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by ACCA student blogger Pantelis Fouli

With ACCA, like anything in life, succeeding starts in the mind. You need to remove all self-doubt. If you truly feel that you cannot achieve your goal of becoming a qualified accountant, you won’t be able to. On the other hand, if you embrace it and believe the sky is the limit – you will be able to.

As I mentioned in my first blog entry, I did not study or successfully take an ACCA exam for 11 years, because my personal life and business life took over. I got married, we had 2 children, we built a new house, my wife underwent a serious operation and I changed employers three times in this period. Also, because I part-qualified, I felt the need to pile on the extra hours at work to prove myself. So I found myself battling with the balance of home and work obligations – and an inferiority complex.

Changing all this started by surrounding myself with positive, like-minded people. I had passed exams in the past, so I knew I could do it again. I had the desire, I just had to have faith in myself too. I sat down and mapped out goals to achieve in the next 6 months . I had to start asking the right questions:

  • What do I want? (ACCA)
  • What will this bring me? (More confidence, better employment, more money)
  • How will I know if I have succeeded?
  • What is the definite date when I will pass each exam and when I will ultimately qualify?

By asking the right questions and keeping your goals in sight, you begin to put conscious effort into breaking old habits and establishing new ones. Once I had won the battle with my inferiority complex, I realised that I had the required experience and so from this point forward would project the appropriate assertiveness and confidence.

Work and family life taking over was the easiest part for me to overcome because I have a wife that knows that me qualifying as an ACCA will open many different avenues that will bring a better future for us all. So she sacrificed some of her personal time (if mothers actually do have any of this) to enable me to study and attend college.  I used to think to myself, ‘how could I tell my children to study hard to obtain a qualification when I didn’t myself’. This thought was also very instrumental in getting me back on the right path.

If only one message is to be taken from this article, it’s…”BELIEVE”.

Till next time.


I have just found out that I am officially part qualified. It’s taken me a while to find myself at this point because I didn’t know what I wanted to do with my life when I left university.

My Dad said for years that he could see me being an accountant, but I resisted because I didn’t want a ‘boring office job’. However, I enjoyed maths at school, and being the entrepreneurial type, I find business a very interesting subject. So while I was living in Malta, I realised that pursuing a career in accountancy was a way of gaining a better understanding of business.

I studied exams F1 and F2 by distance learning (so I could learn at my own pace at home rather than attending classroom sessions) and a few short months later received my first two pass marks. Around the same time I was offered a place on a new full-time training course at one of the Big4, which I gladly accepted.

During the following few months I studied and passed the exams for F3 and the Maltese variant F4 (my fellow students were also studying F1 and F2; I was a little ahead). I have to say, learning the Maltese case names was fun as I knew very little Maltese! I have a new found respect for all students who take these exams in a non-mother tongue language.

Due to a relocation to the sunny island of Jersey, I missed an exam sitting. However, studying was soon part of my life again when I started a new job in the audit department of a small (medium by local standards!) firm of chartered accountants that September.

Going from full-time student to full-time employee/part-time student was quite a shift and with the steep learning curve of a new job, it meant that unfortunately I failed F7 the first time I sat it. I learnt my lesson from that and worked harder, so have passed everything since, first time.

I am now one and a half years into my Practical Experience Requirements/PER (3 years’ work experience in a relevant role undertaken either along side or after completing the exams) and just starting my professional level papers. I’ve enjoyed learning all of the material I’ve studied so far, and I’m looking forward to expanding my knowledge and understanding in the coming papers.

Please feel free to ask questions or comment below, I will always reply :)