tanoshii.ki is now a Chartered Accountant (CA)

w00t! As of Thursday, 24th February 2011, I was accepted as a member of the Institute of Chartered Accountants Australia.

At the moment, I’m not sure what the real benefits are, especially compared to when I was a candidate member, however I am eager to be a mentor for CA candidates or even CPA associate studying members!

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CA Snooze

‘You snooze, you lose’, as the adage goes… 

Hmm, if so, I’d better wake up earlier! My final CA exam is in less than a week, so I’ve been on study leave for most of this week trying to get my studies into gear. Have been optimistically setting my alarm for relatively early wake-ups such as 9:30am (considering that I’m sleeping past 2am), but I manage to snooze it and comfortably sleep to about noon. I’ve really got to stop it and power through the last few days left.

Exam is on Tuesday. Wish me luck!

Crock of a CA Critical File and CA Study Tips

One thing I have never understood during my now nearly two years of CA study is that the institute (‘ICAA’) has always harped on about the importance of the Critical File. Seriously, who genuinely has the time to do a Critical File? A majority of CA candidates (students) have full-time work, where some do not have the luxury of a parent running the household and cooking for them. Some even have to take care of a whole family! Luckily, I did have the luxury. However, I still never had the time or bothered to ever make a Critical File. And I passed every technical module in succession, as well as achieving one Merit! Everyone has their own style, but below I will share my tips on passing your CA – without creating a Critical File! 

The aim of every CA module is just to pass the module. Currently, the examination is worth 80%, so your focus should be passing on the exam! Honestly, anything more than a pass is really just a bonus. If you do achieve a Merit, congratulations! However, besides a certificate, bragging rights, maybe a trophy and a token gift from your organisation (if lucky), there’s really not much else to show for it… At the end of the day, potential employers just want to see the two letters after your name: “tanoshii.ki, CA”. Yes, focus on passing the exam!

Now that I have passed all my technical modules, let me share you my tips for passing your CA.

During the trimester

  1. Start early. I know this can usually begin with good intentions and fall by the way side at the 2 week mark, but it’s worth it. To be honest though, I usually hit a wall [too]…
  2. Don’t bother with a Critical File… if it’s not your style. As mentioned above, the institute always harp on about creating Critical Files, but it just didn’t work for me. Personally, instead of wasting precious time re-writing everything again(!), I prefer to know where the topics are in the CLP. This means knowing in an instance, which is the relevant unit, section, activity and worked example for a topic.
  3. Do your activities… or at the very least read through the answers really thoroughly. Know your activities (and worked examples) well.
  4. Print the official answers out to take in the exam. The institute tends to write exam questions based on activities
    (and worked examples) from the CLP, but will change just a few facts. This can be a blessing and/or a trick, depending how careful you are…
  5. Join a study group, for the almost sole purpose of just gathering extra files. I admit this is a shrewd tip, but if you’re not in a Big 4, you have a serious disadvantage in accessing external support and related files. I am not in the Big 4, but I have been lucky to have had external support by a small provider who gives out a lot of practical advice. Sometimes it is just the small hints and tips that can boost your morale and performance in the subject. If you do not get external support, the study group can be a vehicle for sharing tips and as well as commiserating over study woes – but don’t get distracted!

During the exam

  1. Attempt every question.
  2. Read the question and make sure you answer everything the question is
    asking for; not more, not less and not something else.
  3. Write down all relevant facts in your answer. The institute does consequential marking.
  4. If they say use a table, use the [suggested] table.
  5. Keep your writing legible, but don’t write silly notes like “Sorry, hope you forgive the bad writing “. You won’t get sympathy marks. Just a waste of time.
  6. Markers read every page, so don’t worry about “PTO” notes. Just make sure you clearly label which question you are answering in your script book.

Note: I am currently studying EBA. This is my last module and was known as the “integrative” module as it examines on all four previous technical modules. I completed MAA (Merit), TAX, AAA and FIN in succession. I do not work in an accounting firm and my role does not directly specialise in any of the above module areas, so I do not have a competitive advantage either.

Have an Enjoyable Easter Break!

The working life has made me think that today is a Saturday, but it is only Friday! Thank God for Good Friday Okay, that’s probably a little blasphemous… 

Received my final Candidate Learning Pack (CLP) for my final CA subject: Ethics and Business Applications (EBA110). I am trying to be more prepared this trimester as this is the subject that examines all four previous technical modules with an added layer of ethics and corporate governance on top. Already I have read half of last trimester’s CLP, plus quickly skimmed through the current CLP – and the official start date isn’t until on Monday! Unfortunately, I need to do this as I can hardly remember the four previous technical modules, so I have to factor in re-learning everything in this short 9-week trimester.

Hope you all have a great Easter break! I won’t be doing much, but I’ve already helped consumerism with my chocolate consumption!

Re-start your engines

Time to crank this up again! 

I know, I know. I have been MIA for quite a while and this will actually be my first entry for the year! It nicely coincides with CA resuming again.
Study -> procrastination -> blogging

Readers should be pleased to know I’m actually achieving one of my new year resolutions and it’s the harder one. Went back to work in the new year and saw on the intranet about a 21-Day Challenge which entitled me to gym access for free! Score! Since completing the 21-Day Challenge, I am now a fully-fledged paying member of the work gym Unfortunately, I have yet to lose any weight or body fat, but I seemed to have become stronger, being able to do more than 4 push-ups now Also unfortunate is that according to the gym supervisor, she thinks losing weight is only 30% attributable to exercise, with the rest related to food. I love food too much!

I have yet to visit the library though… Given that CA resumes in 2 weeks, the resolution will probably have to wait.

A funny thing. My blog got a little promotion on Contagious Network’s sample guide for members. I’m a little embarrassed now

Post FIN and beyond

It’s funny not having to study (until for a few months). I’m not used to it any more (again). Did AAA during the middle of year and with less than one week’s break, went straight into FIN. 

It’s nearly time to wish all a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year again. Where did the year go? Mostly on study and work, of course…

Here are some things I’d like to do post EBA:

  • Further study This could be something less stressful, like learning further Japanese and/or Chinese. Or the complete opposite way and take up a Masters in something. An MBA is cliché, but it doesn’t feel like it has much value any more, or probably more that it is probably useless to attain this when you don’t actually have real managerial experience. I’m quickly losing my Japanese proficiency and Chinese is always something that is useful to learn. Those Sunday Chinese school sessions were such a waste of time… There’s also the option of doing some completely unrelated short course of too.
  • Join a choir I love singing, but without any real practice, the voice really, really, really goes. I am quite squeaky and easily go out of breath. I need the basic singing exercise practice.
  • Get back into IT? I have the background; I used to have the interest; I just need to get back into it (geddit? ). It would highly unlikely be in programming, but more usability and business analysis, since that’s where my IT interests lie. I want applications to be easy and intuitive for the user. They shouldn’t have to guess where the heck some option is, or what does this strange icon do?! I just need to start reading articles again, so I know how that world is going as I play with dollars on the screen all day. And surely it’d be more interesting reading than AASBs, right?

Pending passing FIN (which I bloody well hope I do, I’d really better!), I think next year won’t be too bad. Everyone at work keeps saying it’s going to be mega-busy. I believe them, but “busy” in my Department is sort of a different busy compared to private sector. Probably a few more late nights than usual? Personally, I think it will be exciting and challenging. Besides work, it’ll only be EBA. Last bit of study and it’ll all be done. Wait out the 3 years of practical experience, get my mentor to sign it all and hello CA after my name. Not sure what it’ll really do for me, but hey!

I have a few things I would like to do very soon, so I think for the first time in my life, I am going to make some new years’ resolutions. I will expand on these in an upcoming entry.