The professional skills you need
Accounting is essentially about recording, reporting and interpreting financial information, so it’s a given that accountants need excellent technical skills to do this. However, the changing and expanded role of today’s accountant means they also need a range of professional skills that go way beyond being a whizz with numbers and Excel.
The added benefits of using My Experience
How recording PER regularly gives you the advantage.
Importance of work experience
We take a look at just how crucial work experience is to your career progression chances. Alex Miller explores.
Conquering stage fright
Fear of speaking in front of a crowd is incredibly common, but you can learn to use it to your advantage. Iwona Tokc-Wilde finds out how to become a more confident public speaker
How to improve your team-player skills
Teamwork is prerequisite to the success of any organisation, and to the success of the individuals who work there. It’s vital you keep developing the skills that enable you to collaborate well with colleagues and clients.
Playing to your strengths
Strengths-based questions are getting more common at interviews. We find out what to expect and how to prepare.
The secondment solution
We take a look at how secondments can give careers a welcome shot in the arm. Alex Miller reports.
What do employers look for?
There are a number of major traits employers look for when hiring trainees. We take a look at a number of the most common.
How to develop a career plan
We take a look at how to develop a career plan to help ensure your career stays on the right road.
Critical success factors
Some graduates, trainees as well as newly-qualified accountants struggle to launch the kind of career they want and deserve. What’s holding them back? Iwona Tokc-Wilde finds out.
Planning how you will meet your performance objectives will help you focus on the areas you need to to achieve your practical experience requirement.
The skills needed to be a CFO
We take a look at some of the most important steps required to become a chief financial officer. Alex Miller investigates.
Personal SWOT analysis
If you look at yourself and your career using the SWOT method, you can make the most of your talents and opportunities and gain advantage over your peers. Iwona Tokc-Wilde reports.
Most professions develop a language of their own. You will feel more confident in job interviews if you know some of the financial, accounting and business buzzwords. Just don’t go overboard when using them yourself!
PER: finding a mentor
Who should be your workplace mentor, and can you have more than one?
PER: ensuring personal effectiveness
The practical experience requirements to become an ACCA member include three Essentials performance objectives relating to personal effectiveness – your ability to manage yourself, communicate with others, and use information and communications technology. This article will help you to identify opportunities to develop your self-management and communication skills.
PER: setting and meeting performance objectives
Gaining practical experience is a requirement of ACCA membership. By meeting specific performance objectives, you will have demonstrated your effectiveness in the workplace to a standard that’s common for all ACCA members throughout the world. This article will help you plan how to gain the workplace experience necessary to achieve this standard
PER: ways to get practical experience
A variety of techniques can be employed to gain practical work experience. If opportunities seem limited in your own workplace at first, use your imagination to increase your options. We provide some useful guidance.
3 things you should know about brief therapy
Brief therapy is, as you might expect, an approach to counselling that aims to generate lasting behavioural changes in those it treats after only a small number of sessions (usually fewer than five).
3 things you should know about competency-based interviews
Past behaviour is the best predictor of future performance – that’s the concept behind competency-based interviewing.
3 things you should know about continuing professional development
When you achieve ACCA membership you will be required to participate in ACCA’s unique and leading-edge CPD programme.
3 things you should know about coping with change
Wait too long to embrace the new and you’ll be left behind.
3 things you should know about coping with rejection
There are few areas of life where rejection is as commonplace as in job applications, so don’t let it knock your confidence.
3 things you should know about dress codes
Dress up, dress down? Casual, smart? Suit and tie, open-necked shirts? Figuring out what you should wear to work can sometimes be difficult.
3 things you should know about email at work
Would you use your employer’s headed paper and franking machine for booking holidays or gossiping about your company?
3 things you should know about emotional intelligence
Emotional intelligence (EI) is essentially a behavioural model. Roughly speaking, it represents your ability to observe, grasp, integrate, and manage your feelings and emotions (and those of others), and to respond to them rationally.
3 things you should know about exceeding expectations
To appear competent you have to live up to expectations. To be regarded as promising you must exceed them.
3 things you should know about visual aids
Top tips on giving presentations
3 things you should know about video CVs
Should you put yourself on film?
3 things you should know about transferable skills
Could your skills be deployed elsewhere?
3 things you should know about temporary contracts
Don't reject temporary contracts out of hand – they do have their plus side
3 things you should know about telephone interviews
How to shine on the telephone
3 things you should know about 360 degree reviews
Get a more holistic overview of your performance from a host of different individuals
3 things you should know about succession planning
Succession planning can be important to both employers and employees
3 things you should know about psychometric assessments
Personality, motivation, interests, intellect, ability and potential – you can tell a lot from psychometric assessments
3 things you should know about productivity
Productivity is both good for an organisation and good for you
3 things you should know about crisis management
Crises rarely go away by themselves – their natural lifecycle is one of escalation, so knowing how to deal with them in advance is a valuable skill to learn
3 things you should know about flexible working
As flexible working becomes increasingly popular, how can you use it effectively to create that vital work/life balance?
3 things you should know about global careers
So you intend to use your ACCA Qualification to see the world, but what should you bear in mind?
3 things you should know about influencing skills
You don't have to be pushy and assertive to influence people
3 things you should know about integrity
There is more to displaying integrity than simply showing you've read and understood ACCA's code of conduct
3 things you should know about knowledge management
Knowledge is power, so how do you manage your knowledge?
3 things you should know about mind mapping
Learn to organise your thoughts visually
3 things you should know about motivation
Simple tools to keep your motivation levels high
3 things you should know about negotiation
Learn the art of negotiation
3 things you should know about networking events
Building relationships with others can be vital to your career growth
3 things you should know about organisation charts
Chart your success
3 things you should know about procrastination
The sooner you start, the sooner you finish
3 things you should know about performance curves
How to stay ahead of the curve
5 minute expert guide to NLP
All you need to know about neuro linguistic programming
5 minute expert guide to reducing stress
How to cope with the stresses of life and work
5 minute expert guide to selling yourself to clients and businesses
We look at how Neuro Linguistic Programming (NLP) techniques can be used to help you sell yourself and your business
10 ways to lead
Having good leadership skills are vital if you want to climb the career ladder. We asked you for your top tips on being a good leader, and here are some of the best
10 ways to get promoted
If you have ambition and want to work your way to the top, it’s time to get promoted. We asked you for your top tips on how to climb the career ladder, and here are some of the best
10 ways to be professional
Professionalism and integrity are essential attributes for anyone going into the accountancy profession. But what does being a professional entail, and what are the key characteristics? We asked you for your definitions of professionalism, and here are some of the best
10 ways to find a job
Looking for a job can be a frustrating experience. However, there are ways to make things run more smoothly and increase your chances of getting the job you really want. We asked you for your top tips, and here are some of the best
A winning covering letter
Your CV may be a masterpiece of self-promotion, but who is going to read it if your email or covering letter fails to impress? See what our experts have to say.
An insider's guide to employer accreditation
Cai Yun, ACCA student and accounting manager at Natexis Banques Populaires in Shanghai, China, talks to Student Accountant about the benefits of working for an ACCA Accredited Employer
An insider’s guide to employer accreditation 2
Rumen Gospodinov is an ACCA student, audit semi-senior at AFA in Sofia, and a member of the ACCA Bulgaria Steering Committee. Here he talks to Student Accountant about the benefits of working for an ACCA Accredited Employer
An insider’s guide to employer accreditation 6
Christine Chan, ACCA student and head of payroll and process support at Equant’s Regional Finance Centre in Singapore, talks to Student Accountant about the benefits of working for an ACCA Approved Employer
An insider’s guide to employer accreditation 4
Cicy Wu, ACCA student and financial management trainee at General Electric China, in Shanghai, talks to Student Accountant about the benefits of working for an ACCA Accredited Employer
Asking for a promotion
We reveal how to present your case for promotion and look at how ACCA’s practical experience requirement (PER) gives you the skill set to help you progress in your career and towards membership.
Getting your point across
You might know your EBITDA from your FRSSE and your IFRS 9 from your IAS 39, but can you actually get your point across successfully? If not, it doesn’t matter how many books you can successfully balance or audits you can happily sign off... someone with better communication skills will get the jobs that you want.
We take a look at why face-to-face networking remains such a crucial element in your career development and how to ensure you get the most out of such occasions.
How to justify a pay rise
Negotiating a pay rise needs careful research and preparation – as well as a good listening ear.
How to ensure your CV gets read
So you have attached a fantastic CV to your email – but why should your dream employer open it? It’s simple: your email can make all the difference
How to earn while you learn
Most full-time students have to make a living somehow – but can a busy coursework schedule be combined with a worthwhile job? We say 'yes'
How to build a network
It’s not what you know, it’s who you know. Networking is a critical skill in today’s business world, but don’t expect instant results – patience and perseverance are required
If you haven’t considered your practical experience requirements before, do you know where to start?
Like it or not, we are emotional beings, even at work. Yet, some of us are better at handling our feelings – and the feelings of others – and these softer skills make for a more successful career. Iwona Tokc-Wilde puts herself in the right frame of mind and looks at emotional intelligence in the workplace
Career development: workplace skills
To be effective in the workplace you need more than just technical ability – but it can be a surprise to discover just how important, and how varied, essential workplace skills can be. So what should students know and how can they prepare?
Career development: office politics
Office politics can be a complicated game to play. We take a look at the best ways to achieve a win-win situation
How to achieve a work/life balance
Work-life balance shouldn’t be the preserve of the exalted few. Everyone can take steps to calmer, more fulfilling days and badly needed restful nights
How to amaze the boss
Succession planning is all the rage – so don’t leave it until just before your appraisal before raising your game, says Calum Robson
How to apply online
‘Online applications can seem impersonal. But this doesn’t mean they should be treated in a less bespoke fashion’ – Sam Lee-Bapty, consultant, Michael Page International. We get you on the web
How to apply internally
‘To take the measure of oneself by reference to one’s colleagues leads to envy or complacency rather than constructive self-examination’ – Benno C. Schmidt, Jr, former president of Yale University. We talk job application etiquette
How to beat new job nerves
To feel valued, to know, even if only once in a while, that you can do a job well is an absolutely marvellous feeling. We give you a good start
How to blog
‘I never travel without my diary. One should always have something sensational to read in the train’ – Oscar Wilde, novelist and playwright. We update your journal
How to boss the boss
‘I praise loudly. I blame softly’ – Catherine the Great. Calum Robson advocates upward management
How to choose your referees
‘You will find it a very good practice always to verify your references, sir’ – Martin Routh, scholar and academic. We help you pick the right person
How to coach a new starter
Be inspired to be inspiring! Being given responsibility for looking after a new trainee is an opportunity to develop those fledgling management and delegation skills, says Calum Robson
How to cope with losing your job
‘Getting fired is nature’s way of telling you that you had the wrong job in the first place’ – Hal Lancaster, reporter. We help you move on
How to cope with rejection
‘A rejection is nothing more than a necessary step in the pursuit of success’ – Bo Bennett, motivational speaker. We help you get over it
How to get yourself headhunted
Unsolicited calls from headhunters are no longer the preserve of qualified accountants. Calum Robson explains how part-qualifieds can become in-demand commodities
How to handle too much work
Frozen headcounts and redundancies can pile on the pressure – but, as Calum Robson figures, staying on top of it simply requires objective planning and rigid self‑discipline
How to have an all round CV
‘There is no future in any job. The future lies in the man who holds the job’ – George Crane, publisher. We advise on essential soft skills
How to justify a pay rise
Negotiating a pay rise needs careful research and preparation – as well as a good listening ear, says Calum Robson
How to leave a job
‘There is nothing like returning to a place that remains unchanged to find the ways in which you yourself have altered’ – Nelson Mandela, former President of South Africa. We keep your options open
How to make use of mobile minutes
Calum Robson says public transport needn’t be a drag. Whether your brain’s in gear or not, you can find ways to make those routine journeys pay off
How to manage a friend
Promotion can create as many problems as it solves unless you are careful about how you supervise your office mates, says Calum Robson
How to prepare for your appraisal
The performance appraisal is your chance to shine. Calum Robson outlines strategies for a successful outcome
How to research potential employers
Standing out from the crowd is about more than having unusual hobbies. Thorough company research will give you the confidence to impress, says Calum Robson
How to score goals
‘Winners can tell you where they are going, what they plan to do along the way, and who will be sharing the adventure with them’ – Denis Waitley, author and public speaker. We get on target
How to tune in
‘Cherish your own emotions and never undervalue them’ – Robert Henri, artist. We get in touch with your feelings
How to turn a temp job permanent
‘Growth demands a temporary surrender of security’ – Gail Sheehy, author and cultural observer. We help you stay where you are
How to stand out from the crowd
Even when skills shortages are rife, competition among part-qualified accountants can be fierce. Calum Robson offers tips on how to stay ahead of your peers
Problem solved – reluctant traveller
I’ve been asked by my employer to move to another part of the country and I really don’t want to go. What can I do?
Problem solved – company paying for training
How do I convince my boss to pay for an essential external training course?
Problem solved – chair a meeting
I’ve been asked to chair a meeting for the first time – how do I do this effectively?
Problem solved – choosing between two jobs
I have been offered two jobs but the one I like best pays considerably less. Is it wrong to play one potential employer off against the other?
Problem solved – conducting job interviews
I’ve been asked to conduct a series of job interviews. This will be my first time – and my boss will be with me. How can I prepare?
Problem solved – delegation
My boss is always dumping stuff on me at the last minute. How can I convince him to delegate work to me sooner so that there’s less pressure and I can do a better job?
Problem solved – gaining confidence
I get nervous before going to meetings and clam up if asked for my opinion in front of everyone there. How can I gain confidence?
Problem solved – helpdesk
I’m the only person in my office who understands our computer systems, but I’m falling behind with my work because I spend so long sorting out problems for other people
Problem solved – I don't like delegating
I don’t like delegating – because I don’t think anyone could do the job as well as I can. How do I get over this?
Problem solved – interviews
I want to attend interviews for other jobs but I don't want to lie to my current employer
Problem solved – ethics in the workplace
It is important that I work for an organisation that practises good corporate ethics – how closely can I question potential employers at interview?
Problem solved – I've lost motivation
I’ve lost motivation a few months into a job I was really enthusiastic about. How do I regain the magic?
Problem solved – lack of assistance
My previous acting supervisor won’t give me help, as he openly resents my promotion above him. I want to establish a good supervisor-subordinate relationship before going to management. Tactics?
Problem solved – mission accomplished
I’ve been asked to manage a project across various departments. The team includes people I’ve never worked with before, and some are known to be uncooperative. How can I ensure success?
Problem solved – moaning manager
My supervisor is always negative about work and expects me to agree with him. How do I ignore him and ensure my own progression in the company?
Problem solved – not being a team player
I’ve been criticised for not being enough of a team player. However, I prefer working on my own as I get more done in a shorter time. Is that such a bad thing?
Problem solved – pay rise or promotion
My boss inflates my tiniest errors (which are rare) to avoid giving me a pay rise or promotion. How can I get him to see me in a more positive light?
Problem solved – recruitment interviews
My recruitment consultant keeps pushing me to attend interviews for jobs I don’t want. How do I stop this without being dropped by them?
Problem solved – revealing personal life
One of my colleagues always asks me about my personal life after telling me about hers – when I don’t want to know. How can I stop her without causing offence?
Problem solved – salary review
I want to ask for a salary review at my performance appraisal but have been told the appraisal is strictly about my work – how can I get it into the discussion?
Problem solved – second interviews
I perform well at first interview but always seem to let myself down in the second. How can I get past that barrier?
Problem solved – stop the bullying
My manager is making my life a nightmare. There’s no HR department to talk to, and I don’t want to leave while I’m still studying. How can I stop the bullying?
Problem solved – the tasks I'm given are too basic
The tasks I’m given at work are too basic. I feel like I’ll never get a promotion here because I don't get a chance to show what I’m capable of
Problem solved – time management
Work and study are taking up so much of my time that it is affecting my relationship with my partner. How can I make more time for her?
Problem solved – time management
Work and study are taking up so much of my time that it is affecting my relationship with my partner. How can I make more time for her?
Problem solved – timewasters
My timewasting colleague, who’s worked for my employer longer than I have, always avoids being caught surfing the Internet or making personal calls. What can I do without being a telltale?
Problem solved – troublemaker
I’m one of the staff representatives on our management board. We always agree a united approach when raising difficult issues, but I end up doing all the talking and then look like a troublemaker
Problem solved – visiting clients
I have to visit clients in areas where I don’t feel safe. I don’t want to complain and appear weak, but it is making me very anxious and unhappy
Problem solved – worst jobs
How can I stop my boss passing on all the worst jobs to me?
Problem solved – assessment centre
I’ve made it through the first interview stage for a new job; now I’ve been asked to attend an assessment centre with other candidates. What should I expect to happen?
Problem solved – my manager doesn't appear to know his own job role
My manager doesn’t appear to know his own job role or want to help me with mine. What should I do?
Problem solved – professional CV
I am going to be applying for new jobs but don’t feel confident when writing about myself in a persuasive way. Would it be a good idea to pay for a professionally written CV?
Problem solved – promotion
A good friend and I are both in line for the same promotion at work. How can I try to make sure I get the job – without putting our friendship at risk?
Problem solved – spending budget on a temp
We are desperate for extra resources at year-end, and when special projects are running. How do I convince my boss to spend her budget on a temp?
Problem solved – undermining boss
My boss keeps going directly to people in my team with instructions that override my decisions. How can I stop him? It’s making me want to leave
Problem solved – moving from a pure accountancy role
I’m considering moving on from a pure accountancy role – I don’t enjoy the work as much as I’d like to. What should I do instead?
Things you need to know: sustainability reporting
As sustainability becomes an increasingly important issue, it is vital that accountants are up to speed on the subject. So what do they need to know?
There are a number of forms of communication essential in a successful career. We bring you tips on mastering internal, external, oral and written forms
Job search: cover letters
Your CV may be a masterpiece of self-promotion, but who’s going to read it if your email or covering letter fails to impress?
Career focus: specialising in IFRS
IFRS, convergence and accounting standards are buzzwords at the moment, but how can you develop a career specialising in these areas?
Career focus: insolvency and corporate recovery
To be a success in the area of insolvency and corporate recovery you need to understand how numbers equal life, so how do you get in to it and what can you get out of it? Beth Holmes reports
Careers focus: Africa
How have global economic conditions impacted on the demand for accountancy skills in Africa? Calum Robson talks to local experts in four African ACCA strongholds
Career focus: internal audit
If you want to test yourself in one of the most challenging roles an accountant can have, look at the world of internal audit, where the rewards are as high as the expectations
The language of financial reporting
The term ‘financial reporting’ means different things to different people – even accountants – so Student Accountant is seeking clarification
The art of negotiation
We bring you a guide to the needs and benefits of negotiating and how to do it successfully. Effective use will be a benefit in your social life as much as at work
The path to ACCA membership
If you want to fully exploit all of the time and effort you have put into passing your exams, you need to think about career progression
Presenting financial information
We bring you a guide to presenting that all-important financial information in a way that is friendly to non-accountants
Planning your work experience
A proactive approach to planning your practical experience requirement will help you reach your ultimate goal of ACCA membership. Student Accountant looks at how you can plan effectively
Sally Tanner, ACCA member and forensic investigator for the Financial Services Authority (FSA), talks to Student Accountant about the benefits of working for an ACCA Accredited Employer
A career in investigation – Jekaterina Novikova
Jekaterina Novikova, investigator, European Anti-Fraud Office, European Commission, Brussels
Affiliate in 60 seconds – Pawel Kicman
Pawel Kicman talks to Student Accountant about his career as cluster finance controller at Philips Electronics in Warsaw, Poland
Affiliate in 60 seconds – Danielle Scott
Danielle Scott, financial controller at Speedferries in Dover, UK, talks to Student Accountant about her route to a dream job, about taking nine years to complete the ACCA exams, and how sometimes you need to take a step down, to move up in your career
Going places – Jason Bryan
Affiliate Jason Bryan talks to Student Accountant about his career at Air Jamaica
Member profile – Aaron Au
Since 2003, Aaron has been working at Lei Shing Hong Automobile Ltd, a leading dealer for Mercedes-Benz in Asia. Based in Vietnam, he is now in charge of business development in south east Asia.
Member profile – Anne Keogh
Anne is the CFO of NeedaHotel.com (NaH)
Member profile – Chansa Chiteba
Chansa is currently CEO of Stewart & Paisley, a consulting practice he set up nearly four years ago in Lusaka
Member profile – David Rawlings
David is currently chief financial officer of the UK business of Reinsurance Group of America (RGA)
Member profile – Evgeniy Notkin
Evgeniy has been working at Nissan Motor Russia since 2003
Member profile – Patrick Neary
Patrick Neary is currently chief executive officer of the Financial Regulator
Member profile – Victor Ng
President of ACCA Hong Kong 2004–2005. Victor has worked for Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu in Hong Kong since 1984 and is currently a partner and head of audit
Student in 60 seconds – Ahmad Asadullah
Ahmad Asadullah talks to Student Accountant about his job as chief accountant, CPS, at Weatherford Oil Tools Middle East Ltd in Dubai
Student in 60 seconds – Alana Jurawan
Alana Jurawan talks to Student Accountant about her career as senior business process analyst at PepsiAmericas Inc, Illinois, US
Student in 60 seconds – Antoinette Robinson
Antoinette Robinson talks to Student Accountant about her career as examiner at the Jamaica Co-operative Credit Union League
Student in 60 seconds – Kwadwo Asomaning
ACCA student Kwadwo Asomaning explains how his studies have helped him develop an exciting career with P&O Nedlloyd Container Lines Ltd
Student in 60 seconds – Bridget Kunda
Bridget Kunda from London, UK, passed her final exams in December 2007 after working part time and studying full time
Student in 60 seconds – Constance Holtzhausen
Professional Scheme student Constance Holtzhausen tells Student Accountant about working for Internet auction website eBay
On secondment – Didzis Berzins
Didzis Berzins, senior accountant, PwC, Melbourne, Australia
Sharing expertise – George Muriuk
ACCA student George Muriuki’s career in accountancy began in 2003, and has included roles in both operations, sales, and now the not-for-profit sector, demonstrating the versatility of accountancy training
In Afghanistan – Khetab Habibi
Khetab Habibi, associate financial controller, USAID/LTERA, Kabul, Afghanistan, explains how studying towards the CAT qualification has changed his life
Work focus – Muhammad Hasan Jamal
Working at Platinum Approved Employer Moore Stephens in Dubai, UAE, Muhammad Hasan Jamal explains how his employer ensures that his work is geared towards achieving performance objectives to meet ACCA’s practical experience requirements
60 second interview – Chapa Kunda
Chapa Kunda, general accountant at FINCA Zambia, talks to Student Accountant about his inspiration for a career in finance, and his ambitions for the future