Student in 60 seconds – Bridget Kunda

This article was first published in January 2009 in Student Accountant.

What have been the best aspects of getting practical experience?

Making sense of the theoretical aspects of my studies and applying it to my work. Sometimes, even a mere consultation process by the directorate implicitly illustrated to me how good corporate governance principles were being practised at work. Because of the high standards and quality of experience expected to be achieved by all accountancy professionals, my previous finance director, Andrew Cottrell, was strict about how he signed off my experience – I managed to gain half of my competences during the time in which I had been studying.

What challenges do you face in completing your PER?

The challenge for me has been attaining a high standard of experience as expected by society and the profession as a whole. In addition, potential employers expect potential employees to have attained a certain period of experience before considering you. Personally, my main challenge has been convincing potential employers that my public sector skills are actually very transferable and that passing my exams has made me more than capable to deliver in the roles that I aspire; as well as showing my strong commitment to the progression of my career. However, having overcome the hurdles of changing sectors, I’m looking forward to the new experiences and opportunities that my new role will give me.

What support have you had from your employer to help you get the required practical experience?

While at CDF, I had regular supervision and appraisals with my manager. My work plan was linked to the competences I needed to achieve in order to acquire my membership. As my line manager was not an accountant, my work was counterchecked and signed by the finance director – a qualified accountant.

Did you find that working and studying at the same time had any advantages? 

Working and studying at the same time certainly helped with my exams, especially the audit and assurance papers. I also became more aware of risk assessments at work.

What aspect of the syllabus did you enjoy the most?

I enjoyed the Professional level because of the need to think outside the box, incorporate business knowledge, and have an awareness of the general business climate. I also enjoyed analysing business issues and making recommendations when answering exam questions.

What advice have you been given – now you are an affiliate – to reach the ultimate goal of ACCA membership?

I was advised to continue with my strong drive to achieve higher, work extra hard, keep forging ahead, not to give up, hold my head high, and not to hold my breath. I have also been advised to gain as much varied experience as possible, as well as assess the quality of experience that a role will give me and what it will do for me in the near future.

How did you find your current job?

I found my current role on

What are your career aspirations?

I have developed a keen interest in industry, commerce, and business management. Having now moved into the sector I have always wanted to work in, I will be looking for longer‑term challenges such as being a finance director. My ultimate dream is to be a CEO of a listed company.

How will being a qualified ACCA member help you to achieve these aspirations?

Becoming an ACCA member will open further doors in my career and will be evidence of my capabilities to carry out the roles I aspire to. I will better understand the key business and financial attributes pertaining to running successful organisations, and continuing professional development will mean my skills, knowledge, and expertise are constantly updated and my quality standards are maintained.

Can you sum up what being part of ACCA means to you?

Considering the highs and lows throughout the process, it has to be one of the best things to have happened in my career. Once I get my ACCA membership, I will have an internationally recognised qualification and world‑class experience behind me. This will mean that I can work anywhere in the world and take my career wherever I want it to. What can I say? The world is my oyster and the sky is the limit!

Tomasz Gacon, internal auditor, Fiat Revi, Poland

Prior to getting this job, I did not have any internal audit experience. After graduating from university in 2003 with an MA in finance and banking, it was not easy to find a suitable job. The employment market in Poland was relatively poor with few opportunities and tough competition. Eventually I started working as a sales representative in an international FMCG company. However, this job was not what I wanted and I was constantly looking for something in finance.

After two years, I applied directly to Fiat Revi in response to a job advert on the internet. I had to start from scratch, as a junior, because I lacked relevant experience. However, I had the theoretical background to do the job, and I also had good experience of managing relationships with customers, which is an important aspect of an internal audit role. I have now been working for Fiat Revi for nearly three years. In May 2008, I was promoted to senior auditor, which makes me responsible for completing field assignments and reviewing the work of junior internal auditors.

My short-term career plans are related to internal audit. I like the job because it gives me the opportunity to get to know the business from different perspectives. I also get to talk to people at all levels of the organisation, including top management and the CFO and CEO. I strongly believe that internal audit provides a good background if you want to move into senior finance positions. In the long term, I would perhaps like to work in an operational area of the business, maybe as a financial controller and one day as CFO. My long-term career plans are the reason I decided to study ACCA.

Anyone considering internal audit should be familiar with basic accounting rules and should have some fundamental knowledge of finance. Foreign languages are also very important. For example, my assignments are mainly in Germany and a good understanding of German is necessary not only to communicate with people but also to review documentation. Internal auditors also need to be prepared for intensive travelling – in my case, about 90% of my time is spent abroad.

Ammar Tahir Paul, internal auditor, Ghantoot Transport & General Contracting Est, United Arab Emirates

I started my career as an audit assistant with Nasir & Co Chartered Accountants in Sialkot, Pakistan. After seven months I came to Dubai and joined Hamt & Associates Chartered Accountants as an auditor, where I worked for 11 months. Since July 2008, I have worked as an internal auditor at Ghantoot Transport & General Contracting Est. My previous work experience made a difference when I applied for my current position. At Hamt & Associates, I worked as an internal auditor on a three-month assignment at a large piling company, as well as other shorter assignments. While in Pakistan I did some internal audit for a manufacturing/trading company. This experience helped me to get my current job.

I’m planning to work with Ghantoot at least until I become an ACCA member. After that, I’m planning to take the Chartered Institute of Audit exams to enhance my career in auditing. Right now, I work in a challenging environment in Ghantoot with plenty of exposure to different aspects of the business. However, once I become a chartered auditor I would like to move to a multinational organisation or a bank.

I think that the key to becoming a good auditor is to have a good analytical view. Don’t just restrict yourself to predefined criteria. Instead take a broader view, while strictly adhering to professional standards.



"I have also been advised to gain as much varied experience as possible, as well as assess the quality of experience that a role will give me and what it will do for me in the near future"