My final year at university was significant, not only did it determine the final grade I would be achieving, but it was also time to consider my career options. Throughout my education, mathematics had always been one of my major strengths and this was a determining factor in my decision to choose a profession relating to finance and ultimately choosing accountancy. Accountancy for me has many benefits as it enables me to further my learning and it offers variety across sectors and organisations.
Having chosen to pursue a career in accounting, I had to choose to affiliate myself to an accounting governing body and the one I chose was Association of Chartered Certified Accountants (ACCA). ACCA is an internationally renowned professional governing body with 162,000 members and 428,000 students in 173 countries. The requirement needed to obtain a membership to ACCA is to complete 14 exams along with 36 months experience in a relevant role.
ACCA offers the opportunity to study full and part time. I chose to study part time, where courses are structured around my work as an accounts executive. I have personally found this decision to be mutually beneficial both to my studies and my work. When revising I am able to use my practical experience in trying to get a better understanding of the topics, as I am able to fully justify my answers as I have seen first-hand the application of the theory and the possible implications that could arise.
Networking also arises from studying part time, as the course attracts likeminded individuals who have working backgrounds in various sectors. This allowed me to speak to fellow students to gain insight into working within different sectors, allowing me to form an opinion in what sector I would ultimately like to work in. Each and every student is a networking opportunity.
Studying part time has showed me the importance of time management, as finding the correct balance between work, personal life and studies was key to being successful. Initially I found it difficult causing me stress as revision was always in the back of mind which in turn affected my work. I slowly realised that I needed an effective timetable so I can plan my revision schedule to fit around work and other commitments. My timetable consisted of a tick list, which I check off once I had completed the task or question. This helped me focus better as I knew what had to be completed and stopped me from procrastinating. I have been able to transfer this skill to my work and as a result I have become more efficient and thus more productive in the work place.
Along with time management, maintaining my energy levels during the week is also vital for effective studying. Revising after a long day at work often led me to being very lethargic and mostly ineffective. Running and regular sleep has immensely helped me in maintaining my energy levels. Studies have shown that regular exercise such as running increases your alertness and improves memory whilst maintaining regular sleeping patterns ensures that your body gets enough rest to function efficiently.
Studying for a professional qualification has made me consider my long-term career plans. I was fortunate enough to start my career as an accounts assistant. Initially I was tasked with admin jobs relating to accounting, but as my studies progressed I was able to take on more accounting tasks and aim to complete them to a high standards. As I completed more exams I started to consider how I wanted to progress my career and where I saw myself in the next five years. I saw my future being a finance manager and realised I had to take my next step in the career ladder. I managed to secure a role as an accounts executive. In this role I am exposed to more accounting tasks and I am able to apply the knowledge gained from my studies. This role was more aligned to learning and a giant step towards my long-term goal of being a finance manger.
The events industry will benefit me in my pursuit in becoming a Finance manager, as it helps me focus on the strategic planning. Unlike many other sectors, the Events industry does not strictly follow seasonal trends. So when forecasting the company’s performance for the year it requires me to consider the long term cash flow as it will be constantly changing in the short term. Working at an events industry requires me to constantly review budgets that have been prepared for clients. This allows me to see first-hand how budgets are tailored to each individual client, and this assists me when I am planning the company’s budget to ensure it is effective.
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