Why I wanted to be an Accountant

I remembered that during my primary school, most of my classmates didn’t know what to write when our teacher asked us to write an essay with the title “My Ambition”. As for me, I always wanted to be an accountant ever since I learnt Mathematics. Mathematics is so fun and amazing!

I recalled my early childhood where my older sisters were always playing at being teachers. I was curious about the numbers that they used to put on the board and pretended to teach others. As a kid of pre-school age, I wondered why 1 + 1 = 2, why 2 -1 = 1, etc. I remembered asking my sisters about the numbers but they brushed me off, saying I was too young to understand. I was frustrated and curious at the same time.

I still remember the day I went to school, I looked forward to Mathematics class. I needed to know the magic behind all this addition, subtraction, multiplication, division, etc and I would pay all the attention to the teacher’s teaching.

When I study Mathematics, I did not memorise formulas. Instead, I learnt to understand the formulas. As a result, I did very well in Mathematics. I always finished the Mathematics test before the time allocated and got A grade for the paper.

And I also remember me asking my teacher what I should do when I grew up especially with my love of numbers. “If I like Math and good in it, what occupation should I do?” They told me I should be an accountant of sorts. Ever since then, I knew my ambition was to be an accountant.

After the dismal results in my Sixth Form, I was disappointed in not getting good enough results for a place in a local university. My family was not financially able to put me through a private university here or overseas.

Without many options, I decided to get a job. I applied and got a job as an assistant with a small insurance company to help out in their paperwork. It was not the job to what I would have liked to do but it helped to ease my disappointment while I considered my next move. I was still determined to be an accountant but I thought then that the door was slammed shut in my face.

A few months after starting work, I bumped into an old school mate from Victoria Institution, Siew Quen. We chatted and it was during this meeting that she suggested that I could study part time towards a professional qualification in accounting.  Suddenly, I saw that my ambition of being an accountant being resurrected. During that same meeting, Siew Quen told me that there were openings at Coopers & Lybrand (C&L, now known as PricewaterhouseCoopers) for the position of accounts assistant and suggested that I write in for a job.

I went for a few interviews and finally, I received offers to work with an established bank and C&L. The bank offered me a cashier position with salary of RM420 per month, whereas, C&L offered me an Accounts Assistant position with salary of RM350 per month.

I was considering both options. As my ambition was to be an accountant, I felt that C&L should be able to provide me with all the relevant training and experiences. In addition, C&L also subsidised my ACCA course fee. Of course, the working hours with C&L will be long too.

At the end of the day, I decided to take up the position with C&L. My parents were surprise with the decision as they thought, I would choose the job that offers me the higher pay. I rationalise my reasoning with them and I was glad that my dad supported me fully. My mom could not understand the reason truly as to her and the market economy then, working in a bank was a glamour job (not now for sure after so many banks collapse in US).

I asked my seniors at work about this. They told me it was extremely challenging to work as well as study professional accounting course on part time. One of the senior told me “A lot of people struggled professional accounting course on full time basis and you want to do it on part time?”. Then, as a naïve girl, I asked “Is it impossible to study professional accounting course on part time basis?”. The senior said “No, but …”. If the answer is No, means it’s possible. Since it’s possible, I was going to study professional accounting course on part time basis. They were definitely not encouraging me towards this path. However, this made me more determined than ever.

Those were the decision making process on auditing life and professional accounting course and I was two steps closer to my Accountant profession.

To this day I am very grateful to my friend, Siew Quen, for opening my eyes and keeping my dream alive.

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