Skip to main content

The biggest myths around switching career

The biggest myths about changing your career

As one of the UK’s largest accountancy training providers, we see lots of new students come to us in January and February looking to start training for a career in accountancy. But many of these students also come to us with a list of worries and concerns about studying.

At the end of 2015, we carried out some research with 14,000 qualified UK accountants and found a massive 55% of responders had previously started out in a different career. We asked them what their biggest fears about changing career were at the time, to see if they’re the same then as they are today.

And so we present to you:

The top 3 fears around switching your career to accountancy (and why you really don’t need to worry about them)

Myth No. 1 – “I don’t have the right qualifications to start studying accountancy” (22.6% of career changes believed this)

“Don’t you need A-Levels or a degree to become an accountant?” and “I don’t have any experience working in accounts” – two common myths people think would stop them from becoming an accountant.

The reality is, you don’t need any previous qualifications or experience to start your training. All of the professional bodies offer entry level qualifications, teaching the fundamentals of accountancy without any entry requirements (see AAT Level 2, ACCA Knowledge and CIMA Certificate).

Whilst it does help to be comfortable with maths, English and using a computer, most accountants today use spreadsheets or accounting software to do a lot of the calculations and processes, so you certainly don’t need to be a maths or IT genius!

Myth No. 2 – “I can’t afford the cost of studying” (27.1% of career changers believed this)

We’re not going to lie – studying towards a professional qualification can be expensive. With training costs, membership subscriptions and exam fees, adding it all up can seem scary at first.

But did you know there is lots of financial support available through training providers and the government? We’ve listed a few options Kaplan offers:

  • Apprenticeships – If you’re 16-18, you could study for free as an Apprentice, earning money and getting real work experience at the same time!
  • Advanced Learning Loans – If you’re 24+, you could borrow the full cost of your course from the government, then only start paying it back once you’re earning over £21,000
  • Interest free payment plans – Kaplan offer interest free payment plans on our courses. So you can pay for your course over 6-12 months in smaller, affordable chunks. Plus, there’s no extra cost to do this!
  • Distance learning courses tend to be a lot cheaper than classroom courses, so could be a good option if you’re on a budget.

Plus, with salaries of qualified accountants on average 67% higher* than those without a qualification, you may quickly find yourself earning back the price of your training plus much, much more.

Myth No. 3 – “I don’t have the time to study” (22% of career changers believed this)

Long gone are the days when the only option you had to gain your professional qualification was attending an evening class twice a week. This is still a popular option, but training providers have recognised this just isn’t possible for a lot of people.

At Kaplan, we offer classroom tuition from 21 locations across the UK, but also offer online learning options to fit around you. Our Live Online courses allow you to attend virtual classrooms from wherever you are, plus you can still interact with lecturers and other students, as well as follow a structured timetable. If you prefer to study at your own pace, we offer a range of Distance Learning courses too where you can work through the content by yourself whenever you have some free time.

We also know that you’re not always going to be able to study solidly, or might want to take a study break. So we designed our AAT courses to have regular start dates, then if you do decide to take a break, it won’t be long before you can pick your studies back up again.

So you can see that whilst student concerns about studying might not have changed over time, professional bodies, tuition providers and the government have all been working hard to create accountancy courses that are accessible, affordable and readily available to the next generation of accountants.

Enquire about starting your career in accountancy. Alternatively, see the full piece of research by Kaplan.

*Source – 2015 AAT Salary Survey