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Career change possible ?

Career change possible ?


I am new to this forum but would be grateful for some advice/tips from people working in accounts.

I am in my early 30's looking to take up a career in accountancy but having come from a sales background I lack experience working within accounts, to help with this I am studying for my AAT qualification  via distance learning( currently finished level 3 and about to start on level 4). From peoples experience is this a good entry route into the profession ? Having applied for various positions the biggest hurdle seems to be my lack of actual work experience in this area, just wandering if anybody has any ideas regarding gaining the practical experience ? I have written to the majority of Accounts firms in my local area without success and also enquired about voluntary work with local companies but again with little success.

Any suggestions would be helpful !


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By MRBooks
10th May 2012 21:03

Same here

Hi there,

I tried the same route as you, I'm AAT Level 3 too, wrote to all the practices in my area etc, heard nothing back. Some of the big ones to proper internships though, if you google them you can apply via their websites. 

The best way for me was to get in touch with local bookkeepers, I found a lovely one who I'm doing some part time bookkeeping from home for. It's not accounting but through working for her I have gained much more experience, two clients of my own, and met two lovely accountants. 

I hope that in a year or so I will have enough bookkeeping and payroll experience to be considered for a trainee accountancy position. Generally though I think that AAT is a good route in to accountancy, and bookkeeping does give you more experience within that sort of area too. 

Good luck! :)

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By dreamcatcher
11th May 2012 12:01


Whilst I am undoubtedly bias having been an AAT member for over 10 years I think AAT is a fantastic qualification which gives you a good basic understanding of accounting.  So yes qualification wise you are doing the right thing.  Once AAT qualified you can always progress to ICAEW, ACCA or CIMA depending on your chosen career path.  

Given the current economic climate finding a full time post other than some sort of trainee accounts role will be very difficult.  Then even these sort of roles are over subscribed with applicants and the salaries are very low which maybe a problem for you depending on your personal circumstances.

You say you have enquired about voluntary work but was this by letter or telephone call.  If letter then I'm afraid to say that in my experience nearly all of them go straight in the bin.  Give them a call and sell yourself (which if you've worked in sales shouldn't be a problem).  Tell them why you want a career change and tell them you are more than happy to work for them on an unpaid basis one or two days a week to get the experience you lack.  You never know this may lead to a job offer in the future.

All the best with the career change and your AAT studies.

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By StuartW
11th May 2012 12:05


(Disclosure: I work for AAT)

There's no doubt that the job situation is tough right now - with more people going for each role it's getting more difficult to obtain the required work experience. But that doesn't mean it's impossible, and we encounter loads of students who have taken the big decision to change direction in their career. Making that decision alone is significant, in that it demonstrates how willing you are to make sacrifices in order to pursue your goals.

As MRBooks has done, it's a good idea to make a list of local businesses and send them speculative applications. Lots of job vacancies never actually end up being advertised.

AAT has just started working with a career coach to provide regular guidance to members seeking advice on finding work. She answers a couple of questions each week and you may find her most recent answers relevant. Watch the latest AAT career coach video here

If it's at all feasible for you it may also be worth considering volunteering some time in order to gain work experience. We wrote an article that provides tips on following this route - 5 ways to find work experience through volunteering.

I'm sure other members of this forum will have more practical tips you can follow. Just remember that there are many folk in a similar position to you - it's about enduring the unanswered applications and rejections and thinking about how to make yourself stand out above everyone else.

Best of luck!

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By iwan
26th Jun 2012 09:25

Just to update you after your helpful advice I have finally managed to get my fIrst accounts job!

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By pritlee
12th Oct 2012 18:00

how is it goin?





nice to hear you got the job......i am in the same boat and thinking of changing from IT to Aaccountancy i have sent you a pm, can you please let us know how your experience is and what problem you had etc.


kind regards and well done once again

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