Young woman at school

by ACCA student blogger Pantelis Fouli

Today is a fresh new day, full of countless opportunities and possibilities!

Exam results have come and gone. Congratulations to those of you who passed, and congratulations to those who have attempted your exams, deferred your success to the next sitting and have learned valuable lessons in the process

If you didn’t achieve your exam goals this time around, don’t forget to be:

  • positive – as the great Napoleon Hill said: ‘Whatever your mind can conceive and believe, it can achieve’. Surround yourself with positive, like-minded individuals who can help you remain positive
  • persistent – ignore the naysayers, stick to your plan of action and execute it with a laser-like focus and conviction. Never give up!
  • patient – there may be exam sessions where you are not as successful as you hope to be… we all want to achieve our goals today! But as Anthony Iannarino said in his recent blog:
    Anything worth accomplishing takes time and energy. It takes consistency. Longer term, sustainable results are the results of doing the right thing, which always includes a few fundamentals that most people find unpleasant, over a long period of time. 
  • Do you have your steering wheel turned in the right direction?
  • Have you kept it that way long enough for the wheels to finally grab and begin to move you in the direction you want to go?
  • resilient – if you find yourself doubting your capabilities, stop, pause and forget the big picture. Instead, try to focus on your own exceptional, small, but meaningful achievements to date. That will put everything into perspective
  • adaptable – as a student, never be too big to ask questions… that’s what our tutors, mentors and peers are there for. Remember that an open mind is a receptive mind.

Anyone wishing to get in touch with me is welcome to connect with me via LinkedIn – though please include in the personal message that you are an ACCA student.

Until next time…

by ACCA student blogger Pantelis Fouli

As we approach the December exams our ‘inner chatter’ and doubts may be starting to creep in and take over. Perhaps you may be telling yourself ‘I won’t be ready’, ‘Perhaps I’ll hold off taking my exam until the March session’, ‘Missing one exam sitting won’t make a difference’… and so on. But if we spoke to our friends in the same way that we speak to ourselves at times, we would have no friends.

There is a quick three-step formulae outlined by one of the best personal development coaches in my country that states the following:

  • Do less. Think about the famous 80/20 rule, where 20% of our efforts in any particular endeavour is responsible for 80% of our deliverables. For us, as ACCA students, what does this mean practically? It means that our exams are now our priority. Delegate what you can to family members and friends in order to lighten the burden on yourself, enabling you to focus on your studies.
  • Be present. When Warren Buffett and Bill Gates were asked about their number one strategy for achieving all that they have, their answer was the same: Focus, focus! Be present in the moment!
  • Disconnect. We live in an age of continuous distraction where it’s virtually impossible to remain focused on our revision without being tempted by Facebook and Twitter. Therefore, to avoid all temptation, switch off your phones, tablets and PCs and focus on the task at hand.

Here are some practical tips:

  • Schedule your revision time and stick to it – consider that ‘the things that get scheduled are the things that get done’.
  • Wake up an hour earlier. Get in that extra one hour of study while the world still sleeps.
  • If you can, cram in 30 minutes of reading time during your lunch break.
  • Focus on the task at hand.

Let us all pull together for the final push of the year, let’s cram in our study sessions, let’s sweat a little more over the next few days… it will all be worth it come exam time next week.

You are never alone – remember that we have our exceptional ACCA Learning Community that is both a wealth of knowledge and support.

Anyone wishing to get in touch with me is welcome to connect with me via LinkedIn – though please include in the personal message that you are an ACCA student.

Best of luck to you all!

Have self-belief!

theaccablog —  25 September 2015 — 1 Comment

Selfbelief

by ACCA student blogger Pantelis Fouli

Self-belief even spans further into your life, into your professional and personal endeavours.

For things to change for you, you have to change. For things to get better for you, you have to get better. Do not wish for it to be easier… wish you were better! Don’t wish for fewer problems, wish for more skills – and that is precisely what I want to talk about in this blog.

Reconnect to that self-belief to increase your skills within our craft – that craft being that we all share ACCA.

Many people ask the great teachers of our time, what is success? And they sit and wait for a huge, complex answer. The great Jim Rohn said, ‘success is the steady progress in reaching your personal goals, designing your life like you want it and making that steady progress in getting there’.

We all have the core beliefs of what it takes to master our studies and to be successful in our ACCA exams. They are simple and clear. They are easy to follow, easy to do, but what’s easy to do is also easy not to do and that’s the habit we need to get out of.

Our personal circumstances do not get better by chance, they get better by change. Without a sense of urgency, desire loses value.

Another eternal question: what’s the secret to happiness? The answer I have heard many of the greats articulate is progress! Yesterday’s learning won’t keep me where I am today… I need to go and do today’s learning.

It isn’t about what that ACCA course costs… it’s what it will cost if you don’t invest in it. The books you don’t read won’t help.

If you think education is expensive – try ignorance!

Please stay tuned for when I will elaborate on the 10 foundations of success in my next blog.

For anyone wishing to get in touch with me, connect with me via LinkedIn but please mention in the personal message that you are an ACCA student.

Till next time!

by ACCA affiliate blogger Durre Adan

The aim of P7, Advanced Audit and Assurance, is to apply relevant knowledge, skills, and exercise professional judgment in analysing, evaluating, concluding and reporting on the assurance engagement and other audit and assurance issues in the context of best practice and current developments.

At this advanced level in the qualification, ACCA is aiming to test students’ skills on evaluating situations and applying proficient intellect to resolve problems or recommend ‘precise’ actions to these problems.

Allow me to suggest a systematic approach to P7 that worked for me.

Most of the marks for P7 are not just for knowledge. You also score marks for your aptitude on applied scenario-based questions. Initially, there are only around five or six types of applied audit questions. Therefore, phase one is to study the techniques for all the types of applied audit questions and grasp an understanding of theories like audit risk, internal controls, substantive testing, and so on.

Many students do well when they are tested on the techniques. However, many students also fail to practise these techniques during the actual exam, which ultimately leads to a fail.

So first, I would recommend recognising the key points to learn. Then keep practising exam questions (always make sure to use revision kits from ACCA’s Approved Learning Partners). Repeat this as much as you possibly can in the weeks leading up to the exam. Repetition can be irritating and time consuming, but it is effective.

On exam day, when writing your answers, keep re-reading the techniques and reiterate them inside your head and make sure you adhere to them when applying your answers to the question scenarios.

While preparing for P7, take time to practise writing a minimum of five bullet points for each accounting standard to help drive home in your mind the key topics. Understanding the more complex ISAs such as succeeding events and initial audit concepts is important. Core standards on areas like audit risk and response, evidence, and audit reports must not be overlooked either.

If that all seems straightforward enough, why isn’t the pass rate for P7 as high as it could be? It is discouraging, but you need to read, comprehend, grit your teeth and try to follow the above.

Rigorous exam practice can always save you from making any blunders in the exam – and I hope you find my detailed tips useful for your exam practice.

Good luck to those preparing for P7!

by ACCA affiliate blogger Rizwan Khanani

Looking for a job? Have some time to spare? Well, use it well! But how?

After wasting hundreds of precious hours, I have come to understand just how important time is and just how scarce a resource it really is.

Well, better late than never, I have realised some things every young finance professional should do whenever he/she can find the time.

  • Learn Microsoft Excel
    Make sure to gain a good understanding of MS Excel as it is your primary weapon in the field of finance and accountancy. Please don’t procrastinate like I did… I thought it was pretty simple and that I would grasp it once I secured a job or internship.Trust me, Excel is an amazing tool that will make your work life much more efficient. If you are not yet proficient, attend an Excel course, and supplement what you learn with some great tutorials that are available online.
  • Watch financial scandal documentaries
    During our academic lives, we come across names like ‘Enron’, ‘Bernie Madoff’ and ‘Lehman Brothers’. We only get to hear about the frauds that have been committed, but do we ever know the full story? If you can spare a few hours, try and watch documentaries like ‘Smartest guys in the room’ (Enron), ‘Too big to fail’ (Lehman), ‘The next financial crisis’ (US economy crisis), which all explain in great detail the events that led to these huge corporate failures.
  • Read
    This can be for any business graduate or even a science graduate who is willing to invest time in their personal growth and expand their views on things, events and people. Some books I would personally recommend for this purpose are:
    Seven Habits of Highly Effective People
    Who Moved my Cheese?
    Freakonomics
    One Minute Manager
    Communicate to Win
  • Look for an internship or a part-time job
    Real life experience beats everything. There is no substitute for it. Even if the job is not relevant, if you are a new graduate, you have much to learn and the corporate world has much to teach you.
  • Pursue your interests
    It’s a dream come true if you have a job that you enjoy doing. But what about your free time? If you are an affiliate or have just completed your exams, why not take some classes for that hobby or interest that you have always wanted to pursue, but maybe have had to put off while studying? It can be anything – rock climbing, music, sketching, public speaking, painting, martial arts, literature, writing… whatever.
  • Learn a second language
    This may not be for everyone but, for most of us, learning a second language can be a huge advantage if you plan to work at a multi-national corporation or want to move overseas.

Have fun utilising your free time in the most efficient manner!