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Post Info TOPIC: Sage 50 accounts/qualifications/Totally new to bookkeeping


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Sage 50 accounts/qualifications/Totally new to bookkeeping


Please help, my husband wants me to do his accounts using Sage 50. I have no experience at all, so obviously need some qualifications. Can anyone suggest any courses to go on. Should I just find a course for sage or should I start doing a manual level 1 course.

I'm of average intelligence but haven't worked for 15 years. Previously I was a PA, so I do have office experience.

15 years off the job market is scary, and eventually I'd like to get back to a proper job! So it would be good if any qualification would MEAN something in the end too.

Almost forgot, preferably home learning too.

Thanks for your help

Poppy confuse

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Hi Poppy,

Sage isn't that useful if you don't have some underlying knowledge of bookkeeping.

Rather than going all out and investing in a course could I suggest that you invest in :

Mastering Accounting Skills by Margaret Nicholson. Its part of the Palgrave master series and should be about 12.

Have a read a see how comfortable you are with the whole theory side of things.

When you've done that take the ICB level 1 to give yourself confidence.

If you don't already have SAGE, if you get any version of the SAGE workbooks they come with a 180 day trial version of SAGE line 50. A good study course would be to buy the AAT foundation level workbook "Bookkeeping with Sage and Excel" and work your way through it (just the SAGE bit).

After that take the level 2 computerised exam with the ICB to test out your new SAGE skills and you get the qualification of AICB (comp). This will no longer be enough to get you a practicing certificate but you will have the confidence to do your husbands books and when you become more confident and skilled, do the ICB level 2 manual and the Level 3 exams when your ready.

If you want a "proper" job, at some stage it might be a good idea to transfer over to AAT or CAT which are the qualifications that employers are looking for.

There, just saved you a fortune in courses that you don't need to sit.

Have fun, looking forwards to the inevitable questions,

Shaun.

-- Edited by Shamus on Tuesday 19th of January 2010 02:35:37 PM

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Thanks for the quick reply. I will be ordering my copy of Mastering Accounting Skills later tonight.

Where do I get the SAGE workbooks? Do I go direct to sage or can I get them elsewhere.

I already have Sage 50 2009 software but haven't had the courage to load it yet.

Thanks

Poppy



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Hi Poppy, no need to get the workbooks if you've already got the full version of the software.

Don't worry, Sage isn't so scary once you've been playing with it a while.

I can't find the current version of the AAT foundation level Sage on Amazon. However, if you have a look at the BPP catalogue which can be found at :

http://www.bpp.com/accandtax/brochures/lm-catalogue.pdf

it's on page 15. under "For all AAT Students".

Might actually scare yourself there when you see how many accountancy and bookkeeping books there are!

If you are really serious after reading the Accounting Skills book the ABC AAT bookkeeping course comes highly recommended.

cheers,

Shaun.

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No wait, found it on Amazon. Here's the link :

http://www.amazon.co.uk/s/ref=nb_ss?url=search-alias%3Daps&field-keywords=9780751767360&x=18&y=21

Have fun.

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Thanks shamus, I've got my copy of Mastering Accounting Skills by Margaret Nicholson and will be working my way through it soon. After that I'll be back asking for more advise I should think!!!!

Thanks again.

Poppy


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HI

I would say if you are new to bookkeeping sage is not the most user friendly software for a beginner.

Is your husband a small sole trader or a Limited company? Does he use an accountant?

Would say that if he is a small sole trader it may be better to use an easier software package there are some free packages that some people say are easier then sage - VT cashbooks being one I can remember, or there are some straightforward manual systems, would say if your husband has an accountant maybe best to ask there advice, if you don't know sage therefore maybe having errors it may cost more for the accountant to complete accounts if they have to correct things. I know some accountants provide sheets to record all the bookkeeping entries that they make simple for anyone without bookkeeping knowledge to understand and they can then input these sheets onto there accounting system for year end accounts.

Alison



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Hi Alison,

I agree with what you say about Sage but I think that part of the key to the original question is that Poppy wants to use doing her husbands accounts as a stepping stone back into work.

Sounds like she's actually quite excited by the challenge which is always good where people do this because they want to rather than thinking that it's a way of bringing money in.

The people that I tend to warn off are those who try to get into bookkeeping either on a shoestring or because they believe the false representations of training companies of how easy it is to make a living from this career choice.

VT Cashbook is really the sort of thing that as a bookkeeper you would give to your client to keep their records then come to their bookkeeper to load it up into VT Transaction+ before going onto the accountant for finishing by putting the trial balance figures into something like Iris. I think VT Cashbook is at too low a level for Poppy.

I'm in total agreement that sage is too difficult for casual users who don't really need it, but, if poppy goes the ICB route then at some stage she's going to need it. Especially now the comp and non comp routes are being merged.

Not sure why her husband has gone down the sage route (unless his accountants a sage reseller!) but after the initial anguish (which will follow as sure as night follows day) it may prove beneficial for Poppy in the long run.

For that reason before starting with sage I advised use of the BPP Bookkeeping with Sage book which is an excellent introduction where you are doing the accounts of a fictitious company more or less as you would in the real world.

Although it's the BPP book is sage foundation that's still above AICB (comp) level. I did both and the book had far more depth and variety than the ICB exam.

cheers,

Shaun.

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Hi Shaun

I wanted to pick up on your assertion that "proper job" seekers should loo kat AAT quals. Does that means that IAB/ICB quals are just a start, and no employer has much knowledge about these quals?

Thanks

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Hi,

The use of the words "Proper job" was just using Poppy's term. Personally I think that there's nothing unproper about offering our services direct rather than through someone else.

However, on the subject as to whether ICB / IAB qualifications will result in a job at the end of the day, just take a look at the job sites such as Reed and Totaljobs, etc.

Anyone advertising for a bookkeeper asks for AAT / CAT or part qualified ACCA / CIMA. And the cherry on the cake is that they always want for you to come with experience as well!

The really good thing about the ICB and IAB is that you get trained in bookkeeping so can set up on your own which will either give you a career in itself or the experience necessary to get a position with someone else if that is what you wanted to do.

I think that the main problem is with training companies. They're not going to tell you that you're going to spend a lot of money on training only to still be unemployed at the end of it. If they did then they would lose out.

At the moment some training companies are even still pushing the AAT NVQ and diploma routes to AAT qualification (just do a Google search to find out who they are!) and not telling anyone that both of these routes disappear in July!

Try to look at the ICB or IAB as an foundation to your future career. They're both very sound qualifications but if you want to advance in someone else's company then they're likely to be start rather than end point to your studies.

Personally I'm with the ICB for bookkeeping and ACCA for accountancy. In my case I did things the other (wrong?) way around as I felt that I was spending so much time doing the seriously heavy stuff that I had forgotten the basics so joined the ICB basically to keep testing myself on the nuts and bolts that are the basis of everything.

The only reason that I didn't go AAT is that for AAT you have to sign up with a course provider but for ICB you can do everything from books in your own time without the expense of a training company.

Talk later,

Shaun.





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Hi Shaun,

I Have just rang Premier Training who I do payroll with and they said its the structure of exams that are changing at the AAT, and they are possible re-naming the technicians, but they said that my previous qualification still counts, thank goodness!.

Apparently they will be going down the route of Computer based exams sat periodically through the year and not necessarily just June and Dec which they are at present. Again sat at an exam centre. You will get the results there and then as apposed to waiting 2 months.

Out of interest how long did it take you to do ACCA?

Cheers
A

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Amanda



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Hi Amanda,

took me longer than average to do the ACCA as I've had to fit it around work and single parenting. I've missed three sittings completely one of which I'd paid to sit four exams! (and do I get the money back off clients!!! Not a hope). Also there's one exam that's my absolute nemesis. I've sat Advanced Audit and Assurance five times each time getting within a couple of points of a pass.

I could take a different option as it's one of the option papers at the final stage but after getting so close so many times plus having all of these accounting, audit and ethical standards memorised, it's become personal! I know that it's for the best that I fail as if your going to be sued for anything it will be for audit work.

I actually started in 2004 and took my finals in December 2009 so results pending still.I'm not hopeful at all about paper P2 which was a particularly bad one this year... Refer to the myriad of complaints on various ACCA discussion boards... Unusually, no complaints from me though as with exams I just accept what comes and learn from it.

The one thing that I've noticed while doing the ACCA exams is the high burn rate of students. When I started the Birmingham sitting for paper 1.1 filled two huge halls with hopefuls. By the finals there were three papers being sat together in one small hall.

I think people are fooled by the fact that 50% is a pass but miss the fact that only around 30% on average pass each paper.

All of the old papers are freely available on ACCAGlobal. Have a glance at paper F7 which is financial accounting paper. (F3 is the bookkeeping / basic accounts paper).

My comment about AAT training providers actually came from the head of the AAT in an interview in PQ magazine. She really seemed to be spitting feathers about training companies!

I wasn't indicating that the previous qualifications don't count but rather that training providers are still selling things that won't actually be available by the time that students get to take the exams.

Oops, school run time. Talk later,

Shaun.

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Hi Shaun,

It was me panicking that my previous exams didn't count, not what you wrote. Glad you highlighted it though as it made me phone them. I only work part-time because of the kids so working out if I would actually have enough hours to study still and run my own business and sort the kids out! Its a juggling act thats for sure. I must say I haven't found Premier Training pushy at all, and its all over the phone, so no Sales person coming to your house!

But I agree I'm sure there are some voultures out there who just want the sale and don't tell you the real life stories about how to get clients etc!

May look at the F7 paper on the web, is it like the FRA (Financials) of AAT do you know by chance? I must say quite intrigued by it all, the thing is I find that although I say no more studying, I actually want to do more, so later when kids are older I will have more opportunity to build a good successful business.

Best go will be taxi again in a minute!

regards
A

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Amanda



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Hi again Amanda,

I thought that it was just me that felt that way about exams! Before I sat the last one in December it was quite strange to think that this might be the last time that I was parked up in the exam centre car park at the crack of dawn going through my pre revision exam cards... Of course by the time that I came out of the exam hall I was absolutely certain that I was going to be back again in June!

I just had a glance at FRA and it's in the same territory as the ACCA F3 paper. When you've passed AAT you can get exclusion from papers F1, F2 and F3 with the ACCA but the downside is that you still have to pay an excemption fee equivalent to the papers that you don't take!

I had excemption due to having passed the Open University Certificate in Accountancy but didn't take it as I wanted to prove to accountancy friends of mine who don't exactly have a lot of regard for the OU qualification, that the level of study was at least as good as the early ACCA papers.

In hindsight I don't think that basically doing the same stuff twice actually did me any harm as the idea's become seriously ingrained.

As mentioned earlier I thought that I'd lost the basics but when I took the ICB exams without any study got 99% in level I and 98% at level II so it's all there even though sometimes you think that you've lost it.

Coming from someone who's done it and can look back on the qualification objectively I would say without a doubt that even knowing all the suffering that I've gone through to pass these exams if I was given a choice I would still have done it all again with the ACCA as you just keep pushing yourself beyond where you believe your own boundaries are.

A word of warning though if you take the ACCA route. Under the ICB practicing certificate you are allowed to do more than you are as a Part Qualified ACCA so from the moment that you become an ACCA student, regardless of previous experience or qualifications, you would be restricted to preperation of accounts only as far as trial balance, VAT and Payroll unless you are supervised by a qualified accountant. Also, you can't get an ACCA practicing certificate until you've got two years post qualification supervised experience under your belt.

Of course, once you've got a practicing certificate through the ACCA you can go ACA with the ICAEW after two years by taking an exam with them and you automatically get FCCA after five years in practice.

Time to make tea, talk later,

Shaun.

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Might also look at this book ... several good reviews listed

http://www.amazon.co.uk/Teach-Yourself-Sage-Line-50/dp/0340913401/ref=sr_1_9?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1264635212&sr=8-9

Some "new" copies listed cheaper than "used". biggrin.gif






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Bob Sharp


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Hi Shaun,

I am an ACCA part qualified, I wrote my P1 in december, "fingers cross". I have started preparing for my P2 and P3 for June exam. I have a young kids (6 and 3.5yrs) .But because Permanent Job is not fortcoming, I thought about book keeping business and because ACCA restricted the part qualified from offering some services, I applied for IAB exemption and was given exeption (FIAB). Do you think this is a right decision or paying too much to professional associations.

-- Edited by AAAAK on Friday 29th of January 2010 08:58:59 PM

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Lawason


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Hi Lawason,

sounds as though we're in very similar boats.

I might be misreading what your saying about why you joined the IAB. Just to confirm to ACCA position though. It doesn't matter that you're allowed to do more with the IAB, the ACCA restrictions on what you're allowed to do until fully qualified still apply.

P3 is very similar to P1. Sure that you've passed P1 but if not I would sit P1 and P3 together next time.

In a similar way P2 and P7 share a lot of material so they're another good pairing.

You've probably already sussed it but P2 is an absolute nightmare. Three hours isn't enough for question 1 let alone the two subsidiary questions. I've never had that in any other paper.

I think that your decision to join the IAB (or in my case the ICB) is sound as the fee's can be set off against free cover for MLR and cheap PII insurance. The problem of course is that working as bookkeepers how do we ever get the two years post qualification experience in order to be able to set up as accountants in practice?

Could really do with a fully qualified accountant (ACCA or ICAEW) to take us under their wing for a percentage of our turnover until we're qualified.

Talk soon,

Shaun.







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Hi Shaun,

I think working with an Accountant directly or indirectly as a book keeper can help in meeting the two years post qualification requirement of ACCA to get the practicng certificate, but the problem am envisaging is if ACCA requested for the roles during the post qualification to be confirmed by the Accountant,which I think would be more of book keeping rather than the required experience of a qualified Accountant. Anyway I know that when we get to that point, we will cross the bridge. I hope to pass my P1 next month and if it is otherway, I will do the combination of P1 and P3 , and P2 and P7 in June and December

Lawanson


-- Edited by AAAAK on Friday 29th of January 2010 08:59:29 PM

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Lawason
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