After becoming an ACCA affiliate, how do I make the best use of this qualification?

ACCA in my opinion is neither a strong qualification nor a specialization therefore you as an individual will have to accumulate a various skill sets to be useful to employers or a segment of business.

  1. Identify what your strengths were within the ACCA qualification itself. Was it tax, corporate reporting, audit (yuck) or business strategy? This will enable you to promote yourself better to potential employers and speak with enthusiasm and passion towards a specific function because no employer wants to hear “I am unsure of which segment I perform best in” or even worse “I can do anything/everything because I passed all my papers”

    Nothing will make them scoff faster and write you off as a strong candidate.
  2. Be thorough in basic accounting and bookkeeping. Some people reading this may think it is a given but I joined an audit firm early on whilst pursuing my ACCA. I gripped audit concepts very quickly yet failed my audit papers multiple times consecutively. My accounting knowledge was abysmal but I passed all my reporting papers easily and systematically.

    At the end of the day, you are expected to have basic accounting concepts and frameworks etched into your soul. Drown yourself in the knowledge and simplify them as much as you can to explain to a layman or a person who has no idea what accounting is.

    Managers, recruiters and people of power love when a concept can be simplified and explained in one sentence if not two. Speaking for 5 minutes does not mean that you know a topic, personally I am realizing that the longer a person speaks the more ambiguous it gets.
  3. Never think it is not your job. Just because you are not a master of presentations and an ACCA affiliate do not turn away or stop paying attention. This skills are priceless and are not touched upon even in the slightest within the ACCA qualification. Either do a course in presentation preparation and possibly giving a presentation (toast masters, etc) because you do not want to be the guy who spends all night preparing a presentation (possibly a bad one) and then watching the presenter bask in all the glory or burn you later because it was under par.
  4. Learn how to communicate. Again, an INTEGRAL part of business and a corporate environment that is worth its weight in gold in comparison to accounting and finance knowledge. A few years in to your career you will realize that people with a network and corporate friends have better opportunities than you do, the one with all knowledge from every textbook.

  5. Be aware of everything around you but most of all.. your company/industry. The news, political situation and even more importantly the consequences of certain laws put in place. I HATE politics, I think it is a waste of time and literally zone out when people begin waste time debating but I am aware of what could possibly happen if one thing happens or not.

    Develop a general curiosity, best chance is making a friend who is very knowledgeable although do know what his/her stance is so you know where there could possibly be bias. This usually helps gauge why something is happening ie. An industry is moving in a certain direction etc

    But most of all, be COMPLETELY engrossed in your own industry. If you are not passionate about it and unable to grasp, I implore you to jump ship because no amount of money is worth spending 8–10 hours a day being forced to think about a certain industry when you neither feel anything for it nor can understand it.

    I know people who are unemployed or broke may debate but after 5 years do you want to be an expert in the PVC plastic industry while the whole time you hate yourself for it? I would say jump ship as early as possible to save yourself hospital bills and regret.
Best of luck.

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