Signed by Arsenal Football Club Academy at age seven and currently playing for Torquay United Football Club, Thomas Cruise is living his childhood dream. However, knowing that the career span of a professional footballer is notoriously short, Thomas is looking to a future in accountancy.
“Like many unlucky young footballers, injuries have halted my career and I’ve always seemed to take one step forward and two back,” he says.
Thomas is currently working towards his Advanced Diploma in Accounting with ICS. While balancing a hectic training schedule, matches and study has been a challenge, he is keen to enhance his skills and employability for the future.
Thomas says: “I think it’s important to look beyond the career as a footballer because it comes to an end between the ages of 34 and 38 – sometimes sooner due to injury. I’ve had a few serious injuries in my career, and you should always have qualifications to fall back on.”
Being an accountant might seem to pale in comparison to the glamorous life of a professional footballer, however Thomas is excited about the future. He possesses a natural aptitude for maths and has enjoyed his learning experience so far.
“I’ve always been really good with numbers, so the decision to choose accountancy was a no-brainer. I wish to enter this field of work once I complete my qualification, and am very excited to see what I can achieve.”
Seeing others succeed and a passion for learning keeps him motivated while distance learning.
“Being a professional footballer, I have a bit more free time to get my head down and crack on with these courses, and I aim to complete all of AAT’s accounting qualifications in a reasonable time. It’s not a typical nine-to-five job, so I’ve always got a couple of hours spare in the afternoon to get my head down and study.”
His advice to future AAT students is to pace yourself.
“It’s not a rush, so don’t try to do too much at once. Balance it out with your home and work life.”
Challenging his mind as much as his body has been equally rewarding for Thomas, developing new skills that he never thought he would and enjoyed subjects which he had never studied before.
“Learning about the double entry bookkeeping was quite challenging because it’s one of the first things you learn in the first assessment. At first I was puzzled by just looking at it, but it all links together and becomes easier to learn.”
“I would say learning how to set up a business on Sage was most enjoyable thing to learn. I have not really used a computer to that extent since school, and inputting all the data – such as invoices, purchases and recurring entries – and seeing it all come together at the end in the trial balance was very exciting.”
AAT Comment offers news and opinion on the world of business and finance from the Association of Accounting Technicians.