Two undergraduates, Miss Oluwakemi Bakinde, 24 and Miss Opeyemi Sowemimo, 18, of the Department of Accountancy, Moshood Abiola Polytechnic, Abeokuta, who recently became chartered accountants shared their experiences of determination and setting their priorities right with Funmi Ogundare
Becoming a chartered accountant combines innovative education with mentored work experience to produce an accountant that possesses a greater ability to analyse and interpret business problems and develop dynamic solutions.
Perhaps this was the driving force for Miss Oluwakemi Bakinde, 24 and Miss Opeyemi Sowemimo, 18, of the Department of Accountancy, Moshood Abiola Polytechnic (MAPOLY), Abeokuta, who became chartered accountants while pursuing their academic programme at a time when most of their colleagues are running after one social activity or another on campus.
Bakinde, an indigene of Ogun State, expressed delight about her achievement while attributing it to determination, prayers and encouragement from family, friends and lecturers. “For me, I feel happy, delighted and great because it has always been one of my dreams to become a chartered accountant before being a graduate. It is a rare privilege to achieve this and I pray God Almighty guides me through achieving my other dreams.
“Without a doubt, there is nothing anyone can achieve without prayers and the will of God in such person’s life. So, prayers, determination, encouragement from friends and family as well as lectures contributed greatly to this achievement. At this juncture, I must really appreciate the efforts of my lecturers in school whose experiences, professionalism, encouragement and passion for their students’ greatness were and are immeasurable at this point in my academic pursuit. I must also appreciate the lectures received from tutorial centres.”
Asked how she feels being one of the few students to become chartered accountants as undergraduates, she said, “the statement does not really hold true for us at MAPOLY because our department is renowned for producing chartered accountants who are still in their National and Higher National Diploma programmes. In fact, not too long ago, precisely in 2011, one Kaosarat Alade then in her National Diploma (ND) emerged as the best female student of the Chartered Institute of Taxation of Nigeria (CITN), having in 2009 at the age of 21 become a chartered accountant.”
On what makes her department and the institution to stand out from others, Bakinde described it as not only one of the best departments in the polytechnic, but also a force to be reckoned with among other institutions.
“The fact that the National Board for Technical Education (NBTE) has always accredited the programme and the retinue of successful chartered accountants and other graduates of the department, including the Governor of Ogun State, Ibikunle Amosun lay credence to the outstanding status of the department and the Polytechnic.
“We have seasoned, committed and professional lecturers who will leave no stone unturned in equipping their students with all ingredients needed for success.”
For other students of accountancy who desire to become chartered accountants, she advised them to always encourage themselves. “It is true that Rome was not built in a day, but without the determination and will to get there, you will not even commence the journey at all. Therefore, as much as the journey may not be smooth at all times, they have to believe in the fact that they can achieve it.
“For instance, while I am delighted about my achievement, a colleague of mine, an ND II student who was 18 years old also became a chartered accountant. It means others should aim to better and surpass the feats recorded by those before them. Like I also said earlier, with prayers, commitment, believe and support, the sky is always the beginning of greater things for all.”
In her submission, Sowemimo, the first child in a family of four, who already qualified as an associate of accounting technician in December 2016, said accounting has always been her passion, adding, “I love studying and teaching accounting.”
She said she began to pursue professional programmes after her secondary education. “I started the foundation level of ICAN called the ATWA. I started from ATS I and while I was preparing for ATS II was when I got admission into MAPOLY. MAPOLY also contributed to my study in these programmes in that what we did at our National Diploma (ND) level were related to the foundation level of ICAN at ATS I and ATS II and I gained more knowledge by gaining admission and receiving lectures in MAPOLY. I did Economics and Accounting at ATS I which we did here in ND I and also Communication Skills and for ATS II, I did Statistics and Public Sector Accounting which we did at ND II. All those things helped me so much that it would have been nearly impossible for me to achieve this without those lectures.”
Asked if one must be proficient in mathematics to succeed in the study of accountancy Sowemimo said, “we have different opinions on that but I think there is more to accounting than what people think. They may think it is just about the writing aspect but there is mathematics in accounting. You have to be mathematically versed before you can venture into accounting.”
On how she was able to combine academics with professional programmes she said: “It was not easy but I had to cope. I always had a conflict of interest on whether to come to school or go for my professional lectures. We always have our priorities and we also know what should come first. It was not as easy for me but all thanks to God. I knew what I wanted and I knew how to prioritise.
“Also, determination and discipline helped me, there were times I had lectures here in MAPOLY and my ICAN examination was close, I stayed at home to read for the exams and thereby missed out of lectures at that period. There were also times I had to leave ICAN for school. I prioritised what I wanted from the many that I had at hand. All of those times, I didn’t attend any social gathering though I was an honorary member of the Excel Assembly Foundation. In fact, I was not committed to it.”
On how she surmounted the challenges at the time, she said, “the exams affected my grades here on campus. My expectation was to finish with distinction, but when I started moving closer to it, it was late. I had 3.36 in my first semester ND I, but it was not enough because I knew what I wanted. I had 3.85 in the first semester of my second year but cumulatively, it only moved towards distinction but not a distinction in the end.”
Asked how she felt when she passed these examinations, she said, “I was happy because at the end of it all; it was worth it and I have some dignity with my name. I felt I have set a good path for my siblings to emulate being the first of four and knowing how impressed my parents were, I felt fulfilled. I felt it was a reward for my grades that dropped in school. It was more like compensation. It filled the gap left by my average grades.”
Sowemimo, whose role models include the Minister for Finance, Mrs Kemi Adeosun, Accountant-General of Ogun State, Pastor Joseph Aborewa and some of her lecturers, aspires to become a renowned chartered accountant.
“I looked up to great prospects ever since I was young. Qualifying as a chartered accountant does not make you renowned but I am planning to become a versatile one that deals with accuracy and integrity. I love to become a point of reference to generations and I love to be a motivational speaker.”
She also advised other students to set their priorities right as a way of improving on their academics. “They should have priorities. My opinion can be different from someone else’s but when you know what you aspire to become, you will know what you want to work towards. I also believe in the fact that you should expect the unexpected and if possible, become the unexpected. What you do not sacrifice for will later be your sacrifice.
“As students, you must know what you want and you must set your priorities right. You shouldn’t do things because you want people to feel you, you should rather do things based on personal benefits and how they benefit your future. You should be futuristic. When I was missing classes, some of my mates thought I was unserious, I didn’t look at them because I knew what I wanted and I knew what to do to get them.”
To the lecturers and management of MAPOLY, Sowemimo said: “they should be considerate with the 70 per cent attendance required of each student. Sometimes the fact that you are not in school for classes does not mean you are unserious. It is a fact they must understand. 70 per cent attendance makes students committed but the management should be considerate.”