It took me about 5 years to qualify, finally finishing in 2018 when I was 29 years old and had already 8 years into my career. At the end of 2010 when I was 21, I got lucky and secured a job with a then small local accounting firm, which was willing to give me a chance as an assistant auditor. My problem was I did not have the entry qualifications to start studying, but eventually was accepted to finish my bachelor’s degree and moved on from there. When I started ACCA in 2013 I was surrounded by people who were facing difficulty with ACCA, and I convinced myself I’d never pass. Studying and working is not easy, it involved early mornings of study every day and most weekends for years. I carried on studying hard and made great progress. Eventually, I completed Fundamental Level after 2 years and it took me another three years to complete Professional Level. Once qualified my career took off, all my experience was essentially bolstered by completing my studies. I moved from a strict auditor role into more general management, but ACCA has always been the foundation of my knowledge. ACCA has been the foundation of a long and varied career from auditor to finance director. It’s been great. Ioanna’s top tips Don’t give up – fall down 7 times, get up 8 Assume you can pass and don’t let anyone or anything convince you that you can’t qualify – put the work in and take your studies really seriously Carry on learning – completing ACCA was the beginning not the end for me Try to understand the real purpose of your work and take it seriously – if you make it more than just a job you will get more out of it and people will notice Know when it’s time to move on – work needs to be stimulating and fun (most of the time) and if it isn’t you are wasting your time and probably your employer’s.