ACCA members’ tips on working and studying remotely

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Measures to prevent the spread of the coronavirus mean many of us are spending a lot of time at home, but it doesn’t necessarily mean that normal life has stopped. Modern technology means businesses and schools have been able to adapt and continue to conduct operations.

ACCA members all over the world are having to get used to this ‘new normal’ and find strategies to remain productive at home. As people who’ve already been through the ACCA exams, we thought they’d be perfect to ask for some tips on how to manage time, work and studies in isolation.

Syed Saad Sami ACCA, Sami Accountants, UK

From my personal experience while studying ACCA the place and arrangements where I studied made a lot of difference. It’s always better to have a table and a comfortable chair.

You should have all your supplies, such as highlighters, a calculator, sticky notes, ready at your desk so there’s no time wasted in finding them. You should also take breaks to absorb and digest the information you’re taking in during each study session.

Helen Needham ACCA, Gibson Booth Limited Chartered Accountants and Business Advisers, UK

One thing that’s helping me is trying to stick to my ‘normal’ work routine as best I can. That means actually getting dressed into work clothes, having breaks at the time I would usually have them etc.

I also try not to get bogged down with emails. I check and reply first thing in the morning, close them until after lunch, then close them again until the end of my work day. This helps me to focus more on my main tasks through the day with fewer distractions.

Make a to-do list at the start of each day with the highest priority items at the top. Give yourself a ‘reward’ each time you finish a priority task, for example, ‘now I can have a cuppa!’ and so on. It’s a good way to stay motivated.

Try not to blur the lines between work and study. Once your work day has ended, give yourself a good break – have some dinner or go for a walk – before sitting back down to study. It may even help to study in a different room/area to where you’ve been working for a change of scenery.

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Ana Ben Tsrooya ACCA, KPMG, Israel

  1. Have a to-do list with tasks for the day.
  2. Try to build a clear schedule from the beginning to the end of the business day and stick to it.
  3. As working from home saves on travel hours, think of how to use this time properly, for example, online courses, training, informative videos etc.

Shahzad Jawaid ACCA, Nestlé, Switzerland

  1. A properly setup study area.
  2. A distraction free and focused mindset.
  3. Prioritisation of tasks and targets.
  4. Short breaks to recharge energy.
  5. Virtual catch ups and group calls with teachers.
  6. Short daily walks.
  7. A mentally and physically beneficial diet plan.

Bukkie Adewuyi FCCA, Accounting & Tax Professionals, CPA Firm, Canada

One key thing is to understand the value of time. You need to structure your day – allocate time for study and work… and stick to it. It does not have to be for many hours. If you consistently use certain designated hours for study and work, they will be productive.

Brighton Mubaiwa ACCA, Zimbabwe Revenue Authority, Zimbabwe

One of my tutors said: ‘You have to be well read to pass and working from home gives you more time to read’. He also used to say: ‘It is not only about passing, but understanding the concepts.’

So when you’re at home, give yourself more time to ask the questions – What? Why? How? and When? These questions will prepare you well for the exam and the world after exams. Take pride in studying at home and stand out.

Neil Johnson, journalist

This article was first published in Student Accountant in May 2020

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