What It Takes to be a CPA Program High Achiever

By Hannah Dania

Sweat, tears and a whole lot of learning and self-development.

CPA Australia has a strong legacy with its globally recognised accounting designation. It enables members to stand out in their accounting and finance career as it is a highly respected mark of professional competence and indicates a soundness in depth, breadth and quality of knowledge.

Ku Izzat Iqhmal Bin Ku Ismail CPA (Aust.), also known as Izzat, is a Finance Executive with FGV Holdings Berhad. While undergoing job rotations under FGV Accountant Certification (ACe) Program within various finance-related departments which include Group and Company Finance, Group Internal Audit and Group Strategy, he has successfully completed the CPA Program with three Distinctions, one High Distinction, and two Credits.

How would he describe the CPA Program? “Relevant, contemporary and future-focused.”

Izzat was first introduced to CPA Australia through his peers and seniors whilst studying in the United Kingdom. He was immediately captivated when they largely spoke about how the program offers flexibility with the option to do part-time studies. Excitedly, he then proceeded to apply through the Yayasan Peneraju Scholarship and successfully enrolled with four compulsory subjects and two electives, with Contemporary Business Issues being his most favoured subject mainly because the content is currently the most relevant in today’s job market, exposing members how accounting has extended beyond its traditional role into data analytics, sustainability, human resource management and strategic decision-making functions. Izzat opted for the part-time flexibility so he could schedule his own time accordingly while working. By doing so, he was also able to directly implement all that he learned from the lessons at work.

One of the many things he relishes about being a member of CPA Australia is the excellent continuous education, training and support from their offices. Even during the first year studying the program, members are considered associates and may enjoy the program benefits including complimentary webinars on professional development and mental health support which plays a vital role in upskilling and maintaining the well-being of CPA members.

Additionally, CPA members can also rely on the CPA Australia's online education platform - My Online Learning (MYOL), which is an extensive learning resource to brush up on lessons. Eventhough Izzat mostly leaned on physical tuition classes, he leveraged MYOL’s “Ask the Expert” forum as a reference to get clarification and enhance his understanding on certain topics as the forum had questions from different students global-wide covering a variety of angles which were instantly answered by a CPA Australia personnel. On top of it, the platform offers online practice tests conducted under the simulated exam conditions where students can use up to two times prior to the main exam.

In regards to Izzat’s participation in the CPA Program, he was fully satisfied as it was well structured. In his opinion, the three keys to his success would be having an optimistic outlook paired with a robust support system and a healthy growth mindset. However, if turning back time were possible, he would have taken a newly introduced subject to the program called Digital Finance, where this subject provides the accounting and finance professionals the knowledge and tools needed to work with emerging technologies to stay ahead of disruptions poised by the evolving digital landscape. Thankfully, he can still do this as micro-credential courses which are available to be taken post-program and will be certified with a digital badge upon completion.

One thing Izzat has truly benefited from the CPA Program is realising how Accounting & Finance is more than what it seems. With data analytics and data visualisation working hand in hand, gaining meaningful analysis and insights in real time is not unfamiliar to him anymore.

For those intending to pursue professional studies, especially with CPA Australia, do remember these four tips:

1. Plan Ahead
If you’re balancing between work and personal life, always remember to take your time to schedule things accordingly so everything falls into place.

2. Don’t Miss Weekend Classes
Learn, engage and discuss with lecturers to solidify your understanding, so the weekend classes are considered the cherry on top!

3. Fully Utilise the Study Resources
CPA Australia offers the associates extensive online learning resources from the very beginning so use them to your advantage.

4. Adapt What You Learn To Your Work
By doing so, you can see the lessons you obtained come to life!

To know more, join an upcoming complimentary session on how to become a CPA and enjoy a waiver on the application fee. Register here.

Hear more from CPA Australia members by watching their new video on GRADUAN TV, click here.

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