RSM South Africa

The life of a full time trainee accountant and student

The journey of a trainee accountant is filled with trials and tribulations, especially so when you choose to work and study at the same time

Being in a highly demanding institution that provides continuous excellent and efficient service, means that you tend to become more work driven and you need to work at finding a balance to ensure success. With this pressure to be productive at work comes the added pressure to be an above average student at university. It is great to be a successful trainee but it’s even more rewarding when you are successful at being a trainee and a student simultaneously.  

I had conformed to a strategy of dedicating my time in different ways to ensure balance and efficiency as a whole. Some sacrifice was required in terms of downtime and weekends to ensure that work and studies played hand in hand. Saying this can be done and actually doing it are two different things but a plan was formulated and obstacles would arise. Obstacles such as, finalising an audit file after it has been reviewed by the manager or partner. This should be done during working hours, however, one can get stuck and this may require you to put in the extra time after-hours. So the plan needed adjustments as I went along.

Let’s look at the scenario. You have a full time job where you are required to work 7.75 hours a day. This leaves you with 16.25 hours in the day. You have to get up and get ready, which takes an hour, then travel to and from work, which takes another hour each way, leaving you with 13.25 hours. Being an independent individual also requires you to cook dinner for yourself and you need time to eat, which could take around 1.5 hours, leaving you with 11.75 hours left in the day. You have to sleep, which could vary depending on the amount of pressure you put your body through, but let’s say you get 6 hours. Now you have 5.75 hours left to either study or breathe – so you do in fact have enough time remaining to study. However for me, being a father and in a relationship on top of this made it rather interesting. 

The plan was set but many obstacles created setbacks, which meant losing time to stick to the plan. However, I realised that if you dedicate just one day of the weekend for both study and work life, you actually have a world of time. That’s what I did. Saturdays were reserved for study and work, and Sundays dedicated to rest and recovering. Taking a full Saturday, I would break up 18 hours, after utilising 6 hours on sleep. 9 hours were dedicated to work if I was in a backlog and a full 9 hours were dedicated to studying, regardless of whether it was tutorials or going back to previous complications. Applying this methodology helped me to gain momentum in my studies as well as get me back on track to completing my articles. The key to this methodology is making a promise to yourself that no matter what might occur, you will stick to this plan. If something impromptu occurs on a weekend, you must commit to make up for it the whole of the next weekend. Applying this methodology was what enabled me to be successful in my journey. I also believed that RSM was there for me to assist with matters relating to my training contract or my studies and I was never afraid to ask for help. Good luck to you on your journey and may it be a successful one.

Kevesh Moodley

Eligible AGA, Johannesburg


Related articles

The transition from an audit trainee to a supervisor

Behind the scenes of becoming a successful Chartered Accountant