Contribute to ACCA Community

And so that’s how it started …. an email to Head of ACCA Media on 24 Aug 2015 with the subject “Contribute to ACCA Community”.

In the email, of course, I introduced myself and gave my ACCA background ie studying ACCA on part time basis while pursuing my career with Coopers & Lybrand (now known as PricewaterhouseCoopers). I have the passion to write and share my knowledge, just as in my blog here. The purpose I approached ACCA was to offer my service, be it contribute articles or as speaker to young accountants or ACCA members who inspire to be accountant, sharing my journey and challenges to be a qualified accountant today. Or any other suggestions to collaborate and work together as I just wished to make the best use of my time and contribute to the society while in between jobs then.

A week later, I received a reply from him introducing me to the editor of Student Accountant magazine.

After 3.5 weeks, there was still no news from the editor and I was thinking if I should pursue it further. Probably, ACCA didn’t think it was a good idea or my suggestions were not good enough. Then I remembered my first boss, Chris Wong, told me this “You don’t ask, you don’t get”. And so I wrote a follow up email to ACCA.

After almost 3 weeks later, the reply finally came! The editor of ACCA Student Accountant Magazine was thinking about the best way to use my expertise. With few emails exchanged, we agreed on series of articles by me, sharing my experience, challenges and learning on “My Life as an Accountant” starting from ACCA students life to Head of Finance of MNC. I proposed the titles of my articles in line with my journey and experience from ACCA students to finance professional with the aim to guide, prepare and inspire our ACCA students.Capture

After 5 months of working together and planning, the first article Why Accountancy was published on 28 January. I wrote about my ambition of being Accountant since I was 6 years old. ACCA editor has done some editing to my articles to make it short and sweet. I was so thrilled and read it again and again.

The 2nd article, My ACCA Journey was published on 5 Feb, just a week after the 1st article was published. I wrote about why I chose ACCA and the struggles that I had in studying ACCA on part time basis. I was feeling a little shy after reading this 2nd article. However, ACCA editor told me that they were very happy and thank me for being honest about all the required motivation and sacrifices while getting through the ACCA qualification. They added that having an honest profile is a great way for other students to identify with especially having to juggle between work, study and life. It will be a real boost to students reading about my story and eventual transfer to ACCA membership. I was so motivated by them.

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As of today, I’ve submitted 4 articles to ACCA of which 3 articles have been published. In the 3rd article, An Eagerness to Learn, I wrote about my worries of not doing and learning enough at the start of my career and how I see an opportunity in every problem.

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ACCA requested for photos to go along with my articles. I gave photos of myself taken about the same time as the stage of my series of articles. Unfortunately, some of the photos quality were not good enough for its sharpness.

Some asked me if I get paid for writing these series of articles for ACCA. No, I don’t and I never expected it. As I mentioned from the very beginning, I offered my service to contribute to ACCA community. I just wish to make the best use of my time and contribute to the society while I was in between jobs. My hope is to learn from this experience and be a better mentor/coach for upcoming accountants.

My learning from this is “be humble” and yet have a strong determination to achieve your dreams. If there’s a will, there’s a way. Sometimes, we are just not at the right place, the right time. In fact, I’ve tried this with ACCA back in September 2012. After a few emails exchange, it stopped and I was too shy to enquire further, thinking my work probably wasn’t good enough.

I’m glad that I finally found the right place, the right time. Thanks ACCA for the opportunity and most importantly, for believing in me!

The Journey towards ACCA

10 April 1989 was a BIG day for me. I joined C&L as an accounts assistant and on the same day I attended my first day of studying accountancy professional course on part time basis at Systematic Business Training Centre in Jalan Sultan. It was the beginning of an exciting journey for me.

Why I chose to study ACCA on a part time basis

My family was not financially able to put me through a private university here or overseas. I started working right after my STPM. My parents believed that we should be independent at the age of 20.

I was so happy to learn that while studying ACCA on a part time basis and work with C&L, once I finish my study, with the relevant working experience, I could apply and admitted to become a qualified accountant. This will be sooner than those who study full time and need to work after their graduation to gain the relevant working experience before they could be admitted as a qualified accountant.

Why I chose ACCA and its challenges

Initially, I signed up for CIMA course. In my discussions with my seniors at C&L, I discovered most of them studied ACCA part time.

I had a long chat with a senior staff, Alex Chan. Alex explained to me the difference between ACCA and CIMA. The general impression was that ACCA was geared towards service industries whereas CIMA was oriented towards manufacturing with its emphasis on cost accounting. I changed my mind and decided to switch to ACCA. I did not like to work in a factory. I always liked the idea of working in a nice office environment.

When I signed up for 5 subjects of Level 1 ACCA, I had to attend 3 days of evening classes every week from 6pm to 9pm.

Official working hours at C&L was from 8.30am till 5.30pm. It’s always a marathon for me as I had to wait for the lift, walk out from IGB building to Jalan Ipoh bus station, catch a bus and then walked to Systematic Business Training Centre in Jalan Sultan, waited for the centre’s lift or walked up the stair case. It was extremely challenging for me to do all these in 30 minutes in order for me to be on time in the classroom by 6pm and not to sit at the last row of the class. Often I would sit on the very first row of the class because nobody liked to sit in front.

Chris Wong was a very supportive boss. He asked me to leave work half an hour earlier (5pm) so that I did not have to rush and could catch a small bite before class started. I would replace the half hour by cutting down on my lunch break. After classes, I had to catch another bus, which was very infrequent after 9pm and I usually reached home at 10pm. Dinner was normally after 10pm.

During the other 2 weekdays where I did not have to attend evening classes, I worked extra hours to catch up on my work and learned as much as I could. On those days where I had deadlines to meet, I would miss my evening classes. I did not want to disappoint Chris who entrusted me with audit work.