Rome wasn’t built in a day, and every lecturer has their own story to tell regarding their learning experiences that requires constant exploration of new knowledge.
Our editorial team had the chance to sit down with Mr Kevin Lee, a tax accountant and SAA-GE lecturer for ATTS Specialist Certificate in Taxation programme (Module 4, Corporate Tax 2) and University of London programme (AC3093, Auditing and Assurance).
Currently an entrepreneur on his own, Kevin is running a micro-international consulting firm collaborating with Intuit and Wolters Kluwer, providing accounting tax planning solutions to his clients. He shared that this was his third career change after working a decade of experience as a civil servant and Group Financial Controller with an SME.
It was his childhood dream to be in a uniform group. However, after serving for 10 years, he feels that he has more to offer and achieve in the commercial sphere. “I have a dream to succeed in life. My fireman career might be over, but I have this new adventure ahead of me and I believe I can turn the page and start whatever I want in the commercial field. I refuse to underestimate the power of a dream”.
After completing his BSc in Economics and Management with University of London, he decided to take a career switch and venture into commercial field in Accountancy. Therefore he had signed up ACCA with SAA Global Education. Kevin shared his rationale for enrolling into the ACCA programme with SAA-GE and how he begins his Accountancy journey.
As an economics graduate, he understands the importance of knowing the numbers to venture into the commercial world. And the best person to talk about numbers is always an accountant. “ACCA is a good qualification which can speak for itself without further explanation from anyone else”.
The major challenge during his career switch from a civil servant to an Accountant was his age. “By the time I start my Accountancy journey, I was 33 years old. I have a 10 – 15 years age gap with my peers when I enter the industry as an associate.” Kevin also mentioned that the other challenge will be the major pay cut.
One interesting fact about Kevin that many of his students would never know is that he argued with his secondary school principal and insisted to be dropped out of the Principle of Accounts paper, a compulsory paper in his school during his O level studies. Yet, 15 years later, he embarked on his accountancy journey to be a professional accountant.
“From a learning perspective, having a good mentor is important. “ He was thankful to have Mr Alan Ng as his mentor when he embarked on his UOL programme. Through Mr Alan’s guidance for his accounting paper, he realised that Accountancy isn’t that difficult.
Through the years, he has developed his own study methodology, which he described as an unconventional method. “Do not memorise the topic, understand it. Once you understand the concepts, the facts will be derived naturally.” he advised. If you force yourself to memorise, it will make the learning journey more challenging as you are doing things that you don’t like to do. He feels that understanding the concepts and enjoy the process is more important than achieving high flying results. – “Be average in school; be outstanding in life”.
“I find a sense of achievement when my students understand what I am trying to get across. I always find it satisfying when my students have expanded their knowledge with my guidance.” He shared when asked about his teaching experiences.
Kevin does not consider himself as a teacher, but more of a facilitator in class. Some students might have better knowledge or experience than him but they might not know how to contextualise it. With the fast speed of the Internet, knowledge and information is very easily available. Thus, he sees himself as a facilitator guiding his students to understand and apply what they have learnt.
Mr Tan Meng Huat, 2016 ATTS Graduate, shared about his learning experience with Mr Kevin Lee. “I have very high regards for Mr. Kevin Lee, my Corporate Tax 2 Lecturer during the last cohort of May 2016. Mr. Kevin Lee’s tax research and reference materials have helped me a lot in preparing and passing the May 2016 ATTS exams. Mr. Kevin has also shared with his students actual tax case studies that really enforced our learning of the subject. He is a dedicated lecturer who motivates his ATTS students to succeed in achieving the ATTS qualification.”
Throughout his career, Kevin has never stopped studying. Currently he is pursuing his Masters in Professional Accountancy (MPAcc) with University College London as a self-study student. To him, studying and expanding of knowledge have turned into a hobby. He likes to read, and learn (also unlearn) and to take learning from different perspectives.
He shared on his views on lifelong learning “Always continue to learn and leverage on your existing understanding so that you can “power up” your current knowledge and skills and always manage your time and ensure you spend it wisely.”