Career dilemma. How to get to 45K+wages within shortest possible time

Blanca

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I am in my early 40ties with a very diversified work experience in engineering, sales, bookkeeping and payroll.
The changes in my career were dictated by financial and family situation till now.
Since my kids are getting independent and I can finally concentrate on my career again, I am looking at quickest options to put it on the right track to get to 45K+ wages.

My master's degree is in Environmental Engineering and I worked in the field for 7 years doing mostly project coordination, data management and data analysis. I then had to regroup due to recession and to raise my family. Because my engineering work was mainly around data analysis the natural choice was accounting. Since then I had 1-year experience as an accounts assistant in IT company and 5 years as a legal bookkeeper where I also run payroll for a small team.

I don't have an accounting degree and I found it stops me when applying for better-paid jobs in that area. I have done quite well on my own acquiring the knowledge and skills needed to do the jobs I did so far. I am also a firm believer in the value of experience over education. Besides, I spent 7 years acquiring various degrees and found that 90% of things I learned I learned on the job.

Is there a way to apply for better-paid jobs in accounting without having to do 2+ years to get a degree? Or is payroll an easier choice to bring me to my target of 45K in a shorter time?

To make things messier I also have experience in players and game management in a mobile app company and I run my own online selling business for 10 years and speak 2 languages.

As you can see there are no clear cut choices for me. What I should stress, is that the experience I had so far taught me how to shift and adjust my skills to suit a new challenge which I think is a big plus in all of this.

I am completely at a loss as to what I should do now and would love to hear thought/ ideas in hope it will direct me somewhere.

Thank you
 

RedOnion

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Just some ideas.

Would you consider a career in project management? Or finance project work in general; working on projects to implement payroll systems for example. Bring the best of all your experience together into a niche. Work on one large project, and if successful you can quickly earn big money.

Or work your way up through Payroll for a multi national for example. Your languages are a huge benefit. And 45k is not a high target at all. But you need to focus on learning everything about payroll taxes across a few countries.
 

Blanca

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Just some ideas.

Would you consider a career in project management? Or finance project work in general; working on projects to implement payroll systems for example. Bring the best of all your experience together into a niche. Work on one large project, and if successful you can quickly earn big money.

Or work your way up through Payroll for a multi national for example. Your languages are a huge benefit. And 45k is not a high target at all. But you need to focus on learning everything about payroll taxes across a few countries.
Thanks RedOnion. Will read more on the project work and management options. Worth considering.
 

ginslia

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41
Some good ideas above.
Re accounting - there are many routes to an accounting qualification. An Accounting degree alone isn't enough, people will usually go on to do ACCA, ACA, CIMA or other exams (classes usually in the evening to accommodate working full time) to actually become "qualified". Other options available include the Accounting Technicians course which many without a (business) degree use as a first qualification.

The annual salary survey is published by Brightwater (can't post link) - to give you an idea of potential earnings in different sectors.
 

Purple

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My master's degree is in Environmental Engineering and I worked in the field for 7 years doing mostly project coordination, data management and data analysis. I then had to regroup due to recession and to raise my family.
Can you go back into that field now? If so that's the best way to get back to a salary of well over €45k
 

cremeegg

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I kinda disagree with the tone of the above posts.

What you need is a job in a good i.e. large company. Then apply for every opportunity or promotion that is going. Your varied background will be a huge help here.

At 45 you do not have many years of chopping and changing ahead of you.
 

Salvadore

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Because my engineering work was mainly around data analysis the natural choice was accounting.
What about Data Analytics? Big demand out there and plenty of relatively short length courses available for free through Springboard.
 

Brendan Burgess

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Since then I had 1-year experience as an accounts assistant in IT company and 5 years as a legal bookkeeper where I also run payroll for a small team.

I don't have an accounting degree and I found it stops me when applying for better-paid jobs in that area. I have done quite well on my own acquiring the knowledge and skills needed to do the jobs I did so far. I am also a firm believer in the value of experience over education.

You might be a firm believer, but there are plenty of accountants who have both a qualification and experience.

I have worked with many unqualified accountants and, as accountants, they are just not as good as people who have the qualification. Most people who would make good accountants have the intelligence and organisation and application to pass the exams.

The bad news is that even if you put the head down and become an ACCA , employers will not value a 47 year old ACCA the same as a 25 year old recently qualified ACCA. You will be seen as a wages clerk with a disproportionate qualification.

I can't assess your other experience and qualifications but I would guess that they would be a quicker source to higher salary.

Brendan
 

Steven Barrett

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I don't have an accounting degree and I found it stops me when applying for better-paid jobs in that area. I have done quite well on my own acquiring the knowledge and skills needed to do the jobs I did so far. I am also a firm believer in the value of experience over education. Besides, I spent 7 years acquiring various degrees and found that 90% of things I learned I learned on the job.

I'm sorry but you don't get to decide the criteria. If you want to work in accounting, you will have to get the qualification, otherwise you will always be limited in what you can do and how far you can progress. For instance, you will never be able to sign off a set of accounts if you are not qualified.

If you are in your 40's now, you need to decide what career you want to have. Most people have built up a lot of experience in an area by that age (the experience you talked about), so you are going to be behind the curve in that regard. You won't be able to compete or demand the same salaries as someone who is qualified and has 20 years experience in one area. You need to decide what area you want to work in, be sure that there is growth opportunities in that field and get qualified, if that is what is required. Then you need to work hard so that you stand out to your employer so they feel that you need to be rewarded for your hard work.
 

Blanca

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Thank you for all the input. It is very valuable to me to see the different points of view.
 

Gordon Gekko

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Thank you for all the input. It is very valuable to me to see the different points of view.

If your aim is to get to €45k or more, I’m not sure the bookkeeping route is the best. You could pursue an accounting qualification while you work, but the older you get, the trickier that becomes, particularly with work/life balance.

You’re right though that accountancy tends to have a bit of a ceiling and a hierarchy in it for people who aren’t qualified.

If I were you, I’d be looking more at your combination of environmental engineering, project management and the financial side with a view to finding something.

Instead of focussing on bookkeeping, I’d start looking at State and Semi-State roles, and broader roles in the private sector.

Best of luck.
 

huskerdu

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I kinda disagree with the tone of the above posts.

What you need is a job in a good i.e. large company. Then apply for every opportunity or promotion that is going. Your varied background will be a huge help here.

At 45 you do not have many years of chopping and changing ahead of you.
I think this is your best approach.
Get a foot in the door somewhere and then make yourself and your skills and experience known.

I agree that data analytics is a good place for you to position yourself.
 

Peanuts20

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Firstly, don't mention to any employers that you have a sideline. most see it as a distraction and would be wondering if you are serious at staying with them

I'd echo the Project Management or Business Analysis route. Getting a formal PM or PRINCE style qualification would help.. They're more tedious then difficult to achieve but if it come down to a choice between 2 candidates of equal experience, employers will often go for the person with letters after their name.
 
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