Genius at large!
Having completed the chartered accountant exam at age 19, Paul Hyman now bubbling with joySunday, July 25, 2021
BY ROMARDO LYONS
AT just 23 years old, Paul Hyman is the financial planning and analysis and internal control manager at Kingston Freeport Terminal Limited.
Two years before, he was a senior accountant at KPMG Chartered Accountants. And at 20 he made history, becoming the second-youngest person globally, and the youngest graduate in Jamaica to be honoured with the Sushil Jain Award.
The coveted award is presented to the youngest graduate of the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants (ACCA) who fully completes the final stage of the examinations on the first attempt.
Hyman, of St Catherine, told the Jamaica Observer that as a youngster he couldn't fathom being an accountant. Instead, he was convinced that he would be in a courtroom one day representing clients.
“I actually wanted to be in the legal field out of curiosity. However, my performance in business-related subjects at the CSEC [Caribbean Secondary Education Certificate] level contributed to my shift in focus towards accountancy and business. I had no particular drive for accountancy to begin with. The passion I possess for the profession today was fostered in me over time when I started my ACCA journey at age 17,” he said.
But it was his mentor, Dr Glen Brown, CEO at Global Accountancy Institute Incorporation, whom he said guided him down a path of keeping financial accounts.
“It has always been my goal to be empowered in such a way that I can empower another to revolutionise and ameliorate all facets of their life while becoming instruments of peace globally. Being a chartered accountant for me is in perfect alignment with this goal, as the strategy involves the profession being a tool which aids in bringing to life, a dream that stands on the pillars of selflessness, love and peace.”
Hyman told the Sunday Observer that transitioning into a managerial position before age 25 was not a milestone he had foreseen in his wildest dreams.
“This was a real push for me to demonstrate that I was worthy and capable of greater things, despite the challenges that would come with the change. I made the transition from KPMG Chartered Accountants where I spent almost three years, departing in the capacity of senior accountant in the audit practice. Fast-forward to today, I am the financial planning and analysis and internal control manager at the Kingston Freeport Terminal Limited,” he said.
“In addition, I lecture on a part-time basis while providing senior management consultancy to a local audit firm. In an effort to contribute voluntarily, I currently serve on the board of directors at Dream Jamaica, a charitable organisation focused on youth empowerment and development.”
Hyman completed his ACCA journey at age 19, availing him a master's degree equivalent in the United Kingdom. The graduation ceremony took place 10 months later when he was 20 years old.
“My family has remained supportive of my journey 100 per cent, especially my parents who toiled to ensure I was always ready for the journey ahead. It was a pleasure bringing them news of my milestones and they remain extremely proud to this day. A well-deserved win for them, an investment made enhanced by the grace of God.”
The Sushil Jain Award is a tremendous honour, Hyman said, revealing that it was an itch he wanted to scratch.
“I was always watching the clock. At the rate I was being pushed by my mentor, the record of being the youngest to achieve the award was an inevitable event. It turned out I was also the second-youngest globally to qualify at the time as well. For my family, it was a moment of great pride and joy but for me, my humility abounded, acknowledging where my strength came from to have made such an achievement [and] catalysed by the flawless mentorship I received 24/7,” he related.
But such a prestigious award didn't make it any easier for Hyman to land a job after he finished studying.
“Opportunities did not come any easier as a result of this award. Reputation and hard work were the avenues and still remain the avenues to this day. Not everyone will have the experience of 1,000 doors being opened before them. For me, it is an even greater victory kicking those doors open on your own,” he added.
Hyman started ACCA studies in September 2014 and sat his last paper in December 2016. Throughout those three years, most of the journey was spent with full-time focus which saw him sitting, on average, two to three papers per sitting.
“Outside of my classes which I had to attend during the week, I was always heavily tested back to back leading up to my exam sittings. My online exams were tailored to ensure I could face any challenge that would come my way. My preparation exams normally contained between 100 to 500 questions which had to be cleared within a few hours,” he related, describing each exam as a nerve-racking experience.
“There are times I'd be shaking during sessions and I wasn't sure if it was my nerves or if the air conditioner was just too cold. It's never easy feeling like you're on the edge of wasting months of study within a single three-hour exam; it's a very terrifying feeling. Time management is a major pitfall for many students – they have all the knowledge, but the time just doesn't allow for them to do their exams justice, hence the anxiety of it all.”
That was compounded by what he said was an uncomfortable number of comments from naysayers and fearmongers.
“The greatest thing about my study journey was the resulting incremental development of my faith and self-belief while managing the complexities which existed around me in various forms. But with hard work and prayer, the negative energy was silenced with the reality that I made it happen!
“Integrity is important to me; getting there the right way is the backbone of how I operate. Even with this frame of mind, you are disliked and negativity is channeled at you in diverse places, but it is important to preserve your moral code and do what you can to remain solid, even when no one is watching,” added Hyman.
He encouraged youngsters to continue pursuing their dreams and aspirations, whether or not all their necessary resources are readily available.
“Positive energy has a way of birthing spiritual keys to opportunities unknown. If you're taking a non-traditional path, attempting to start a business, you are important to this country. Your ideas will add colour and bring unspeakable wealth to your families and, by extension, those you will employ. Receive that. I also implore those that have the ability to help others climb ladders of success, do so asking for nothing in return, with a pure heart, for the greater good and for the future!”
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