New career in accounts

by Sian Merrylees on Thursday, 2 April 2009

Lynsey, 52, is married to David. They live in Corwen, North Wales

Old job: Ran a plant nursery
New job: An accountant running own small accountancy company

“My career change happened in stages. I taught myself to do my own books and accounts at my plant nursery, then our insurance broker needed some help in her office. I started keeping her books, then doing her accounts, and gradually I gained experience as an insurance clerk.

My real love lay in working with figures, so I got a job as an accounts manager, and also signed up for accountancy evening classes to qualify as an accounting technician. I studied two evenings a week at college and then had about five hours worth of work to do at home.

Once I qualified I took a job with a bigger firm in Chester, but it didn’t work out. I became self-employed. Clients came from recommendations, and I advertised in local shops and the Yellow Pages.

When the business took off and I took on three employees, and converted one of our farmhouse's outbuilding into an office. We now do taxes and payroll support, but I think of myself as more of a business consultant.

I love what I do and as long as we have enough to live on, the feeling of satisfaction my work gives me is more important.”

Training costs: About £1,000 over two years
What I earned before: £7,000
What I earn now: Around £20,000
Best move: Taking the plunge to go self-employed even though I was concerned about not having a regular income
Top tip: Retrain to do something you know you enjoy, but also remember that training is never wasted. You’ll be amazed how you can use different skills

Is it for you?
The Association of Accounting Technicians’ (AAT) qualifications give you practical financial skills that equip you for a wide range of finance jobs. You can study full-time, part-time or at home
Qualifications? Basic numeracy
Earnings? From £18,000 to £25,000 depending on where you live
Cost? About £500 per level, so £1,500 for the whole course
For more: Visit or call 0845-8630802

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