Former maths teacher, Paul Buzzard, changed career to accountancy to offer him the flexibility to care for his children. As part of Adult Learners’ Week, he shares his story
For many years I worked as a maths teacher, but my family circumstances meant that I needed to think about a new career.
I have four children, including one (Ione) who has Cerebral Palsy and another (Jake) who has Asperger’s syndrome. Ione needs round the clock attention – she needs daily physiotherapy and is often fed through a tube. As my wife has back problems, I have taken on the role of full-time carer.
Six years ago I realised I needed a new career that would enable me to work around my family responsibilities. I felt accountancy could be suitable – on the basis that I have an aptitude for numbers and it would allow me to work in the evenings. I found out about the AAT Accounting Qualification and arranged to do the whole qualification, along with two others in payroll and bookkeeping, in a year.
I was the eldest student on my course by a mile and it was incredibly difficult to take four NVQs in one year, but as time is not on my side I needed to get qualified as quickly as possible. I was very fortunate that my lecturers at the Royal Forest of Dean College supported me in achieving this.
I qualified in 2007 with AAT and set up my own accountancy practice, Cedar Accountancy Services. In 2008 I was nominated as a VQ learner of the year at the first ever VQ Day by AAT – an award that I was fortunate enough to win.
Obviously, it has been fantastic to be recognised for my achievement. But it has also been a real boost to my business. Prospective clients know that I can be trusted as the award demonstrates professional credibility.
Since 2008, life has been busy. I have qualified as a chartered accountant with both ACCA and CIPFA, as well as being a professional member of AAT. My business continues to grow which obviously enables me to support my family. My kids are doing well and as I work from home entirely, I am able to spend as much time with them as possible.
I’m sure I would have stayed in my teaching position had I not been needed to be at home. But I thoroughly enjoy my accountancy business too. Not many people get to have two very different careers in one lifetime.
Interested in changing career to accountancy? Then read the story of Linda Fleet, who turned her back on an Asda checkout job to study AAT and set up her own accountancy practice. Or Gregory Edelston, who started studying accountancy whilst working as a personal trainer.
Further information on studying AAT is available online.
Paul Buzzard is AAT Comment’s news writer.