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Training To Become An Accountant As A Mature Student

  • #1
    Closed Accounts Posts: 327 ✭✭ Taffy Kat


    Hi,

    Just wondering if anybody could give me advice on training as an account as a mature student.

    I already have a degree which I graduated from over ten years ago (in history). Currently I'm looking at a higher diploma in Accountancy (I believe UCC and NUIM have these courses). Would this be a good route in?

    Whilst I think studying many of the areas involved in accountancy would be very interesting, I do have one major worry. Whilst I'm not a dolt in maths terms, I'm not a whizzkid either. In respect to addition, subtraction, multiplication, division, percentages etc I'm reasonably ok. In terms of prime numbers and powers etc I wouldn't be the best. Would this be a big problem?

    Another worry would be, I tried my hand at a computer programming course in the past and found it extremely difficult and didn't really like it. Whilst I know there is a big difference between computer programming and accountancy I would be concerned that it suggests my logic sjkills are not sufficient. Would you as experienced accountants see thisas a problem?

    On the plus side, I studied Business in secondary school and enjoyed it and having looked into areas such as economics, organisational behaviour, business ethics whilst researching this career option, I think it would be interesting.

    My final questions revolve around the feasability of training as an accountant now I am in my thirties, have a mortgage and a child. 1. Would I be considered too old? 2. How much, other than the higher diploma would it cost me in the long run? 3. How many years would it take me to train up, and what is the possibility of finding work as a part-qualified or trainee accountant?

    Sorry if my questions seem a bit scatty but I'm finding it difficult to find answers to these questions online.

    Thanks.


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Comments



  • I'd love to see someone's answer to your questions because I am in almost the same situation myself (minus the kid and I have bachelors in maths, like computer programing, esp databases). My goal is to get a permanent part time job in accounting.
    Please please someone in the know help us out. Thank you!




  • I'd love to see someone's answer to your questions because I am in almost the same situation myself (minus the kid and I have bachelors in maths, like computer programing, esp databases). My goal is to get a permanent part time job in accounting.
    Please please someone in the know help us out. Thank you!
    First off you're not too old.
    The maths issue is not a problem the academic side od accountancy is not very top heavy in maths (in my opinion) it's more the interpretation of numbers and tieing that back to the situation in hand that's important.
    As for your age I'm 38 went back to college to do an undergrad in accounting nearly 4 years ago and came top of my class with no business/accounting background.
    I applied for milk round 2010/2011 and got offers from 3 of the big 4 and am nearly finished my masters in UCC.
    So if you want it and will stick at it and dedicate the time to it then go for it.




  • Regarding the maths, the only subject in my experience that would be a bit mathsy would be finance, investment appraisal, time value of money stuff, annuities, there could be some 'powers' etc involved there but overall I dont think you need to be super strong on maths




  • I was always good at maths in primary school but terrible in secondary school, once they introduced algebra. :o
    I've applied for the h. diploma in accounting in DIT and am in almost the same boat as you OP, except my degree is in English and I have a mortgage but no kids! You'll have to let me know how you get on if you choose to proceed. :)




  • I would do the diploma as it would get you the CAP1 exemptions and set you on a good grounding for the rest of the exams.
    I dont think your ever too old although do bear in mind that it will be up to 4 years before your fully qualified. As for maths, I wouldnt worry too much as its all fairly straightforward calculations which are not overly complicated to learn


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  • Hi,

    I am a mature student myself, 26, with no prior accounting background. I have applied for graduate trainee positions, sending my CV to the big 4 and smaller places. Had 1 interview with a big 4 so far. If I don't get a trainee contract I will probably study CIMA myself. I was looking at the diploma in DIT myself but I can't afford to not work full time.

    I was poor in Maths in school as well but I reckon logic and reasoning is as important.




  • I will follow the thread as i am considering the same questions...;)




  • I go to NUIM and it's the mature students who arre doing very well in accounting. There approximately 15 of them and 7 of them get a 1.1 and while 4/8 left get between 65% upwards.


    So being a maire student doesn't matter.

    And for the record 26 is not a mature student.




  • I'd love to see someone's answer to your questions because I am in almost the same situation myself (minus the kid and I have bachelors in maths, like computer programing, esp databases). My goal is to get a permanent part time job in accounting.
    Please please someone in the know help us out. Thank you!

    From a career/finding a job perspective, this is very difficult. Most part time roles tend to be junior roles, we do see the odd senior role, but its mostly a bookkeeping type role.

    So from a salary perspective a part time permanent role might pay €35,000 on a full time basis. Factor in part time (say 3 days a week) and its €21,000.

    I'm not sure retraining for 4 years to get this sort of role would be the best use of your time. If you are looking for permanent part time accounting work, its generally better to maybe undertake the IATI, I'm not sure undertaking the full ACCA/CIMA/CPA route would be worth it.

    If you have any further questions you can always drop me a line.




  • And for the record 26 is not a mature student.

    Over 23 is a mature student, no?


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  • Taffy Kat wrote: »
    Hi,

    My final questions revolve around the feasability of training as an accountant now I am in my thirties, have a mortgage and a child. 1. Would I be considered too old? 2. How much, other than the higher diploma would it cost me in the long run? 3. How many years would it take me to train up, and what is the possibility of finding work as a part-qualified or trainee accountant?

    Thanks.

    From a career/job finding perspective, it could be tricky to find a trainee accounting role, but it can be done. If you want to go all the way, I would say best to go for CIMA/ACCA/CPA because these roles will allow you to get a better salary in years 2/3/4 of your odyssey. These roles will also allow you to work in Industry/Financial Services (I know you can do ACA this way too, but its pretty rare) and you can move between jobs. As a part qualified you may be alot better than other part qualifieds and by not doing ACA you can leverage this to maybe find better roles for yourself. Also it might be a possibility that you do not complete the exams and being a part qualified CIMA/ACCA/CPA gives you better options rather than being a part qualified ACA.

    If you want to discuss further pm me.




  • I'm not sure retraining for 4 years to get this sort of role would be the best use of your time. If you are looking for permanent part time accounting work, its generally better to maybe undertake the IATI, I'm not sure undertaking the full ACCA/CIMA/CPA route would be worth it.

    If you have any further questions you can always drop me a line.

    IT would not take you 4 years to retrain for some of the professional qualifications, if you took exams at each sitting you could do it a lot faster




  • kilburn wrote: »
    IT would not take you 4 years to retrain for some of the professional qualifications, if you took exams at each sitting you could do it a lot faster

    agreed but to get a permanent part time role, you will need plenty of experience. The permanent part time market is very very tight. If we put an ad up, we get 20 cvs in 2 days, of very qualified candidates. Mostly candidates who have young children and probably 10 years experience. I'm not sure the op can compete with those candidates with three years experience.




  • I know this is an old thread. I wanted to bump it to see how everyone is getting in or if anyone else in the same position. Thinking about doing the MACC programme at UCC next September.




  • I know this is an old thread. I wanted to bump it to see how everyone is getting in or if anyone else in the same position. Thinking about doing the MACC programme at UCC next September.

    If it was me, I'd skip the MACC and go straight into the professional exams. Have you any degree or other courses in accounting done?




  • I am currently studying ACCA, early 40's, two kids, full time job. It can be hectic, but you just have to have a schedule, fit in time for study and go for it. I had no college qualification, but did a two year Accounts Technician qualification before starting ACCA so knew I liked accounting and had an apptitude for it. I would agree with Alan, skip the MACC course and go straight into the professional exams, you may be entitled to some exemptions based on your previous qualifications. I had exemptions from the four basic level ACCA exams with my IATI qualification. I am currently self studying (I use some free online resources like Open Tuition for some clarification if I don't understand) but will may return to classroom based study when I get to the strategic level subjects.




  • Alan_007_ wrote: »
    If it was me, I'd skip the MACC and go straight into the professional exams. Have you any degree or other courses in accounting done?

    I have a bachelors degree in accounting and finance (2.1). I have CAP 1 exemptions. I need to apply and see if I have any CAP 2 exemptions; good chance I will get a couple of them at least.




  • I have a bachelors degree in accounting and finance (2.1). I have CAP 1 exemptions. I need to apply and see if I have any CAP 2 exemptions; good chance I will get a couple of them at least.

    AFAIK, CAI don't give out exemptions to CAP 2 unless you do the masters.

    Have you looked into ACCA? With your bachelors degree you could be exempt to all of the F levels (equivalent to CAP 1 and CAP 2 combined).

    Otherwise, if you've your heart set on Chartered, it might make more sense to go ahead and do the CAP 2 exams with the institute as they're much cheaper (€3k including all books vs. €10k tuition only).




  • I studied ACA as a mature student. I didn't get any exemptions because my degree was more than 10 years old. I probably wouldn't have taken them anyway, because I'd wanted to do CAP1 to make sure I didn't go straight into CAP2 and struggle because I didn't know as much as my exceptions said I should. To anyone with kids, my first lecture was when my first child was 1 week old. I split CAP 1 and CAP 2 over two years each, which made it much more manageable. Having lectures most nights of the week would have been too much with small children in the house.





  • I am starting my studies this year and have yet to decide on ACCA or ACA. The biggest query I have is that I have a 4 month old baby at home and am working full time in Industry. Was thinking of doing the ACA flexible route as I have full CAP1 exemptions due to my degree in Accounting & Finance. Was it still a lot to balance the 2 exams each year or is it manageable. Only reason I'm looking at ACCA is flexibility for exam sittings.



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  • Having been in practice for 23 years now -

    I would work in the day time and study at night.

    A lot of what you study will be no use in the office.

    How is your double entry bookkeeping ? T accounts ? Trial balances ? Learn that ****. You will need it from day to day.

    I have seen so many people qualify and still cannot do the basic in the office. Because that is what is - applying the basics to your day to day duties.

    Good luck .





  • I found it manageable, but it wasn't easy. CAP2 were harder exams, but by that stage, the kid was a bit older and I was managing to get a bit of sleep...





  • I'm doing the flexible route. You can basically do the study whenever you want. The exams will be in July for the CAP2 when is when you need to be ready to go. There are 4 CAP 2 exams in that one week but I've heard of some students doing less (doing 2 this year and two the next year) but it takes an extra year when really the exams are not that tough and if you wanted you could do 2 exams in July and do the other 2 in the repeat session which I think is about 3 or 4 months later. Deadline to enroll is 13th September and would recommend ACA over ACCA because the quality of the teaching and materials is much better. I started ACCA and switched to ACA when I seen how they did it.

    CAP2 will cost about €3,200 but you can pay it over 3 installments during the year. That covers all the lecturers and books.

    Do you work in an accounts department or is is something unrelated to accounts altogether?





  • Thanks for that. Yes I am going to go with ACA flexible route and aim to do 2 exams next July, then the other two from CAP2 the following year. I am going to enrol this week, just waiting to receive some transcripts to send off.


    I'm working in the finance department with a finance manager and finance director of a manufacturing company. I'm hoping that they will pay the entire amount for my exams. Thanks for the reply and feedback, much appreciated!





  • Did the manager or director qualify with ACA or ACCA?


    If you are working in an accounts department and your double entry is solid enough I think you will regret not signing up for all 4. If you don't sit them all so be it but at least you will have the option otherwise it takes an extra year which I think you will look back on and feel it was wasted time and there is nothing you can do about it after 13 September if you don't sign up for all 4. Good luck whatever you decide.

    If you go ahead with 2 I would recommend you do the Financial Reporting with either Tax or Audit first.





  • I went back as a mature student. Degree at 29 in BA accounting and signed up to training contract with big four. In the middle of FAEs now at 35. Really enjoy the job to be fair. CAP2 exams I found where ok and if you have a accounting background degree you should definitely sign up for all four. Ps. Mortgage kids madra the whole nine yards here. Long journey but provided the fae goes ok I’ll be well chuffed when finished. Starting 3rd year of training contract next month





  • CAI offer a flexible route for a reason, it suits some people better.

    Especially as Andrew93 is working in industry and might get very little time off to study, there's no reason to rush to get all the CAP2s done in one year. CAP2 is regarded by most (including myself) as the toughest year - if someone is comfortable taking their time with it, it seems like the most sensible thing to do.





  • Yeah that was my thinking I can't imagine I will get any time off from the company to study so will probably have to use some of my annual leave time to do so. I think two and 2 is the right choice for me with the circumstances. My finance director is ACA @9214 so she will be able to sign me off.


    My final question to anyone that has done CAP2 would be what two would you recommend me to do together first?? Have seen plenty of ACCA content on which subjects to do together but nothing really on ACA.





  • I'd recommend splitting up your two toughest subjects. I did all 4 at once but if I could have split them I would have done FR (my worst subject) and SFMA (my best) together, and then Tax (my second worst) and Audit together. I feel like there's a lot to learn off with FR and Tax, whereas SFMA and Audit you can rely more on understanding the subject. But I'd say have a think about what your strengths and weaknesses are and tailor your choice around that.



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  • I worked several dead end jobs, mostly in construction most of my life. At the age of 39 I decided I wasn't happy and went back to an adult education centre and sat my leaving cert and on to university and got myself a degree in Accounting and Finance first class honours 1.1. full cap 1 exemptions.

    Now I was 44 years old when I graduated, but during the milk rounds I applied to well over 60 firms including the top 10 and didn't receive a call for one interview. I pushed on and finished the course and placed in the top 20 in a class of over 90 students. I spent the first year after graduation perfecting my CV and have applied for well over 100 positions and in that time was called for one interview which I was unsuccessful with. They will never openly admit it but the Accountancy profession is extremely ageist and I regret choosing it now. I always enjoyed math and accounting modules and this is evident when you look at my results over the years but I should have chosen a course where my age and life experience would have been an advantage like social work possibly. I'm now in a position where no accounting practice or industry will hire me because I'm too old and it seems that the administration jobs are also passing on me possibly because they see me leaving to finish the accountancy qualifications. My advice to any mature student thinking of making a career change into accounting is to be aware of the blatant ageism and consider another career.



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