A former ACCA Student’s Experience

Sarah Mercieca is a Certified Public Accountant and holder of a Practising Certificate in Auditing. She started her career within the audit department at Deloitte in 2012 and currently holds the position of audit supervisor at Capstone Assurance Limited. Sarah successfully completed her ACCA studies in December 2014.

TA: Why did you opt for the accountancy profession?

SM: I was always interested in subjects relating to business and finance. I initially completed the Bachelor of Commerce degree course, majoring in marketing and management with the University of Malta. Accountancy was only one of the study-units featured in the course, but it was one of the subjects I preferred. The huge demand for the profession in Malta influenced me to look for a way to study and obtain an additional qualification in accountancy. Ultimately I wanted a career which was both rewarding and competitive.

TA: Why did you opt for ACCA?

SM: I did not have an ‘A’ level in Accounts so I had to look for alternative options to obtain an accountancy qualification. Together with the assistance and information talks held by the

Malta Institute of Accountants, as well as online information from the ACCA website, the ACCA course was the best alternative for me. I started studying accountancy with ACCA while simultaneously studying at University. When I completed the Bachelor of Commerce degree course, I started working on a full-time basis, continuing my tuition and exams part-time.

TA: Tell us more about your learning experience.

SM: Going to lectures from 6 to 9 in the evening and staying indoors during weekends to catch up with my studies and revision for the exams was a huge commitment, however with the help of dedicated tutors, support from friends and family as well as the ambition to achieve the qualification, it was worth all the hard work and effort. Fortunately enough, throughout the journey I made new friends, learnt a lot about my profession, faced different obstacles and challenges, and ultimately achieved what I had been working for!

TA: Completing ACCA was…

SM: …a big challenge but definitely worthwhile! The journey involved four full years of studying, stress and an endless number of exam sessions. I must admit that there were times when I felt like giving up or had second thoughts about the course but with determination and assistance both from my employer and the tutors I managed to pass all the exams and obtain all the relevant experience required to qualify as an ACCA affiliate.

I can still remember the relief that I felt when I woke up on a Sunday morning to find out that I had just passed my P6 ‘Advanced Taxation’ exam. It was definitely one of the best weekends of my life. I could not believe that I was now a qualified accountant!

TA: ACCA and your working career

SM: I initially started working on a full-time basis with one of the four big firms when I was half way through my ACCA course. It was very challenging at first but after a couple of months it became part of my everyday routine. Thanks to my employer I was given the necessary assistance during my studies to achieve the work-life balance required in order to focus on my studies while gaining the required work experience. Although one of the greatest achievements in my career was obtaining the ACCA qualification, working in this profession also involves keeping myself up to date with current laws and regulations related to the profession. Learning is therefore an ongoing experience.

TA: What are your career aspirations?

SM: I have been working in the auditing sector since September 2012. The experience I gained working with local and international clients is invaluable. I find auditing very challenging and it gives me the opportunity to learn something new every time I have a new client. My current role in the audit department varies from my working directly with clients, to assisting other members within the team. My career aspirations are to gain as much knowledge and experience as possible, to help other progress in their careers and also to move up the career ladder as an auditor.

TA: Any advice you may wish to share with the readers?

SM: Determination is key to success…

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