My journey to ACCA success was not one that I could ever have foreseen at the start. It began in third form at Campion College, when I was introduced to the subject for the first time. My first few years of Accounting went relatively well, and I performed creditably despite not having a particular affinity towards the subject. In sixth form I got my first real insight into the accounting profession, when our teacher, Mrs. Nadine Fearon-Johnson, brought the class to an accounting seminar hosted by KPMG. I was impressed by the path that the firm offered, highlighting their Sixth Form Recruitment Program which offered a direct route into the profession. The opportunity to earn while learning the profession in practice and studying the ACCA to increase professional qualification appealed to me as a feasible path to upward social mobility. I left the seminar with a sense of conviction that this was the path I would take, and sent in an application shortly thereafter.
Working and studying
I began my employment with KPMG in August 2014 in the position of Junior Assistant Accountant. Along with the invaluable experience of working directly within the profession, I was faced with the harsh reality that working full time and studying was no walk in the park. On the back of my successful CAPE results in Accounting, I decided to attempt all three level one papers in the June 2015 sitting. I signed up for classes for two papers, opting to self-study for one. Despite having some wonderful tutors, I found that the class environment did not suit my style of learning, particularly due to the fact that classes were kept during the weekdays, after work, and went until late in the night. The effects of fatigue and hunger would set in regularly, and a few weeks before the exams I decided to stop attending classes and instead self-study for all three papers.
My family’s support was critical at this point, as self-studying meant I had little time to do things around the house due to the time commitment necessary to prepare for the exams. Also critical was the support offered by KPMG, who paid for books and classes, in addition to granting paid study leave to prepare for the exams. A sense of triumph dominated my emotions when results came out and I realised that I had passed all three papers. These results also resulted in me receiving the ICAJ Award for Excellence in 2015 for the highest overall average in level one of the examinations.
Despite being successful at level one, I decided that I needed to develop a strategy to approach the much-feared level two papers. While preparing for my first two papers in level two, I created a detailed exam preparation strategy document to outline the approach I was to take in preparation for my exams going forward. As part of my strategy, I also decided against going to traditional classes as I had attempted for level one, and instead opted for online classes. This approach worked very well, and I was
successful in my first two papers in December 2015. After receiving these results, I did some introspection and formed the opinion that if applied properly, I could successfully execute my strategy even without needing to pay for formal online classes.
At this point I decided that I would attempt the remaining papers by completely self-studying, utilising the books and practice kits, along with ACCA resources available for free online. The first two papers taken after adopting this new strategy brought mixed results, as I passed one and failed the other. I diagnosed the cause of my failure as an insufficient execution of the strategy and not a flaw in the strategy itself, and with that I doubled down. This approach paid multiple dividends, as I was successful at the first attempt in all my level two papers thereafter, passing my last two papers in December 2016.
Following my successful completion of level two, I did some research on the level three exams and decided that I had to amend my exam prep strategy to approach this level. I sat my first two papers in June 2017 using this amended strategy and felt an unbelievable feeling of relief when my results returned as successful. Awaiting these results was arguably my least confident moment throughout my entire ACCA journey, as the requirements of this level had me at times questioning whether my strategy would prove adequate.
These results served as a huge boost to my confidence, and I was able to approach the remaining papers with a renewed sense of purpose. In 2017 I also began working at Carreras Limited, and adapting to a new working environment meant I had to now do one paper per sitting instead of two. At times it was difficult to remain motivated to study, especially given that it was now taking longer to finish the exams. The unwavering support of my family and my girlfriend however, never allowed me to stay down and I was able to successfully complete all my remaining papers on the first sitting, finishing in March 2018. As if completion was not a sufficient reward in and of itself, I was
also recognised as the second top Caribbean affiliate for the March 2018 sitting.
Looking back, I can honestly say that there is no way I could have achieved this level of success without God’s guidance; the support of my parents, Desmond and Christine; my brother Kemar and sister Isheka; my long-time girlfriend Jaé Vonae; my grandparents, aunts, uncles and other relatives, led by Aunty Angie; my former colleagues at KPMG, led by Mr. R. Tarun Handa, Managing Partner; my current teammates at Carreras Limited, led by Mr. Marcus Steele, Managing Director; as well as the ACCA and
ICAJ who have allowed countless accounting professionals here in Jamaica to benefit under the joint examination scheme.
Kemon Pitter received the Sushil Jain Award at the ICAJ/ACCA Graduation Ceremony which was held on October 27, 2018 at the Knutsford Court Hotel in Kingston. The award is presented annually to the youngest graduate who successfully completes the Professional programme on his/her first attempt. Congratulations Kimon! We wish you a successful career!