Wednesday, January 30, 2019

The air of the new environment

Assalamualaikum and hi everyone.

Welcome back to my channel – My Crystal.

Some of you were asking me about my condition to my new workplace, hence this is my detailed reply. Peace.. (“)(^_^)(“)

 How are you?

I am good Alhamdulillah. Emotionally and physically.

I am so happy.. Reason being is of course, number one is I can go home earlier as compared to the time when I was an auditor. I can cook every day. Yeay!. It is not because I had to cook, but because I want to cook. See the differences. My husband always advices me that if I am exhausted, he doesn’t mind eating outside. But for me, cooking is like a therapy. I am enjoying the process and preparing good food. Even though it’s just two of us. So yeah..

The distances of my current workplace to my home is just around 15 to 20 minutes. I am actually taking my sweet time during the ‘back home’ journey it is really near. I am extremely grateful. Alhamdulillah.

There was this one time that I went back home around 8.30pm at the office and my colleagues said that it is too late. I am like are you freaking serious?? Haha. My normal time to go home is around 5.30pm to 6.30pm. At least my target is I can perform Maghrib prayer at home. But I admit during the closing period, I will need to stay longer but the cut off is like 10pm. So having the peak vibes once in a while makes me even more grateful with my current job. And it’s just two days in a month.. Alhamdulillah.

The stress levels are very much tolerable and manageable. I need to handle ad hoc matter for the company but seriously it is not difficult, at all. (Maybe because my benchmark is the audit life, so this one will be very much easier).

Frankly speaking, transitioning from being an auditor to an accountant is not an easy process. There are a lot of systems that I need to master within a short time of period. System to post journal, system to pull full set of accounting report, system to attach the supporting document, training database and etc. You name it.  

Alhamdulillah, I have been blessed with a lot of helpful and nicest colleagues ever. They are willing to accept me joining the finance team and guiding me during my transition.

And I believe my excel skills actually expedite my learning and working process too. Well there are just simple excel formulae like ‘VLOOKUP’ , ‘PIVOT’, ‘SUMIF’, ‘SUBTOTAL9’, but these formulae are very important to get things done. I am glad that the excel tricks will still be useful and beneficial to my current post.

What is your current job scope?

I am a local tax person for the company. I need to deal with all different types of taxes that my company had to adhere and comply with. I handle tax expenses, deferred taxes, withholding taxes, transfer pricing as well as sales and service taxes.
I am a rule based person. I love taxes very much. I like knowing all the rules related to taxes, whether it is deductible or not, whether it is claimable as qualifying expenditures or not and what is the tax planning so that we can be in compliance with taxes rules but at the same time with paying lesser pay to the tax authority. This is what we called tax avoidance – which means avoiding the tax but by adhering to the laws. You really need to be good with the tax standards.
I noticed my love for taxes has been growing ever since I took ACCA papers (F6- Malaysian Taxation and P6- Advanced Taxation). Then the love continue grows when I have been promoted to Senior back then during my audit life where I was in charge mostly for complex sections like reviewing inventory and tax. Again, tax is like becoming so important and huge in my life.

I am also will be the key person that my superior will refer to for any accounting updates. I believe being ACCA member is not adequate to become a top notch chartered accountant. I need to keep up with latest accounting updates and not being adamant for the change. Change is inevitable and if I am not being updated with the changes, I might be left behind. Right?

Do I missed my former firm? 

Yes and No.

Yes, I missed the office building. I missed waiting the KTM and complaining about it (lol). I missed standing inside the KTM for one hour and a half when I got no seat in KTM. I missed the hustle and bustle in KL Sentral as well as Nu Sentral. I missed walking to the office. I missed lunch at Bank Rakyat (haha). I missed doing audit. I missed literally everything. Working in Big 4 for four solid years is no joke and how funny I am to tell myself and to tell you that I missed them.

Don’t forget the No.

No, I don’t miss the heavy workload. I don’t miss the crazy deadline. I don’t miss peak period. I don’t miss the nasty clients. I don’t miss staying back at client’s place. I don’t miss working on weekend every day. I don’t miss the need to continue working when I reach home.

Some people, when they resigned from the big firm. They don’t actually know what they want in life. They opted to join commercial and later on, they will be joining the firm again. Reason being is because they are passionate with audit but the passion in them has been blurred with the intolerable stress that they faced every day. Then when they are being less challenged, they are kind of missing the hectic life that they had before.  

There are a lot of things going on in my life and my ultimate goal is to find my inner peace. Meaning that I want my prayer to be more focused and not being with distracted with working thingy. If you got what I mean.

So I guess that’s about it.  

Talk to yourself and know what you want in life.
Find His blessings in every step that you take in life.
And that is all that matters.
Until then,
Bye bye and have a nice day ahead!

p/s: have you smile and say selawat today?


Sunday, January 13, 2019

Q&A #1 : Working in a big 4 and studying ACCA

Assalamualaikum and hi everyone.

It has been 4 years plus since I last updated my blog on last May 2014.

The main reason behind my long absence are because I have been working with audit firm for 4 years (Dec 2014 to Nov 2018) and pursuing ACCA part time. These working and studying part time thingy has really made me so occupied that I don’t have time to update my blog (read : My Crystal).

I have been receiving quite a number of questions from my dear friends related to working as well as study experience. Hence, I believe it’s good to start my comeback with the Q&A session as my writing skill has been quite rusty. I will copy the exact questions raised by them.

And I will separate my blog update into 2 sections ie. (1) work related and (2) study experience.


1. Kak.. standard ke keje audit ni balik sampai 5-6 pagi?

Not standard. But sometimes, we have to.

I have once not going back home at all because my associate decides to stay back at client’s place.

Reason being is because of crazy deadline that we have to adhere.

To be frank, I don’t like to stay late at office or at client’s place. There are a few times that I fell asleep while driving and it is really dangerous. I got few cars and lorries honking at me, and thank God I am awake because of that. To die because of working late is really not worth it.

So, to solve ‘the need’ to stay and work very late, I am a kind of a problem solver instead of complainer. I admit, sometimes we need to do the sacrifice and work late to get the job done on time. But if we can manage it earlier, it will be better.

I plan my time every single day. I will list down all of my task and numbering them based on the priority. It’s feel very therapeutic for me to cross out the task one by one. So, at the end of the day, I know that I have accomplished something.

I take the initiative to know the deadlines and I will work back ward. So, at least if something went wrong, I knew that I have done my best. Most of the people have certain KPI to achieve for their bonus and promotion, I on the other hand have expectation on myself. I need to get the job done to satisfy myself and to prove myself that I actually can do it.   

In some normal days, that we are not really rushing, I actually went back at 5.30pm or 6pm. If I got something to do, I set a target and I will limit myself to go home after Maghrib prayer.

 So yeah, at the end of the day, time management is really important to complete the job and to manage the expectations.

2. Tirah. Tak nak tanya pasal ACCA/audit firm. Nak tanya, kenapa quit Big 4?

Good question.

Not many of you know that I am actually bonded with the audit firm for 4 years and I need to complete my ACCA studies within that 4 years timeframe. I have been sponsored by Yayasan Peneraju for ACCA study and Alhamdulillah I managed to complete my ACCA within 3.5 years working in audit firm. I have become ACCA member before I left the firm, again, Alhamdulillah.

My target

Actually, to be a chartered accountant, you only need 3 years relevant experience in accounting field. Either you are working in accounting, tax or finance line. So for me, my target is only to complete the bond and working in the big 4 for 4 years only as per stated in the agreement. Nothing more and nothing less. See, I have been working extra 1 year to be a CA. And having said that, when I finished the fight that I have started, it is really a personal achievement for me.

Working in international company is not easy. You have a lot of expectations to manage. Your bosses, your managers, your associates, your clients and even to yourself. Then you have a lot of deadlines to follow. In addition, your career progression is really based on your performance. It is not like commercial environment where you need to wait for a vacant position, only then you can move up.

It is a good place to climb the corporate ladder but proofing yourself that you deserve the promotion is a different story. We need to be able to show that we have leadership skills, adequate accounting and auditing knowledge to be able to lead the audit team.

I have one friend that cannot stand the audit culture and left after a month joining the company.

At the same time, I have a friend that have joined the big firm for 10 years and still staying in the auditing line because she knows what she is doing and she is passionate about it.

So yeah, that’s it depends on what do you want in life.


Another thing is because of the location. My former employee is based at the heart of the KL city center. During the first 2 years working as a single lady, I stayed with my parent in Rawang. Then the next 2 years, I moved to Seremban after married.

Hence, do imagine that I have been travelling quite far every day. The distance of Rawang to KL is around 45 minutes to 1 hour and the distance of Seremban to KL is 1 hour 30 minutes to 2 hours, depending on the traffic. It is really tiring to travel and by the time I reach my office or my client’s place, I am really exhausted and I lost a lot of energy being stuck in the traffic jam and the long haul journey.

Priority change

Another main reason is because when I got married, priority changed.

I love my family more than my work (even though I love audit).



3. Kak, apa first thing first perlu buat untuk sambung ACCA, nak sambung tapi tak tahu nak start mana dulu.. apply scholars ke? sebab rasa macam tak boleh kalau tanggung sendiri..

4. Athirah.. kita kerja account sekarang. Small medium company.. nak tanya, untuk ambil ACCA, apa persediaan dan medium (sponsorship) dan apa pula selepas itu?

Okay, I will combine question 3 and 4 as they are quite similar.

There are a lot of universities and institutions in Malaysia that you can study and sit for ACCA exam. For this matter, I believe you need to search and google it yourself. I only knew few institutions like Sunway University and UiTM Shah Alam.

Then for the scholarship also you need to do your own research ya. Nowadays, there are a lot of scholarship being offered for us to do professional paper like Yayasan Peneraju and MyPAC. There are also other organization offering the scholarship.

So what I suggest you to do is to search for the college nearby to your place and call them to ask about the scholarship.

You also can also read my previous post in relation to why we want to be a chartered accountant and the programs offered by Yayasan Peneraju.

     If we have become ACCA member, so what’s next?

Actually I took ACCA just to check whether it is really tough and difficult like most of the people said. But now I took it, yes I can confirm that it is difficult but it is doable. I also took it because of the knowledge. The depth of the knowledge that it offers really helps me to become a better accountant in term of the theory and the application.

If let say you want to stay at your current company, it is okay because you will see that ACCA really helps you to understand further on what you are doing right now.

And if you decide to leave the company, it is also okay because by having the professional certificate, you are very demanded by the market. You also can bargain a higher salary and position in the industry.

So you need to see this professional paper as a stepping stone for your long term investment in your career. It is really worth it.

5. How to pass if I have failed many times?

Erm.. I don’t think I am in a right position to answer this. Because Alhamdulillah, I managed to pass all of ACCA papers in my first attempt. I need to do 7 papers by the way.  

But since you asked, I will share what I know and hopefully this can help you to regain your confidence in passing the paper.

Each of us has different method in studying. There are 5 types of people when it comes to study method, 1) Reading, 2) Writing 3) Talking 4) Hearing and 5) Imagination.

-Some people prefer to read and they will understand and remember fast.
-Some people prefer to write their own notes and re-write to remember them.

-Some people prefer to explain the knowledge to other people.

-Some people prefer to listen than doing the talking.

-And lastly, some people prefer to see picture and draw the mind map to simplify the chapter and easy to remember.

So check what kind of person are you?

What I know is, if we combine all of this method, our memory will be strengthen and we can understand and remember better.

For me, I do my own notes. I re-write them.

I explain each chapters to my friends, sibling or even to my husband in my own words.

I do all pass year questions twice.

Whenever I face roadblock, I will quickly reach my lecturer to ask about my uncertainty about the topic that we have learnt.

But the most important thing, I will ask my parent to pray and make doa for me. I believe my success today is not merely coming from my own effort, but it also comes from all the doa of the people around me. Alhamdulillah.

You also need to be responsible to uplift the motivation of yourself. I can say anything and a loooot of things but at the end of the day, you decide what you feel and most importantly if you fail now, so what’s next move?

Do you decide to give up?

Or do you decide to give it another go and give your best shot again?

 Fall 7 times, wake up again 8.

I understand you may feel dry and boring to study the same thing.

But take this opportunity to unlearn and relearn.

If you come into a class with a full of glass, you won’t learn anything because you refuse to.

But if you reset your mind and renew your intention, you need to throw the water in your glass now and be humble to relearn and fill up the glass again.

 Like my life motto – nothing is impossible to a willing heart.

The one sitting in the middle between you and passing the paper is actually yourself. You can do this, sooner or later. Just trust yourself, study hard and insha Allah you will pass the paper. Okay?

6. Satu paper ACCA takes how long period?

Before this, there are only 2 exam sittings which are in June and December. Then starting what year I can’t recall, there are 4 exam sittings which are in March, June, September and December.

Previously, when I studied in Sunway University, we are only allowed to take our new paper in June and December and the re-sit paper can be taken on all 4 exam sittings period.

When you ask the question of how long an ACCA paper can be taken, well what can I say is the pace of passing ACCA is different from one person to another person.

Let’s say you are coming from public university, out of 13 papers, you got 9 exemption of the papers. Hence, the remaining 4 papers is the one that you need to sit for.

Let say, you want to do 2 papers in 1 sitting, you can actually complete the 4 papers in a year. 2 papers in June and 2 papers in December. This is doable if you are actually studying full time.

But if you ask me, I would prefer to take only 1 paper in one sitting. Reason being is because the paper itself is very heavy, comprised of a lot of chapters and I am doing it part time. Instead of being rushing to complete it fast and having the risk of failing both papers, I will choose the safer road and focus on 1 paper only at 1 sitting.

FYI, nowadays we have the 7 years rule where you need to complete the ACCA paper once you started it within 7 years time. So yeah, run your own race in your own pace.

Okay, I think that’s all for now.

I apologise if I am not really answering questions raised by you guys, but I do hope that this post can help you to understand a little bit better about working in big 4 and studying ACCA. Do note that this is my personal view only.

If you have anymore questions, feel free to reach me by any means.

Thank you.

Till then.

Assalamualaikum =)