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INFLUENCE: APC ACHIEVERS

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Hard work, long hours and dedication … That’s what it took for these ten APC achievers to make the honours roll. We asked them to tell us a bit more about their journey to success

HONOURS ROLL CANDIDATES (IN ALPHABETICAL ORDER)

NameSurnameTraining OfficeProfessional Provider ProgrammeCTA University
ShaahBoothaPricewaterhouseCoopersAPTUniversity of South Africa
AneesaCarrimDeloitteAPTUniversity of Pretoria
PriyaChibaPricewaterhouseCoopersAPTUniversity of the Witwatersrand
ShaunHennLloyd Viljoen (North)APTUniversity of South Africa
NomondeHolomisaFirstrand BankAPTUniversity of Johannesburg
AngieWalkinshaw (née Horrell)KPMGUCTUniversity of Pretoria
GregoryKhouryDeloitteUCTUniversity of the Witwatersrand
AadilaNoorgatPricewaterhouseCoopersAPTUniversity of the Witwatersrand
MatthewPassmoreKPMGUCTUniversity of Johannesburg
Sue-AnneSymonsDeloitteAPTUniversity of Pretoria

MATTHEW PASSMORE

How did you prepare for your exams?

Consistent work throughout the year as well as a good study group with my KPMG colleagues.

Did you ever feel like giving up? What motivated you to stick it out?

Yes, I did! My motivation was knowing that this exam was the final hurdle after six years of hard work. I always kept the end goal in mind (becoming a CA(SA)) and that was motivation in itself.

How did you celebrate?

I celebrated with my colleagues and friends who also passed the exam; it was a night/morning to remember!

What is the best advice you have ever received?

You can do anything if you put your mind to it!

How did the company support you in this journey?

KPMG were very supportive during the preparation period and were understanding when it came to taking leave to study for the exams. They were also very helpful when it came to deciding which board-course provider to choose.

What are your future aspirations?

In the short term, I look forward to completing my articles and officially becoming a CA(SA).

After that, I would like to travel and gain work experience in other countries and then one day start my own business.

What are some of your hobbies?

I enjoy both mountain biking and road cycling. I am also a passionate Arsenal supporter!

SUE-ANNE SYMONS

What/who inspired you to become a CA(SA)?

My father inspired me to become a CA(SA). His work ethic showed me that through hard work, dedication and commitment you can achieve whatever you put your mind to. I wanted to shoot the lights out. Therefore, this, together with my love for accounting, led me to the profession I am in today.

How did you prepare for your exams?

Group work was a big aspect of this board exam, and I wouldn’t have been able to prepare for my exam without my friends who spent many hours studying with me. I also took the Tuesday before we wrote the exam off. I felt it was very important to clear my mind before I wrote a very big exam.

How did you celebrate?

Celebrations were held at our office with all my friends and work colleagues. It was a super evening.

What is the best advice you have ever received?

This is a hard one. I have many people in my life from whom I have learnt so much. But the advice I always keep close to my heart is:

“Life is not about waiting for the storm to pass. It’s about learning to dance in the rain”. No matter what part of my journey I am in, I always make sure that I dance in the rain and make the most of every situation.

Knowing what you know now … would you have done anything differently?

This is a simple answer – no. The journey I have been on for the last seven years has been amazing, and I am privileged to be where I am now.

What are your future aspirations?

My future aspirations are to work in an environment that challenges me on a daily basis. I want to learn as much as I can and be able to teach others what I have learnt.

 

ANEESA CARRIM

What/who inspired you to become a CA(SA)?

Coming out of high school I had no idea what I wanted to become. How can one make such a big decision at such a young age? And thus I chose a career that would leave my options open. Grant me flexibility and endless opportunities to become whatever I wanted to be when the time was best.

How did you prepare for your exams?

Preparing for the APC exam was different from preparing for any other exam. It involved more than just studying. I was part of an amazing group, and our preparation involved a combination of passionate discussions, research, analysis and technical revision. We worked both as a group and individually and in the end the dedication and hard work paid off.

How did you celebrate?

‘Pray, Eat, Love’ – The celebrations involved firstly praising God as such success can only be achieved through God’s blessings. Secondly, good food and being surrounded by loving family and friends made the celebrations truly memorable.

What is the best advice you have ever received?

The only person you should try to better than is the person you were yesterday.

Knowing what you know now … would you have done anything differently?

I honestly would not change anything going back. Life is a constant learning experience. Any mistakes made along the way have helped me learn, grow and develop and have thus been worthwhile.

How did the company support you in this journey?

Deloitte as a company was extremely supportive throughout the APC journey. They granted us full access to the professional programmes, kept us up to date with APC developments and granted us access to their facilities during our preparations. We always had a team of support motivating us along the way.

 

 

PRIYA CHIBA

How did you prepare for your exams?

An exam of this nature requires ongoing preparation. Without realising it, my day-to-day activities at work developed my professional competence and moulded my ability to cope with stressful situations. The professional programme (APT) and the two exams written before the APC were instrumental in helping me to develop a technique to tackle the new format of the exam. Only five days of studying for the actual exam was required. These days involved hours of research, reading and group discussions with my fellow candidates.

Did you ever feel like giving up? What motivated you to stick it out?

My CTA year was the most difficult in my CA journey. At times, I did feel like giving up, but there was always a voice inside me to remind me how far I had already come and that benefits of the CA(SA) qualification would make all of my tireless efforts worth it. Becoming a CA(SA) was also one of my aspirations since high school, and I always reminded myself never to give up on my dreams.

How did you celebrate?

The entire weekend post-result was filled with celebratory vibes – from partying with friends on Friday night to luncheons with family over the weekend. My friends and family were extremely supportive and ever willing to share in my euphoria.

What is the best advice you have ever received?

An Old English proverb — “A smooth sea never made a skilful sailor.” I always keep that in mind during difficult times.

Knowing what you know now … would you have done anything differently?

Not really. I have no regrets thus far.

How did the company support you in this journey?

The partners, managers and staff at PwC were exceptionally motivational and supportive in my journey. I was also fortunate to have been given exposure to key priority clients, and challenging tasks that played a huge role in my professional development.

AADILA NOORGAT         

What/who inspired you to become a CA(SA)?                   

I think for me, setting out on the path to becoming a CA(SA) meant getting the best step into the business world. The profession comes with so many endless possibilities for future opportunities that it seemed the best choice to make.

How did you prepare for your exams?                                                

I had a good support structure in the shape of my family and the group of friends with whom I carried out my research and studying. I think the important factor was getting the correct balance between individual effort and group work.

Why did you feel you did so well in the exams?                               

It was all the hours of hard work and preparation, and lots of prayers! Being included in the Honours Roll is an absolute honour that came as a pleasant surprise.

Did you ever feel like giving up? What motivated you to stick it out?       

Knowing that there was only one exam between me and the CA(SA) title was enough to keep me motivated till the end!

How did you celebrate?                              

I celebrated with my family and close friends.

What is the best advice you have ever received?                                                           

The best bit of advice which I have come across is the following: ‘Take benefit of five before five: your youth before your old age, your health before your sickness, your wealth before your poverty, your free time before you are preoccupied, and your life before your death.’

 

SHAUN HENN

What/who inspired you to become a CA(SA)?

If I had to narrow it down to one person, I would have to say my boss, Koos le Roux. He showed faith in me and my abilities and made me believe in myself.

How did you prepare for your exams?

I formed part of a study group that after a couple of days of self-preparation got together to discuss our different points of view on the pre-release. I would like to give a special mention to the guys in my group (Liam Aspeling, Dee-Ana Pestana, Andrew Haiden and Calvin More) for letting me be part of such an awesome team, and also congratulate them all on passing the APC.

Did you ever feel like giving up? What motivated you to stick it out?

Truly giving up never crossed my mind; however at times the journey to becoming a CA(SA) felt like a mountain to climb. Passing one test or exam always led to another. I decided to break the process down into short-term goals, and reward myself for every achievement or exam passed. This way I regained focus and started to enjoy the journey of becoming a CA(SA).

How did you celebrate?

Someone once told me the feeling of passing your final CA(SA) exam is the equivalent to winning an Olympic medal. The news that not only did I pass but was part of the honours roll was overwhelming. Needless to say, it was hard for me to focus on anything else for the remainder of the day. That evening my wife and I cracked open a bottle of bubbly and celebrated the closing off of one chapter and the beginning of future things to come.

What is the best advice you have ever received?

No one is perfect. Making mistakes is a part of life. All you can do is decide whether you are to be defined by your mistakes or on how you overcame them.

Knowing what you know now, would you have done anything differently?

I don’t think so. Our past makes us who we are today.

What are your future aspirations?

I would like to one day try and make a difference to our great country, and to lives of the beautiful people of South Africa (in whichever capacity I find myself).

 

 

GREGORY KHOURY

How did you prepare for your exams?

The APC exam requires significant input and analysis of information. I surrounded myself, early on in the programme, with an intelligent and competent group of individuals – my study group. The quality of research and information, as well as the unrelenting logical discussions and intense debates, set the foundation to produce sensible and effective answers during the APC exam.

How did you celebrate?

It must be said that without the support and guidance of my family and friends, my success in the APC exam would not have been possible. Therefore, as soon as I received my results I popped a bottle of champagne with my family and later that evening I shared a few drinks with some close friends.

What is the best advice you have ever received?

‘It is what it is.’ A simple yet effective life lesson. No matter how bad something is or how difficult something was, if you did not have control over it at the time, or you did but you performed to the best of your ability, there is nothing more you can do about it. In life as long as I try my best, with no regrets, the final result ‘is what it is’.

Knowing what you know now… would you have done anything differently?

Probably not, given the outcome. I now have a measure of what is required to achieve. I learned to be well organised, prepare extensively and remain calm and focused as I always knew that the CA programme would be extremely challenging. I did my best during the preparation days as well as on the day of the exam, making all the hard work worth it.

What are your future aspirations?

Ultimately I would like my career to excite me and give me the opportunity to add value to my employer as well as myself. Preferably I would like to work in an environment that requires out of the box thinking and develop applications that improve business efficiency.

What are some of your hobbies?

I thoroughly enjoy equity trading, particularly given the recent effects of global economics – investing for my own account has taught me plenty. Furthermore, I enjoy playing soccer, cricket and tennis that I find is a great way to de-stress. I also enjoy the competitive field of computer gaming.

NOMONDE HOLOMISA 

What/Who inspired you to become a CA(SA)?

Being like any other village girl from a small town in the Eastern Cape, I wanted to become a doctor because it was almost a default prestigious career for smart students. However, I was fortunate to be awarded the Allan Gray Orbis Foundation Scholarship when I was in matric, which provided me with better career guidance. That is when I realised that the CA(SA) route was the route I wanted to take because of the tremendous opportunities that come with the CA(SA) designation.

How did you prepare for your exams?

At FirstRand we are a small group of trainees; we decided from the start of the APT course that we would work together in preparing for all exams. I found that working as a group was more effective and productive than working alone because of the different level of thinking and different ways of interpreting the triggers.

Why do you feel you did so well in the exams?

I felt prepared walking into the exams. When I feel prepared, I become confident in my execution of answers and I remain calm throughout the exam.

Did you ever feel like giving up? What motivated you to stick it out?

No, I never felt like giving up; it is not in my nature to give up. When I start something, I stick it out no matter what challenges come with it.

How did you celebrate?

With my family. My family is my everything! I couldn’t celebrate this achievement in any other better way than with them because they have been my support structure throughout this journey.

What is the best advice you have received?

To put God first in everything I do because his grace is sufficient.

Knowing what you know now … would you have done anything differently?

Not really. Ok maybe I wouldn’t have stressed about the 27th of February like I did. I missed out on a lot of sleep in the last week.

SHAAH BOOTHA

What/who inspired you to become a CA (SA)?

My father is a CA(SA), but it was my mother who strongly influenced me to go in that direction. Even before I had started school, I was telling people that I am going to be a CA(SA) when I grow up. I am convinced Mom would have wanted the designation to be on my birth certificate.

How did you prepare for your exams?

The lecturers on my APT Board course drummed it into us that this exam wasn’t just about number crunching and technical knowledge. We must display insight when responding to a question. I kept that in mind when preparing for the exam and went deeper and wider into every topic I studied. Of course, that did not prevent me from regularly watching the Big Bang Theory and all my other favourite TV shows.

Did you ever feel like giving up? What motivated you to stick it out?

With my father and my two sisters being CAs(SA), I could never think of giving up.

What is the best advice you have ever received?

It was from my parents. They always reminded me that no matter what I choose to do, I must ensure that I do it to the best of my ability.

How did the company support you in this journey?

I believe PwC played a major role in getting me to where I am now. My training there exposed me to the real world outside. I was often thrown in at the deep end, but they were always there to give guidance when needed. That helped me a great deal.

What are your future aspirations?

Passing the APC is evidence that you are competent as a chartered accountant at the entry level. I still need to develop further. So I intend sticking around with my firm for a while, as I believe there is a lot I can still learn. That is if they are still willing to tolerate me for longer.

ANGIE WALKINSHAW

What/who inspired you to become a CA(SA)?

Firstly, my mom. She is an accountant but chose not to finish the CA(SA) route in order to be home with us kids. She always believed in me, so I suppose I did it for both of us.

Secondly, my headmaster, Austin Clarke. After I applied to study something that would have been much easier, he told me that I had the potential to be a CA(SA) and that I could not give up that chance, even if I simply attempted it to prove him wrong!

How did you prepare for your exams?

I studied in an awesome group, practised as if it was the exam, played squash with my Dad to blow off steam, and never gave up. I have an incredibly supportive husband who spent many late nights providing coffee and motivating me that it would all be worth it.

Did you ever feel like giving up? What motivated you to stick it out?

More often than you think! The stress, fear of failing and exhaustion made it difficult to keep going. Knowing that it would be worth it and having friends that are in the same situation keep you motivated to continue, no matter how tough it feels.

How did you celebrate?

I thanked God for helping me through it all, cheered with my husband and family that the studies are finally behind me, had a champagne breakfast with friends, and attended the KPMG Pretoria function where we broke plates in celebration of making it this far!

What is the best advice you have ever received?

Dream so big that it scares you, then take the road step by step. Never try do it alone.

Knowing what you know now … would you have done anything differently?

I would have stopped wishing that the CA(SA) journey would end … it goes faster than one thinks. I have made some of the best memories and friends along the way.

 

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