UK Accountancy & Bookkeeping training UK


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I run my own company, growing fast and haven't had much luck finding a decent accountant. My wife is keen to do the book-keeping with the aim to becoming a fully qualified accountant long term.

We've looked for courses online but keep coming up with the £10 introduction to bookkeeping courses. Although this may well be the place to start I thought I would ask the professionals. We have children and she currently runs her own business from home too so the courses we have been looking at are all distance learning.

Can anyone recommend distance learning courses and perhaps a bit of a roadmap to eventually becoming a fully trained accountant this way. She will potentially be winding her own business down to concentrate on this as my business grows.
 
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Thank you Becky. Had a look into them, they offer courses over a few days but they all seem to be classroom based. The initial plan is for her to do something basic online and then work up at her own pace for the next couple of years. She has my books to practice on and when little man goes to School something classroom based would probably be more appropriate.

The ''introduction to book keeping'' courses don't seem like too bad of an idea as a starting point. If i'm honest the biggest problem is understanding the qualifications. Some of them may as well be from the Disney university. Any ideas on the names of qualifications she should be looking at as you go through the levels of qualification so to speak?
 

Fidget

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There are 'on demand' classroom courses available online:

For bookkeeping, there's:

* ICB - Institute of certified bookkeepers

For accountancy, the main options open to your wife will be:

* AAT - Association of Accounting Technicians
* CAT - Certified Accounting Technician

These are stand alone qualifications in their own right, but they don't get you qualified.

The qualified options will be:

* CIMA - Chartered Institute of Management Accountants
* ACCA - Association of Chartered Certified Accountants

Both of those are professional qualifications in their own right, with CIMA more geared towards budgeting, forecasting, performance management and reporting, and ACCA more geared towards financial accounting - transactional (bookkeeping), production of P&L/Balance sheet, statutory accounts, tax, audit, application of accounting standards.

Doing AAT or CAT first will get some exemptions from some of the first CIMA/ACCA papers, but it's not many, and it can take a few years to get through AAT/CAT, so it's not worth it in my opinion if the idea is to get qualified - just get straight onto the professional stream of CIMA or ACCA instead - everything at AAT/CAT will be covered.
 
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There are 'on demand' classroom courses available online:

For bookkeeping, there's:

* ICB - Institute of certified bookkeepers

For accountancy, the main options open to your wife will be:

* AAT - Association of Accounting Technicians
* CAT - Certified Accounting Technician

These are stand alone qualifications in their own right, but they don't get you qualified.

The qualified options will be:

* CIMA - Chartered Institute of Management Accountants
* ACCA - Association of Chartered Certified Accountants

Both of those are professional qualifications in their own right, with CIMA more geared towards budgeting, forecasting, performance management and reporting, and ACCA more geared towards financial accounting - transactional (bookkeeping), production of P&L/Balance sheet, statutory accounts, tax, audit, application of accounting standards.

Doing AAT or CAT first will get some exemptions from some of the first CIMA/ACCA papers, but it's not many, and it can take a few years to get through AAT/CAT, so it's not worth it in my opinion if the idea is to get qualified - just get straight onto the professional stream of CIMA or ACCA instead - everything at AAT/CAT will be covered.
give me the website url for those courses
 
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There are 'on demand' classroom courses available online:

For bookkeeping, there's:

* ICB - Institute of certified bookkeepers

For accountancy, the main options open to your wife will be:

* AAT - Association of Accounting Technicians
* CAT - Certified Accounting Technician

These are stand alone qualifications in their own right, but they don't get you qualified.

The qualified options will be:

* CIMA - Chartered Institute of Management Accountants
* ACCA - Association of Chartered Certified Accountants

Both of those are professional qualifications in their own right, with CIMA more geared towards budgeting, forecasting, performance management and reporting, and ACCA more geared towards financial accounting - transactional (bookkeeping), production of P&L/Balance sheet, statutory accounts, tax, audit, application of accounting standards.

Doing AAT or CAT first will get some exemptions from some of the first CIMA/ACCA papers, but it's not many, and it can take a few years to get through AAT/CAT, so it's not worth it in my opinion if the idea is to get qualified - just get straight onto the professional stream of CIMA or ACCA instead - everything at AAT/CAT will be covered.

Thats really helpful thank you. We've sat and looked through our own tax returns this week and think some basic book keeping is probably the best place to start.
 
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oh, and there's a resource that I forgot to mention:

https://www.acowtancy.com/

It has free courses. Two you might want to look at are:

https://www.acowtancy.com/papers/acca-fa/ - this covers double entry bookkeeping

and;

https://www.acowtancy.com/papers/acca-tx/ - covers the nitty-gritty of tax.
Thats really helpful, thank you. This is the sort of starting point I think we were looking for!

The reason I was thinking Book-keeping first was we have an accountant who just isn't available, takes days to get back to us. Moved from another accountant who kept making mistakes on important documents and never really did anything except submit the tax return we put together (At that time it was just my wife who was self employed, now it's both of us) I'm gonna do the basic book keeping stuff too, just to get an understanding. Its really difficult knowing what to categorise expenses as etc so at least if I understand a little about book keeping and my wife gets fully trained in it we don't need to be so reliant on the accountant.
 
J

John Baker

If you're determined to do in house, I would suggest starting with the biggest priority first. Start a simple record keeping
procedure, self designed to tell you things that must be recorded to backup any claims that you make. Then, go to the next
big priority, and use the same approach.
You sound like a small business that needs a filing base, a way to keep track of cash and checks - both going out and coming
in. You're also begging for conflicts within your household by having split business interests - your business, then your wife's.
Not good.
Separate yourself from your wife's business totally. Don't take on more than your attention span and your health can handle.
Again, keep your record keeping simple, very simple. Don't think that because you use a notepad, not accounting paper, that
you're doing something wrong. You're not. The main thing is this: if you can look at your record keeping and agree with what
it says, 8 months from now, consistently, you have a good basic accounting system. Maybe not considered a professional
accounting system, but then you're not in business to be an accountant. You're in business to make money.
And by the way, when it comes to doing taxes, your accountant will appreciate a simple, all receipts in a neat and orderly place.
I have found that for small startup, single owner business, female accountants are best. These professionals are not cheap,
but they're patient, reasonable to work with, and very, very detailed oriented. However, this has been my experience, here.
Now for specific topics, ask away.
 
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If you're determined to do in house, I would suggest starting with the biggest priority first. Start a simple record keeping
procedure, self designed to tell you things that must be recorded to backup any claims that you make. Then, go to the next
big priority, and use the same approach.
You sound like a small business that needs a filing base, a way to keep track of cash and checks - both going out and coming
in. You're also begging for conflicts within your household by having split business interests - your business, then your wife's.
Not good.
Separate yourself from your wife's business totally. Don't take on more than your attention span and your health can handle.
Again, keep your record keeping simple, very simple. Don't think that because you use a notepad, not accounting paper, that
you're doing something wrong. You're not. The main thing is this: if you can look at your record keeping and agree with what
it says, 8 months from now, consistently, you have a good basic accounting system. Maybe not considered a professional
accounting system, but then you're not in business to be an accountant. You're in business to make money.
And by the way, when it comes to doing taxes, your accountant will appreciate a simple, all receipts in a neat and orderly place.
I have found that for small startup, single owner business, female accountants are best. These professionals are not cheap,
but they're patient, reasonable to work with, and very, very detailed oriented. However, this has been my experience, here.
Now for specific topics, ask away.
Thanks John.

Since posting this we have decided to close my wife's business down. She has been selling on eBay for a few years. Just cheap items imported from China. She took 9 months maternity leave and it hasn't been the same since she returned. Since being privatised Royal mail has suddenly started to enforce import tax. The tax is only around £3 per packet but the processing fee of £8.50 per packet which means to continue making a profit she would need to double her prices. This is coupled with the Chinese sellers beginning to claim that items are UK based for circa £1.50, they have multiple accounts that get negative feedback confirming the items are not UK based but they just move on to the next account when the feedback gets too bad.... I'm rambling a bit but wanted to give a little context into the decision to close the business. Her return is can be a pain as there is a lot involved and now the profit isn't there this it's the right decision to close it.

I use QuickBooks for my business currently and put everything in ready for my accountant. All he needs to do is add in expenses like % of rent and utilities and send the return. We are both already capable of basic book keeping. Although the eBay business is her's I started it and worked on it every step of the way with her so we have always managed the split business interests as a team.

Once the wheels started to fall off the eBay wagon she decided she would look into accountancy. First things first I need an accountant and it's a service we would otherwise be paying for. Second thing is it is a good job that pays well and will provide her independence.

The final and most important thing is we have found a distinct lack of reliable accountants in our area. I started by business because of the same reason. When we first looked for an accountant hardly anyone rang you back. We finally found someone who ran a larger company, he sat down and had a meeting with us but 6 months later when we contacted his office they had no record of us. We signed up anyway and had nothing but clerical errors (Names spelled incorrectly on important docs etc) They would never call back when they said they would. We were given a spreadsheet to fill out once a year with no conversation surrounding what we put in the spreadsheet the tax return was submitted. I was working PAYE at the time. I figured £150 +VAT to fill in an online form without really checking the return was a little much so when I became self employed I found another accountant for the both of us. The original accountant attempted to charge us without actually submitting a return.... The whole thing became a bit of a joke to be honest. Eventually we had the details sent to the new accountant who never answers the phone, takes days to return calls etc. In the run up to the tax return we were looking at 3 days to get back to us. When the return was completed I was continually told how it was being done half price £300 +VAT for the 2 of us although I do feel I have had more help just in the way of advice this time.

I truly hope this post doesn't come across as disrespectful to professional accountants on here. I am not looking for a way to do my own books and submit my own return, there are plenty of YouTube videos on that. I plan to learn the basic things too so I will be able to keep my own books competently for easier accounting in the future. If this is something my wife enjoys she's going to make a business of it and the idea of doing my books just seemed logical as a way to practice. Once the book keeping part is all sorted she can decide if she wants to become a fully fledged accountant. In the meantime we will be continuing with the current accountant.

I wonder if the problem is we don't know what to expect from an accountant. We have sat for an hour and discussed business strategies, all of which involve carrying on as we are, turning into a limited company later and the cost increasing when we do. We provide everything to the accountant neat and orderly and he submits the tax return. He has provided some ideas in the initial consultation that essentially tie in with what the old accountant says. Neither the new or old accountant have ever come back to us and said ''include X, Y or Z'' and all the information we have been provided is readily available in every Google search about submitting your own return.

I appreciate you are US based @John Baker but the principal is the same I assume. It sort of feels like i'm paying a guy £360 to fill in a form how I tell him to.
 
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J

John Baker

Sometimes local collages and universities offer student/intern projects where they actually go out and assist folks like yourself. Just be mindful that these are students and their professors mentor them somewhat. These students are usually juniors and seniors who are
honor students, or close to it. I've been part of such a program here. The key to that being mutually successful to both parties is the interaction back and forth with the student and the professor monitoring the project. Also, that there is no liabilities associated with the academic side - the students and the college.
 

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