ACCA - The global body for professional accountants

United States

Senior Associate

PwC

Jeff Tan

Jeff Tan

Route to ACCA Membership:

2003    Diploma in Accountancy

2003    Joined Singapore police force

2005    Started ACCA studies

2008    Completed ACCA exams, joined Ernst & Young Singapore

2012    Joined PwC San Jose and moved to US

2012   Became an ACCA member

‘Having ACCA on your CV definitely helps your career; recruiters know how hard it is to gain the ACCA Qualification, and ACCA membership shows you have both tenacity and experience,’ says ACCA member Jeff Tan, whose successful career includes a major change of sector, and a move overseas to join a Big 4 firm.Originally from Singapore, Jeff started his career as a police officer, even though he had a Diploma in Accountancy. ‘I had no idea what to do with my life when I joined the police force,’ he explains, ‘but a year into the job I realised that it was very physically demanding, and I wanted a career where my value would actually increase with age and experience. I was introduced to ACCA by my cousin, and was immediately attracted by the flexibility and cost-effectiveness of the Qualification, as it meant I could complete the majority of the ACCA exams by self-study, which I did while still serving as a police officer.’

After leaving the police force, Jeff began the search for a job which would give him the work experience required: ‘My approach to life has always been to start at the top, and so I first applied to a Big 4 firm and was very surprised to be offered the post of audit associate; at 26, I was older than most applicants, and hadn’t been to university, so my appointment showed the value of my ACCA studies.’

After three years, Jeff decided to develop his career further by moving abroad, and joined PwC in San Jose, USA. ‘I hadn’t appreciated the value of ACCA’s international reputation until I began the interview process,’ he comments. ‘Not only is ACCA considered an equivalent to a US bachelor degree, but the technical knowledge and practical understanding represented by ACCA provided essential differentiation for my CV.’

Jeff is now a senior associate in PwC’s audit and attestation department, undertaking audit engagements from start to finish – from researching key risks to final audit review. ‘Once again, my technical knowledge is a significant advantage,’ he says. ‘I know much more than those who entered the profession directly from university, and I credit this to ACCA.’

Jeff is now enjoying the benefits of ACCA membership and is keen to encourage current affiliates to maintain their progress so they can do the same – but also to enjoy the affiliate stage: ‘If you enjoy what you do then your progress to membership will be easier, no matter what career path you are taking,’ he says.