TechAccountant

by ACCA student blogger Naresh John 

Hi all…so we’ve passed over the hurdle of results, I hope everyone was successful in their exams.

We’re approaching 2015 and already we’re seeing the dawn of a new era in education: From free online courses, like Discovering Business in Society to how we sit ACCA exams – as of January 2015 papers F1-F3 will only be available through Computer-Based Exams (CBEs) in certain countries. This shows us that technology is giving us new options and allowing us to do things in new and more efficient ways.

We as future accountants are exposed to technology in every aspect of our lives including work, study and leisure. Therefore in this article, I focus on how technology impacts our daily lives, referring to my own experiences and specifically relating to work and study.

Within the workplace, the internet leaves us with information overload on most occasions due to the near unlimited access we have. As such, we must use information wisely in order to achieve efficiency and effectiveness at work.

Technology in the workplace can be utilized in several ways:

Mobility and access to information

With the use of video technology and the use of Virtual Private Networks (VPN), employees no longer need to be in the office in order to communicate with their colleagues or have access to information related to work. Video technology can result in virtual meetings being set up via the use of programs such as Skype and will reduce transportation cost to the firm. With the use of VPNs, employees can configure their device to have access to the organization’s network once they have an internet connection. This will facilitate working from home which can motivate staff.

Improvement in efficiency

Technology saves times by speeding up the work flow process. This includes digital filing systems which save space, paper and printing costs. The use of computer systems allow for corrections to be made instantly via the use of software such as Microsoft SharePoint. In addition, submissions of documents for approval can be carried out quickly as the documents could be forwarded using email or via the intranet. This will save time especially in the case of submissions to be made to superiors who are not in the same geographic location.

Enhanced communication

Quite often, messages can be distorted when it passes through different individuals via ‘noise’. As such, the use of technology can allow messages to be sent to the all the parties necessary at the same time to ensure that the same message is received. In addition, communications will be quicker through the use of instant messaging and emails as opposed to letter writing or telephone calls.

With regards to study and academic related tasks, technology plays a key role as it has shaped the way that I carry out these tasks:

Life hack ‘to-do list’ apps  

Our daily routines and special events can be set on our phones or laptops to remind us of what we have to do for the day. This includes leisure as well as study time. As such, we can set study schedules in order to utilize our time more efficiently so that we can achieve the objective of passing all our exams.

Socialising with fellow students across the globe

Information technology has broken down the barriers of communication globally. Tools such as blogs, video communication and social networks (like the ACCA Learning Community) can connect global networks of individuals with a common interest. This allows for the exchange of ideas and getting a wider range of perspectives than if the individual was restricted to socialising with individuals from their country alone.

These are just a few of my thoughts as I believe that technology has indeed shaped our lives differently. While there are the benefits, there are also the inherent risks such as security issues (hackers, identity theft etc). We must therefore keep in mind that having the technology would not benefit us by itself, it is how we utilize the technology that will make our lives easier and more effective.

I wish you all the best for the upcoming semester. Take care till next time.

 

Photo by Luke Wroblewsk via Flickr

key-to-success

by ACCA student blogger Adhitya Fadriansyah

Hello everyone, how was your exam results? Did you pass all the papers you took? Congratulations to all of you who passed them all. Unfortunately for me, I took three professional papers and was only able to pass one of them, almost got a pass mark for another paper and got way below the 50% pass mark for the last one. In this article, I would like to share what I think was causing the failure, how I coped with the result and what I plan to do next.

What went wrong?

Bad planning – remember the previous article I wrote on self-study scheduling? I overlooked the part where I need to balance between workload and study time. For better planning, you may want to create a consolidated schedule between your study plan and your workload in the office. I miscalculated the part where there was an increasing workload in the months nearing the exams. For me personally, I would think twice if I should take more than two papers in one sitting (especially if you are working and self-studying).

How to cope with failure?

Share with someone – it is very relieving to share your difficult moments with someone. It can be your spouse, your family, your colleagues or even your boss. I am very lucky to have a very supportive manager. This is what she said when I told her that I only passed one paper:

You just need to keep trying. Do not get stressed out, it is a great experience. We need to be able to smile at our failure to overcome them successfully. So smile and try again!”

Her email really made my day – it makes me even more motivated to pass the ACCA exams.

Just keep remembering the reason you decided to study with ACCA in the first place. I always go back to The reason for my motivation article I wrote late last year, to help me keep motivated.

Think on the bright side. Think of it the other way around, focus on your success rather than your failure. I am now one paper closer on passing all the required papers on my journey to becoming an ACCA member! Yes, I did fail two papers and only passed one, but that only allows me to learn more and prepare better for the upcoming exam.

What’s next?

Have a better plan and learn from your past mistake – do not be embarrassed by your failures, learn from them and start again. Remember Dory, the regal blue tang fish from Finding Nemo? Yes? Well ‘just keep swimming, just keep swimming’ and eventually you will reach your final destination. Enjoy the journey, no matter how difficult it might be.

I would love to hear your experience, please share them and let’s pass the ACCA exams together!

 

Photo credit: Scott Robinson via Flickr

AfterExamResults

Blog editor’s introduction: Ng Jia Wen is a full-time ACCA student based in Malaysia. This week we asked her to share tips with fellow students about making the most of time after receiving exam results and starting the new semester. Her main answer is about working part-time whilst she is embarking on her final semester. So in this article she explains the benefits of taking on a job in-between studying – aside from earning the extra bit of money of course! 

by ACCA student blogger Ng Jia Wen

  1. Stay busy; avoid procrastination

Time is tide and waits for no man. Rather than sitting at home and do nothing productive all day, go out and do something meaningful with the time you have, while you are still young and able. For me, having a part-time job while studying requires me to cut back on leisure time, and reduces the likelihood that I will postpone doing important and urgent matters to another day, simply because I will be working another day!

  1. Gain transferable skills

As most of you who are working in full or part-time jobs, you will definitely say that working is nothing like how textbooks describe, whether it is a job relating to accounting or otherwise. Working puts you in situations that you have never encountered while studying, and helps you grow your emotional intelligence.This experience will also help you gain many transferable skills that will show employers you have communication and team working abilities. All of which can enable you to get a relevant accounting or finance-related role in the future, so you can achieve your Practical Experience Requirement (PER) in order to become an ACCA member.

  1. Keep active, mentally

Ever wondered why does holding a pen feels funny or experience the dazzling confusion on the first day you get back to class? Brain function deteriorates over time while it is inactive, so a part-time job helps keep the noggin at work so I’m more prepared when I get back to class when the holidays end.

That is all from me for now. Still sitting at your computer desk? Why not go out and do something meaningful?

Until the next time, study smart and take care of your health!

Photo credit: Steven Depolo via Flickr

ACCA-tuition-providers

by ACCA student blogger Shahroze Naeem

Earlier last month, ACCA conducted its annual tuition provider survey. I actively took part, as usual, and so was reminded of the significance of tuition providers. Even though ACCA is a study-around-work qualification, I might not have made it this far, just as smoothly, without the help of my tutors.

Although e-learning is very well the future of education, I still believe a tuition provider can contribute a lot throughout your road to success. This is why I have always relied and benefited from the company of tutors while studying for my ACCA Qualification.

1. Sharing of experiences and ideas

You might already have some tips on how to get through your next set of examinations. However, there are chances that you might be missing on other tips that are equally important. These tips can be provided by tutors who have gained experience coaching various batches of the same subject before.

All my past tutors were either ACCA members or affiliates. This means they had first-hand experience of what it’s like in the examination hall, how to tackle examination stress for each subject and many other ideas on how to get things done effectively.

2. An interactive learning experience vs. reading books and watching video lectures

With a tuition provider in place, you get to interact with people. You are far more involved in the classroom than you are while going through the study material, reference notes or video lectures all by yourself.

I remember how my tutor for Paper F4 gave us various past examples for each clause so that we would understand everything correctly.Even though these references were not included in the study material, they were still relevant. I scored an impressive mark because of his support and expertise in legal matters.

3. Tuition providers are also a doorway to future career possibilities

As I mentioned, all my tutors have either been ACCA affiliates or experienced members. They analyze each student’s performance and know where we are to excel in the near future. With them reviewing our performance carefully, we can easily evaluate our strengths and work on them to establish a sound career.

Good luck to everyone for the next examination session. Do let me know what your experience with your respective tuition provider has been like so far.

Editor’s comment: Search for an ACCA Tuition Provider here.

LeadershipACCA

by ACCA student blogger Pantelis Fouli

This will not be your usual mind blowing piece on leadership because quite frankly I believe it means something different for everybody. That’s the only way you can back up the statement that on a well-known UK web site that sells books you get over 90.000 books on leadership when you undertake a search. That’s just crazy!

So for us, as aspiring future qualified accountants, what does the above really mean, in a practical sense?

I try to live my life by the stanza: Do good and be good. But I don’t think that will be enough to satisfy a future ACCA on how live towards this concept.

Being a leader is one that should aspire to be the shining example of what ever organisation he belongs to (I will keep this business oriented), the practical steps one can take into demonstrating this are:

Managing yourself

  • Work hard
  • Set the standard
  • Be proactive, not reactive
  • Value your time
  • Be consistent
  • Set realistic targets for yourself
  • Have a game plan
  • Learn from your mistakes
  • Prioritize
  • Have a plan B and C
  • Recognise when your stressed
  • Manage your health
  • See the bigger picture
  • Be accountable
  • Be decisive
  • Be assertive
  • Be flexible
  • Don’t bad mouth your team or your boss
  • In doubt ask questions
  • Add value to the company
  • And the second part in my opinion to completing this leadership of oneself puzzle is:

Managing your team

  • Know what a team is and how it works
  • Set realistic targets
  • Hold effective meetings
  • Make your team BETTER than you
  • Let them make mistakes
  • Accept their limitations
  • Encourage people
  • Be very, very good at finding the right people
  • Take the rap
  • Give credit and praise when deserved
  • Get the best resources for your team
  • Inspire Loyalty
  • Listen to ideas from others
  • Don’t always have the last word
  • Use positive reinforcement motivation
  • Train them to bring you solutions and not problems

The list can go on and on and on, I believe in all the above, I try to adopt the above, am I a leader, I am not sure, I do my best for the company, I support my team day in day out. I strive to mentor them and coach them in the best of my ability with the thought that when they reach my age, I want them to be BETTER THAN ME. I strive for them to bring me a ready solution for each challenge they face in their daily routine and of course it’s not always hunky dory, I can also be extremely assertive and tell them in a non-threatening and a non-abusive manner on what I want and what I believe they have done wrong.

This topic is very opinionated, but in all your daily dealings at work if you use your god given gifts of having 2 ears, which means listen with one and then listen again with the other and then respond in a manner that you would like to be treated and you have the above lists in the back of your mind there is no way you can NOT go forward.