Lessons from my ICAG journey

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ICAG
Sophia Kafui TEYE

I was inducted as a member of the Institute of Chartered Accountants Ghana (ICAG) over the weekend. It was a humbling and proud moment for me – and exciting too, because it opens up a world of opportunities for me as a finance and investment professional.

As I reflect on my undulating journey toward this zenith, I’m compelled to share a few thoughts to inspire you toward the fulfilment of whichever dream you may also be pursuing.

I started writing the ICAG examination in May 2017 and passed in December 2021. It took me four long, tough years to complete. Juggling between work, studies and family was like fighting Goliath.  I have paid for many classes I never attended. Most of the ICAG tuition providers start classes after 5:30 pm while I often closed from work after 6:30pm and got to class after 7pm… exhausted!

Accounting classes are typically rigorous, fast-paced and demanding. If you got to class late you would be confused, and colleagues often didn’t understand enough to explain for you. These frustrations pushed me to do self-tuition.

I self-tutored by watching videos from Open Tuitions, London School of Business and Finance (LSBF), solved past questions and read examiners’ reports. This helped me in courses like Audit and Public Sector Accounting. However, I still struggled with Management Accounting, Taxation and Fiscal Policy and Corporate Case Study. Upon recommendations from friends, I joined the tuition courses and made friends who made the journey much easier.

My advice to students trying to pursue a professional course:

  1. Drop the excuses about the challenges! 

I had a thousand and one reasons why the physical class wouldn’t work for me. As long as those excuses existed, I kept failing. My turnaround came when I decided to try and choose tuition centres with testimonies of high pass rates and close enough proximity to my office. When I joined the class, I got a better understanding of the concepts and made friends who made my studies much easier.

Since self-tuition was my old way of learning, I blended it with the physical class and it worked for me. Your excuse may be different from mine, but find a way around it and get what you want. Your excuses may be genuine but as long as they live, your dreams will always die.

  1. Join a class!

Joining a study center for tuition comes with a lot of benefits. You will have a tutor you can call on after class for support. You will have colleagues who serve as study-mates and form a solid network for you. My advice, however, is that you choose study centres with a proven track record of success and experienced tutors who will guide you to pass the exams.

  1. Solve questions!

An examination is a test of students’ understanding of concepts and their application. It is essential for the student to solve questions related to each topic taught and test their preparedness for the examination. Doing this will help you manage your time and recognise areas that require improvement before the day of the examination. Also, you have to make use of the course outline and check the scope of the examination. This helps you to know the score weightings for the various topics, helping you plan your studies around them to pass the paper with ease.

  1. Use technology!

Technology has made it easier for students to learn anything from archaeology to zoology. You can find technical articles on all topics and materials on the course concepts via search-engines and YouTube. With the Internet, you have access to many tutors who have attempted to teach various topics with dexterity.

  1. Don’t underestimate any paper, be 110% prepared for any exam!

I failed some papers I believed I had all it took to pass because I underestimated them. You need the confidence to sit and pass an examination, but do not be overconfident or complacent. That can lead to failure. Even if you believe you have a firm grasp on your paper, still learn and attempt the questions with tact. It pays to be well prepared.

  1. Never underestimate the power of group studies!

I didn’t complete the course in record time like many who use less than two years. I did it in four years. I believe if I had attended classes and found some study-mates earlier, the journey would have been shorter. I have been privileged to meet wonderful study-mates who provided morale and teaching support with topics that I was struggling with. You cannot do it alone. You need support, and you can get such via study-mates. You can choose some at your workplace and/or those close to your neighbourhood. Choose a serene environment for studies and create rules to increase effectiveness.

Conclusion

You may call those who passed all the courses with very few challenges geniuses. I am not one of them. There were sittings during which I registered for four papers and failed all. There were times I passed one out of four. As the saying goes, “Slow motion is better than no motion”. I kept pushing and here I am today. You can do it, too!  The end always justifies the means; keep pushing, and soon enough that dream will be another feat bagged.

>>>The writer is Author of the underlisted books;

  • Start Right: A Guide to Financial Investments in Ghana
  • Overcoming Infertility: What to do When Childbirth Delays
  • Contemporary Parenting
  • Stepping up Your Life

She can be reached [email protected]

 

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