Full Name: Jimmy Lee Kok Peng
Occupation: Director and Finance Controller
Organisation: TEW Automotive - Lucas Varity (M) Sdn Bhd, Malaysia
CIMA Entry Route:
CIMA Level/Award achieved so far: FCMA, CGMA
Jimmy Lee is currently the Director and Finance Controller in TRW Automotive - Lucas Varity (M) Sdn Bhd. TRW Automotive is a Fortune 200 company with its headquarters in Michigan, USA. He is in charge of the full spectrum of finance functions for the Malaysia manufacturing plant.
His current role involves four key elements - technical finance, business partnering, people management and leadership competencies. To Jimmy, the most interesting part of his job is the application of the four elements in the daily finance operations. It is a platform where he can sharpen his competencies and move towards being a key finance leader in the company.
Tell us about your experience with the syllabus changes and how you coped with it.
I have experienced various syllabus changes and it only goes to show that CIMA is always up-to-date with the current business environment. It truly addresses the current business needs and the core competencies of management accountants. Despite the syllabus changes, I was determined to pass the Strategic Case Study exam. This came true in 2015 and I proudly became a CIMA member and CGMA recently.
You passed the Strategic Case Study exam last year under the updated 2015 syllabus. How did you find the new format of computer-based assessment? Any tips for other students doing the same exam?
The 2015 syllabus significantly reflects the most sought after management accounting techniques where a finance leader needs to be ready to face the tasks/challenges at any time in the real corporate environment. These tasks (not questions) are usually not well defined by top executives. As a management accountant, we need to analyse and identify the real tasks required in the case study exam in order to prepare the answers.
To pass and earn more marks in the Strategic Case Study exam, you must apply logical business answers to the pre-seen and unseen case study material and make use of the theories or models in the text book. In addition, the tasks given in the case study are usually time sensitive - it reflects the real corporate environment that expects fast and immediate answers. This is why the computer based assessment automatically moves you to the next new task after the allocated one hour time frame.
It is extremely important to download the pre-seen material immediately after it is released (about 6-7 weeks before the exam date), do thorough research and try to be familiar with the industry given in the pre-seen material. Having an effective exam technique is also crucial. Due to time pressure in the exam, you will need to read and quickly identify the number of tasks being asked and prepare a draft answer plan before starting to type your answer.
You must attempt past year Case Study exams under simulated exam conditions so that you will become familiar during the real exam. For my preparation, I also perform financial calculations from the pre-seen material to identify the trend in the company’s financial position. I also do a SWOT analysis to better understand the company’s internal and external positions. In the real exam, you will not have time to perform such financial calculations or SWOT analysis.
Preparing a one-page key summary of the pre-seen material is highly recommended. This will allow you to deeply understand the essence of the 30-page pre-seen material. However, before preparing the one page summary, you must read the pre-seen material at least once a day so that you will fully understand the background and history of the industry. Forming a small study group is very useful as you can discuss and analyse the pre-seen material from different angles. This will deepen your understanding of the pre-seen material.
Which CIMA exam resources did you find most useful?
I extensively use CIMAconnect, the online information resource for students. I also attended classes to learn the most effective learning methodology and exam technique, and formed a small study group to discuss the case study.
In what way is the CIMA qualification useful in your job?
The CIMA qualification emphasises on management accounting techniques that are widely used and appreciated by most of the commercial or profit driven companies. It equips you with the skills to be more resourceful, business savvy and ready to create value in the corporate world.
What do think is the most important thing that sets CIMA apart from other professional accounting qualifications?
In brief, CIMA is a business orientated management accounting qualification unlike other professional qualifications.
Now that you are a CIMA member and a CGMA - what values (or advantages) will it bring to you?
As an FCMA and CGMA, I am well recognised globally as a Chartered Management Accountant. The designations also elevate my management accounting professionalism and reflect a higher value to my career progress and development.
What other encouragement would you give to CIMA students?
My keywords are “Never give up” especially if your CIMA journey has not been a smooth one. Life is about continuous learning and tell yourself positively that you will become a CIMA member and CGMA one fine day.