When I wanted to learn to be a bookkeeper, I was baffled by the huge array of bookkeeping courses on offer.
It seemed you could choose to study online or at a college or university but in those days, I wasn’t sufficiently computer literate to do the former nor brainy enough to go to a higher education institute.
So I decided to get an office job, preferably as a trainee bookkeeper and learn from the inside, with on the job training and mentoring from my boss.
I was only looking for an introductory job where I would pick up skills over time but even this basic requirement seemed to be a challenge as we were at the beginning of a financial recession.
My super professional friends, each with a degree and a proper career thought it amusing that I wanted to become a bean counter but I think their ribbing showed they were quite proud of my wanting to go into accounts.
For me, with no working experience, no-one would hire me so eventually I had to take a really low paid job in administration, just to get a foot in the door.
I joined a large international business keeping my head down, tolerating the tedium of the administration business as best I could and biding my time in preparation for the day when a vacancy might arise in the bookkeeping department.
To that end, I made myself known to the company accountant, sort of engineering my way in and the best advice he gave me was to look at taking some bookkeeping courses so that when the time came, I would stand out from the crowd.
I began by searching online for bookkeeping courses, expecting to find out about programmes running in the evenings at my local college but I was worried about doing evening classes because I was always quite tired after work because of the distance I had to travel from the office to home.
So then I started to search for weekend bookkeeping courses and the only thing Google offered was something called Pitman Training.
This looked like quite a posh private school but they were open on Saturdays so I filled in the form and clicked submit, thinking nothing would come of it.
In fact they were really professional and called me back the same day.
Their Course Advisor seemed not to focus just on the training but more on career planning and he invited me to visit them for a chat about my career goals, my previous education and my suitability for the role of bookkeeper.
When I got to Pitman Training, they were really friendly and ran a number of small tests to check my learning style and my knowledge.
They listened to me intently as I tried to explain why I wanted to learn bookkeeping and they seemed satisfied that I would be able to master it.
My options were explained to me and it was clear that I would need to take a diploma programme to achieve my goals so I elected for their Accounting Technician Diploma.
Now they’re not a cheap college so I knew I would need financial help from my family as well as taking out a monthly payments plan to pay for the course.
The Accounting Technician Diploma programme is actually made up of 12 individual bookkeeping courses. You start off with Basic Bookkeeping, which is very much an introductory level subject before moving through purchase ledger, sales ledger and nominal ledger, learning the double entry system as you go. Before you know it, you’re learning Sage Line 50 computerised accounts, payroll and Excel and then you graduate.
I was lucky, because a job in accounts came up at work before I’d finished my studies, so I was already a junior bookkeeper when I got my diploma.
But if I hadn’t started taking my 12 bookkeeping courses, I would never have got this job because some fresh faced graduate would have got there first!
That and a cheeky little bit of self-promotion with the company accountant!
You can learn more about bookkeeping courses here:
Notting Hill – 020 7792 5214
High Holborn – 020 7025 4700
Manchester – 0161 923 6814
Or contact us by email.