What’s Next After SPM? Don’t Lose Hope, Find Your Way!

Think you’re not cut out for a career in accountancy? Megat Solleh, Deputy Chair of ACCA’s Young Members Network, shares his own rocky start to the world of accounting and how far he has come.

As SPM draws ever closer and panic levels escalate, many students are wondering if they will have any chance of pursuing the career of their dreams if their results do not meet their expectations.

Megat Solleh, Deputy Chair of ACCA’s Young Members Network

“At this point of time, the only thing that exists in the mind of the SPM student is SPM itself,” said Megat Solleh, 33, Deputy Chair of ACCA’s Young Members Network. “I remember the feeling, even though I was not a very good student. I was at a boarding school and they were very strict, which I did not enjoy. However, in retrospect, I am glad I was in an environment where I was forced to improve myself, with few distractions.”

Megat ended up in the Accounts stream by default as he had no interest in pursuing a science- or arts-based career. In fact, all he wanted to do was play sports.

“I couldn’t make sense of Accounts and all the debit-credit jargon, even though I was good with numbers. I failed all my accounting papers throughout Form 4. I told my mother I was ready to give up accounting but she encouraged me to stick it out. I even failed my Accounts paper in the SPM trials as well. I don’t know what would have happened if my accounting teacher had not pulled me aside to talk some sense into me,” he said.

“She asked me, ‘Do you want to do this or not? If you do, I will be there for you, because I see the potential in you, even if you do not see it in yourself’. That was a real wake-up call and I realized I had to want it and believe that I could do it. Once that happened, I put in the best effort of my life and surprised everyone when I got an A1 in Accounts!”

The next milestone came in the form of a congratulatory note from ACCA, the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants.

“I had no idea what ACCA was; I had to look it up. In retrospect, this simple act made a huge difference for me. I didn’t have many other options and all these little ‘a-ha’ moments like my teacher’s advice and receiving this note from ACCA led me to realise that I could have a future in accounting,” he said.

Beyond Numbers: The Many Facets of Accounting

“I used to think that accounting was just a desk job but the truth is, that’s only 20% of the job. Accounting involves a lot of thinking and a lot of soft skills. In my daily work, I liaise with clients a lot and the human touch is important so that I know how to work with them and help them understand what I need in order to do my job. We are not calculators or robots – we already have those tools available for our use. What we need are human beings with integrity, who can think through problems and make things better for the clients and for the company. On the whole, accounting is so much more rewarding than I could have imagined, and being among the original members of ACCA’s Young Members Network is a big part of that,” said Megat.

Recalling his days as a student, Megat had long ago noticed a vast gap between university students and the working world.

“I used to listen to graduates who would come and speak at the university about their working experiences, which I found very helpful. For my part, once I was established in my career, I would actually go and talk to students in my own time. I felt I had a role to play, to fill the gap and help students find their path,” he explained.

“This helped to kickstart the Young Members Network which was created in 2018. This network is designed as a platform for accounting professionals below 40 years old so we can connect with young ACCA members and students without such a vast gap in knowledge and experience. After all, talks by more seasoned  executive board members and Chief Financial Officers can be very interesting, but sometimes  the message doesn’t get across that well due to the said gap. There is only so much that these young members and students can imagine and relate to, so we need to connect with them in a way that is more relatable.”


On this note, he offers some valuable advice to SPM students that is both reassuring and inspiring.


#1. If you want something, you have to put in the effort.

Everything changes once you believe in it and work for it. Every bit of discipline and determination helps.


#2. Have an idea of what you want accomplish.

If you are studying, set a goal – for example, to complete one chapter in an hour. Make sure you are focused and on track by putting away your phone and other distractions.


#3. Use what works for you.

Learn your study style – do you learn better when you are alone or in a group, in the morning or late at night? If you find you didn’t understand the lesson well, find someone who can help you, such as a student who is strong in that subject. Don’t leave your class empty-handed, without learning something.


#4. Don’t give up.

You can have a future in accounting even if you don’t ace your Accounts paper, and there are many financing and scholarship options for you to pursue a degree. Give it your all, and remember that mistakes and bad days are not the end of the world. If you are corrected for making an error, own up and learn from it so you don’t do it again – this is what separates the successful from the unsuccessful, and people will see it and appreciate it.


#5. Be smart about your future.

Look for a career that is future-proof so that you don’t invest time and effort in an education that will soon be obsolete. Accounting is one of them, as every business needs an accountant, and studying accounting prepares you for a wide range of career options. Also, no matter what you choose to pursue, be it accounting, sports or a career as social media influencer, be sure that you are smart accountant, smart athlete or a smart social media influencer so that you can manage your career and your life well.


For more information about studying accountancy after SPM, log on to: www.accaglobal.com/gb/en/qualifications.html



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