Our in depth interview with Jude Buyeera the CPA Top finalist candidate in the August 2019 examinations.
Question 1; Tell us about your Journey to Becoming a CPA.
Answer; My journey to becoming a CPA started in 2014 when I chose accounting option while pursuing my Bachelors degree in Business Administration at Makerere University Business School. Having decided to specialize in accounting, studying a professional accounting course was inevitable since it was a pre-requisite for me to practice as an Accountant. My interest in the course was boosted by the fact that some of the practice questions we could use during our Income Tax lectures at university were from CPA past papers of Advanced Taxation (Paper 9). I therefore started familiarizing myself with CPA exam questions while at university and in this way I became optimistic that there wouldn’t be a material difference between the university course content and that of ICPAU when I enroll for the course. After completing my degree in May 2015, I joined Grant Thornton Uganda Certified Public Accountants as an Audit Associate under External Audit and Assurance Services. At this point, enrolling for the CPA (U) course was mandatory as long as I served in that business unit. This made me to enroll for the CPA (U) course in February 2016 with my first exam diet being June 2016. Subsequently, I ensured that I attempt exams at least twice per year and in August 2019 I completed the course.
Question 2; Is this the first time you are emerging as a Top student in your journey of academics?
Answer; For the CPA (U) course, yes it’s my first time to be a top candidate and the score of 84% that I got in Integration of knowledge paper was my highest throughout the course. However, I also emerged the top accounting student for the academic year 2012/2015 while I was at Makerere University Business School. At this point I won the ACCA best accounting student award having scored a CGPA of 4.95 out of 5.00. The same applies to my high school where I emerged the top UACE candidate in the 2011 UACE exams with 23 out of 25 points. So like the Latin saying goes, “Fortuna et Labore”, I think it was both my luck and hard work.
Question 3; What was your greatest challenge encountered while studying the CPA course and how did you overcome it?
Answer; Being an Auditor, my greatest challenge was getting time to attend lectures. This was because I spent most of my time upcountry performing field audits. I therefore resorted to self-study for most of my CPA exams. I did not feel ashamed to carry my study materials upcountry and do revision in my guest room after work which later became a habit. However, there were technical papers like P13, P14 & P16 which I had to attend weekend lectures because they were core to the course and also their exam setting was real challenging. When it came to P18, I did a combination of self-study, lectures and consultations with tutors whom I considered to be knowledgeable in the paper.
Question 4; How do you rate yourself as a CPA and how does it improve one’s work performance?
Answer; I rate myself to be among the best Accountants, I believe that I offer and will continue to offer the best services to my clients. The CPA (U) course has been designed to equip students with technical and professional skills which are critical in the execution of their work. Therefore, a member is expected upon completion of the course to offer professional guidance to the emerging dynamic business needs. Possessing a CPA certification also enhances confidence in the consumers of the Practitioner’s accounting services since they expect him or her to be professional and therefore offer expert advice.
Question 5; What opportunities has doing the CPA (U) course brought to you?
Answer; Enrolling for the CPA (U) course enabled me to retain my job both when I served as an External Auditor at Grant Thornton Uganda CPAs and currently as a Senior Internal Auditor at BRAC Uganda. This is because having a full or partial CPA qualification has become a job requirement for most accounting related roles due to the credibility of the course. However, I believe my biggest opportunity shall be when I receive a license as a Practicing Accountant to enable me legally offer professional services to my clients.
Question 6; How did you do it to become the top CPA finalist candidate?
Answer; “I saved my best for the last”. Being my last exam, I did a thorough preparation that included attending lectures, doing personal research and revision using past paper questions, consultations with tutors that I believed had good knowledge in the paper, holding discussions with my fellow students and above all, I prayed to God for the guidance while in the examination so as to correctly interpret questions and deliver my best.
Question 7; What was your experience with Achievers Professional Trainers? “Achievers”
Answer; Achievers is an institute of young and passionate professionals who are aiming at ensuring that aspiring Accountants not only get the knowledge to pass CPA (U) exams but also acquire practical skills they need to perform on their jobs. Personally, I interacted with its tutors while studying my last CPA Paper (P18) and I can say the guidance and knowledge that received from them was fundamental to my success in this paper.
Question 8; What is your advice to continuing CPA students?
Answer; Students need to prepare adequately through personal revision and research, discussions and consultations with their tutors. Furthermore, they should be focused, committed, determined and shouldn’t despair when they fail some exam papers.
Question 9; Now that you are a CPA, what next?
Answer; I am looking forward to registering for membership with the institute (ICPAU) and also applying for a license as a Practicing Accountant. In this way, I will be able to serve my clients legally as a Practitioner as we together find solutions to emerging dynamic business needs.
Question 10; You have done well academically, congratulations!! What about your other life, are you married or hope to return to the seminary?
Answer; This is an amusing question!!! While I was in the seminary, we used to have a Latin saying that goes “Multi autem sunt, vocati pauci vero electi” Meaning many are called but few are chosen. So my call was probably in accounting and not priesthood. I am not married yet because I chose to do first things first. However, I plan to take on that institution next since my primary academic objectives have now been met.
Interviewer; Sam Ibanda (CPA)
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