My ultimate goal was to become an ICAEW Chartered Accountant and I knew that ICAEW CFAB covered the same modules as the first level of ICAEWs ACA qualification, so it allowed me to start my journey towards chartered accountancy direct from school.
I studied ICAEW CFAB at college while also working part-time. I would certainly say discipline is the most important element or mind-set to be able to successfully juggle work and study. I learned to prioritise and apply different study techniques. These were all crucial to be able to manage my time effectively.
My current role is that of an assistant audit manager at AmBank (M) Berhad in Kuala Lumpur. My role involves reviewing, analysing and providing an independent and objective evaluation in regard to the financial and operational effectiveness of the bank.
I help guide my team to perform the audit work and assess the efficiencies of controls, the appropriateness of various strategies employed across the business as a whole (or as a business unit).
It’s essential that our work is based on evidence that we gather rather than on hearsay or guesswork. We have to draw conclusions and make practical recommendations to senior management based on the evidence that we have gathered. We have to communicate the findings and discuss the gaps that we have found which need improvements or remedial action.
The key to being a good internal auditor is good communication skills and systematic working methods. The ability to communicate our findings and recommendations in a clear, effective and independent way with senior management is critical.
Studying for ICAEW CFAB and then the ACA has helped me with these skills. It introduced me to modules on audit and accounting which are very much related to a ‘real-life’ audit universe.
It has also helped me to think beyond the four walls and has developed my confidence during presentations to my seniors.
Apart from the technical knowledge in every module of the exams, two other key areas have constantly been high-lighted – these are ethical values and being professional at all times. I believe these are the true value of being a chartered accountant.
I act as an independent eye for senior management, the board, directors and shareholders. I must be objective during my audit review work, and be unbiased and professional when reporting on the operational and financial health of the business or business unit.
Being professional and ethical is fundamental for someone in this role and it is essential for gaining trust and respect from colleagues, management teams and clients.
In hindsight, I am glad I chose to study this way. It has elevated my technical knowledge and skills and all the blood, sweat and tears have all been worth it! I would definitely recommend it to others.
It has helped me to become an all-rounded individual, giving me technical skills as well as soft skills to launch my career upwards in the corporate world.