Trust me, mothers know the rewards of tertiary education

Ng Shu Tsung


LETTER | Reading the article A message for future doctors reminds me of my studying years in school until graduating as a provisional chartered accountant from Tunku Abdul Rahman College (TAR College) in the early 1990s.

My mother being a single parent and having to raise a child on her own had her frustrations when I decided not to continue with my studies after the completion of my Form 6 despite obtaining decent STPM examination results.

Due to financial constraints, I was already working in Singapore right after my Form 6 but my mother pleaded and reasoned with me to give tertiary education a chance.

Reluctantly, I did my tertiary studies at TAR College in chartered accountancy requiring me to sit for the external UK profession qualification of the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants (ACCA).

TAR College also had their internal examinations thus every accountancy student had to sit for two different institutional examinations.

Many dropped out after the first semester while I contemplated returning to the workforce after passing my first year as it was such a struggle to study for both the internal TAR College exam and the external UK examination at the same time.

With parental encouragement and perseverance, I continued until graduation obtaining two book prizes for the TAR College examination including a distinction upon graduating among the top five for the course.

After graduation, a provisional chartered accountant needs to have a certain number of years of proper certified working experience at an accredited firm. Normally, it is around three to four relevant working years before one can apply to the Malaysian Institute of Accountants and be registered as an accountant.

The journey to becoming a chartered accountant is certainly no bed of roses. Working hours as a trainee accountant are long and tiring, sometimes working at funny hours in order to meet the strict accounts submission deadline, more so if the companies are public-listed or have a connection with any listing requirements. Accounts relating to non-public listed companies also have strict deadlines for submission and tax compliance.

The penalties for non-adherence are severe and I, too, have made blunders on reporting matters and was almost hauled up for an inquiry for a minor technical error.

There were many who decided to switch professions during my time as a trainee accountant due to the "pressure cooker" situation of meeting deadlines. The constant changing of tax laws every year and the periodic evolution of accounting regulations added to our situation.

During my employment, I took advantage of the company's sponsorship programme to get additional professional qualifications to enhance my skills.

The working life of an accountant has its ups and downs. Yet, it has been a rewarding journey for which I thank the foresight of my mother who saw the benefits of tertiary education.

The rewards are there in any profession. As long as one is determined enough and able to make the necessary sacrifices to overcome each and every hurdle that comes unexpectedly.

The views expressed here are those of the author/contributor and do not necessarily represent the views of Malaysiakini.

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