Meet Lavanya Pillay

Why did you decide to become a CA(SA)?

This career path was a default option as I wasn’t 100% sure what I wanted to do when I left school. Given that I didn’t have a specific goal in mind, I decided that a professional qualification was the best option and the CA(SA) route seemed to be able to open the most doors. In hindsight, this was definitely the best option for me and I haven’t regretted it once.

What was your experience like on our programme?

Maintaining a work-life balance as a trainee can already be tough so adding APC commitments into the mix was definitely a challenge. However, working in a group made taking on this challenge a million times easier. The countless debates you have with your team – and you’re a team, not just a group of people – teach you so much more than you can ever learn from reading a textbook. The teamwork forces you to fully engage with a topic (no one wants to be the person on the team who knows nothing) and to challenge your own way of thinking. But, beyond all of that, you learn so much about how people work and how to work with people which is a skill that is going to further not only your career but your personal development as well.

How did you prepare for APC 2017?

My advice for prepping for APC (this is how my team did it):

  • Make sure that you have nothing but APC to prepare for during the pre-release period. My team and I would meet the week before the pre-release came out to agree on when/where/what times we would meet during the pre-release period so that it wasn’t something we had to think/worry about when the time came.
  • Do some light industry research before you discuss and split triggers with your team (the integrated report of a competitor/the company on which the APC company is based is gold) as this may provide more insight into how much time to spend on a trigger.
  • Commit to researching your triggers thoroughly and lay it out in the simplest format possible.
  • After you’ve researched your own triggers, meet as a group and teach each other your main/technical trigger topics (we would literally present our research to each other on a projector screen). This is a great way to get everyone to engage with the topic and any errors, etc. can be identified easily.
  • Print everyone’s research summaries and compile your file immediately after everyone has presented so that you can organise it logically.
  • Allow time for individual studying thereafter. In this time, read over your entire file as this allows you to read through the smaller triggers that weren’t discussed and helps you to familiarise yourself with where everything is.
  • RELAX from at least 3pm the day before you write. Have a detailed checklist and pack everything ready the afternoon before so that you can relax the evening and eliminate stress in the morning.

Any advice for the Trainees attempting their APC in 2018?

  • Find a group of people with the same level of commitment as you for your team (being the least or most committed in the group will hold you back)
  • Resist the urge to eat copious amounts of junk food but never run out of snacks
  • Talk to other APC candidates if you’re feeling overwhelmed. You’ll be surprised how many people are feeling the EXACT same way as you and everyone’s willingness to help each other will amaze you.

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