Finding that extra bit of confidence

Nov 05, 2019
Tilly Downes, trainee in PwC in Cork, is moving on to her FAE after grabbing the top spot in her CAP 2 exams. Tilly answered some questions about exam preparation and her future as a Chartered Accountant.

Can you bring us through your preparation process for the CAP 2 exams?

I began my study leave ten weeks before the exams were due to commence. At the beginning, I spent some time preparing my folders and dividing them into sections so that when it came to study and the exams, I knew where everything was. Following this, I focused on completing the exam papers in the fastest time I could which helped me during the actual exam; I knew how much time to allocate to each question and learned how to work against the clock. 

What was the most challenging part of your preparation?

Ten weeks of study leave is a long time, and it can be hard to motivate yourself to keep going, so this is definitely what I found the most challenging.

What is one tip you would give to someone going into their CAP 2 exams in the next year?

My advice would be just to give your best shot at the interim exams. These exams will really set you up for the final exam if you have a steady mark going in. It gives you that bit of extra confidence.  

What do you plan on doing with your career once you qualify?

At the moment, I have no definite plans on what I want to do after I qualify. I have toyed with the idea of moving abroad; I feel living in another country and meeting new people from different cultures would be a great experience. 

If I do move abroad, I hope to work in the financial industry. The idea of getting insight into how businesses operate, the different challenges they face and, ultimately, what makes these businesses successful appeals to me. I also believe this could be an invaluable opportunity to develop myself both personally and professionally. For the time being, my main goal is to obtain my ACA qualification so that I will be able to reap the rewards it offers to its graduates. 

In third year, I chose to go to PwC for my six-month placement. PwC has always come across as a progressive firm, and anytime I spoke to someone who had done an internship in their offices, the feedback was always positive. Given its global recognition, I felt it was a good place to work that will hopefully stand to me later in life if I end up moving abroad. 

Why do you want to qualify as a Chartered Accountant?

From a young age I had an interest in numbers. As a child, I used to count all the change for my mother’s newsagent and bring it to the bank. This passion continued throughout my life. In secondary school I knew I wanted to pursue a career as a Chartered Accountant which is why I opted to study BSc Accounting in UCC. I have always been someone who enjoys learning, and the fact that the BSc Accounting offers a broad range of modules appealed to me. I liked the idea of discovering new areas of interest and developing skills in a variety of areas. I believe studying accounting, and now pursuing the ACA qualification, has allowed me to continuously build on what I already know and to further develop my skills.