How a stay-at-home parent can retrain as a bookkeeper

Female parent on laptop with two small children

Online learning is perfect for stay at home parents who want to get into bookkeeping. You may think “I don’t have the time to learn AND look after the kids”, but you’d be surprised how much you can learn in a relatively short amount of time.

So let us tell you how, starting with:

Don’t go for the mundane when you can retrain

We know a lot of parents end up in unfulfilling jobs just to fit around the kids and childcare. Or stay at home because childcare costs are crippling – in the UK the average cost of sending a child to nursery is over £260 a week*. But by learning bookkeeping in the rare spare moments can mean that you don’t have to compromise. You can have a decent job and look after the children. And if you set up on your own, you can work from home and set your own hours – completely flexible.

By upskilling during a career break, you can make sure that your CV shines when you’re ready to go back to work. Saying that, training as a bookkeeper could open doors to a whole new career – you may even consider accountancy, but that’s the next step!

Don’t just take our word for it. Read our blog – New to AAT, furloughed, but still going – about Emily, a mum who worked around her son to gain a new qualification during lockdown. She talks about how hard it was to get motivated, but how worthwhile it was, and how it boosted her career and her confidence.

“I wanted to study AAT to get new opportunities and so I could specialise in accounting. I do all the books at work, so eventually I wanted to pursue that and do it more.”

So, what do bookkeepers do?

Firstly, bookkeepers can be part of an organisation, or work for themselves, from home or a small office. Sounds good so far? So bookkeepers process the financial transactions of a business, or individual, making sure they keep things up to date and accurate. They also produce financial reports, but don’t do the analysis of said reports – that’s left to the accountants.

What can bookkeepers earn?

It depends if you’re part of an organisation, or working for yourself as a sole trader or limited company. The average annual salary in the UK is £27,000** depending on experience and the organisation. For an independent bookkeeper you can expect up to £200-£250 a day*** – but don’t forget you’ll need to sort your own taxes.

Do it all online in your own time

You don’t need to go to a classroom to learn. You can do it from home, at a pace that suits you. You can be completely self-sufficient with Distance Learning – study fast, or take your time – you choose. And you get all the study materials you need to succeed, and a personal Eagle mentor to guide you.

No experience necessary

You don’t need any prior experience to start learning bookkeeping – all you need is a willingness to learn. And don’t worry if you think you’re not good at maths – it’s really not needed now that there is software to do all the calculations for you!

Will online learning suit you?

Before you jump straight in, here are a few tips and things to think about.

  1. Online learning is self-sufficient – if you need external motivation, then this might not be the right way of studying for you. But if you’re self-motivated and keen to get stuck in, then it’s perfect. You have to be disciplined to make sure you keep learning and keep up with the materials, but you don’t have to attend regular classes – you study in your own time.
  2. Essential tech – you need to have a computer that runs the software you need for your studies. This includes reliable internet. You can use the computers at the library, but this removes the independent learning aspect, and you’d need to find childcare.
  3. Studying alone – distance learning means you don’t have the interaction with your peers, but it does mean that you can study in the way you work best. You can choose your hours, your study methods, and, ultimately, your learning outcome.
  4. Asking for help – if you get stuck, you must ask for help. Without face to face lessons, you don’t have a tutor who will realise that you’re struggling. Eagle mentors are there to help – so you can reach out to them whenever you need to.

Think bookkeeping and distance learning is right for you?

Have a look at our AAT Bookkeeping page – there’s even a free seven day trial to see if it suits you.