hadn't even invented year letters."

It was just like printing your own money.

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