How I became a chartered accountant….(slightly more interesting blog than appears, but only slightly)

Author: Russell Smith
May 9, 2012

I don’t want to totally bore you but to illustrate my point for this blog, I’ve got no option but to give you my complete educational history of how I become a chartered accountant!

I started school at 5 and was the second cleverest child in my school.  It was a small school and there was a girl called Jennifer Tucker who was cleverer than me (this probably is still the case).  Jennifer went on to a grammar school.  Yours truly, failed the 11+ (I actually physically cried in the exam no less) and went to the local comprehensive.

I didn’t particular enjoy school and at aged 15 decided to bunk most of the last year and study for my GCSEs by purchasing a load of revision guides (I remember staring up at them in WH Smith thinking ‘I can’t believe all the answers are in these books, I don’t need to go to school anymore’).  I say ‘bunk’, in my defense, my mum had full knowledge.  Amazingly, I didn’t get caught until the penultimate last day of school.  Unbelievably, I still got told off.

Anyway, I passed my GCSEs well and went to the local sixth form college (NOT school, no uniform and we called the teachers by their first names).  I had a great time there and I picked up 3 A levels a long the way.  Unfortunately, nobody told me that to get into university you had to do well in your first year, so I was rejected by every university I applied to except for Leeds (including Oxbridge, a slight that I am planning to rectify by living my educational ambition through my son).

So I went to Leeds and studied Theology and Religious Studies.  I subject that I adored and still do. 

I worked really hard for my GCSEs, really hard for my ‘A’ levels and decided to work reasonably hard for my degree, which I got 3 years later.  I then got a job at Grant Thornton as a trainee chartered accountant.  The firm was fantastic.  However, the exams were incredibly difficult but after 3 years I finally qualified as a chartered accountant in 2001.

I started school in 1982.  It took me 19 years to qualify as a chartered accountant.  You can’t qualify in less time.  Do you know how long it took me to ‘qualify’ as a business owner?  About 5 minutes (if that). 

It’s impossible to be a success in business without the learning and education.  This can take all forms but the person who just starts and then grows a business without the hard effort of learning, well, they are few and far between.  The successful business owner realises that anybody can be a business owner but it takes a great deal of learning to be a successful one.

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