Getting into the accounting, finance, bookkeeping field is quite a challenge as there so many routes to entry!
Most people begin by choosing to study for an AAT Accounting Technician course or an ACCA accounting qualification and while these are very worthwhile ways to start your journey, they are so popular that it makes it hard for students to stand out to employers looking to hire talented staff.
An Alternative Route.
An alternative route is to take a vocational rather than academic training programme and gain experience in a job before embarking on the academic route.
The argument (which is very persuasive) is that having real life experience enables students to get more deeply under the skin of accounting so that an academic study course has more contextual relevance should they take one later.
There is evidence to suggest that this approach is particularly appealing to management in a tight jobs market as they seek to hire staff who are able to work accurately with minimal supervision.
While the traditional approach, where employers would take academically trained students and subsequently put them on a practical bookkeeping course or other training accounting programme, made sense when companies had more financial stability, today many firms look for students with a qualification such as a Pitman Training Accounting Technician Diploma, where they can deliver meaningful work from day one.
In particular, employers expect new hires to be able to use Excel and Sage Line 50 effectively and to have a firm understanding of the manual processes and procedures that underpin the use of these software applications.
Shilpa Wymer, Principal of the Pitman Training Centres in London (Holborn and Notting Hill) and also Manchester confirms: “I’ve been delighted with how many of our students have recently got high status, well-paid work even though we hear the jobs market is flat.
And I think the word is getting round because we’re getting a lot of enquiries from ACCA and AAT students who have the right qualifications but no practical ability to use Sage Line 50.”
“Our training centre seems to be the busiest it’s been in ages and while not all our students want to become accounting technicians, everyone wants a certificate to prove they can use the relevant software.”
“It’s a similar story with payroll training. With the best will in the world, a business owner wouldn’t want to let somebody perform a payroll run unless they were convinced that the employee was certified as being competent to do so. It’s the same with the quarterly value added tax (VAT) return. In both cases, employers would demand the knowledge that the new hire knew what he or she was doing, having acquired the skills in a recognised institute or training centre.”
Benefits To Students.
So with the emphasis firmly on vocational training, what are the benefits to students of taking this route?
Well, first of a vocational study course is usually of shorter duration than its academic counterpart.
Indeed, the Pitman Training Accounting Technician course can be completed in as little as 4 months and students learn a wide range of practical accounting and bookkeeping skills.
That means students can start looking for work much more quickly than academic learners.
And as Pitman Training is such a well-established name in education, it’s great to have it on your CV.
And finally, Pitman even offers finance to help you fund your studies.
So the message is that the traditional and obvious route to becoming an accountancy professional may not always be the most successful way to step into the accounting and finance field and it’s always worth exploring other related training options.