Could taking a short qualification boost your business?

Member Article

Short qualifications can help you run your business

If you feel as though you have knowledge gaps that need filling, the answer isn’t necessarily going to be to use finances you may not have on recruiting someone to look after that area of business – at least not until you’re in a position where you can’t cope yourself with the workload yourself.

Taking some qualifications that will get you trained and financially-savvy could take a matter of weeks rather than months.

For example, in finance, it can take an average of around 12 weeks to achieve a foundation certificate in bookkeeping, which can provide the skills and knowledge needed to effectively balance your books and could help you become a qualified bookkeeper with the professional recognition this can bring. Not only can you learn these skills in a short space of time, you can also do so from home or at your work as a distance learner.

In addition, there are courses as short as one day long that can give non-financial managers a basic grounding in some of the key aspects of finance.

David Mollard is an AAT self-employed licenced bookkeeper based in Northallerton in North Yorkshire. He studied the AAT’s bookkeeping and computerised accounts courses prior to setting up his own business.

David says: “Irrespective of whether a small business undertakes their own accounting or employs professional services from elsewhere, every small business should be able to keep simple records. For me that starts with not keeping receipts in a bag – and also keeping a simple diary or log of sales purchases and business activities.

“As part of the business set up, every business will need to have a financial record system. There are many basic accounting packages available to buy or subscribe to that will help to track sales, expenditures and provide reports at the press of a button, but you’ll also need to have the skills in place within your business to understand the figures they produce, and what implications these may have for the company.”

Henry Cooper runs BirchCooper Accounting Services Ltd, a small business based in Buckingham. He recognises that there are going to be times where, as a small business owner, workloads will add up and having the right expertise in place will allow you to run your finances without it taking over your whole business.

Henry says: “Taking a short qualification in accounting or bookkeeping can undoubtedly help you with the nuts and bolts of running your business. Many small businesses fail because of their poor financial record keeping, and not having the skills to recognise the signs that things might be going wrong. Having such grounding can therefore help safeguard your business, especially in start-up phase.

“However, it’s equally important to recognise that while getting yourself trained up can help keep your business above water, especially during a period where you may not be able to afford to hire a full-time finance manager, it will always be useful to have a qualified financial expert that you can contact.

“When I started my own business, I tried to do everything myself, and there came a point when I needed to seek advice and support from others. If you’re spending around eight hours of a 40 hour working week doing your accounts, you might want to consider if that’s the best use of your time when you could be getting more business in. So you might also wish to consider where professional support can help you along the way.”

This was posted in Bdaily's Members' News section by AAT (Association of Accounting Technicians) .

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