Case study: The ACCA experience

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Babington Group learner Matt Nixon speaks about his experience of studying with the ACCA and how he plans to use his new qualification.

After finishing his AAT qualification Matt Nixon went on to complete the ACCA exams in just three years. He is now gaining the practical experience requirement with Staffordshire-based accounting firm SHK Accountants.

Nixon said he was drawn to the ACCA course as it was a well-known professional qualification, respected by employers and businesses.

“Therefore, after completing my AAT qualification, I decided it would be the right time to further my education and get the ACCA qualification,” he said.

After speaking to the course tutor, Nixon decided that doing it with accounting course provider Babington would be the best way forward.

He explained that the support he got from the tutors was invaluable: “They were always willing to help and support me whenever I needed it, and on numerous occasions offered extra help within their own time. Their knowledge of the units was very good. Without their support I wouldn’t have completed the course in the time I did.”

But it was not always plain sailing and Nixon came up against a number of challenges.

He failed one of the first exams he took by a couple of marks, which was “a bit of a setback”.

In addition to the resit, he decided to continue to learn two more new units with the class.

“This meant taking three exams in the space of a week, which needed a lot of dedication and revision. It paid off, as I passed all three!” he explained.

Another challenge he had to overcome was the fact that there was a slight change in the exam structure between the fundamental papers and professional papers

“It meant a lot more revision and studying to ensure that I was ready for the exams. Personally, I felt that the advanced taxation paper was the hardest, due to the amount of content the unit covers in a small amount of time.”

On the optional units, he said he went for advanced taxation and advanced audit and assurance.

“I chose these as a result of my job role, and I felt that the depth of my knowledge was greater in these areas,” he explained.

In his current role, he said the course units he has done have helped in his day-to-day job.

“They have given me more experience in everyday tasks, as well as an insight into different areas that I may not have been familiar with before,” Nixon said.

On his next move, Nixon said that in the short term he plans to complete the practical experience requirements to become an ACCA member, and then continue to gather experience and progress in his current role.

Longer-term he said he sees new opportunities opening up in his future career with the ACCA qualification: “In the future I would eventually like to become a partner at an accounting practice.

In addition to starting revision early, Nixon revealed his top tip was: “try and complete the course while you are young, rather than taking a year out or leaving it until you’re older.”

About Robert Lovell

Business and finance journalist

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    avatar
    By Phelan
    04th Nov 2014 17:27

    Well... not to be a downer...but that was.....insightful and deep. Seriously. I mean it.

    Thanks (3)
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    05th Nov 2014 12:02

    Great article

    All I say is that, yes you should study and do exams while you're young. However, if not, leave them till you are a lot older. The in-between years are for gaining experience.

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    07th Nov 2014 11:49

    I studied ACCA, and it opened lots of doors for me, the knowledge is essential, However many trainees see the qualification as the be all and end all of becoming an accountant, and prioritise it over gaining relevant work experience, which is the wrong way round in my opinion

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