Why you need a Level 2 accounting apprentice
National Apprenticeship Week serves as a timely reminder as to how apprentices really add value to your business. And none more so than the Level 2 Accounts/Finance Assistant Apprenticeship.
However, its title is slightly misleading, because as well as being an introduction to bookkeeping and accounts, it also requires the apprentice to take on a far wider range of admin and business related duties. Consequently, you benefit from employing an enthusiastic and committed individual who can be useful across many aspects of the business.
What does a Level 2 Accounts/Finance Assistant Apprenticeship involve?
The apprenticeship is aimed at students with little or no prior experience of the accounts function. Initially the apprentice’s studies will focus on completing the Association of Accounting Technician’s (AAT’s) Level 2 Foundation Certificate in Accounting, which covers the following units:
- Bookkeeping transactions
- Bookkeeping controls
- Basic costing
- Using Accounting Software
- Work effectively in finance
All the above units require the student to be actively engaged in your business’s accounts function, getting involved with bookkeeping and daily financial transactions. In doing so, they serve as an extra pair of hands to free up the time of current accounts staff.
However, the Level 2 Accounts/Finance Assistant Apprenticeship also requires the students to have experience in other business related activities. This may include:
- general admin duties
- stock control
- customer services
- reception duties
- and so on.
Not only are all these duties part of the day-to-day functions of running your business, by getting an accounting apprentice to take on these responsibilities, you are freeing up yours and your team’s time to focus on other, more important, tasks.
Gaining wider business skills
As part of the Level 2 Accounts/Finance Assistant Apprenticeship, students are assessed not only on their bookkeeping and accounting skills, but a structured interview approach is used to confirm their knowledge and skills in areas such as teamwork, customer focus, communication, ethical standards and how they use your company’s systems and procedures.
The aim at the end of the 15-month apprenticeship is to develop an individual into a rounded accounts and business administration person. However, your business should also have benefited from having this extra resource across a range of functions.
Upon successful completion of the Level 2 Accounts/Finance Assistant Apprenticeship, this can open the pathway for the student to progress onto the Level 3 Assistant Accountant Apprenticeship. Alternatively, the Level 2 apprenticeship can also open the doors for the student to progress onto apprenticeships covering different topics.
Some businesses have a recruitment strategy of taking on a new Level 2 apprentice every 15-18 months, allowing for the previous apprentice to either continue with their studies or to leave the company to further their career elsewhere.
Funding support for employing an Apprentice
The impact of the COVID-19 pandemic has had a negative impact on the employment of young people. To counteract this, the Government has introduced several support measures as part if its ‘Plan for Jobs’ strategy, which make it easier for businesses to recruit an apprentice, but also to help businesses have sufficient manpower and resource to help them rebuild or further develop their businesses.
The support measures which are currently available include:
- Claim a £2,000 wage subsidy for apprentices employed who are aged between 16-24 years old.
- Claim a £1,500 wage subsidy for apprentices employed who are 25 years or older.
However, businesses must act quickly to access the above wage subsidies, as they will need to have recruited and enrolled their member of staff on an apprenticeship programme by 31 March 2021.
These incentives are in addition to the existing apprenticeship wage subsidy which offers employers £1,000 for every apprentice they take on who is aged 16-18 years old.
Moreover, SME employer’s only have to pay a 5% contribution towards the cost of their apprentices training. For the Level 2 Accounts/Finance Assistant Apprenticeship this would normally amount to £300 + VAT. You can even spread this cost over the period of the apprenticeship. For Levy payers, the cost will be drawn from their Levy account. Plus, where a business takes on a 16-18 year old apprentice and they employ fewer than 50 people, they don’t even have to pay this 5% contribution.
Further information about the government’s apprenticeship funding schemes can be found on their website here.
Training and support from Accountancy Learning
The process for recruiting and training an accounting apprentice, let alone understanding how to access the funding, can be quite daunting. But at Accountancy Learning we can carry out many of the tasks on your behalf. Here is an overview of how we can help you:
- Confirming apprenticeship levels – we discuss with you your objectives and the type of person you have in mind. We can then advise on what level of accounting apprenticeship would be best for your business.
- Free recruitment using our Talent Programme – we can promote your apprenticeship vacancy, sift through applications, carry out interviews and hire on your behalf (assuming you are happy with the candidate). NB. We are not a recruitment agency and we do not charge recruitment fees… all we ask is that you place your apprentice with us for their studies.
- Shortlisting only suitable candidates – as part of our shortlisting process all candidates must complete our Bookkeeping Aptitude Test and to have scored 90%+ on the test. Therefore, you can be confident of interviewing and recruiting top quality candidates. We also take the time to get to know your firm and the candidate to ensure there is a strong cultural fit between you both.
- Remote (and face to face) training for your apprentice – prior to COVID-19 we were already carrying our remote training, in addition to our face to face offering at our training centres across the south west. Since COVID-19, we have been able to ramp up our remote training and support, so that our apprentices can continue with their studies, even if they have been furloughed. As and when restrictions allow, we will be reopening our training venues for our apprentices.
We have an excellent track record of training and developing accounting apprentices, helping them to become qualified, experienced and well-rounded individuals who form an intrinsic part of their employer’s business. Our AAT exam pass rates are much higher than the national average and this has been one of the many reasons why we have won multiple awards over the years.
The next steps
If you are considering recruiting a Level 2 Accounts/Finance Assistant Apprentice (or for that matter, any other level of accounting apprentice), do get in touch.