Case study

Portfolio finance manager — Maryna Irzhanenko

Maryna is a triple ACCA (Association of Chartered Certified Accountants) prize winner and recently qualified member. She works as a portfolio finance manager at flinder - an accounting, consulting and data analytics business in London

How did you get into accountancy?

I studied international relations at university but I've always been good with numbers, which is why accounting appealed to me. After getting a job as a finance assistant I learned that accounting is actually about working with people and communicating complex financial information in a clear and compelling way.

Having decided to take the next step and become a fully qualified accountant I researched a number of qualifications. ACCA stood out to me due to its global reach. I made the decision to embark on my ACCA journey a little over five years ago and I've never looked back.

What qualification did you study?

I studied my knowledge papers as self-study and spent a month on each paper ahead of sitting exams. I attended college one day a week to study my foundation papers, meaning that I was able to sit all six exams internally after only eight months of tuition and claim exemptions from ACCA. I then went back to self-study for my final five professional level papers (Professional Ethics, Business Analysis, Corporate Reporting, Advanced Audit and Advanced Taxation), completing my professional exams within a year.

What did the course involve?

As well as tuition and studying for exams the course involved completing three years compulsory professional experience, the professional experience objectives and the professional ethics module, which was an online course that took about 20 hours to complete.

How was it assessed?

The assessment is based on a combination of exams (14 in total), three years' work experience in a relevant finance role along with the professional objectives, which were signed off by a qualified accountant who worked closely with me.

What did you enjoy about the course?

Learning about accounting principles and building a much wider understanding of the profession gave context to the on-the-job training I gained prior to ACCA, which was both interesting and helpful in progressing within my role. It was also quite fun to feel like a student again.

What did you find challenging?

I found the jump between foundation and professional level papers a little challenging, as I felt that a lot of the knowledge was assumed when you got to professional level.

How was your ACCA qualification funded?

My qualification was self-funded.

How has it helped your career?

I spent the beginning of my accounting career working in industry but after completing most of my ACCA exams, I moved into practice. I now work for a fast growing and progressive business, which gives me the tools and support to develop my accounting career and grow as a professional.

ACCA membership offers me flexibility in my career choices and has enabled faster progression into more senior roles.

What tips would you give to others studying for the ACCA qualification?

Firstly, studying for ACCA qualifications while working in a relevant role is hugely beneficial. It is the combination of the two that brings the most value to your experience.

Secondly, try to pair up certain professional exams/modules, as some of the material compliments each other (such as studying Corporate Reporting and Advanced Audit together or studying for the Professional Ethics exam alongside the Ethics module).

Finally, exam kits are your best friend when it comes to revision. Looking at the kit before going through the textbook allows to you see what topics the exams are focused on, which means you know what to concentrate on while going through the material.

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