Deciding on a career path can be difficult. There are many questions such as, ‘will I enjoy it’ and ‘will I be good at it’ which come to mind. These were the exact questions and worries that I had when I first decided to enter the accounting field. To find the answers to those questions I simply had to do it.
Choosing the right qualification for myself
There are many well established accountings qualifications such as Association of Chartered Certified Accountants (ACCA), Chartered Institute of Management Accountants (CIMA) and Associate Chartered Accountant (ACA). Any one of these three will provide the knowledge necessary to enter the finance world along with the prestige associated with these professional accountancy bodies.
Before making that final decision, the same questions of ‘will I enjoy it’ and ‘will I be good at it’ entered my mind. So, to help develop some answers to these questions I researched these three main professional accounting bodies. Then when I felt I knew (or thought I knew) which I liked most and fit me most, I went for it.
Time to Study
When I started to study for my first ACCA exam I just had my daughter. I was quite lucky, she mostly slept, and when she did wake it was to eat. As she grew, she required more mummy time, therefore, I had to become an expert in time management and develop the ability to sponge up information in 20-minute increments. Most people will attest, it can take 20 minutes just to get into the study mode.
As time progressed, I continued working, studying, taking more exams (and passing I might add) and taking care of my growing family. My partner and I eventually had a son. I was not so lucky with him. He did not sleep as much as my daughter and so that study window shrunk dramatically, but it did not go away. I just had to be creative in when and how I learned. Flashcards became my best friend.
Five years later, April 13, 2020 at midnight, I received news from ACCA via text that I passed my final exam. I did not believe it. I had to ask my husband to read the text just to confirm I was still capable of reading and understanding the definition of ‘pass’. ACCA are kind enough to write pass or fail in their texts along with your score.
This final pass was not just due to me opening an accounting book all the time and reading all its finance terms. It was down to, as the saying goes, ‘a village’. It took a village to help me make that final pass (along with all the previous passes). That village comprised of my husband and mother and father in law for watching the kids for many, many hours, work for giving me the time (which I was always in short supply) to study and finally my kids, who are now three and five, they may not have gone to bed when I wanted them to but more often than not they did and that in turn allowed me to study more effectively.
If you are thinking of studying and working (even with a young family), it can be done. Effective time management, a reliable support structure and the drive to go for it, will ultimately give you that professional qualification that you are reaching for.
The ACCA website states, ‘that ACCA members are strategic thinkers with high ethical integrity, strong financial know-how and the right business acumen.’ This is all very true, the 14 exams that they make you take ensures this.
Had I not decided to become qualified I would not have had the knowledge that I now possess. I would have only gained a certain amount of skill based upon my experiences with my clients. Yes, I would have had the support structure to assist me in any new and unknown client problems or incidences, but training takes time, energy, and resources. My mentors would have had to stop what they were doing every time I needed help with something. However, since I was studying for such a prestigious qualification such as ACCA, I was learning material and insights before I encountered them, thereby reducing the amount of time that I needed my mentors. Those countless hours of studying gave me more tools to utilise.
With each exam pass I was able to provide more and higher quality information to my clients. I could provide more skilled work, allowing those above me the time to offer additional expert advice to our clients. ACCA, along with ACA and CIMA bring a certain amount of distinction. They tell the finance world and our clients that we are part of a professional accountancy body that produces sound quality accountants who have integrity and are strategic thinkers that are ready and able to support clients.
About the Author
Dominique Saparia is a Finance Associate at The Fabulous Group and has been with the business since its inception. She has been working in finance for several years now, dealing mainly with SME’s.
Before she made the move into finance, she was in the US Navy. Towards the end of her career with the US Navy she decided to make a career change by going to university and acquiring a degree in accounting. Upon completing her degree, she moved to the UK. Now after living here for six years she is a fully qualified member Association of Chartered Certified Accountants.
Dominique’s favourite mantra? Just do it
What makes Dominique Fabulous? She is adaptable!