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Post Info TOPIC: Hi Everyone and can I do this.


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Hi Everyone and can I do this.


Hi,

I am new to this forum but have been looking and reading it for a while.

Due to the Coronavirus I am now out of work. I was a tour guide and I don't really want to do that anymore. My dream is to mainly work from home. I am 64 so this may be too late for me but I will ask the question anyway.

I have no background in bookkeeping or accounts but maths and numbers have always been my thing and I already understand the process of double entry bookkeeping and all the things like assets, liabilities, drawings, VAT etc. Is it too late to train as a bookkeeper. I am looking at ICB levels 2 & 3. The level needed to become a self employed bookkeeper. If successful I would then take the payroll course. I am also looking at training with Ideal Schools. looking at the course I am guessing I can get through it fairly quickly as I now have plenty of time on my hands. Please don't get me wrong as I am not saying it will be easy and I might not get through it but I will give it my best.

The question is, am I too old and will I get any work either on my own through a website and by knocking on accountants doors? I just need a part time income that I can earn from home.

Honest answers please.

I look forward to your replies.

Don



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Don



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Hi Don,

the issue with being a self employed bookkeeper is that businesses assume that you are simply a cheap accountant with all of the same knowledge and skills but at a fraction of the price.

straight data entry jobs do exist but they are more concerned with you knowing a specific peice of software rather than bookkeeping per se.

To get through the basics of bookkeeping can be done in around 12 weeks but then things start to get complex and the more that you know the more you realise that you do not.

You mention VAT in your intro but that in itself is a huge subject where you will very often find yourself pondering how to categorise elements so a knowledge of VAT guidance is essential. There are HMRC guides that will help you with that but personally I would advise reading Taxation by Alan Melville for the current finance act.

Tax is similarly a huge subject and time and again as a self employed bookkeeper you will be in situations where clients expect you to be able to advise on the correct course of action to minimise their liabilities. You have to know when to answer and when to tell them that they need to speak to their accountant

The issue that you will have is that whenever there is plenty of work there is plenty of demand for bookkeepers. Whenever the work dries up everyone tries to become a bookkeeper and there is not enough work for them.

At the current time cloud providers are attempting to sell directly to the end user and miss out the bookkeeper so as i predicted many years ago, bookkeepers have needed to become accountants.

If you do AAT it will prepare you for that without going up to the level of bodies like the ACCA.

Accountants in general do not recognise the ICB. I've had arrguements on here with them and their training bodies about it but I state it as a simple fact that I am an accountant, I know a lot of other accountants and at best you will get a "who?". Conversely many accountants started with AAT and either set up as MAAT's or moved up to one of the higher bodies.

A good way to see whether a qualification is in demand is the go to the Reed Website and do a job search based on that qualification. I just did a quick UK wide search. 12 jobs for ICB qualified bookkeepers. 15,126 jobs for AAT qualified people... The numbers I think speak for themselves!

AAT qualification is possible inside three years.

As self employed without intention of looking to accountants or corporate for work it matters less and ICB/IAB may suffice provided that you are able to find the work.

Being good with numbers is a fraction of the skillset needed. The main things are an ability to market yourself, the ability to argue with directors, ignoring their status and considering them as 4 year olds (often not too far from the truth), the ability to read and understand tax regulations, and a mindset for constant learning as nothing in this business ever stays the same for long.

Personal view is that you are starting this at the wrong time as thousands of other people are about to do the same on the lie that there is more bookkeeping work than people to do it... we've heard it before and we'll hear it every time that we are going into difficult economic times and then you end up with a lot of people who spend more on bookkeeping courses than they ever make back from it.

Following the old adage that when there is blood on the streets buy property I would extend that to when there are queues at the dole office invest in training companies!

If you are going into it bacause you love the subject then please go for it and we look forwards to helping you every step of the way. The only way to make money is to not chase it. But if you are going into it to make money without realising that this becomes your life completely 24*7*365 then I would advise you to be very, very sure of yourself before parting with your money.

Maybe a bit too much honesty there but I was here from 2010 the last time that things were really rough and I saw a lot of people spending a lot of money and getting angry that at the end of their training there was no work for them, and it's about to happen again.

Good luck no matter what you do,

All the best,

Shaun.

(Too honest?)



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Shaun

Responses are not meant as a substitute for professional advice. Answers are intended as outline only the advice of a qualified professional with access to all relevant information should be sought before acting on any response given.



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Hi Shaun,

Thanks for your honest reply and I believe that you work 24/7 as you answered this at 2am lol.

I understand what you said about a better qualification with AAT but at my age 3 years plus is not really worth doing so I think ICB/IAB maybe the best for me if I proceed. I also know what you are saying about when ever there is a recession people try training for new jobs that often don't exist.

My plan is to do the bookkeeping and possibly the payroll courses. Then, if I get through them I would like to do the self assessment course. I know over 100 guides who are all self employed and most of them use accountants or qualified bookkeepers to do their returns. I also have access to a network of around 1000 guides who I may be able to attract to do their SA returns. I do know that's easier said than done but if I can get just a few that would be a start and that may lead to ore in the future.

I am not looking for a full time career, just something to keep the brain cells moving while working from home in the future.

Again Shaun, thanks for your input and honesty. You have certainly made me think about it.

I look forward to more replies.

Don



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Don



Master Book-keeper

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Hi Don, welcome to the forum.

ICB not a bad qualification for a bookkeeper but maybe consider the AAT Qualified Boookkeeper course which you could probably do in 6 months to a year.

https://www.aat.org.uk/aat-qualifications-and-courses/achieve-professional-status/bookkeeping-member-aatqb

I would echo Shaun though and say that in dealing with small businesses and sole traders you will be expected to be a one stop shop. Bookkeeping technically stops at trial balance, but you'll also be expected to know taxation, at least enough to be able to complete a tax return.



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John

Any advice given is for general guidance and professional advice should be sought applicable to your circumstances.



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Hi John and thanks for your input.

I will certainly look into the AAT Qualified Bookkeeper course.

Don



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Don



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Hi Don,

I agree with both Shaun and John - expected to know a lot more ! But I would say go for it.

In a previous life I was an office manager for a forklift company, in addition to running the accounts department, I ran forklift training both commercial and private, I started doing the books for the Instructors then ventured further afield.

You sound as though you have a good source you can tap into in terms of fellow guides, this is ideal as you can sell yourself well in terms of knowing their `trade`. All I would say is nothing prepares you for the actual task, customers never cease to amaze you and some can be a bit demanding, this is not a 9 - 5 job - long hours, often unsocial times (Shaun`s post at 00:47 am an example).

When first starting out I could not say no to anyone/business, hungry to gain knowledge and experience.... a few years down the line I have become a little more select and able to say no.

Good luck Don :)

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Master Book-keeper

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Dons wrote:

I would like to do the self assessment course.


Just a short note/random thoughts as too busy to answer fully/properly at this time (yes 24/7 is standard in this job in normal times, now it is standard for a few)

1) What does this course cover?

Just completion of the actual assessment?

Or actual tax modules? Tax is a massive subject and even for self employed is not always as simple as it seems. You do not know until you get a client how complex their tax needs are.

2) How are you going to get some real world experience before bing unleashed on the unsuspecting public? You cannot practice on real clients is often a saying I see.

3) There are many many bookkeepers/Accountants out there who are now not getting paid for work; have lost swathes of clients, businesses are closing down by the thousands with absolutely no hope in hell of re-opening. Thousands upon thousands of business are being mothballed, many of whom it will take 2-3 years + to recover their losses, if they ever do. All due to Covid-19. This virus will end, but they will be even less businesses out there to support the already over populated Accountancy profession.

4) if you only do a few tax returns, will it be worth it on the cost base you will have?

5) Never say never. Age is not a blocker to anything. Anyone tells me I cannot do something I will prove them wrong. Accountancy is a second career for me. I did AAT a good while back, someone dared me. Did level 3 in 6 weeks and level 4 in another 6 weeks. So it doesnt have to take 3 years, but depends a lot on your general business background knowledge and skills)

LOADS more I could add, but as I say, no time at the mo. Might come back to it back end of next week.

Oh and by the way - I agree with the others too



-- Edited by Cheshire on Thursday 2nd of April 2020 02:13:46 PM

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Joanne

Thoughts are my own/not to be regarded as official advice,which should be sought from a suitably qualified Accountant.

You should check out answers with reference to the legal position (and by that I dont mean with HMRC)



Master Book-keeper

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Cheshire wrote:
Accountancy is a second career for me. I did AAT a good while back, someone dared me.

Did level 3 in 6 weeks and level 4 in another 6 weeks.


Wow, I'm impressed, I bet that took some study. I got started but just don't seem to find the time to study. I suppose I have no excuse now that there's no sport onbiggrinbiggrin but the last 2 weeks have been mega busy just helping my clients (as we all have)

I'll get my subbies out of the way over the next couple of years oops weeks lol,then I need to sit down and really get into it. Won't be able to do it in 3 months but I'll certainly aim for 6 months to a year.

I originally wrote years but even I'm not that slow!!



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John

Any advice given is for general guidance and professional advice should be sought applicable to your circumstances.



Master Book-keeper

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You have the had bloody books for yearswink

Might be to do with spending too much time chatting....in pubs.biggrinbiggrin

16hour days John, thats all, with working as well. Worst was 2 exams in the same day...the exam centre took pity and offered me 'we have never seen anyone do that in our entire history' and lunch!!



-- Edited by Cheshire on Thursday 2nd of April 2020 04:18:44 PM

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Joanne

Thoughts are my own/not to be regarded as official advice,which should be sought from a suitably qualified Accountant.

You should check out answers with reference to the legal position (and by that I dont mean with HMRC)



Master Book-keeper

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Actually John a certian person keeps emailing me to try to persaude me to do a 2nd Chartership. If I can ever create some spare time with the work piles....I might just! MIGHT, only MIGHT.

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Joanne

Thoughts are my own/not to be regarded as official advice,which should be sought from a suitably qualified Accountant.

You should check out answers with reference to the legal position (and by that I dont mean with HMRC)



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Cheshire wrote:

Actually John a certian person keeps emailing me to try to persaude me to do a 2nd Chartership. If I can ever create some spare time with the work piles....I might just! MIGHT, only MIGHT.


Well you, now its all in the open... Why exactly are you not ACCA already??? Why? c'mon. A letter "from your parents" with some hastily scribbled reasoning which looks awfully like YOUR handwriting is just not washing lil missy. biggrin

Lol, we all know that you are just without the letters to prove it.... Yet!

Come to the dark side Joanne... We have cookies wink



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Shaun

Responses are not meant as a substitute for professional advice. Answers are intended as outline only the advice of a qualified professional with access to all relevant information should be sought before acting on any response given.



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I would like to thank you all for the information you have given so far.

I do appreciate your time and thoughts.

Don



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Don



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Hi Don, not much to add to all of the good advice given above except welcome to the forum



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Doug

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Never too late & a fabulous career to be able to work from home and fit around lifestyle choices. YOU GO DON!!

My only advise go straight to the training providers e.g AAT etc, i spent a load of money with a (middle man) training online school and paid more yet i use mostly AAT resources which would of been a cheaper way.. D'OH live and learn, its that whole what would you do differently if you knew what you did know.. Well thats my advise to you hun!

I must say this forum is a massive help alongside studying & working (currently have 9 clients) most recent is a big boy company which I am super excited about and working with an experienced accountant is a massive help. Everyone is different but I def learn best from doing rather than just studying. Keep in touch and always here if you fancy an online study buddyconfusesmile



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Shoncee

Account On Us Ltd.



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OMG Cheshire you are my hero!! i always thought I was pretty quick and studying was easy.. two children down and multiple clients / other businesses I am swamped and the second year of studies is fast approaching (missed about 6 months due to life getting in way) but lately I just struggle with getting my head into it. Much prefer doing the work but I know there is still so much I need to learn and understand. Even bought accounting for dummies with hope it would be an easy bed time read yet my horse and hound magazine keeps getting in front of it!! hate when that happensawwbiggrin

Any tips to how you did it so fast.. did you sleep??

Hi Leger, if you fancy an online study buddy I am with you!! I am currently studying level 4 aat prof accounting. x



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Shoncee

Account On Us Ltd.



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Cheshire wrote:

You have the had bloody books for yearswink

Might be to do with spending too much time chatting....in pubs.biggrinbiggrin

16hour days John, thats all, with working as well. Worst was 2 exams in the same day...the exam centre took pity and offered me 'we have never seen anyone do that in our entire history' and lunch!!



-- Edited by Cheshire on Thursday 2nd of April 2020 04:18:44 PM


LEGEND!!!!biggrinbiggrinblankstareblankstareI need some of your motivation, I failed my first attempt at FSLC and it totally knocked my confidence and i just keep rebooking and then pushing back!! SCARDY CATno



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Shoncee

Account On Us Ltd.

tlr


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You can do this Dons Hi there. I started studying with Ideal Schools for iCB exams when I was 63. I had similiar thoughts to you at time but 4 years later I have a successful practice of over 75 clients Apart from the obvious income stream it gives me an extreme sense of job satisfaction. Give Brian McVean a call on 0141 248 5200 or feel free to call me anytime on 07907 615247. All you need to succeed is study little and often plus have the personality to get the clients when in practice. Good luck on your journey By the way I am 67 now and do not intend slowing down any time soon Terry Ramm

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tlr wrote:

You can do this Dons Hi there. I started studying with Ideal Schools for iCB exams when I was 63. I had similiar thoughts to you at time but 4 years later I have a successful practice of over 75 clients Apart from the obvious income stream it gives me an extreme sense of job satisfaction. Give Brian McVean a call on 0141 248 5200 or feel free to call me anytime on 07907 615247. All you need to succeed is study little and often plus have the personality to get the clients when in practice. Good luck on your journey By the way I am 67 now and do not intend slowing down any time soon Terry Ramm


Hi Terry,

welcome to the forum.

forgive my scepticism here but you went into this where potential clients were falling over themselves to start businesses and there have been plenty to go around. If you start a bookkeeping business during such times you have not been through whats about to happen next.

The worst threat to the profession for the past few years has been cloud companies selling direct to business and attempting to automate out as much as possible the role of the bookkeeper. Clients though have for the most part though needed to get on with their business rather than worrying about paperwork so there has still been plenty of work out there.

When I joined the site back in 2010 we were recovering from the 2007 financial crisis and we had a clueless labour government who thought that you could spend your way out of problems (I think that my ex wife may have been advising them).

Consider this a crystal ball as this is what happens next....

Half of your clients (if you are lucky) will go belly up and they will be looking to you for their exit strategies.

Building trade, gardeners, bin cleaners, all the peripheral discretionary service businesses that nobody ever really needed will start to fold.

Accountants who have been subcontracting work will bring everything back in house in order to ensure their own staff have work.

Clients will start doing their own bookkeeping in order to save money.

The training companies will be telling people that there are 5m small businesses that need a bookkeeper in order to sell courses. They will ignore that very few of them are looking for a bookkeeper and emphasise instead the small number of certified bookkeepers relative to business numbers.

A flood of newly qualified bookkeepers will hit the market. They will find no work so will start offering their services at less than minimum wage whilst convincing themselves that this is building their skills

Cloud companies will start approaching businesses directly asking them why they are paying so much for a bookkeeper / accountant when their software can do it all for them.

Bookkeepers unable to find bookkeeping work will try to steal clients from accountants (trust me, it happens). Often clients that they have worked with previously on a subcontracting basis. That will result in accountants retaliating and phoning all of a bookkeepers clients that the know of offering second opinions... An accountants second opinion invariably ends up with losing the client and occassionally claims against the bookkeepers PII. Whilst qualified accountants are duty bound to show each other respect and professional courtesy the bookkeeping bodies below AAT are not recognised so a bookkeeper steals one client and its open season.

Your worst enemy though will not be accountants who overall will still try to play fair provided that bookkeepers only weortk up to trial balance. The main issue for bookkeepers is new bookkeepers who are willing to take on a client at any price. And if your client base is predominantly one man bands many of them that do survive will go for the cheapest option... You may get them back later when the newbie messes up (if they survive) but that will take a year or more.

I could go on but just read posts from 2010-2012 when people were giving up bookkeeping to become cleaners because it paid more!

We are on the brink of all hell about to be let loose on the profession so please don't consider the utopian business environment that you have been working in from 2016 to now to be indicative of what comes next.

If your business survives and even if it doesn't, this site will become your home. A lot more of us will have a lot more time to be on here and you will really hone your skills with some of the conversations that will happen.

Fingers crossed it won't be as bad as current predictions but its time to start planning ahead for worst case scenarios both from your own perspective and for your clients even before they ask for help... When that happens make sure that you are paid up front!

whether you agree or not with the above now, a year from now you will see it.

Good luck Terry,

Shaun.



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Shaun

Responses are not meant as a substitute for professional advice. Answers are intended as outline only the advice of a qualified professional with access to all relevant information should be sought before acting on any response given.

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