This personal statement was part of this student’s successful application to LSE, University of Bath, University of Warwick and Loughborough University for Accounting and Finance.
Did fair value accounting trigger the financial crisis, as Steve Forbes suggests? Or was it merely a catalyst in the catastrophe, as some assert? Does a laissez-faire economic system instil trust in stakeholders, or does it make them overconfident about their companies? I have not found convincing answers to these questions, hence my ambition to study the intricacies and complexities of the world of Accounting and Finance at university.
To develop a deeper understanding on the significance of accounting in the 2008 Financial Crisis, I read the National Bureau of Economic Research working paper series. I agree that we cannot pinpoint fair value as the cause of the crisis, though it is imperative to impose stricter regulations on it; Frequent and accurate financial reporting would leave less room for manipulation. If banks were compelled to write down the value of assets as losses occur, it would ultimately alleviate the severity of the crisis. Thus we could shrink the bubble before it pops. If the crisis has taught us anything, it is to be prudent with leverage. Liabilities must have a limit.
In hindsight, we were unable to recognise the warning signals. The financial reports had portrayed the financial health of the economy, but we did not scrutinise them and possibly mitigate the impact it had. The numbers on the accounts seemed clear and unequivocal, yet we struggled to fully understand them. I embrace the challenge to achieve better understanding. Accounting is the fundamental language of the financial world, thus my wish to master it through a professional ICAEW qualification. Achieving the best Accounting result in secondary school initiated my interest in this subject. Knowing that the knowledge I obtained could be applied to studying a company’s financial performance, I was inspired to study this subject more comprehensively. Luca Pacioli’s systematic approach in recording transactions has revolutionised the financial world, and I wish to be part of this movement.
As a result of the crisis, I am determined to understand why companies close down on a micro level. Hence, I interned at CRS Advisory, a financial advisory firm that focuses on liquidation cases and constructing recovery schemes for companies in diverse fields. I was privileged to witness the administration process, and I took part in reviewing the financial documents of these companies. From this experience, I have learnt that liabilities should not be abused, and I realised how this was essentially the root to the financial crisis. Together with my team, we constructed recovery schemes for our clients, hoping that we could turn the business around before it goes into liquidation. Working in a close-knit team gave me an insight into how important teamwork is in the corporate world.
Alongside being an interactive team member, I have developed my leadership capabilities through my experience of captaining my school’s volleyball team. Growing up under a Chinese educational system, I was inculcated with its traditional assiduous work ethic. Having transferred into an international school later on, I employ this attitude in everything I do, striving to always achieve my best. Being the Treasurer of the Interact Club has given me invaluable experience in controlling the cash-flow of the club. At the same time, I have learnt to uphold the values of integrity, a trait that is sacrosanct in the financial world. Looking back at the root of the crisis, if people had adhered to this value, the catastrophe would have been averted. Because of our greed, we often forget that integrity is the fundamental building block of the corporate world.
With the rise of Asia as an unprecedented economic powerhouse, the pursuit of financial literacy is more crucial than ever. Always ready to step out of my comfort zone and show my adaptability, I am eager to experience new cultures in the UK. I am grateful for the little I know, and for how much there is yet to learn.
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