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Would you hire me...first accounting job?

I am in a bad situation and am looking for ways to strenghten my profile for my first accounting job

Hello,

I was wondering if you could help me with my situation.

I went to University in 2011 studying an Accounting with Economics degree. Unfortunately due to my own failings and external factors (relating to my mental health) I repeated my second year two times and only came out with a 2.2.

After I graduated in 2016 I signed up for the ACCA, but passed my first exam in December 2018 (F9 Financial Management) on my fourth attempt. Since graduating from my degree in 2016 I worked as a picker/packer in a factory on and off (at one stage last year I was seven months unemployed).

Anyway, early next month I will begin working at an accounting firm in London for experience (at least five to six months). I intend on sitting 4/5 exams and then apply for a full time job (if I passed five I should have one professional paper left for the December session). I would like to know what my chances are (of gaining a full time position) and if there are any tips you could give me to increase my chances.

I would also like to add that despite my poor record on my degree and the ACCA I am very confident I can pass these papers with good marks (I never put in the required effort), but there are obviously quite a lot of red flags on my CV which concern me. I am also 26.

Regards

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22nd Feb 2019 05:25

I hope this is in the right section...

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22nd Feb 2019 07:24

Over 60 people have clicked on this thread...surely you could provide me with your opinion :).

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to Gettingserious
22nd Feb 2019 09:07

Gettingserious wrote:

Over 60 people have clicked on this thread...surely you could provide me with your opinion :).

Bloody hell man, you only posted this at 5.22 this morning, give folk a chance, we are all busy people.

That kind of attitude could be seen as keen , but also just downright impatient and boy do you need patience in this job.

You will find, if you have spent even a millisecond on this site that lots of folk look and never ever speak, some ask Qs and never answer and most of the answers are given by the same verbs small core of folk.

This wasn't the original answer I had in mind when I read your post earlier.

You have your temporary job, that is the time to impress whilst you are there. But I do think you could have an issue if you set your self for full time working and so many exams in such a short space of time. Personally I think that you won't pass so many, unless of course you have actually started the study. Be a bit more realistic with the exams, a couple at most.

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to Cheshire
22nd Feb 2019 08:29

I sincerely apologise for being so rude, I have been very stressed lately. Thank you for your advice.

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22nd Feb 2019 08:00

Maybe people haven't responded as they don't want to hurt your feelings?

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to AnnAccountant
22nd Feb 2019 08:30

Of course not. I am very sorry for coming across like this.

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By Mr_awol
22nd Feb 2019 08:34

Why do you want to do so many exams during a period that you could be gaining valuable work experience? Surely experience was the main reason for going there?

My advice would be to try and get a trainee job with a firm local to you that is willing to support ACCA over the next 2-3 years.

Personally I wouldn’t touch you with a barge pole if you sent me your CV with a Desmond supplemented by a hastily gathered ACCA but very little experience, and I doubt many others in practice would either. You’d probably pick up something in industry with that but it would be fairly low level data entry and you’d probably have an expectation of earning more.

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to Mr_awol
23rd Feb 2019 19:17

Thank you for your honest reply. I guess I want to demonstrate that I can juggle work (experience) with ACCA exams to give me some competitive edge.

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22nd Feb 2019 08:48

Passing all your exams and getting fully qualified will get you in the door for an interview. From there on it's as much about the person you are as the qualifications you have.

Have you addressed all the issues that led to your struggles before? Are you a calm and confident person able to inspire a degree of confidence? Are you comfortable discussing the gaps and delays in your CV with potential employers?

If asked about these things in an interview, if you can truthfully and completely answer the questions then the gaps themselves aren't an issue. If you stumble and prevaricate then they become a warning to future employers about unaddressed personal issues or problems, that could in the future become their problems if they invite them in.

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By Mr_awol
to Duggimon
22nd Feb 2019 09:02

Will it get him an interview though?

Not with us, that’s for sure, and not with a lot of firms locally.

A couple of local firms take graduates at around £20k a year + ACA study package. Others take A level leavers at more like £16k + AAT or ACCA support. We tend to take them from those firms once they qualify and/or have 4-5 years experience.

Who would want someone qualified (and therefore with high salary expectations) but with little practical experience who would therefore be unable to hit the ground and who would most likely need more training time than the most junior member of staff?

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to Mr_awol
22nd Feb 2019 09:09

If they're apply for entry level positions I don't see why you would assume they're looking for a level of salary you haven't offered. It should be clear enough from their CV that experience is needed, it's mutually beneficial to give them a go at a reduced level until they prove themselves worth the salary of a qualified and experienced professional.

Did you get the impression from his post that the plan was to get his ACCA then jump straight in at £35K? I didn't, he just wants a job.

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By Mr_awol
to Duggimon
22nd Feb 2019 10:32

You've missed the point. You said that passing his exams would get him an interview (with no explanation as to why that might be). I questioned whether that would be the case (and provided reasons why it might not).

It certainly wouldn't make him any more likely to get an interview from me, and he wouldn't be what we want here, where we try and stay top heavy and try to retain good staff for as long as possible.

It certainly wouldn't get him an interview at my last firm, or the other firms locally who churn out trainees and let most of them go once they have enough experience to demand a decent wage (and then replace them with more trainees)

Maybe he might get the attention of a one man band who just needs someone and who (rightly or wrongly, there are arguments for each) assumes that academic studies will give a good basis to learn from.

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to Mr_awol
22nd Feb 2019 11:19

I don't think I missed your point, I think we're just looking at it from different perspectives. If he applied for an entry level position with an entry level salary, but already had the qualification and was only lacking experience I think there are firms that would consider it and at least meet him to find out more.

There's no automatic assumption that qualification = big money and if he's prepared to go for jobs on the basis that experience = big money and he's yet to earn it, then I don't see why his qualification would get in the way.

Of course, on the same basis, there's little benefit to getting it in advance if he's going to then go for entry level positions anyway, I don't think it's a hindrance but it's not much of a help either.

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to Duggimon
22nd Feb 2019 12:35

I’m with Mr AWOL on this I’m afraid.

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to Mr_awol
23rd Feb 2019 19:26

That's a good point you raise there actually, I didn't think about that. It's my intention to get into the industry and work myself up. A high salary because I passed a qualification without the required experience is not something that I expect nor deserve.

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to Duggimon
23rd Feb 2019 19:21

Thanks for your help, Duggimon.
I am feeling better and am confident I can explain my situation.

Regards

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By Locutus
22nd Feb 2019 09:25

Whilst your prospects in the future will depend a lot on how you get on at your work placement and how you do in your exams, your major problem (if you want to stay within accounting practice) is that you lack real-world experience.

Unfortunately, you may need to do a few unpaid / low paid internships in the future, before you gain sufficient experience for a role paying a commercial wage.

Don’t be afraid to look at jobs in industry and even outside of accountancy altogether.

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to Locutus
23rd Feb 2019 19:28

Thank you for taking the time to read my question, Locutus.

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22nd Feb 2019 12:39

If you were not born with a silver spoon in your mouth or other advantages like parents/relatives/friends able to get you a good job then it's mostly about luck and apart from being in the right place at the right time that comes (paraphrasing Thomas Edison) mostly from hard work, effort and dogged determination and never giving up. If you apply that simple formula then all else being equal (and there is nothing really abnormal about you I think) it is more likely than not that you will succeed rather than fail in your life goals.

So just keep plugging away at getting one good job/exam that will lead to another & so on.

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to Justin Bryant
23rd Feb 2019 19:29

Thank you very much :).

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22nd Feb 2019 10:15

You seem to be putting an awful lot of pressure on yourself. Studying for so many exams and starting a new job ( I know it is work experience) is a big ask.

If I was in your position, I would focus all my energies on the work experience and put the exam studying on hold .

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to killer33
23rd Feb 2019 19:30

Perhaps that's something I should do. I just thought by hopefully passing these exams whilst working I could make myself a more attractive candidate.

Thank you.

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22nd Feb 2019 10:34

GS, I would definitely prioritise getting relevant work experience above rushing your exams.

I agree with the comment above - don't put too much pressure on yourself by trying to squeeze all your exams into such a short space and you need 3 years practical experience to become qualified anyway.

There is also quite a large step up between the "F" and "P" papers in ACCA, with the P options having quite large elements of homestudy. There is no point rushing the process and finding yourself having to re-sit.

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to gainsborough
23rd Feb 2019 19:33

Thank you for your help, Gainsborough.
I think I will take fewer exams then and prioritise the work experience.

Kind regards

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22nd Feb 2019 10:38

Gettingserious wrote:

I never put in the required effort

Whatever you do, don't say this in an interview.

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to Accountant A
23rd Feb 2019 19:33

Won't do that. Thanks.

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22nd Feb 2019 10:46

I don't see any particular red flags. I got a worse degree than that (had no interest after the first year but stuck it out) and ended up at a mid-size firm to get qualified, then on to big 4.

I'd recommend getting a job first, then getting qualified.

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to sculptureofman
23rd Feb 2019 19:35

Well done on your success.
A lot of people have recommended that here, I will do that.

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By Maslins
22nd Feb 2019 11:36

Well done for securing that work experience...just getting that can be a real struggle for people.

If you reasonably impress them, then it likely would lead to a "proper job" with them afterwards. Employers will often have a "better the devil you know" mentality, plus they'll have invested several months in training you etc.

If they don't offer you a job at the end, hopefully another firm will on the basis of you having that experience.

I would forget about the exams for the time being. By all means maintain your study to some degree, but trying to push yourself through lots of exams in a very short space of time wouldn't impress me and will just stress you out.

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to Maslins
23rd Feb 2019 19:37

Thank you very much - I was actually very lucky in securing the work experience.

I will consider what you've written Maslins.
Thanks.

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22nd Feb 2019 11:55

Agree with most posters - experience is more important at this stage than more exams. Exam scenarios don't give you the on the ground real life experience you need. I started with work experiences and am an advocate of that route, impress while you are there, the position may become more permanent.
PS don't knock a Desmond - it is what I got, don't think anyone looks at that now!

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to accountantccole
23rd Feb 2019 19:38

Thank you :).

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22nd Feb 2019 12:43

Ignore your exams for now. Get everything you can out of your work experience period. At the moment, they are the most likely source of a job for you, but you really need to put the effort it - show them you’re a quick diligent learning and do as many different things, well, as you can.

If they don’t over you anything at the end, then to your upmost to get something similar for another period, or an AAT training contract. You may think it a step below you, but you’ve shown that you struggled with your first ACCA exam. Plus is your so confident you’ll do well in your ACCA exams, you should nail the AAT with v impressive marks

If there’s still no movement, consider self studying your AAT. As a small firm owner, I throw away so many CVs with a degree but nothing else. At least the AAT has some sort of relevance.

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to atleastisoundknowledgable...
23rd Feb 2019 19:41

That's what most people seem to say here and I agree...I will focus on the work experience and give it my best shot.

You're also probably right in regards to the AAT. I will consider that.

Thank you very much for your help.

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23rd Feb 2019 19:43

I would like to thank you all for reading my question and providing me with advice.
If anyone has anything to add, please feel free.
I just want the truth, so it doesn't matter if your reply is a bit harsh.

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