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Small practice looking to train an apprentice

We are looking to train an apprentice

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Background, I run a small practise with circa 200 clients. Just me (ICAEW  FCA) and an administrator.

We took on a part time kid for a few hours a week in between 6th form college, already took to basic vat and ledger jobs like a duck to water.

I am looking for advice on training and it seems that there are an overwhelming number of options! 

I am more than happy to fund it myself, although I understand that there may be funding available for the training and also to put a bit of money in the apprentices back pocket.

It seems that higher education is slower than some of the open university or self study type courses.

I would be interested to hear about this from the practise or apprentices point of view?



Replies (11)

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paddle steamer
02nd Feb 2018 12:25

Are you considering ICAEW training or something else?

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By desiny
02nd Feb 2018 12:51

Hello, yes I am looking at icaew and to be honest worried that we arent a big practice with shiny new offices.

I am also trying to understand the courses and exams that go alongside work experience.

Ultimately I would like to semi retire and leave the practise in good hands.

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Replying to desiny:
paddle steamer
02nd Feb 2018 13:11

That is certainly a long term plan, a trainee taken on now, with the best will in the world, will be unlikely to be equipped to run a practice for at least 7 or 8 years, it is also an all eggs in one basket exit route, exam failures, giving up or seeing greener grass elsewhere once qualified makes it somewhat high risk.

I cannot really make any comment re ICAEW as I spent my time with ICAS firms, but do recall the firm I was with in the early 90s (2 partners, 7 staff) gave up its training office status as it was just more trouble than it was worth.

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Replying to desiny:
By lionofludesch
05th Feb 2018 13:39

desiny wrote:

Hello, yes I am looking at icaew and to be honest worried that we arent a big practice with shiny new offices.

I trained with a small firm and it's a great grounding in general principles. Trainees with big firms are more likely struggle with incomplete records and tend to do stuff mechanically, without understanding the principles.

On the other hand, if yer man wants to specialise, training with a small firm is not so good. Or, indeed, good at all.

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Replying to lionofludesch:
paddle steamer
14th Feb 2018 15:26

I thought mid tier was best, if a smaller office of a larger firm (not London office etc)

I started with Hodgson Impey Glasgow, a decent mix of work auditing subsidiaries of quoted companies coupled with some poly bag jobs. (Presume clients now pay 5p extra for these)

The plus was more structured training beyond just ICAS block release (Firm wide training courses at say Hull or Warwich Uni), good technical briefings (got handouts most weeks), decent audit manuals to use/learn etc.

Having said that given it was the 1980s no idea of relevance today.

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By Mr_awol
02nd Feb 2018 13:15

If you want to train them to ACA level there are a few options, depending on how quickly you want the trainee qualified.

I think (may be out of date) that you can get funding to assist putting the trainee through AAT via college day release etc. This will enable them to gain a qualification and then either carry on or stop - depending on how they handle AAT.

Once AAT qualified, they could go on to ACA and rattle it off in about 18 months (depending on their capabilities and how much time off you can afford to give them) or they could do the CFAB - again, gives a more modular approach to it and means that they have a qualification they can stop at should they choose.

After CFAB you could put them in a proper training contract ant they can do the final bit of ACA if you both wish.

Of course this does allow you (if you wish and your trainee will accept it) to slow down the qualification process, keep them at a 'lower' qualification level whilst they build experience and if you pay them fairly and they are committed then should work well. If you bomb straight into it they may become quickly qualified, have no experience and as such be of little extra use to you but tempted by recruitment agencies who could probably find them a job earning 10K more somewhere 'bigger' or in industry. If they fail to see the long term opportunities (or you hold back too much) they could be off.

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Replying to Mr_awol:
By atleastisoundknowledgable...
02nd Feb 2018 22:52

Mr_awol wrote:

you can get funding to assist putting the trainee through AAT via college day release etc.

This is what I do with my juniors. Put them on an AAT apprenticeship, get £1.5k grant, pay £900 for their training.

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By accountantccole
05th Feb 2018 12:45

Ours is on AAT apprenticeship - gives them a reasonable background for ACA/ACCA

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Man of Kent
By Kent accountant
05th Feb 2018 14:32

Picking up on DJKL's point.

Its very easy to become authorised to train students. I had a visit from an ICAEW bod responsible for training and they were desperate for more firms to train staff - especially small one's.

You should also look at this

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By djn24
06th Feb 2018 09:47

From my experience, AAT first then onto ACCA.

It's always seemed to me that the ACCA exam structure and training is more flexible than ICAEW.
Apart from big firms, I haven't heard of anyone training in ACA for years. I personally would stick to ACCA.

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By pauljohnston
14th Feb 2018 15:12

One of my friends is involved with a business that provides apprenticeship training. HM Govt provides a large chunk towards the cost of AAT fees you can contact him at [email protected]

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