Advice from member to student

Ruslan Golovanov ACCA shares his advice on how best to succeed in your ACCA journey

When Ruslan Golovanov was thinking about which career path to take, Russia’s fast-growing economy meant finance professionals were in high demand. Unfortunately, for many, universities in the country lacked adequate numbers of finance lecturers, meaning Ruslan had to seek out a different route.

‘I looked for a qualification that would give me a comprehensive understanding, that is well recognised by employers and would empower me to ask relevant questions in a professional community. There was only one choice – ACCA has been the leading professional association throughout the century,’ says Ruslan.

Ruslan began his ACCA studies after university while in his first job, where he prepared financial statements and made tax calculations.

‘I looked for a qualification that would give me a comprehensive understanding, that is well recognised by employers. There was only one choice – ACCA has been the leading professional association throughout the century’

‘ACCA was undoubtedly helpful day-to-day – it supported my performance in the eyes of my boss and contributed to career progression,’ he says.

Working full-time while studying ACCA is a challenge, with the exams presenting a real test of dedication, self-motivation and organisation.

‘The most important thing,’ believes Ruslan, ‘is to invest sufficient time in exam preparation – most students fail because they are poorly prepared.

‘During my final exam session I prepared for two hours during work days, eight hours on Saturdays, and Sundays were a day-off. It allowed me to pass the three final exams. At the time I couldn’t afford courses for financial reasons. I was studying with an e-textbook, which I downloaded for £5. What I’m trying to say is that exam preparation does not need to cost much money; it costs a lot of time.’

Career progress

Ruslan’s rapid progress up the career ladder has seen him operate as a senior manager, financial controller and now head of IFRS at RosCorp. He partly attributes his success to the depth of technical and structural understanding he gained through ACCA, and the confidence this gives him.

‘ACCA enables me to look courageously at arising issues. Your boss sees this assurance and is inclined to pass responsibility down the chain.’

He also believes that keeping abreast of professional developments, such as technology and regulatory changes, is crucial – something achieved through CPD. Additionally, he cites strategic thinking as an element people should start developing early in their career.

But the most valuable assets are people.

‘The ability to inspire is highly valued. I always search scrupulously for talent, looking through hundreds of CVs and holding scores of interviews. When your team is based on talent striving for synergy, then you do not need praise – the work done is the best recommendation.’

Ruslan's top tips for students

Apply all available tools for study
Do not depend on only one way of study: textbooks, practising past exams, watching videos, tuition courses. Use any spare minute you have for preparation, repeating, recalling and discussing the exam syllabus. It is important to understand the full structure of the syllabus. If one of your colleagues is an ACCA student or member, ask them for advice, discuss your concerns with them. They have a unique experience that may help you.

Dive in
It is very important for everything around you to support, motivate and assist in exam preparation. Use social networks with a study buddy or any popular forum or tutor. Ask questions. Read technical articles in Student Accountant, watch videos, try to help other students. All these activities help you better memorise and apply the material. You will make mistakes – do not worry! Discussing mistakes will help you better understand the material.

Pay attention to the specifics of online studying
Students can use online studying as their core learning material, but there are hidden dangers. The first is the perception that online learning is easier, that it is somehow similar to entertainment. I view online resources as an addition to classroom studies. The correct application of online tools allows us to make the study process comprehensive: read study texts and watch online videos for better understanding, do revision kits in a notebook and search through social media and forums for advice or other details, or ask a tutor via WhatsApp.

What are you three biggest inspirations?

  1. Human relations, especially between close relatives and friends. Work hard, play hard. My family and friends give me strength and assurance.
  2. Sport gives me the physical energy and psychological stability to work efficiently. It is an amazing discovery of the 21st century: you do not need drugs, alcohol, cigarettes and other stimulators. Exercise is cheap, efficient and improves your health.
  3. Inefficiency in the world around me. I feel that, together with my relatives, friends and colleagues, we are capable of changing the world and making it a better place to live in.