Unsure how to progress from admin job

Replies : 4
I started working for my firm a year ago as a temporary Purchase Ledger Clerk and was offerend a permantent role after 2 months and then the postition of Account Assistant after a further 3 months. This job involved preparing management accounts for a small company owned by the group as well as assisting the management accountants with various aspects of their duties. Due to some restructuring within the firm I now no longer prepare any accounts of my own and I seem to spend the majority of my time photocopying and filing.

Due to cost and time involved in commuting to my job, the pay and the feeling that I do not have much opportunity to progress I am currently looking for another job.

I have a second class degree in Mathematics with Business and Management but because only a third of my degree was Business I have not been awarded exemptions from the Certificate Level. I have been working towards this but have struggled to get any time off work in order to sit exams (I lost 9 holiday days last year which I'd saved to study but was not allowed to take time off) and therefore I have 3 exams still left to sit.

The jobs which I have found through agencies have at either required me to be studying towards managerial level exams or are entry level jobs which I feel would be a step backwards considering the experience I have gained so far. I have also found it a problem because in my current job we use Cedar Open Accounts which is not a widely used accounting software and I have no experience of any others.

At the moment I am considering leaving my job and getting a bar job which would allow me to earn more money than I am on at the moment and will also give me the time to allow me to finish my Certificate Level. I am hoping that once I have completed the Certificate level this will help me to find the job I want.

I therefore would like to know how detrimental to my CV it would be if I quit my  job in an accounts department in order to work in a bar and whether there is a better course of action to take which will help me find an Assitant Management Accountant's job with study support?

Focus strategy - specialization accounting or finance


Finance build on accounting and accounting build on economics.

Major in either one of above subject can enhance your earnings.

If you already a CIMA Student, then strive to finish the exam.

Your future will be good.



Which choice do you think would lead to your ACMA?

You have a tough choice - which you know already! - so, like Goh, I'd advise you to take a longer-term view. The faster you can demonstrate progress towards ACMA itself the quicker you're likely to find a job that fully rewards all the effort you're putting in.

So how about drawing up a list of the pros and cons of each of your options?

If you take a bar job, how quickly will you then be able to complete Certificate level and then move on? Could you offer to get involved in the bar admin, too, perhaps drawing up some basic management accounts, even if you get no more than a thank-you from your manager? You could then demonstrate to agencies and potential future employers that you're not only serious about qualifying - which usually encourages study support! - but you've kept up your finance experience and already brought a management accountant's initiative to your work. I'm no better than anyone else at second-guessing how HR will read your CV, but I'd guess that if you're looking at < 1 year in the bar then you'll be able to demonstrate that choosing to leave your current job made space for some solid achievements in that time. (And don't forget to put on your CV and RPE the customer-care and people-management skills you'll be learning and building while you're behind the bar!)

If you stay in your current role, what progress would you have made by the May 2010 and November 2010 exams? A year of filing and photocopying isn't likely to be very motivating. Do you have a strong enough working relationship with your current managers to sit down and talk this through with them before you make a decision?

Last thought: it's not so much job titles and departments that get attention on CV's, it's job outcomes and work-related achievements.

Good luck! 

Tough Choice - But CIMA will lead to desired fruition

Hi - I read your post with great interest and I can fully understand the situation you are in.

Taking your points on board, the Certificate Level will certainly give you a great ground base for the CIMA qualification so it is well worth progressing this way.  I believe the Certificate level is CBA (Computer Based Assessment) which will aid speed of progression as you will be able to sit at faster intervals, unlike Managerial level where the sittings are twice per year, May / November. 

From experience prospective employers are always looking for that bit extra i.e. when studying the Certificate Level they want Managerial and when you at Managerial Level they want Strategic level, this happens right the way through.

You mention entry level jobs which you feel would be a step backwards, I would turn this around and rather than taking the bar job would opt to take an entry level job, prove your worth and then you will progress at a faster rate.  I understand the transferrable skills you would receive from a bar job would be great but an accounting / finance role at whatever level would be more beneficial.

If you opt for the bar role and you put it on your CV I would not worry about it as if I was looking for an employee I would look at your CV and it would interest me so would invite you for interview, just cross reference starting studying CIMA with the date around which you started your next role or thereabouts.  During the interview if you explained to me the reasons why that you changed the role, i.e. to free up time to study the CIMA qual which you were funding yourself I would see this as a great positive and your determination would mean you would be certainly in line for the job with me.

So in closing, I would opt for the entry level job, study yourself, you may get study support if not, your passion and determination will shine through and your keeness will mean that you are a valuable asset to any business and you will gradually progress.

Good luck as I know this is a difficult choice but as I have said CIMA will certainly open the door to great opportunities for you, something in your current role you are not getting.

Best Wishes

Andrew (FCMA)

Thank you

Thanks very much for your responses. The break over New Year has helped me to step back and consider my position a little more clearly. I plan to hold a meeting with my manager this week to express my concerns about my career progression and discuss when I can have time off to complete my exams. I am aiming to complete my certifcate level by May at the very latest and if this will not be possible in my current job I have decided to apply for entry level jobs closer to home.