Jaye Snell AICB PM. Dip – Exe Bookkeeping and Payroll Services

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“I’ve always had the desire to be…’something’, and whilst at school I wanted to be everything from a Paramedic to Red Arrows pilot. It was only after undertaking work experience with my aunt in an accounts office within a local haulier business, that I really started to become interested in bookkeeping and accounts.

I’d always enjoyed learning, but school was a pretty horrible time for me, I was severely bullied from the age of 13 and shortly after making my GCSE choices, things came to a head. Being concerned for my own personal safety, the school made alternative arrangements for me, meaning I would have to attend the local higher education college to complete my year 11 studies (and I had to forfeit my GCSE choices). This was quite difficult for me, as I had chosen to undertake Cookery, History and Business Studies and had been entered for the higher-level papers across Maths, English and Science.

Attending college at 15, and being offered subject choices I wasn’t very happy with, I really didn’t do very well with my exams. I stayed at college a further year studying subjects that I was interested in including Psychology and Sociology, before becoming torn between continuing with my A Levels or getting a job.

Unfortunately, money won out and I fell into some part time jobs before being asked if I would like to take a full-time position within the company where I had completed my work experience. I took on the role as an accounts clerk and was given the opportunity to undertake my AAT studies with funding provided by my employer, but a lack of confidence, and a motorbike accident meant that the opportunity was never realised. On recovery, circumstances meant that I had to find another job as there were no public transport links and I had no alternative transport.

In 2005, I become ill with M.E. and pretty much gave up.

I felt my opportunities had been robbed by the bullies and this was it for me; I couldn’t get out of bed or function, I was suffering with depression and just hated life.

About six months later after undergoing M.E. therapy and counselling, I just felt

I can’t do this, I’m stuck in a cycle and I have to pull myself together and get on with life.”

I began building myself back up, starting with one day a week at work until I could again work full time.

Ten years later, my M.E. was well managed, but I still wasn’t particularly happy with what I was doing for a job. I’d always felt like I was on the back foot and at a disadvantage because of not having the chance to take my full GCSE’s like everyone else; I’d also not been able to make up for the lost opportunity of undertaking AAT, due to the costs involved.

On approaching my 30th birthday I decided I needed to try and achieve the dream I wanted – to be a self-employed bookkeeper. It was at this time I began an AAT course with a local provider, undertaking both level 2 and 3 via self-study. I felt a huge sense of pride and achievement every time I passed an exam – the feelings that had been missing since school.

After completing my AAT studies, I felt I wanted to add further qualifications to my remit. I had an interest in Payroll and tax returns and started to do some research; this is when I came across the ICB and Training Link. The courses offered by both parties covered all the points I was interested in and were more in-depth and practical than that which I had experienced with the AAT.

Training Link particularly appealed to me due to the Sage accreditation that was provided as part of the course – I thought this was a great way to gain two qualifications in one, with the flexible payments and the ability to study from home completing the package!

I began studying towards the Level 3 Diploma in Payroll Management in 2017 and both Sandra and my tutor Angie where amazing. I achieved 94% Distinction in my exam plus Sage 50 Payroll Beginner and Intermediate levels. I immediately started the Level 3 Certificate in Self Assessment Tax Returns, and this time I had help from Bev. She really assisted me with some of the areas where I got myself a bit confused and was hugely supportive when I didn’t quite get the marks I needed on my first attempt at taking the exam. After some additional guidance from Bev and further study, I achieved 93% on my second attempt.”

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“Taking the ICB courses with Training Link gave me the confidence to apply for my practice licence and start my business, Exe Bookkeeping and Payroll Services. After so many years of waiting, I was finally able to firmly take hold of the reigns and feel in control of my future.

Since April 2018, Exe Bookkeeping has flourished, and whilst it has been hard work, I’m loving every minute of it. I’m continuing with my studies at Level 4 and hope to achieve Fellow status with the ICB in the future. My advice to anyone looking to start a career as a bookkeeper would be to seek out the support of both the ICB and Training Link to help you achieve your goals.”

“I have also recently had the honour of being featured in PQ Magazine (below), and I’ve also been asked by the ICB to be part of their ‘ICB 100 Women’ campaign, honouring 100 influential and inspiring women bookkeepers, to celebrate the suffrage centenary. This was very humbling indeed and of course I was hugely honoured to accept. You can read my interview with the ICB here.”

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