Isabelle is the fourth USW student to achieve best ACCA results in the world

Isabelle Lowe ACCA

(l-r): Kelvin Alexander, Managing Director of Hawkins Priday, Isabelle Lowe, and Teresa Marsh, Advance Tax tutor at USW

An Accountancy student at the University of South Wales (USW) has been recognised as a global ACCA prize winner – the fourth in as many years for her course – after achieving the highest mark worldwide in her Advanced Taxation exam.

Isabelle Lowe, 25, from Ledbury, Herefordshire, scored 96% in the exam, continuing the amazing success of previous ACCA (Association of Chartered Certified Accountants) students at USW – Nicola Lloyd in 2019, Bryony Lewis in 2020, and William Douglas in 2021.

Having joined the ACCA course in 2019 – balancing work at Hereford accountancy firm Hawkins Priday alongside her studies – Isabelle has achieved excellent marks from day one. After completing the ACCA exams, she has been awarded affiliate status by the Association and will be admitted to full membership once she has completed the practical experience requirements.

On her experience of training to be an accountant, Isabelle said: “The tutors at USW have been so supportive throughout my ACCA journey, providing help and guidance whenever needed. This is especially the case given that Covid-19 disrupted a large proportion of my studies, and we all experienced a change in delivery methods. You can tell all the staff care about their students, with tutors often encouraging us to ask questions at any time, not just during lectures.

“USW’s focus on exam technique alongside technical content made all the difference when it came to exams. Knowing the correct approach to take and how to score the ‘easy’ marks has been invaluable, as well as the detailed feedback on timed progress tests and mock exams. I doubt I would have been able to achieve the results I have without this.

“I’m very grateful to both USW and Hawkins Priday for enabling me to perform as well as I could throughout the ACCA course. Of course, a lot of hard work goes into exams by students but having support at both USW and work has helped me immensely.”

Teresa Marsh, Advance Tax tutor at USW, said: “I was flabbergasted to see Isabelle’s score of 96%. To achieve a mark of that magnitude in an advanced level exam of a professional accountancy body is phenomenal.

“Isabelle is obviously extremely bright but to score this highly she has worked extremely hard, taken on board all of the guidance and applied herself perfectly. I congratulate her and all of our students who have been successful in very challenging times.”

Nicola Gilbert, ACCA Course Leader, added: “Isabelle’s performance is remarkable. She has worked exceptionally hard during her time at USW and I’m so pleased for her. It epitomises the commitment and dedication that our students and tutors make. Our excellent exam results have granted us ACCA Platinum Learning Provider status, the highest accreditation awarded.”

Dr Jared Davies, Head of Accounting and Finance, said: “Isabelle’s track record speaks for itself and this result is the icing on the cake! It’s almost unbelievable that for four consecutive years USW has taught a global prize winner. I’m extremely proud of Isabelle, all of our students and tutors.”

Kelvin Alexander, Managing Director of Hawkins Priday, added: “Before joining us here at Hawkins Priday in 2019, Isabelle was employed at a firm of Solicitors as their Finance Assistant, having responsibility for their client and management accounts functions with very limited experience and knowledge of what a professional accountancy practice does from day to day. Fast forward three years, Isabelle is now a highly valued member of our team, a fully qualified ACCA member and literally on top of the world!

“Isabelle has obviously worked extremely hard in her studies, achieving first time passes throughout which has culminated in her incredible mark of 96% in her Advanced Taxation paper. We have used the University of South Wales for some years now as our ‘go-to’ training provider for our ACCA students. The pass rates achieved speaks volumes!

“At a recent appraisal meeting, when asked of future ambitions, Isabelle replied that she wants to be sitting in my seat! I have no doubt whatsoever with the work ethic and ambition she continually demonstrates that Isabelle will achieve that goal in the future – a great accounting career beckons for someone for whom we are extremely proud.”

Lloyd Powell, Head of ACCA Cymru Wales, added: “Many congratulations to Isabelle for her fantastic performance in the recent ACCA Advanced Tax examination – an amazing achievement to achieve a global prizewinning score. This is the fourth global prize winner from University of South Wales in recent years – well done to the talented and hard-working students and to the dedication and support from the staff at USW.”


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