For those who are studying, thinking about studying and especially those thinking about studying again…

There are many important investments that you can make during the course of your life. Just following some sage advice: start as early as possible, save a fixed percentage of your pay every month, take advantage of the effect of compound interest, etc. However, the investment that trumps all of these is the investment that you make in yourself and into your own development. Improving your skill set and building on the professional that you are becoming day-by-day, presents an investment with almost endless returns that opens new pathways to really make a success of any endeavour you undertake.

For most of those with a background in auditing and the financial world, the B.Acc degree and subsequent honours degree (or PGDA) presents the path to becoming a qualified professional and opening doors to a wide variety of positions across almost all industries. Whether your goal is to advise businesses on their decisions relating to investment and finance, acting as a group financial accountant or becoming a registered auditor, all these end goals require a specialisation of some sort to set yourself apart in terms of theoretical knowledge. The application will always be where you showcase your true value and what you are capable of but to get there, you need to be at the front of the line for the right opportunity. In getting to the front of that particular line, there is little better you can do for yourself than have a solid backing in your education and to have overcome a significant mental struggle to set yourself up for a successful future.

Apart from the pure ‘business mind-set’ above, the value obtained from completing studies also has a more philosophical benefit to you as an individual. To give some context, in the world of post graduate studies and climbing the ladder to a significant qualification, it can present you with many more struggles than just simply passing a subject. As I’m sure many in the accounting / auditing profession can relate, the road isn’t always a simple process of passing every topic as it arises – it generally requires some form of failure and struggle to realise your goal. It’s in that struggle and that process of failure that you truly discover some hard truths about yourself and your work-ethic. If you don’t stare these in the face and make the necessary changes, you often find an alternative course of action as an ‘easy way out’. But if you do stick with it, struggle through the failures and improve with each setback, you invariably emerge the other side as not just a successful student but also a more well-rounded and robust person who is able to take tough times in your stride.

In recent times the hardships and struggles being faced daily are front and centre of every news publication and trending on every social media platform, resulting in an almost constant stream of challenges and difficult situations available for all to see. To successfully navigate this life and do your bit to improve what you can, it requires individuals who aren’t easily swayed by a challenge, who don’t give up or look for the shortcut to success. It’s in hard work and learning to apply the full extent of your potential to every situation that you will be able to make a real difference and not get caught up in the seemingly insurmountable challenges of our time. Start with what’s in your control and let that snowball to greater and greater successes. Start with completing your studies.

Neal Fisher

Senior Manager: External and IT Audit, Cape Town

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