Sunday, March 15, 2009

.: Speech-less :.

I did it! I gave my speech for Sunway's Open Day. It was really nerve wreaking! But I overcame my fears and just did it. Nothing fantastic or exceptional, but it's quite an achievement for me! :)

Special thanks to JC for praying for me and helping me out :)

And also to all my friends who have supported and contributed ideas on what to say *wink* :)

Good afternoon.

Wow, I remember it was a couple of years back, not that long ago, that I was exactly at where you guys are, sitting in Auditoriums, listening to talks given out. Never would I have imagine that the tables will turn and here and I am, hopefully helping you guys to make what may be a life changing decision.

First of all, let me start this off by giving a brief background of myself.

After my SPM, I enrolled myself into Sunway College for the CAT/ACCA programme. I completed my course in 2 ½ years with straight passes before I was accepted into the Big 4 as an auditor at the age of 19. It was after I started work that I decided to enroll for the ICAEW course. I was working in audit for about 2 years before moving on to commercial. I am now currently attached to Hong Leong Group for almost 2 years, my latest position being the group Accountant a Malaysian public listed company under the Hong Leong Group.

Many people I know have asked me why did I take ACA when I already have ACCA, as both are professional qualifications. Many even praised me for being so brave – having endured the difficultness of one professional paper and with that, knowingly opt to take another. Well I suppose that by nature, I am a go-getter kind of person and I decided that if I wanted to be in this field, I want to push myself to be the best in what I do.

Which brings me to the age-old question : What is the difference between ACA and ACCA? Well, to state the obvious, ACCA has one more alphabet “C” than ACA. So yes, I went through another round of torture just to drop one “C”.

Jokes aside, there are slight similarities in both the ACA and ACCA papers, afterall, they are both UK professional accountancy papers. In terms of subjects – both papers covers a wide range of subjects that includes - financial accounting, management accounting, tax, audit, law, etc

I personally feel that the advantage of the ACCA syllabus compared to the ACA is the in depth of the syllabus. The scope of things we learn in ACCA is much more deeper that what I learn in ACA, and there is no such thing as an open book exams for the ACCA. So all your rules & accounting standards have to be at your fingertip.

Whereas, some of the ACA exam papers are open book and one could make references to certain materials that are allowed in your exams. But having said that, it doesn’t mean that the ACA paper is much easier than the ACCA.

Now here is where I believe the ACA paper distinguishes itself from other professional accountancy papers. The three papers at the advance stage that is not just a subject paper by itself, but an integration of all the subjects you have learned at the professional stage. These advance stage papers have seamlessly integrate all the theories and technical knowledge – your tax, financial reporting, law, audit, etc into a papers which scenarios are similar to the scenarios that you may face at work.

One of the cool things about this exam is that it allows me to develop this skill where I could integrate what I learn and apply it to my work, as it is very relevant. Though on one hand, what I learn in my classes is relevant and applicable at my workplace but on the other hand, what I learn at my workplace is relevant to my studies.

I must say in this aspect, I have a very good opportunity in what my ATE (Approved Training Employer) haw to offer. I am involved in many corporate exercises in my Group. Being in the same room with the top management of a multinational and diversified Group like Hong Leong, the big C’s I call them – the CEO, CFO, COO, CIO I get to see they issues that one need to consider for in each corporate exercise. So when it comes to these exam questions, which I mentioned earlier – being similar to real life scenarios, issues that I need to consider becomes second nature to me. And this is how what I learn at work has helped me in my exams.

Having highlighted all the good things about ICAEW programme, it’s time for the “bad news”!

As the famous Chinese philosopher Confucius once said “ All good things are difficult to achieve; and all bad things are easy to get”.

I’m not going to lie and convince you that this course is a piece of cake. Afterall, Sunway TES is not paying me for this talk today to convince you that it is. But jokes aside it is going to takes a lot of hard work, determination, commitment and sacrifices. It’s really a long and winding road, and sometimes after a tired day of studying, I ask myself “ Why did I sign up for this”. But it is important to always stay focus on the goal. And of course, with the support of fellow coursemates who are in the same boat, the tuition provider & lecturers and also from my ATE mentor, the seemingly impossible task of passing these exams is actually quite possible.

For me, and I advocate for many others in my position as well, time management is of the essence. Even before I signed up for my ACA course, I was quite concern of being able to manage my time well. Unlike ACCA, for which I was a full time student, I would have to take ACA part time student, as I will be working full time. It would be a different ball game altogether. I would need to learn to juggle between work, studies and my social life.

For me, it was a difficult to manage at first – my friends and family sometimes don’t see me for months as I bury myself with work and studies. You can ask my parents sitting over there.

But once I got the hang of it, I am able to manage my time well. So, on top of a five-day work week and studies, I’m able to plan my time so that I could hang out with my friends and catch up on some of the latest movies, spend quality time with my family, take part in ICAEW activities and events – such as this, as well as being active in church. I strongly believe that though there is no denying that getting a professional qualification is great, but what good is it if you are not an all-well rounder right?

So what is next for me and where will this all lead to now that I am a qualified ACA?

Be one of the big “C”s in a multinational organization? Why not?
An Audit Partner of one of the Big 4s? Perhaps?
An entrepreneur like Dato Tony Fernandes? Who knows?

As cliché as it may sound, the sky is truly the limit and the opportunities are endless. Having this qualification has opened doors at the start of my career and will continue to do so.

I would like to leave with you all a last piece of advise.

At the end of the day, there are no right or wrong choices – whether or not you choose to take the professional route – ACCA, ICAEW or to do the degree route or perhaps after this talk, you may decide not to do accountancy at all. But whatever the case may be, always aspire to be the best that you can be.

Shoot for the moon, even if you missed, you will land among the stars.

Thank you.

* My parents came into the hall (to my utter surprise) to support me! Thanks Daddy & Mummy! :)


=tchia3an= said...

i like this line :"ACCA has one more alphabet “C” than ACA" =)

Kathlynn said...

This one was contributed by you, Chia Ean!~ :)

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