Updated: Mar 29
Starting a new business just as the global pandemic hit was not how the plan was supposed to go, especially after a promising start.
A new but old career
To cut a long story short I left the teaching profession after 15 years and set out on my own as an entrepreneur in January 2020. I returned to the career I started as an 18 year old, accountancy. I spent 2 years working in accounts departments and a chartered accountancy practice, before leaving Cornwall and heading off to University. And 20 years later I find myself returning to that very thing.
I feel a plethora of mixed emotions when reminiscing about my career in secondary education. But as I look back and reflect, I am 100% certain it was the correct move at this point in my life. Being able to manage my own time and lifestyle whilst having 2 young children is something I was unable to do as a teacher. They were the most important factor to consider w
hen making that change. I just could not reconcile with being a parent who worked so many hours and was constantly stressing and being a great dad who had lots of energy to give to my children. It all came to a crescendo in the summer of 2019 (which seems an eternity ago now) and that was when I made the decision I had to do something different for the benefit of my physical and mental health, as well as my family.
I began researching different industries and jobs, but kept coming back to accountancy. The draw of numbers, data, and problem solving was key to that decision. I have always felt accountancy and bookkeeping is like a game or puzzle. There is perfect scenario where everything fits together and balances, and it's my job to make sure my clients finances do that.
So I began researching paths to become a chartered or certified accountant, and every pathway began with the AAT. I then began to work out what the best starting point was and the best option for studying. I felt that using an distanced learning provider would be suitable for me given my educational background and found an amazing one based out of Exeter. Accountancy Learning had the exact package I wanted, all of the books provided alongside a great online portal with support when needed.
Once that was organised and the I started making preparations towards how to actually start a bookkeeping business and all that entails. So I began by creating a listing on Google Business with the vision of further development down the line. Branding, business cards, domains, office equipment all followed and by March 2020, I was making progress with my studies and attracting interest. Then it happened. Luckily I had just managed to complete the big synoptic exam before lockdown started. A couple months with no income soon became a worry as I was not eligible for any relief under the Government's schemes. Fortunately, in June things began to pick up and soon I as able to complete my final exam, be awarded AATQB status and become a licensed member of the AAT.
I immediately began the Lv.4 study to become a licensed accountant, and being more proactive with seeking clients through bark.com , training with Quickbooks to become a Certified ProAdvisor, and being listed as a partner with FreeAgent.
Growth was slow, but not a problem as the kids were off from school/nursery and I could concentrate on the first few of exams with the aim of completing them before Christmas. As Meatloaf once sang "two out of three ain't bad", and I was able to get most of my target completed but more lockdowns, isolations and classes staying at home, I am only just ready to sit that 3rd exam. All in, I am about 9 months behind schedule with regards to becoming a licensed accountant, but i guess a lot of people are in similar positions.
My next steps as I sit here typing this are to finish off those last 4 exams, find a couple more regular bookkeeping clients to work with, and launch a new website. Well... at least I can tick 1 off!