CPA Alex Chips Ocitti was recognized at the 11th graduation ceremony of the Institute of Certified Public Accountants of Uganda (ICPAU) for completing the Certified Public Accountants of Uganda [CPA-U] course in a record 2 years. He is a full member of ICPAU.
Today’s Accountant magazine caught up with him recently. He shares his story
Studying CPA and Enrolling for ICPAU Membership
In 2015, the Ministry of Local Government advertised for the position of Accountant for a project that was funded by the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD). I did not have CPA then. I applied and I was shortlisted, based on my experience. However, when I was invited for the interview, I did not impress the panel because I lacked the requisite qualifications. They said they could not proceed with the interview because I did not have a professional accountancy qualification.
I felt dejected. After habouring the frustration for over a year, I decided to enroll for CPA. I quit my job so that I could focus on studies.
I registered on 18 March 2017.
In June 2017, I sat for two Papers, Financial Accounting Paper 1 and Quantitative Techniques Paper 2, having been exempted from the other 5 at level one of the course.
In August 2017, I proceeded to level II and sat for one Paper, Advanced Taxation Paper 9. I emerged the top student.
In November 2017, I sat for the remaining four papers at level II: Financial Reporting Paper 8, Financial Management Paper 10, Management Decision & Control Paper 11 and Auditing & Professional Ethics & Values Paper 12. I was top student in Papers 8 and 12.
Impressed with my progress thus far, I became more ambitious. I thought to myself that if I could successfully complete four Papers in one examinations sitting, I could certainly do five. In June 2018, I sat for all five Papers at level III. It was hectic but I passed all 5 Papers although I did not win in any.
I successfully sat for the final Paper, Integration of Knowledge in August 2018.
Shortly after completing CPA, I applied for full membership of ICPAU and I was admitted. I had the mandatory 3-year practical experience requirement.
Reaping the Benefits of CPA: Bouncing back on the Job
The private and public sectors are appreciating people with skills and people who are affiliated to a reputable professional body, particularly in accounting and finance. It was very easy to bounce back on the job market, after I completed CPA.
I completed the course in August 2018 and in December I was hired for the same job that I was denied in 2015, on the grounds of lacking a professional accountancy qualification. The position was re-advertised and I applied again. I was hired because this time round because I had the minimum qualification, CPA.
Ocitti’s Factors for Success
- Effective use of CPA study packs: I attribute my success to the study packs. I bought all the texts and used them extensively.
- Dedication and devotion to study: I took time off my job, to concentrate. I left my house early every day, found a reading place then I attended lectures in the evening.
- Family Support: My wife supported me wholly.
- Experience: If you have hands-on experience, it is easier to conceptualise and impress the examiners. I had been working in Finance for more than 10 years before I started the course. For Papers like auditing, it was easy for me to come up with practical examples.
Advice to Aspiring Accountants
When you enroll for CPA, devote sufficient time to the course, because it is very demanding.
Support each other. When I was a student, I supported some students through discussion groups.
Aspire to be professional, rather than merely fulfilling the professional requirements.
Young men and women need to appreciate professionalism, and this will help our country. Aim to give proper and honest advice to clients and the government, and perform proper and honest work for your employer.
Benefits of ICPAU Membership
ICPAU organizes a number of Continuing Professional Development seminars, which have helped me to remain relevant as a professional accountant.
CPA study packs were introduced in 2017. They were developed by ICPAU, with support from the International Federation of Accountants (IFAC).