One Minute Interview
1. Why did you decide to pursue an ACCA education while serving NS?
My dad, an accountant, persuaded me to embark on the ACCA programme when I was in Basic Military Training. The combination of my dad’s insistence, my want to avoid mental atrophy and explore what the study of accountancy, my second choice after law, entails culminated in me registering for the first ACCA examination paper and subsequently the following ones.
2. And how did you come to know about the ACCA programme?
I first became aware of the ACCA programme through my dad. I knew of the ACCA programme since a very young age as my dad graduated from the ACCA programme, and eventually leveraged on the qualification to lecture on tax issues and head a group involved in providing accounting, audit, corporate secretarial and tax services, amongst many other services provided.
3. Were you considering similar qualifications from other professional bodies then? How did this one stand out?
To be honest, I entered the ACCA programme hugely ignorant of other professional bodies - I was after all only 18 and all I cared about was doing well for my O and A levels.
However, my need to find a reason to be committed to the ACCA programme led me to research on other alternatives in hope of finding one that would confer the same amount of benefit and recognition but could be completed in a shorter time span.
ACCA stood out from other professional accountancy qualifications as it can be completed part-time in 2 years, is globally recognized and has rigorous membership requirements such that employers from all over the world respect it.
4. How does ACCA ensure that it is aligned with industry needs? Please refer to some of the ACCA papers which struck you as particularly useful or relevant.
There are two pre-requisites to becoming a member of ACCA: pass all 14 ACCA papers and clocking 3-year worth of practical experience in a finance or accounting related field. The former, which are frequently reviewed for its practicality and relevance, familiarizes the student with the core areas in accountancy and finance while the latter ensures that knowledge gained is cemented and complemented with practical experience.
The usefulness of anything boils down to what its purpose is. I studied for the ACCA examinations with the intent of finding out what accountancy is about and acquiring accounting and financial knowledge that could be of help to a lawyer. All ACCA papers are relevant to aspiring accountants and the few papers I found especially useful to a lawyer are F7/P2 Financial Reporting and Corporate Reporting, P1 Governance, Risk and Ethics and F6/P6 Taxation.
5. Please share with us a memorable experience in class / or any part of your student life with ACCA. And why is this meaningful to you?
As a large proportion of the 14 ACCA examinations were studied for when I was in the army, there was a constant need for me to juggle between commitments in the army and revision. I can never forget the kindness and support given by my immediate superior in the Army for approving my leave request to revise during a very busy period and trying his best to ensure that I can knock off at 530pm, a privilege I was granted for fortunately landing an office-based job. This is meaningful to me as it proves that humans have the capacity to care and sacrifice for another without being motivated by solely self-interest.
6. Being the prizewinner for paper F7 in Singapore for the June 2012 session, do you have any words of wisdom/ motivation that you would like to share with potential ACCA students from your experience?
I know of many who intended to embark on the ACCA journey, but procrastination ensued and they thereafter regretted as it was too late to complete the course before they begin their life as an undergraduate. There are also many others who were keen on scoring well for upcoming papers, but were unfortunately not motivated enough to invest the time commensurate to their goals.
I have the following mindset when it comes to examinations and life: set a vision for the future, breakdown the steps required to achieve it and after affirming myself that the vision is what I truly hope to achieve, just carry out the steps I have planned. The keyword here is "just", which implies refraining from giving myself excuses to do anything contrary to what is planned, even if I can effectively rationalize so.
I believe that no other emotion can feel worse than the pangs of regret, so I visualise my future self regretting what have I not done when I contemplate slacking.