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How to study ACCA while working?
These are some of the most common questions ACCA scholars ask us, so we would get the answers from people who have been there, done that, and got ACCA class to prove it!
Today, the biggest challenge faced by students is how to manage their ACCA study time while working.
It is common for professional candidates worldwide to find their time being very tight, especially when juggling commitments related to work and studying at the same time.
So, how do you manage a heavy workload as well as upgrade your academic career?
Opting for an ACCA professional-level online course can help you stick to a routine and find plenty of available time to study by removing the daily commute.
This article focuses on the factors that make preparatory ACCA qualifications offered in India a good option for students who are seeking an interactive study plan that balances the daily work pressure.
- Should I study for the ACCA while working?
- How can I balance work and study?
- How delicate is it?
What Challenges Do Students Face When Studying ACCA While Working?
Professional candidates who are seeking to earn the ACCA qualification are often required to manage a very intense workload that leaves little to no time for their personal growth.
ACCA online courses offered in India are well-curated to offer students a flexible schedule that they can indulge in, even with their irregular work schedule and personal responsibilities.
Balancing work and study pressure will no longer be a challenge because of the mental strength that you will develop during the ACCA course curriculum, gaining the ability to handle the pressure of meeting deadlines while being employed.
The biggest challenge students face if they study for ACCA while working is time management.
In particular, if students have other time commitments aside from working and studying – family, for example – you’ll find time is very tight. You’ll be managing a heavy workload, and you’ll find you have very little free time.
Most students find it important to stick to a routine, so if you have irregular hours that can make your life more difficult. Little things like your daily commute can have an impact on how much time you have available to study.
Balancing work pressure with study can be a real challenge, Peter points out. You’ll be under pressure in the workplace to perform well and under pressure in your own time to study well.
If you choose to study ACCA while working it’s fair to say you’ll be under pretty much constant pressure – you need to be able to handle that.
Is Studying ACCA While Working A Good Idea?
The outcome of studying ACCA when working can vary from one candidate to another based on the diversity of personality, background, and personal preferences.
Students who are confident about their time management skills may find studying ACCA while working not as hard because of the utilization of study materials provided.
One of the best advantages of undergoing ACCA online courses is the relevant work experience that you will gain via the practical teaching structure of the ACCA preparatory program.
Moreover, with the constant expansion of your accountancy knowledge, you’ll be able to demonstrate to potential employers that you can manage your time well while showing commitment.
It comes down to personality, personal preference, and personal circumstance. There’s no definitive answer.
On the downside, studying for ACCA while working is hard work for a good few years. Your leisure time will suffer, and the workload is intense. If time management is a weakness for you then you might struggle.
Studying for the ACCA while working is hard work.
Studying full-time is a bit more relaxed and gives you more time to get to grips with the material. If you study before working, at University, for example, you can benefit from a broader experience that can be useful.
On the other hand, relevant workplace experience can help you better understand how the theory and the practical side of the ACCA fit together. This understanding can help you do better in your ACCA exams.
Advantages of pursuing ACCA while working
Pursuing ACCA alongside your job elevates your resume while conveying to your future employers that you are focused and committed towards self-enhancement, along with having exceptional time-management skills. This is also an opportunity to hone your critical thinking skills, which will help you in viewing situations and problems from a different managerial perspective. Given that ACCA is a combination of accounting, finance, and business management, you can expect to learn the best of all the worlds.
Working and studying for ACCA in parallel is considered to be reciprocally advantageous. Your job helps you learn better, and your learning improves your performance at work. As a pre-requisite, ACCAs have to complete practical experience of a minimum of 3 years to gain membership. This is the key to ensuring that one has deep knowledge of the subject in theory and practical before being conferred an ACCA. A workplace mentor can always guide you through the requirements and support your progress.
When you apply for a new job that has multiple applicants, you will have the chance to jump ahead of the queue because of your ACCA Qualification. It helps to secure jobs at dream companies like the Big 4 as ACCA has a dedicated job portal with 7400+ employers and tie-ups with corporates. During times of distress, lay-offs, or recession, the ACCA Qualification can become your shield as the demand is quite continuous and important.
Having an early insight into various areas of work allows you to explore what meets your interest and aptitude. Basis this you will be in a better position to make long-term career decisions and etch a path best suited for you.
How Can I Manage My Time More Effectively While Working and Studying ACCA?
Studying the ACCA professional level program can help you get a deeper understanding of the course material, therefore broadening your career prospects as well.
Studying for ACCA is considered advantageous when it comes to understanding your job responsibilities.
You must focus on taking the exams at a time of the year which gives you enough learning hours to get an in-depth understanding of the different core accountancy topics.
Creating an ACCA exam timetable can come in handy as your exams get closer, ensuring that you still have a reasonable amount of free time to prepare effectively.
It’s essential to plan your study time and stick to it as much as possible, Mary says. If you don’t plan your time, you’re unlikely to get everything done that you need to.
ACCA students should create a study plan as soon as they enrol for the exams, leaving enough time to study all the materials in-depth and revise them too. As the exams are approaching you should create a revision timetable as well. You should ensure you go over information multiple times to maximize your understanding.
Saying that one mistake which ACCA students commonly make is spending all their time studying or working.
You need to build in planned breaks and ensure you still have some free time because you can’t be effective if you work all the time. Don’t burn out!
Can I Pass ACCA Without Any Professional Experience?
Although the ACCA examination consists of papers that are mostly theoretically based and doesn't require students who have professional experience, a good percentage of the subjects are related to the real-world exposure you have acquired.
Online ACCA courses offer students an adequate amount of industry experience that is required to become an ACCA member or a qualified accountant.
You can pass the exams without having professional experience, but you still have to get professional experience to become a qualified accountant and ACCA member. The exams are only one component. Even if you pass your exams, you’ll still need to go on and pass the professional experience requirement
How to stay motivated while studying for ACCA?
Motivation is imperative if you have to complete a difficult task or succeed at something. If you are highly motivated, you can achieve or accomplish anything.
For most of you, the motivation to study and complete ACCA would be money. ACCA conducted a survey where they found out that 61% of their members receive a hike in their ACCA salary after earning their qualification. You can channel this to motivate yourself to study for ACCA while working. Working while studying for ACCA also helps you in paying the ACCA exam fees swiftly.
Having an ACCA certificate on your résumé can set you apart from the competition. When you are applying for a new job that has multiple applicants, you will have the chance to jump right ahead of the queue because of your ACCA qualification. It will also help to keep your job secure when there is a crisis in the market and people are being laid off. In this scenario, thanks to your ACCA qualification, you can offer your employer assistance in audit, taxation, and corporate law matters.
ACCA being such an all-encompassing qualification, allows you to work not only in accountancy, but also in taxation, auditing, and budgeting.
Another advantage that should motivate you while studying for ACCA is that it enhances your critical thinking skills, which will help you in viewing situations and problems from a different perspective.
How does your practical experience help you with an ACCA qualification?
Relevant practical experience is compulsory if you want to complete your ACCA qualification.
Having practical experience will assist you in better understanding the course and its modules.
To achieve ACCA membership, a trainee has to complete the ACCA exams, the Ethics and Professional Skills module, and the PER, which includes:
It will also help to get a clearer idea of the theoretical and practical aspects of the ACCA course. You will be studying modules and topics that you have already worked on and have a fair idea of. In most cases, having practical experience helps you in passing the exams and obtaining ACCA membership.
- Completing three years employment in an accounting or finance-related role(s)
- Achieving 9 predefined performance objectives to the satisfaction of a practical experience supervisor(s)
- Recording and reporting their PER progress through an online system.
What kinds of work experience count towards the PER?
Often ACCA students think that work has to be of a high level to count, Mary says, but it doesn’t. You could have started off doing something quite simple, like chasing debtors or reconciling bank statements, but this all counts towards the PER. Most bodies consider it quite important to have done these basic tasks at some stage in your career. It doesn’t have to be the work that you would do as a qualified accountant.
Work you did before you registered for the ACCA can still count as long as your (qualified) supervisor at that time can review and sign off on the performance objectives you achieved. That work can be a work placement or internship as long as you had a qualified supervisor.
Temporary or part-time work can also count, but you need to be sure you’re getting enough depth of exposure to achieve the relevant performance objectives.
The more in-depth your experience is, the more likely you are to pass the requirement and the more beneficial your wider understanding of the ACCA exams. If you’re going to study for the ACCA while working, a full-time job is generally the better option.
Tips for success in the ACCA exam
Some tips that you can implement while studying for ACCA and working are mentioned below:
Since you are juggling work and studies, you need to prepare a study plan or schedule. While making this plan, keep the ACCA exam dates in mind so that you leave enough time for revision of the modules. Ensure you also go through ACCA books and ACCA past papers to get a fair idea of the ACCA exam.
While you are studying as per the schedule prepared, you must keep in mind the ACCA exam timetable as well. This allows you to study and revise the modules for the exam that are taking place first.
Having a good study spot is very helpful while studying for any exam. It should be a place where you cannot be disturbed, and it should be quiet. Some may prefer studying in a library or the dining room in their house, or even in their beds.
Making use of this tip depends on one individual to another. Some students may prefer studying while listening to classical instrumental music, while others prefer complete silence.
- Keep the ACCA exam timetable in mind:
Eventually, studying and working together starts pressuring you. In such a scenario, you must keep calm and take a break. Go out with friends, watch a movie, or even sleep. Relieving stress is of great importance when you are studying for exams.
Some tips for managing work and studies together
You need to become an excellent planner if you want to thrive in both studies and work. Preparing your monthly, weekly, and daily studying activities will help you feel in control of the situation; track your progress, and even act as a reminder to stick to your study goals. Also, take into account that you will need to be ready and fresh for work every day, so don’t cram a lot of study time during the week. The best part about ACCA here is that depending upon your current educational qualifications, exemptions are awarded to skip the subjects in which you already hold a certificate.
Announcing that you are starting with the ACCA program is a win-win situation in many cases. First, if ACCA is connected with your job, it will show your employers that you are genuinely interested in advancing your skills and knowledge, which means you are adding value to the company you work for. At the same time, supervisors and colleagues might go easier on you knowing that you also have to study. This means no overtime work and, why not, colleagues being more willing to cover for you if you have an exam, for example.
Everybody loves going on holidays and enjoys watching movies. Staying disciplined is tough and it’s a constant chore. At the end of the day, you need to prioritize your long-term goal over short-term indulgences. You must be willing to stretch yourself to succeed.
We would highly recommend you to join an approved learning partner
- Prepare a Smart Study Plan
for the ACCA course if you plan to pursue it alongside your job as this increases your chances of performing better and concentrating on things that matter the most. While some may choose to prepare on their own, this will significantly increase the commitment of your most precious resource – time. Also given that some exemptions may be applicable for you and there are various practical techniques involved in ACCA, it is advisable to be well-prepared and aware.