Wannbe bookkeeper questions


C

chris hutchings

My wife is looking into the idea of retraining as a bookkeeper or accountant
in the near future, and as we currently live in the UK and want to return to
the Wonderful Land of Oz (Aussie) in the next couple of years to live, she
is looking for something which is going to give her the greatest amount of
transferable skills obviously.

The questions we are grappling with, and which I'm hoping someone here can
shed some light on are;

What sort of part time or home study course would not be a waste of time?
There seem to be quite a few on the market and we don't want to commit to
something that is essentially worthless yet expensive.

What sort of software would be the best to become proficient in? Sage is
offerred commonly, but are others more likely to get use in Australia?

What are the essential differences between an accountant and a bookeeper? Is
there a ready pathway from one to the other if she makes the decision to
qualify as a bookkeeper first then move on later to something a little more
challenging?

Is home study a viable route to qualification as we have two little ones and
I am working fulltime myself, or is university the only realistic way to go?

I hope someone can offer something of use here. I know it is not the usual
sort of question, but with the amount of qualified people reading this
newsgroup, it seems like the most sensible place to ask these sort of
'stupid questions'.

Thanks in advance,

Chris & Kathy Hutchings
 
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T

Troy Steadman

chris hutchings said:
What are the essential differences between an accountant and a bookeeper? Is
there a ready pathway from one to the other if she makes the decision to
qualify as a bookkeeper first then move on later to something a little more
challenging?
A bookkeeper records the day to day transactions of a business and needs
to understand the tax issues that affect those particular transactions.
In the UK that means VAT and P11D issues which won't apply in aus.

A company accountant supervises the bookkeepers, the Sales Ledger and
Purchase Ledger departments, uses Excel to keep an eye on budgetting and
cash flow, provides reconciliations, and that I would imagine is the
same world wide.

A practice accountant understands a little bit about everything in UK
tax (in the same way that a GP understands a little bit about everything
that can go wrong with your body), and can also recognise those
occasions when a specialist needs to become involved (as does the GP).

I would imagine that in the global economy there will be openings in aus
for people with a good understanding of uk tax, and you can learn it for
£nil cost by reading these newsgroup - the IR and HMC&E websites are but
a click away.


--
 
P

Peter Saxton

My wife is looking into the idea of retraining as a bookkeeper or accountant
in the near future, and as we currently live in the UK and want to return to
the Wonderful Land of Oz (Aussie) in the next couple of years to live, she
is looking for something which is going to give her the greatest amount of
transferable skills obviously.

The questions we are grappling with, and which I'm hoping someone here can
shed some light on are;

What sort of part time or home study course would not be a waste of time?
There seem to be quite a few on the market and we don't want to commit to
something that is essentially worthless yet expensive.
I would suggest she starts with a few bookkeeping books and see how
she goes. Make sure there is plenty of questions and answers.
What sort of software would be the best to become proficient in? Sage is
offerred commonly, but are others more likely to get use in Australia?
MYOB is pretty popular in Australia. Others I would recommend are
QuickBooks and Sage.
What are the essential differences between an accountant and a bookeeper? Is
there a ready pathway from one to the other if she makes the decision to
qualify as a bookkeeper first then move on later to something a little more
challenging?
I would say that learning bookkeeping is the best way to learn to be
an accountant. An accountant would know more about the law and tax.
Is home study a viable route to qualification as we have two little ones and
I am working fulltime myself, or is university the only realistic way to go?
Home study is good for bookkeeping. An accounting degree would make
things easier mainly because you could study full time without the
distractions of work. Many people do professional exams while working.
I hope someone can offer something of use here. I know it is not the usual
sort of question, but with the amount of qualified people reading this
newsgroup, it seems like the most sensible place to ask these sort of
'stupid questions'.

Thanks in advance,

Chris & Kathy Hutchings
I'd say the important thing is to find out early whether it is for you
but dont be put off if it seems hard at first - there's a lot of
rubbish books, study materials and teachers out there! I used Frank
Wood books and Financial Training courses and did an accounting degree
and trained with an international firm of accountants and would
recommend them all but it's not always practical to go that route.
 
C

chris hutchings

Thanks for the reply and useful info on Frank Woods Books Peter.

From the things I've been able to gather from around the net, I get the
impression that anyone can set up shop as a 'bookkeeper' and there is no
regulation at all of the quality and training that people have been through,
is this the case or am I missing something?

I was hoping to be able to identify an accredited course (if such a thing
exists) which would give membership to a recognised body so that when we get
back to Aus, my wife could wave her paperwork under the noses of the
relevent people and they would say, 'Oh, that's ok then,.' and she would be
'recognised'.

Does such a body exist or is the whole thing a complete free-for-all?

And if it is just a free-for-all, how do you know that you aren't wasting
your time and money in getting a sub standard course? Is it all down to word
of mouth or something?

For something as important as controlling and regulating the finances of so
many people I'd be stunned if their wasn't something more formal than a
loose affiliation of information providers who call themselves 'bookkeeping
course providers'

Anyway, thanks for any further info you or anyone else can provide.

Cheers,
Chris
 
T

Troy Steadman

chris hutchings said:
For something as important as controlling and regulating the finances of so
many people I'd be stunned if their wasn't something more formal than a
loose affiliation of information providers who call themselves 'bookkeeping
course providers'

Anyway, thanks for any further info you or anyone else can provide.
Your wife needs to study for AAT.

http://www.aat.co.uk/

Bookkeeping can't be learnt in isolation, you need the tax background,
the regulatory background and the legal background. AAT is
an introductory course which is accredited, valuable in it's own right
for a bookkeeper/accounts assistant and also a stepping stone towards
full professional qualification (ACCA/CIMA etc).

Good news is you can study it 3/4 hrs a week at Evening Classes at your
local tech.

Bad news is it is a 3 year course, reducible by A'Levels etc to 2 years.

The best and most usual way to learn AAT is to get a job in an Accounts
Dept of a large firm or (much preferably because of the wider exposure
to different systems) a small Accountancy Practice where you can chug
through the mundane and simple tasks until debits, credits and
reconciliations become second nature.


--
 
T

Troy Steadman

Troy Steadman said:
The best and most usual way to learn AAT is to get a job in an Accounts
Dept of a large firm or (much preferably because of the wider exposure
to different systems) a small Accountancy Practice where you can chug
through the mundane and simple tasks until debits, credits and
reconciliations become second nature.

The Bookkeeping Industry
========================

There isn't one! Any large firm has its Accounts Department where
part-qualified Sales Ledger and Purchase Ledger staff are overseen by
a fully qualified Financial Controller.

Medium sized companies use small bookkeeping firms, invariably one-woman
bands because (as you have noted) this is excellent part time work when
the children are out during the day. Either that or they pay their
accountants to do their bookkeeping.

No qualifications are required since you are merely listing
transactions. You need common sense, organisation and attention to
detail.


--
 
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P

Peter Saxton

Thanks for the reply and useful info on Frank Woods Books Peter.

From the things I've been able to gather from around the net, I get the
impression that anyone can set up shop as a 'bookkeeper' and there is no
regulation at all of the quality and training that people have been through,
is this the case or am I missing something?

I was hoping to be able to identify an accredited course (if such a thing
exists) which would give membership to a recognised body so that when we get
back to Aus, my wife could wave her paperwork under the noses of the
relevent people and they would say, 'Oh, that's ok then,.' and she would be
'recognised'.

Does such a body exist or is the whole thing a complete free-for-all?

And if it is just a free-for-all, how do you know that you aren't wasting
your time and money in getting a sub standard course? Is it all down to word
of mouth or something?

For something as important as controlling and regulating the finances of so
many people I'd be stunned if their wasn't something more formal than a
loose affiliation of information providers who call themselves 'bookkeeping
course providers'

Anyway, thanks for any further info you or anyone else can provide.

Cheers,
Chris
You can study for certain exams but you have to take your chances on
the courses.
 

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