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Old 30.06.2019, 18:37
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Professional accountancy/tax qualifications and employment

Part-qualified ACCA here. I started it back in the UK. To be honest I never enjoyed it that much - I've always wanted to do a qualification more geared towards taxation, but this is what my employer encouraged and paid me to do, so I decided to bite the bullet.

My employer in CH, a big multinational, understood and appreciated what it is, but never offered any support towards it. As a result, after 5 years, I'm only up to exam #9 out of 13. Once I pass this exam, I will get an interim qualification called Advanced Diploma in Accounting and Business, roughly equivalent in level to a BSc degree (although no dissertation, obviously - I could write one and get an actual BSc degree from Oxford Brookes, but as I already have a degree, I don't really see the point).

Given that I'm approaching this point in my studies, I'm starting to consider my options going forward. In order to get the full ACCA qualification, I have yet to do a professional level paper in IFRS reporting, a strategic case study, and two advanced option papers, one of which would be the UK variant of the advanced taxation paper (a Swiss or US variant sadly doesn't exist). But given that I'm most likely not going to return to the UK, would this make sense? What local tax/accountancy qualifications could I/should I be doing instead which is more valuable in the Swiss market?

Many thanks in advance for any opinions!
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Old 01.07.2019, 01:53
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Re: Professional accountancy/tax qualifications and employment

This reply is not about the actual value of the accounting and tax qualifications, nor their use in the field. This sentence stood out, for me, from the rest of your post, and I'm replying to this aspect.
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My employer …. understood and appreciated what it is, but never offered any support towards it. As a result, after 5 years, I'm only up to exam #9 out of 13.
Since you've been at it for 5 years but not completed, I'd recommend you try to distinguish between the parts of the reasons which do and don't have to do with your employer, and those which have only to do with you and the rest of your life.


About the employer:
What kinds of support would you like to have from the employer?
Fees paid? Fee moneys advanced to you to pay back later? Time off to study? Flexitime? Bundled over-time compensation to free you up for exams? Time with a mentor at work? Transfer into departments of the company which work on the areas you're studying? An agreement that you could work in a particular department so as to complete a project/paper for your studies?

If you would like the employer to provide some of those, you will need to influence them to do so, by demonstrating to the employer that there will be an advantage (what, exactly?) to them in having you push forward through to exam 13 and completing the qualification. What do they gain? Will you then be able to better provide a service they now do, and in which they are potentially understaffed? Will you be at the cutting edge because your studies will help you master a new compulsory standard?

Have others in the company already succeeded in getting such support? Can they give you tips?

Try to work out how much effort it would take to motivate the employer to support you so that you'd be able to study properly. Is it worth that work or, put another way, could you just get on with passing exams number 10 and 11 if you re-directed that effort back to your studies? Or if you put in the effort with the employer, and got what you needed, would that accelerate things, so you could sail through to exam 13 relatively quickly?


About yourself
What could you achieve, going forward from now using only your own resources and drive, while working with this, or for any other employer which similarly offers zero support? If you had the worst employer ever, or one in a completely un-related field who would never consider supporting you in your studies, what can you yourself do to get ahead?

Do you perhaps hate the course, anyway? Are you lazy or distracted by pc games or or some other addiction a toxic relationship? Are you unwell? Are there habits you could develop which would help you to Get Up and Get Going? Study-Buddy? Getting fit, eating better? Do you have other current personal or social responsibilities to which you must attend, and which simply leave no time or no energy for studying, so that you might sensibly and wisely lay down your pencil and agree with yourself to postpone this project till at least 2021?


Other support?
Are there others - besides your employer, and yourself - who might be able to provide at least some of the support you feel you need? Fellow students in online chats? Fora in your field? An uncle who might sponsor your fees, as a gift or a loan? Someone local person who could free up your time by cooking you (for free or against payment by you) a bunch of healthy meals for the week?


Ideally, you should study something which you enjoy. But that's not always possible or reality-based, and sometimes one just has to knuckle down despite a distaste for the course content, knowing that it is a finite extra effort, after all, but one which will be worth it. The challenge is to weigh up how much to push oneself with iron discipline (and with help from others, sure, if it is available) vs. how much to save one's soul and sanity by choosing something for which it is relatively easy to self-motivate because it really appeals. Sometimes a Career Guidance office can help with this kind of evaluation. I wish you all the best in this decision.
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Old 01.07.2019, 07:47
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Re: Professional accountancy/tax qualifications and employment

Thank you for your detailed reply but whoa - that sounds like a lot of assumptions!

When back in the UK my previous employer used to give me paid time off, I was passing 2 papers per sitting. My current employer doesn't do that and I honestly don't blame them for that, it's quite a lot to ask.

As my current employer wasn't interested in it that much, since arriving in CH, I have been investing my time and money in other endeavours that felt more urgent and immediately useful, like learning French (I knew basically nothing when I arrived)!
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  #4  
Old 01.07.2019, 08:30
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Re: Professional accountancy/tax qualifications and employment

Okay, well, then you already know fairly clearly what the delay is about. And good for you, for learning French! I hope you get other input about the content of the qualification, itself.
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