Step by step employer guide to offering an accounting apprenticeship

This is a practical guide offering advice on the steps an employer can take to offer an accounting apprenticeship for a financial role within their business.  Setting up an accounting apprenticeship is practical, affordable, and within reach of every professional business in the UK. More and more businesses are turning to apprenticeships for all kinds of positions and to create a talent pipeline of future managers and leaders.

From the outset there are two big takeaways:

  1. The cost is negligible – as a small company with an annual salary bill of less than £3million, up to 95% of the training costs are covered by government.  Above this level, your company will already be paying the apprenticeship levy to the government so this will cover your training needs.
  2. The work is manageable – you will partner with other organisations to help manage the administration and education of your apprentice.

Recipe for success – How to implement a successful accounting apprenticeship

As with all successful recipes you need to have a blend of key ingredients for an accounting apprenticeship they are:

  1. a suitable role in your finance team that you will fill or create through an apprenticeship
  2. an appropriate qualification that the apprentice will earn
  3. an apprenticeship programme that is designed to deliver the education and experience needed to acquire those qualifications.

Expert and guidance on these elements is helpful to balance your requirements – talk to our team today!

83% – number of employers who try an apprenticeship who go on to rely on them to provide the skilled workers of the future.

Step 1 – Identify the job role
What kind of role are you hoping to fill with an accounting apprenticeship? The role needs to allow reasonable room for the apprentice to develop.
Apprentices don’t have to be school-leavers in their first job: they could be someone changing careers or part of your existing workforce who want to acquire new skills and progress their career. Identify a champion – someone who will manage and mentor the apprentice(s)

Step 2 – Find a training provider
This is one of the ingredients for your recipe for a successful apprenticeship. The training provider relationship is critical and for accounting apprenticeships you need an AAT approved provider – like us! We also help with planning your apprenticeship and offer a free recruitment service.

Step 3 – Work with Professional Training Solutions, your training provider
As your training provider we will help you navigate the process of designing, setting up and running your apprenticeship. We will guide you throughout the entire process from defining your job role, help with recruiting and coaching your apprentice in their end-point assessment (final exam). A key part of the apprenticeship is off the job training, as your training provider we will manage this – it essentially means that apprentices are required to spend 20% of their time away from work duties so they can focus on acquiring the skills and knowledge for their qualifications. For example, an apprentice who works 5 days a week, 1 day can be used for their learning.

Step 4 – Create your job description and advert if it’s for a new recruit.
Creating a compelling job description/advert is crucial to attract the right candidates for your consider. Here are some pointers:

  • Summarise what the job entails
  • Outline personal characteristics and skills you are looking for
  • Specify responsibilities and duties the successful candidate will be responsible for
  • State desired qualifications
  • Information on your business
  • Duration of the apprenticeship plus any qualifications included
  • Salary details and other employee benefits

“Creating a compelling job advert is the key to hook promising new talent in.”

Remember – your training provider can help you create this and your apprentice is an employee therefore they will have an employment contract just like any everyone else.

Step 5 – Finding your apprentice
It can take as little as four weeks to employ an apprentice, particularly if they are already an employee within your business, however 12 weeks is a more realistic timeframe for new recruits.
Here is a guide to the timeline:

  • Week 1: Listing the job spec
  • Weeks 2-5: Promoting the job advert online – applications will start to come in.
  • Weeks 6-8: Interviewing applicants
  • Week 9: Notifying interviewees and identifying who you want to offer the role to
  • Weeks 10-12: Time for the successful applicant to work out any notice period
  • Week 13: New apprentice starts 😉

Step 6 – Accessing funding
The governments financial support means for many businesses recruiting and training an apprentice can be more cost-effective than hiring skilled staff on a higher salary. The funding is dependent on whether your business pays the levy (annual wage bill in excess of £3million) or not. Businesses who pay the levy, their apprentices are funded through that pot of money for smaller businesses the government will pay up to 95% of the training costs. These costs are paid direct to the training provider – you will then need to agree a payment schedule for the remaining 5% directly with us or your training provider.

Step 7 – The final steps
Once you have selected your preferred applicant and they have accepted there are two final administration tasks you need to do before they can start.
A contract of employment – must be signed with your apprentice which gives details of pay, working hours, conditions and apprenticeship information.
A commitment statement – must be signed with your apprentice and training provider. It will iclude the planned content and schedule for training, what is expected and offered by the employer, training provider and the apprentice.

If you are considering an apprentice the best thing to do is to talk to one of our friendly experts so they can answer any questions and work out the best approach for you and your business – contact us