I have been working at Gascoynes for the last 5 years and am pleased to say I have finally passed my last exam and finished my ACCA qualification. Not only have I finished my qualification, but I achieved my personal goal of completing my ACCA within 3 years and am proud to be the first female to progress all the way from AAT to ACCA at Gascoynes.
I achieved my AAT membership back in 2018 and completed my ACCA in July this year. To say that 5 years of exams and learning is taxing is an understatement! To continue to do your job to the best of your ability and to study in your spare time is tough and you need a lot of determination to get through it. But I, along with everyone else at Gascoynes studying, are given a huge amount of support from our colleagues and our college, First Intuition.
Whether this is helping with question practice or providing words of encouragement when they are needed the most. Studying and taking exams always has its ups and downs but it’s much easier to keep going when you know you have a support system to rely on.
Becoming an apprentice was the best decision I have ever made. Being given the opportunity to learn in theory and apply this in my job was 100% the reason I passed my exams.
A key part of performing your best during your qualifications and exams is staying motivated. To do this when you have 10 exams to complete over the course of 3 years can be very difficult. The way I kept myself motivated was to set smaller goals, just focusing on passing one exam at a time. Setting goals and breaking down the qualification to each exam meant that I could better plan the time I need to achieve that target and gave me the chance to see the progress I was making.
To then make the qualification ten times more difficult – Covid happened, and this completely changed my learning. Firstly, I had to take a 6-month break from sitting exams as ACCA couldn’t find a safe way for us to take them. Once there was a gleam of hope that exams could resume, college started up again but from home. This meant I was working from home, doing college from my home, revising at home, and spending all my free time at home. I have never been happier with my timing as I had moved from a flat to a house all of two months before lockdown. I know every inch of my house now considering the amount of bonding time we have had!
The disruption to my college and the concept of doing it all from home initially caused me so much stress. I was so concerned I wouldn’t be able to study well from home and when college decided they weren’t opening again for a year, I panicked more and more about the road ahead. To make matters worse when exams came around these too needed to be done from home. Jumping through all the hoops to get the exam setup at home to having to sit still for 3 hours to finish an exam, I was sure I was going to fail them, every single one.
I had to be so disciplined when doing my college courses and continue to put in the same amount of time and effort I would have put in had I been at college. Finding motivation became increasingly more difficult but I kept in mind my goals and soldiered forward. A huge part of my motivation came from getting engaged in early 2020. I always had in my mind that I wanted my exams to be done before I got married, so there was no way I was letting Covid ruin those plans! I am incredibly proud to say I passed all my exams during this time and actually got my highest pass mark during lockdown.
It is exciting and a relief to have the letters behind my name, but the qualification is more than that. It tests your knowledge, determination, and willpower, it puts to the test your ability to apply your learning to different scenarios, and to adapt and grow. Being able to adapt is such a key skill for an accountant as rules and legislation are constantly changing; even over my short time within the industry I have seen huge changes in technology that have completely changed the way we work.
During my career at Gascoynes, I have managed to balance my work and qualifications and been given even more opportunities in the firm. These include learning and training staff on new software and, along with a team of colleagues, have been running the fundraising team. I am a person that loves to be involved as much as possible and want to give my all to a firm. Sometimes this can lead to you being spread too thin and takes time and maturity to learn when to step back. Something I am currently trying to learn.
I have now put my exams behind me, and I will continue to develop along with my role at Gascoynes. Already I can feel my role changing, I have had the opportunity to help others achieve their qualifications and I am proud that I can support someone the same way people supported me. I am excited to see what the future holds for me and Gascoynes.