Monday, 25 June 2018

Interviewing Techniques - Part 5


Where you have been able to get your CV to speak for you and you have been called for an interview, you then have to speak for yourself at the interview.

In the first blog on interviewing techniques, we mentioned a few bullet points which we are continuing with in this blog.

Never say, no I don’t have any questions. Always prepare a few questions about the role, about the accounting system or internal control being adopted by the organisation.
I usually say, this is a final opportunity for you to throw in a bit of accounting knowledge and accounting terminologies before you leave the interview room. If the interview session has not given you the chance of speaking about your accounting knowledge, then you may want to ask a question that lets you show a bit of such. For example;
·         what is the sales invoicing system adopted by the organisation
·         does the department use any books of prime entries and are these manual or electronic systems
·         does the organisation maintain a purchase ordering system and how effectively is this maintained. Will this be part of my role?
·         does the organisation maintain manual salary journals or are the payroll details electronically connected to the accounting system (if this has any connection with the role)?
You will agree with me that these are not the usual generic sorts of questions you will find an individual asking, but questions like these, will make you stand out a little better.
Ha!, but how will you ask a question like this if you don’t even know what a sales invoicing system is or what books of prime entries are or what a purchase ordering system is or what salary journals are?
Then get on with it;
·         gain some experience,
·         learn about how accounts work in the real world, and
·         start talking about accounts; and
·        the next interview will be a lot better than the last.


Friday, 22 June 2018

Interviewing Techniques - Part 4


Where you have been able to get your CV to speak for you and you have been called for an interview, you then have to speak for yourself at the interview.

In the first blog on interviewing techniques, we mentioned a few bullet points which we are continuing with in this blog.

Never say no to an interview question, even if you do not know anything about what was asked. Instead, I always say, answer the question like a politician. Think of anything which you know may relate to the subject asked and try to get a closely related answer.
For example, if you are asked; do you know how to use Quick books and maybe you have never used this before, rather than saying no, you may want to consider saying something like;
“I am able to use Sage 50 confidently up to trial balance level, but not Quick books, but I also know that all accounting software are built on the same double entry principle and with little guidance I will be able to use Quick books confidently”.
Notice, I have not said no I don’t know how to use Quick books, but I have implied it anyway, but in setting an answer like above, you are giving yourself a fighting chance in getting the job.
Notice, also in this answer, there is a trace of using accounting terminologies- Sage 50, trial balance, double entry principle. This will show, you don’t know the exact subject being asked, but you are still reflecting signs of knowledge in accounting. You never can tell, the company may be willing to train you on the aspects they may find lacking if they are convinced you have other strong accounting qualities.

Ability to swing a question to your advantage, does not come easily, it comes with practice and loads of practice. So get on with asking yourself questions and speaking out answers to such questions, using the right accounting terminologies.


Thursday, 21 June 2018

Interviewing Techniques - Part 3

Interviewing Techniques - Part 3
Where you have been able to get your CV to speak for you and you have been called for an interview, you then have to speak for yourself at the interview.

In the first blog on interviewing techniques, we mentioned a few bullet points which we are continuing with in this blog.

Use Accounting Terminologies:
This is very important in dealing with interview questions. Employers are looking for people who have the experience, so the more you are able to shine this out the better your chances are of getting the job.
For example, if you are asked, “can you carry out bank reconciliation?”
Answer- Yes I can. I have to make sure all data entry is carried out and I click all transactions that appear on the bank statement and then match. The difference at the bottom should become 0 and then I click reconcile.
Compared to:
Answer- Yes I can. I have to make sure I post all the customers invoices into the sales ledger, I then post all suppliers invoices to the purchases ledger and all bank postings have to be carried out in the bank ledger. Once all these posting have been done, the double entry effect can be checked in the nominal ledger for accuracy of postings. I am then ready to proceed with the bank reconciliation and this means I have to go to the bank ledger and click on reconcile ….
Notice the second answer has a lot of accounting terminologies and in getting an answer with such level of terminologies will make you stand out from someone that just refers to data entry or posting of transactions.
You have to bear in mind that using the right terminologies is very important and this has to flow smoothly in your answers. The ability to do this doesn’t come naturally; it only comes with practice and loads of practice for that matter.
So I will strongly encourage you to get talking. I call it “TALK THE TALK”.
Ask yourself questions, and speak about the answers to anybody who will listen to you- family member, friend, pet- a dog or cat who will give you audience. If you don’t have any of these, sit yourself down in front of a mirror and watch yourself answer these basic questions and loads more:
·         How do you post customers invoices
·         How do you post suppliers invoices
·         How do you set up or rename a nominal code
·         How do you generate remittance advice for suppliers
·         How do you carry out bank reconciliations
·         How do you post salary journals
·         How do you account for accruals
·         How do you account for credit notes
·         How do you make refunds to customers
These are all basic questions, do you know the answers to these. If you don’t, you need to get some work experience in accounting and then build on that.
See yourself apply accounting terminologies in answering each of these and you will notice that the answers you give to each of these will get better and better as you practice.
Please make sure that you are speaking out the answers, don’t just play it over in your head and think you know it, because you may not be able to speak it out confidently and smoothly.


Wednesday, 20 June 2018

Interviewing Techniques - Part 2

Interviewing Techniques - Part 2
Where you have been able to get your CV to speak for you and you have been called for an interview, you then have to speak for yourself at the interview.

In the last blog, the first point mentioned was the issue of confidence and then using work related scenarios within your answers.

Make sure that you express confidence when answering your questions. Do not fidget or slouch into the seat and maintain eye contact. It is easy to pick up an individual’s confidence or lack of confidence at an interview, so coach yourself in being able to answer questions knowledgeably and confidently.
Add some nice and warm personality to the confidence. Try to give a nice smile when necessary or where you see the opportunity for that.
Remember accounts people are seen as boring, so try to show the potential employer that you are not that boring (ha! maybe just a little boring).

You want to constantly review scenarios and encounters you have experienced at work and develop standard answers for general questions which could be asked at interviews. For example, a question about your team playing skills, communication skills, ability to work under pressure, ability to apply initiative etc.

Team playing skills:
You can speak about how you currently work in a small team and you have had to multi-task and assist others with their duties in order to make sure we are all effectively meeting tight deadlines within the group. You may be responsible for sales invoices, but you also offer assistance in processing purchase invoices, so that the bank reconciliations and the management reports can be completed on time for the board meeting. (Expand on this).
Think about scenarios and replay these scenarios again and again. Have them readily available in your head so that you can reach out to an applicable one for questions you are asked. As you don’t know the question you would be asked, have a few scenarios always ready.

These scenarios don’t always have to be accounts related, they don’t always have to be work related either, but it is best if most of them are accounts work related, as this will help you shine out your accounting skills.
The next best advice to offer you will be to sit in front of a mirror and practice using scenario based answers. Ask yourself simple questions and see how you answer and continue to practice to improve your confidence and ability to answer interview questions.


Monday, 18 June 2018

Interviewing Techniques - Part 1


Where you have been able to get your CV to speak for you and you have been called for an interview, you then have to speak for yourself at the interview.

Bear the following points in mind:

·         Be confident in your answers and how you relate them across.
·         Use as many work related scenarios in answering your questions as possible.
·         Use accounting terminologies as much as possible.
·         NEVER say “NO” to a question.
·         Always ask one or two questions at the end when given the opportunity to do so.
·         Start and end with a firm handshake and greet the interviewers using their names, where possible.

In the next sets of blogs I will be expanding on each of the above bullet points, so I encourage you to read through these if you are seriously looking for work.


Wednesday, 13 June 2018

AAT Jobs Site

AAT Jobs Site

When you're searching for an accounting position, it is helpful to subscribe to as many job sites as possible in order to be sure that you're able to apply for a range of roles as soon as they are advertised, no matter which site they appear on.

AAT now have a dedicated jobs site to help you find accounting positions whether you're just starting your professional career or have been working or studying for years.   They also have a list of relevant articles and interviews to assist you in your search.

It's still new to the scene and is flying under the radar at the moment, so unlike or (where most jobs are applied to by 1000's of applicants) you may have a greater chance of having your application being plucked out by a recruiter.
Finally, make sure your CV stands out from the crowd and is as professional as possible by following our CV Tips and suggestions article, to be posted soon!

The Friendly Team
The Training Place of Excellence Limited

Telephone Number - 02072529331

Monday, 11 June 2018

Studying Accountancy via The Non-Uni Route - AAT

Studying Accountancy via The Non-Uni Route - AAT

The AAT qualification is open to everyone and anyone and you don’t need any previous qualifications to study with them. A lot of students decide to study AAT as an alternative to university. School leavers decide to do the AAT as a vocational option so they can avoid building up student debt and they want the freedom to train and work at the same time.

Also, many school leavers are enticed to study for the AAT as they want to climb the career ladder faster and are passionate about being an accountant from a young age. Training with AAT can give students the chance to gain generous exemptions from certain stages of the professional qualifications which are offered by bodies such as CIPFA, ICAEW, CIMA and ICAS. This can mean you can qualify as a chartered accountant quicker than someone who has gone through the university route.

This year the AAT commissioned research which predicts that 55% of 2011 graduates will be unemployed or underemployed in jobs where a degree is not necessary. The Chief Executive of AAT, Jane Scott Paul, comments: “With the average student debt estimated at £27,000 for a three-year degree course and set to rise to £45,000 in 2012, we have to ask young people whether this is a good return on investment if there is no guaranteed job prospect at the end of it. The reality is a large majority of graduates are coming out of university and are ending up in menial and low skilled jobs for which a degree is not necessary.”

A newly qualified AAT member can expect to earn an average of £21,600. Plus, the AAT member will have been earning throughout their training and will have avoided student debt. Accounting technicians work at all levels of finance, depending on the level of their career. Some accounting technicians work as accounts clerks, others go on to become managing directors or finance directors of well known companies.

AAT courses are designed to be flexible and to fit in around each individual’s home and work commitments. Students can study full- or part-time while working at the same time.

In taking the AAT Accounting qualification with The Training Place, there is a guaranteed opportunity for
Accounting Work Placement within our partner Accounting firm, subject to receiving two references for you. The length of your Accounting Work Placement depends on the level and combination of other trainings you attend.

If you have any questions, or would like to request an application form for our AAT courses, please do not hesitate to get in contact.

The Friendly Team
The Training Place of Excellence Limited

Friday, 8 June 2018

The Dos and Don’ts of a Job Interview

The Dos and Don’ts of a Job Interview
What to do:
  • Dress smartly, look bright and attentive, and speak clearly and confidently. Don't forget that in the first few minutes only 7% of the interviewer's opinion of you is formed by what you say - the rest is judged on how you look, act and sound
  • Find out where the venue is beforehand, how to get there and how long it takes
  • Get your outfit ready the night before
  • Find out what kind of interview it will be so you can prepare
  • Examine the person specification and your CV/application form, and think about what type of questions they will ask you
  • Prepare answers for the main questions - for example, why do you want the job, what are your strengths and weaknesses, what are the main tasks in this job?
  • Make about three or four points in each answer
  • Quote real examples of when you've used certain skills - just saying you've got a skill isn't enough
  • Take your time when answering the questions: make sure you understand the question and take your time if you need to think
  • Sell yourself: no one else is going to! Be positive about yourself and your experiences
  • Prepare some questions to ask at the end of the interview - use it as an opportunity to find out more about the role and the company. (Don't ask about money or perks just yet!)
  • When discussing salary, know your market worth and start by quoting a little higher than this
  • Get feedback on your performance, whether you were successful or not
  • Turn off your mobile phone: treat the interviewers with respect and give them your undivided attention
  • Keep your answers focused on what you can do for the employer, not what they can do for you

What not to do:
  • Don't be late
  •  Don't swear or use slang words
  • Don't slouch in your seat or do anything that makes you look uninterested
  • Don't smoke
  • Don’t lie: the interviewer may see through you. Even if you get the job, your employer can dismiss you if they find out that you have not been honest
  • Don't let your nerves show too much; a few nerves are normal but extreme nerves will affect your performance. Use breathing techniques and try to remember that it's not a life and death situation - there are plenty of jobs out there!
  • Don't be arrogant and assume you've got the job. Nothing turns off employers more than someone who is disrespectful and over-confident
  • Don't discuss controversial topics such as religion, politics and gender relations
  • Don't read from notes or your CV — you should be familiar enough with your own history to be able to talk about it unprompted
  • Don't criticise former employers or colleagues. Interviewers may mark you down as a troublemaker and a gossip
  • Don't argue with the interviewer, no matter what. Remember to keep things positive!

These rules apply for most jobs. However, employers in some industries can use more relaxed and informal interviewing techniques. In some creative fields (design and media for example) it may be expected that you turn up for the interview in casual clothes, as that is the dress code in the office. However, smart casual is better than very casual. If you're in any doubt, do some research on typical interview techniques in your line of work.
Above all, preparation is the key to performing well in interviews. Research the role and organisation, and prepare evidence and examples of your skills and competencies.

Tuesday, 5 June 2018

Tips for Writing the Perfect CV

Tips for Writing the Perfect CV

On average, recruiters will spend 20-30 seconds glancing over your CV, so you need to make sure that they will see that you are their dream candidate fast! Use these tips below to generate their interest and keep it long enough to call you for that interview:  
§  Overall Content. When a potential employer is reading through your resume, they are really looking to have three main questions answered: What do you know? What have you done before? Can you do it for me? While writing your CV keep these three questions in mind, and always remember that are writing it for the recruiter, not for yourself. Keep your answers short and to the point.
§  Personal statement. One paragraph that needs to immediately capture the attention of your reader, and emphasizes why they should continue reading the rest of your CV. Its aim is to highlight your professional attributes and goals. Use keywords that are interchangeable here, so that you can easily tailor your CV to each application using the particular phrases in each job specification.
§  Work experience. Don’t merely list your duties for each previous role; describe what responsibilities you had and what you achieved in bullet points. Not every task you performed is able to be measured in numbers, but give percentage increases wherever possible.
§  Skills.  A short, targeted skills list of up to 10 of your strongest and most desirable skills will attract a recruiter’s attention. Good examples include any IT package or programme you have used as well as any training certificates you have received. State for each whether you’re at a basic, intermediate or advanced level.
§  Hobbies & Interests. Focus on any club or team sport that you are a member of and any awards that you might have won. If you took time out to travel, summarize it here, highlighting what organizational and budgeting skills you learnt from it.
§  A clear and simple layout. Never break the two page rule! It’s more than enough room to persuade your potential employer that you're worth contacting for an interview; anything over the two pages may discourage them from looking through it. Use lots of white space and clearly marked sections to make it easy to read.

If you use the tips summarized above, you will have done as much as you can to persuade the employer that you’re the ideal candidate to invest their time and money in. If you would like some more advice on how to write your CV, you can bring it into us at The Training Place where we will give you a free consultation on how to improve and perfect it. We also give advice on interview and jobsearch techniques, so if you would like to contact us on or 02072529331 we will be happy to set up an appointment for you. Good luck!