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Hollywood films and good study habits help me through the ACA

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Published: 11 Sep 2020

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ICAEW student Minyue Ma talks about becoming a chartered accountant in China, and watching classic movies to improve her English.

Minyue Ma, 21, from Qingdao in the Shandong province of eastern China, is one of the hundreds of students studying for the ACA in the country. Across Greater China, the ICAEW now supports more than 3,300 members and an increasing number of students like Minyue. 

 “Accounting is in great demand in China, but it’s always been a popular major,” she says. 

Bilingual accountants are highly prized.

“My improvement of English reading and communication skills has helped me adapt to the ACA courses more quickly,” she said. To perfect her linguistic literacy, she has been watching bilingual speeches online, and English-language movies. “I prefer the classics, like The Shawshank Redemption.” 

The troubles of this year have presented several roadblocks for students, not least coronavirus and the slowdown of globalisation, she said. But Minyue is confident of overcoming anything in her path, and has some advice for students who are also studying during periods of prolonged uncertainty.

“The prerequisite for mastering knowledge is to have good study habits,” she said. “And secondly, practice beyond theory is also very important. I try to soak up the latest developments and trends of the industry as much as possible, whilst keeping my vision of long-term development.”

Minyue gained her ICAEW CFAB qualification 2019 and has then gone on to the ACA. “I wanted to go on to study the ACA afterwards to support my career.” She has noticed the difference between the ICAEW CFAB exams and the subsequent levels of the ACA. “The course is more difficult and requires a deeper understanding and comprehensive memory of the content. The preparation period becomes longer, and the essence of the problem should be understood and expressed in a reasonable way during the practice.”

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ICAEW student Minyue Ma

She is about to undertake her placement internship, and which Minyue said will prepare her for a career in the profession and allow her to put into practice the knowledge she has acquired in the classroom.

“I’m looking forward to meeting my peers during the practical work experience, as they will each have outstanding abilities in an array of subjects, and I hope it will help me improve on areas I feel I need to be better at,” she said. “It is easy to understand the definition of an accounting problem, but when it comes to practical treatment, it is necessary to understand the true essence of the issue rather than just what it looks like on the surface.”

She said she feels her current path has given her “unlimited possibilities”, and has already felt the benefits of personal growth and how important teamwork has been to make her understand her strengths; although Minyue had studied accountancy previously, the ACA has proved a step up in difficulty, and one she is excited to have undertaken.

“The curriculum as a whole, along with the assessment mode, has improved my ability to work and learn autonomously, she said. “When studying, I’m exposed to great amounts of knowledge, and it is helping me gain a comprehensive understanding of accounting work.”

She believes the ACA qualification will appeal to international companies looking to gain a foothold in China, and that one day it could also lead to travel.

“I know that accounting is a major that requires a lot of hard work and practical experience, so I’m happy to work locally in the industry at first, and then abroad when necessary,” Minyue said. “I have participated in many projects and competitions so far, and I am drawn to the more innovative and entrepreneurial companies out there.”