12 Apr 2013

Backbone of Success

Kaplan Singapore’s mission to promote success amongst individuals is clearly embodied in the unconditional support provided by its faculties. A leading provider in accountancy and finance professional qualifications, Kaplan Financial seeks to equip its students with everything needed to stay relevant in this competitive market.

20-year-old Siddarth Khanna is a force to be reckoned with. This highly astute individual landed second place in Singapore for the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants (ACCA) exams recently. The ACCA prizewinner has also come out tops in Singapore for his F9, P1, P2 and P3 papers. And if that is not enough, he even managed to secure a position as an Audit Associate in KPMG Services Singapore, a Big Four audit firm. Currently pursuing his Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA) qualification with Kaplan Financial, Siddarth exhibits nothing but gratitude as he gives us a glimpse into what the institute has to offer.

What sparked your interest to be an accountant?

Siddarth Khanna: Since young, I’ve always had a passion for numbers and Mathematics so accounting was the obvious career choice for me. I was also greatly inspired by a close family friend who was a Chartered Accountant. He was constantly exposed to different types of cultures and financial situations, and I wanted to follow in his footsteps!

Prior to Kaplan, you were in Zambia studying your ACCA. Why did you decide to do your preparatory course in ACCA at Kaplan instead?

Siddarth: Since my father was moving back to India, I had a choice between staying in Zambia to continue my ACCA education and going elsewhere to pursue it. A friend of mine had completed ACCA with Kaplan Singapore within three years and highly recommended the institute because of its highly experienced lecturers and great financial and international exposure. Thankfully, I heeded my friend’s advice and have no regrets ever since!

How was the preparatory course in ACCA structured?

Siddarth: The ACCA consisted of 14 papers that were divided into four segments - Knowledge, Skill, Essential and Optional. Classes were held once a week and taught via lectures, based on questions gone through during each lesson. Kaplan also provided a revision programme that aided in my ACCA journey. Additionally, the ACCA course helped me to cope with extra modules. Lectures of the same content were conducted thrice a week so that students could attend a particular class if they had previously missed it. This also allowed more interaction between students and lecturers.

How has Kaplan helped you with your success in the ACCA?

Siddarth: The lecturers in Kaplan are really encouraging and helpful, and are most willing to spend time with students after class as well as respond to queries over the weekend via email and telephone. Most memorably, I found a wonderful lecturer in Ms Esther Thng who spent much time helping me after class and responding to my long list of questions via email when I really needed help! Moreover, Kaplan offers wonderful learning facilities and excellent support staff!

Share with us what your role is currently in one of the Big Four accounting firms.

Siddarth: As a member of the Financial Services Audit department at KPMG, I’m looking to become actively involved in audits of several reputable financial institutions. I feel privileged to be part of a Big Four accounting firm and am overjoyed that my ACCA education has provided me with such an opportunity.

Why did you decide to pursue your CFA with Kaplan?

Siddarth: I really enjoyed the accounting and finance modules during my ACCA education and thought it would be a good idea for me to pursue a CFA qualification with Kaplan. Based on the ACCA lectures at Kaplan, I believe that the institute provides a high level of education in a great environment. Moreover, Kaplan alleviated my pursuit in further studies by granting me the CFA Level I module tuitions at no cost. I have repaid Kaplan’s faith in me by completing the CFA Level I exam successfully.

Tell us more about the CFA course structure.

Siddarth: The CFA preparatory course is structured with students’ interests in mind. Besides the 20 modules, it includes a revision portion and an in-house mock exam and review, which makes studying so much easier. Classes are held twice a week to facilitate self-practice materials and questions. The CFA course is quite intense due to its voluminous syllabus and the time constraints faced by working professionals who attend the lectures. Thankfully, Kaplan's campus is conveniently located in the centre of town - this helps cut down on precious travelling time!

What do you hope to achieve in the CFA?

Siddarth: I hope to successfully complete the remaining two CFA levels in my first attempt. In the future, I also hope to become a Charter holder. The CFA qualification will help develop my knowledge in finance, thus providing me with more insight into the many complexities of the financial world and aid me as a Financial Services industry auditor. In addition, the CFA qualification will benefit my career progression as it allows me to diversify my career at KPMG and excel in other departments such as Corporate Finance in the future.

Why would you encourage aspiring accountants and accountants to pursue their ACCA and CFA at Kaplan?

Siddarth: The lecturers at Kaplan are highly knowledgeable and encouraging, and will come to your aid without hesitation. Plus, Kaplan’s learning facilities like the library and student lounges form a productive learning environment. The support staff is amazing as I have never encountered any administrative problems. I believe that such a hassle-free environment allows students to simply focus on learning and progression.

By Julailah Wahid

Contributed by JobsCentral Pte Ltd