Taking the top spot

Nov 01, 2018
Lavannia, Associate in Deloitte and the Arthur H. Muir Memorial Prize winner, explains how she went from overlooking a Chartered Accountancy qualification to being the best in class.

What led you to Chartered Accountants Ireland?

I am from Singapore but did part of my masters here in Ireland. Having studied finance in my undergrad, I had been aware of the Chartered Accountancy qualification but had not seriously considered it. While it was considered prestigious, there was little support from the firms or the institutions by way of lectures or time-off to study. However, while studying in Ireland, I became aware of the training contracts with Chartered Accountants Ireland and the training firms, and it was a completely different approach. It was clear the Institute put in a lot of effort and thought into their program. This support, coupled with the worldwide standing and recognition of the qualification, led me to pursue it. 

Has there been any elements of your training that has aided you outside of the profession?

The skills I have gained are very applicable to my personal life. Budgeting and financial acumen would be big ones. For example, when considering investing my savings, I have a better idea of what to look out for and how to interpret financial data. 

What has been the most difficult part of your training and how have you overcome it?

The most difficult part would have to be that fact that some subjects being examined are unfamiliar to me. For example, we are covering audit and assurance in CAP 2 and I would consider myself at a disadvantage given that the vast majority of students hail from audit while I would have never covered it either in work or in university. However, I find that putting in the effort to go through the material until you have a deep understanding helps. I make my own notes because it makes it easier for me to put things in my own words. 

What are your hobbies outside of work and how have you managed your work/life/study balance?

I enjoy travelling, ultimate frisbee and lately I’ve been getting into running. The work/study/life balance is pretty hard. It’s hard to get time to yourself with the workload and lectures. However, Deloitte is really good with the work/study balance, and provide ample leave. I’ve found that starting early is key – you don’t want to be learning things for the first time during study leave. With my hobbies, I’ve taken to trying to use one or two lunch breaks a week to go for a run. And as for travelling, I made full use of the compressed working weeks we get in summer at Deloitte. Given how short flights are within Europe, I went on loads of city breaks – at least five just this summer – which was great! 

What do you hope to do with your qualification?

I hope to use it to advance my career prospects. The qualification is so great because it has such a good reputation. It is internationally recognised and employers consider it very desirable. So, I know that no matter where I work in the future it will provide opportunities and open doors. Beyond the reputation aspect, I believe that the skills and knowledge gained through the qualification will be very useful. The qualification does not focus solely on accounting theory but rather hones analytical thinking and business acumen which are very transferable.