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Tales from the frontline: ICAEW study in Ghana

Cyrill Abbey (pictured left) and Komla Atsu Tachie (pictured right), reveal how receiving a bursary from the ICAEW Foundation enabled them to further their studies and what gaining a qualification means to them

Cyrill Abbey

I studied to become a chartered accountant with the Institute of Chartered Accountants in Ghana (ICAG) via evening and weekend classes at the same time as completing the fourth year of my BSc Administration at the University of Ghana Business School, so I’m no stranger to hard work. Although I was more than willing to put in the hours of study, the financial implications of taking the ICAG course seemed hard to overcome at first. Thankfully, I was awarded a bursary from the ICAEW Foundation, which lifted the financial burden and enabled me to focus on learning and achieving the best results possible.

I graduated from university with an FGPA of 3.78 in 2018, and completed the ICAG qualification at Swott Study School, Accra, in November 2018. Becoming a chartered accountant has opened up a career path with brilliant prospects. The world is changing rapidly and the demand for highly-skilled professionals in the field is only going to increase. I hope to continue my studies in accounting, finance and law and deepen my knowledge further. Education is the key to unlock many complex business and social problems. I currently work as an accounting assistant at the Institute of Applied Science and Technology at the University of Ghana in Accra, a role I started shortly before finishing my ICAG course.

This is just the start of what I hope will be a prestigious career in business; the ICAG Chartered Accountant qualification is recognised and respected globally and becoming qualified has given me the chance to take advantage of numerous opportunities across the industry. I am at the start of my career and already have several proud moments to look back on. Graduating from the University of Ghana and from ICAG have become cherished memories, and my proudest moment to date is when I received an award from ICAG for being the overall best student in the Business and Corporate Law exam, 2016. I feel as if my hard work is being recognised.

Komla Atsu Tachie

There will always be openings for good, well-qualified accountants. One of the reasons I chose the profession was so that I could embrace the career opportunities it offers. I took the first step towards my goal in 2017 when I graduated from Evangelical Presbyterian University College in Ho, Ghana, with a degree in accounting and finance. I wanted to complete my studies with the ICAG but I found the cost of financing my professional qualification prohibitive. I decided to study weekends so I could continue working in my role at Ghana Education Service, where I was employed as a teacher in 2012, moving to the position of accounts assistant in 2017.

My choice of centres was limited by my time constraints and the closest ICAG centre offering the weekend course was a six to seven-hour drive from my home in Kete Krachi. Knowing that the pressure on my finances plus the additional burden of travel would make obtaining the qualification almost impossible, I applied for the ICAEW Foundation bursary in May 2018. I was delighted when I found that I’d been awarded the bursary as without it I may have had to defer my application for full membership status with ICAG. As it was, the money I received helped towards transport and other costs associated with attending the course, which ran from Friday evening to Sunday morning each week at Ho, the capital of the Volta Region of Ghana. I struggled to find the time to complete assignments and study while holding down a full-time job.

I am incredibly proud of the fact I completed the qualification successfully despite these obstacles. I hope to join one of the private accountancy firms in Ghana. While I wait for a suitable opportunity to arise, I am continuing my role at the Ghana Education Service, where I am able to apply the skills I’ve learned to enhance my work. Achieving the ICAG qualification has already paid dividends: I received a promotion after my Municipal and Regional Directors of Education wrote letters of recommendation to my firm; as a result I’ve moved to a higher grade.

My professional accountancy qualification has also opened the door to future possibilities that would otherwise have been closed. While my year studying with ICAG was challenging, having the financial support from the ICAEW Foundation made it possible, and I will always be grateful for that.

Originally published in Economia on 4 October 2019.