5 lessons from a Chartered Accountant.

After 3+ long years, I am proud to say I am officially a Chartered Accountant; a member of the Institute of Chartered Accountants Australia and New Zealand. 

 What are the top 5 lessons I learned?

 

1. Patience

Never has 3 years felt so long. It's been a journey of tears and tantrums, hours and hours of reading, way too many snacks, and my fair share of wine. But it has been worth it.

 

2. How to prioritise

Someone once said to me, if you achieve anything above 1% over the pass mark you have not prioritised your time appropriately. This was a foreign concept to me. At uni, I aimed for stars... High Distinctions. But I quickly discovered that 'doing my best' had to be redefined now that I was also working full time. During my CA studies, the priority was actually on my work; I couldn't just study. I had to put the needs of my job, the expectations of my manager and my client, and my own mental health above study. It turns out there is enough time in the day to do everything, but perhaps not everything to the absolute max.  

 

3. Group work is so much better when you are not at school or university

I love people and I love working in teams but I have always hated group assignments. People are forever disappearing on me, are rarely organised, never know how to reference properly... the list goes on. I found though that doing group work with my fellow CA students was much better! I think it's because we all chose to be there. We all want (need) to pass. Either we don't want the embarrassment of failing, the shame of quitting, or we actually need this qualification to get a promotion or pay rise. So, we do the work. It's like a semi-traumatic experience that brings everyone together with a common goal.

(shout out to my awesome Capstone crew - Liam, Steph, and Max)

 

4. The importance of hard work

After topping my tax subject at uni, I went into the CA tax module with a little too much confidence. Unfortunately, my attitude resulted in a lack of effort which resulted in me (just) failing the subject. I learnt that the past is not a reliable indicator of future performance, that there is always more to learn, and that I personally succeed when I try my very best. I'm not just naturally gifted - I have to work my butt off for my grades. The next time I did tax I passed with flying colours because I gave it my all.

 

5. What it means to have this 'piece of paper'

Honestly, I think 90% of what is covered in the CA was already covered at University. Yes of course it takes everything to another level; we did go a little deeper on some issues, we connected a few more dots, we read a couple new laws and we went through some more exceptions to the rule. Overall though, the value comes at the end - when you receive the qualification. The piece of paper. The value of doing the studies is not in fact in the technical learning. It is in achieving the qualification itself. The market, employers, colleagues and clients see the "CA" beside your name and know that yes, you know your shit, but more than that, you have dedicated yourself to your art, that you are resilient and hard working.

 

So now what? I'm finished...

I'm looking forward to much more Netflix and a lot less time time studying.

I'm kidding by the way... we live in a world where knowledge is key. It's time to up skill again! I'm open to any and all recommendations of what to put in my brain next.

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