Top Scorers Share Insights on the Singapore CA Qualification Programme

By the Social Media Team, SMU School of Accountancy

We are proud to highlight the achievements of two of our alumni who received the Institute of Chartered Accountants (ISCA) Book Prize for their outstanding performance in the Business Value, Governance & Risk Module of the Singapore Chartered Accountant (CA) Qualification* Professional Exams!

As part of the Singapore CA Qualification framework, candidates will need to pass the Professional Programme stage which consists of six different modules. And each year, ISCA awards book prizes to outstanding performers in the Singapore CA Qualification’s Professional Programme examinations.

ISCA Book Prize

Phua Yanqi (2nd right) and Soh Cheng Yi (2nd left) posing with the other ISCA Book Prize winners and Mr Kon Yin Tong, ISCA Vice President

Phua Yanqi (BAcc Class of 2014) and Soh Cheng Yi (BAcc/BBM Class of 2014), had both opted to take on the programme to reap the full benefits of the Singapore CA Qualification, despite having the option of the shorter five-day ISCA Pre-Admission Course (PAC)^ which was available until March 2014.  The pair received their honours at the ISCA New Members Ceremony held on 4 April 2017.

Yanqi and Cheng Yi’s achievements are a testament to the academic rigour of our School of Accountancy (SoA) programme, as they emerged top among the candidates from all over Singapore who took the same Professional Exam.

We caught up with Yanqi and Chengyi to find out more about their journey:

Q: Congratulations on receiving the ISCA Book Prize! Can you share with us your thoughts on receiving this honour?

Cheng Yi: It was a pleasant surprise and I am glad that my efforts were rewarded.

Yanqi: I feel rewarded for my hard work and I am very thankful to have received this prize. It was actually my second attempt at the exam paper. I failed the first attempt in June 2016 and retook the exam in December 2016. This was a reminder to me that failure is part of the learning process and we should persevere on.

cheng yi

Cheng Yi receiving his ISCA Book Prize from Mr Kon

Q: Balancing the demands of a full-time job while preparing for your CA Qualification exams must have been quite challenging. Why did you decide to take on the Singapore CA Qualification Programme?

Cheng Yi: As a local graduate who qualified for the PAC, I decided to take the CA Qualification Programme instead as I believe that Singapore CA will eventually be recognised by other institutes such as ICAEW (for which the MoU had been signed in April 2017) and Australia CA. This will provide me with the mobility of moving across borders while retaining the recognition and prestige of being a Chartered Accountant.

Yanqi: The CA Qualification Programme is definitely more challenging than the alternative which is the five-day course. However, we shouldn’t always choose the easier way out. I feel that the CA Qualification Programme is a more holistic programme,  and that I could learn more in the process; hence, I decided to take it on for my personal development. I also like the fact that it has a pro-bono component which allows us to give back to the community in the process.

Q: Can you share with us how your experiences at the SMU School of Accountancy helped you to juggle the demands of a full-time job and the programme?

Cheng Yi: The rigour of the SMU Bachelor of Accountancy programme, where I learned to hone my time management skills to manage the timelines of different projects and examinations, helped me tremendously in juggling the demands of both a full-time job and the Singapore CA Qualification Programme. I was able to plan my schedule to ensure that sufficient time was allocated to studying whilst not neglecting my work commitments.

Yanqi: I think that SMU has prepared me well in terms of time management. Back in school, I had to learn to juggle both my co-curricular activities, such as SMUSA (SMU Students’ Association), and my studies. In addition, the rigorous accounting curriculum and dedicated professors in SoA helped me to establish a strong accounting knowledge base which definitely helped a lot for the technical modules. They also encouraged a questioning mind and active class participation, which was a useful skill to have while attending the CA Qualification workshops.


Yanqi receiving her ISCA Book Prize from Mr Kon

Q: Lastly, how would you advise your juniors from SMU SoA who are contemplating taking up the CA Qualification Programme?

Chengyi: As the CA Qualification Programme is still in the infancy stage, I would advise my SMU SoA juniors to clearly look at their job commitments and their firm’s benefits of enrolling into the programme before committing to it, as they would have to commit a fair bit of time to ensure that they pass the exams. Notwithstanding the above, it is clearly a benefit to take up the CA Qualification Programme due to the prestige and recognition attached to the CA Singapore status amongst employers.

Yanqi: Everyone has different commitments and priorities in their lives. I would advise them to think through their commitments and consider if the benefits of the programme is worth their time. If they would like to be challenged, and they are willing to put in the time and effort to learn, then go for it. I can only say that it is not an easy path, and I wish them all the best. If they have any specific questions relating to the programme, I will be happy to share my experience.

(Photos courtesy of ISCA)

 * Launched in June 2013, the Singapore Chartered Accountant (CA) Qualification (formerly known as the Singapore Qualification Programme or Singapore QP) provides a pathway for the training, qualification and recognition of those aspiring to become Chartered Accountants of Singapore. Candidates who successfully complete the Singapore CA Qualification will be eligible to register themselves as Chartered Accountants of Singapore. (Source: The Singapore Accountancy Commission)

^ The ISCA Pre-Admission Course was designed to facilitate transition into the new Singapore CA Qualification.

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