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									                Viva CIPFA!
• A positive career

                      Graham Ball NBS   1
   Viva CIPFA!
The Examining panel

      Graham Ball NBS   2
 Viva CIPFA!

The Candidate

    Graham Ball NBS   3
             Viva CIPFA!

               The timetable
• Hand in - Gone – forget it!
• The Viva = Saturday 6 November
• Today 1 October
• Days to Viva = 35!
• 35 days to change your life!

                Graham Ball NBS    4
              Viva CIPFA!

• Memory is not the mere reproduction of
  events – it is a perception on which we
  base our actions.
• Two elements:
  – Short term memory
  – Long term memory

                  Graham Ball NBS           5
                 Short Term Memory
•   Central Executive
    – Controls the allocation of limited STM resources
• Attentive processes
    – Controls those processes requiring a lot of attention
• Automatic processes
    – Controls those processes that have become automatic

                         Graham Ball NBS                      6
              Long term memory
• For all practical purposes – unlimited
• Stores information in files called schema
  or in individual “flashbulb” files
• Information in these files is changed by
  subsequent events and by internal

                  Graham Ball NBS             7

               Relevance to Viva
• Short term memory not good enough to
  store all the information required
• Must be moved into long term memory.
• How? - that‟s the question

                Graham Ball NBS          8

      How to move from STM to LTM
• Repetition!!
  – Why it works no one is sure – but does that
• Practice makes perfect!

                   Graham Ball NBS                9
                     ACTION PLAN
       Daily – Keep jolly good notes on a copy!
•   Line by line analysis of your project – at least
    one chapter per day
•   Identify errors and weaknesses.
•   Develop responses to those areas of concern
•   Ask the „What if‟ type questions
•   Deliver introduction to the
    cat/wife/husband/partner/toilet door

                        Graham Ball NBS                10
                  • Weekly
• Review whole project – where are your
  strong points / weaknesses
• Review responses to areas of concern
• Develop new improved answers
• Run through full introduction in front of a
  mirror or an audience - time it – must be
  10 minutes.

                   Graham Ball NBS              11
                  Viva CIPFA!
                      Weekly (Cont)
•   Develop your talk book slides
•   Make notes on the back of the slides
•   Practice using the talk book – the viva is not a
    good time to start using it!
•   Check professional journals/ newspapers/
    internet/ radio for any issue that increases your
    wider knowledge of the subject and where your
    project fits in the wider scheme of things

                       Graham Ball NBS                  12
              Viva CIPFA!

                 Three sets!
• During this period:
  – Make sure you get at least three practice
  – Two from colleagues at work and one from an
    independent panel
  – Get written feedback
  – Develop responses to this feedback

                   Graham Ball NBS            13
               Viva CIPFA!

       There‟s a project in that error!
• Remember all mistakes in the project are
  yours – take ownership.
• These are likely to include:
  – Proof reading: tables not adding up: cross
    references wrong: contradictions: technical
    errors: failure to meet your own objectives

                    Graham Ball NBS               14
              Viva CIPFA!

• If you try to blame someone or anything
  other than yourself you will be admitting
  an inability to plan, research and control
• Only option available to the examiners in
  these circumstances is to give you another
  opportunity to get it right. i.e. FAIL or at
  best referral
                   Graham Ball NBS           15
                     Viva CIPFA!
               When you find a mistake?
•   Is it material?
    – If not = if it is raised – admit to it, tell the examiners
      that you are aware of that mistake and have
      determined that it makes no material difference to
      the answer
    – If is = it will be raised – prepare a very brief
      summary of its impact
• Did you do some sensitivity analysis?
    – If so you are probably ok.

                           Graham Ball NBS                     16
               Viva CIPFA!

                Final Week.
• Get a clean copy of your project.
• On each page:
  – Highlight and number possible question points
• Opposite each page :
  – Make notes of responses to possible questions
• Prepare your 2 minute finale
                   Graham Ball NBS             17
                  Viva CIPFA!
•   Finalise your talk book slides
•   Learn your 10 minute introduction
•   Print your notes on the back of the slides
•   Load your talk book
•   Learn the basis of your two minute finale
•   Practice
•   Practice
•   Practice

                       Graham Ball NBS           18
                     Viva CIPFA!
                 10 vital minutes
•   No second chances to make a good first
    –   Be clear and concise – no jargon or waffle
    –   Add information – do not repeat what is in the project
    –   Explain but do not patronise
    –   Be confident – you are the professional
    –   Make it interesting – show some emotion – make it

                           Graham Ball NBS                  19
                 Viva CIPFA!
                  The Introduction
•   Work the system!
•   2 minutes – why I selected the project and my
•   2 minutes – why I used the techniques I did
•   2 minutes – what I found
•   2 minutes - what I concluded ; linked back to
•   2 minutes – what I recommended and why

                      Graham Ball NBS               20
                 Viva CIPFA!
                    During the Viva
•   Listen to the questions
•   Answer only the question asked – do not waffle
    or open other doors!
•   Explain – be careful not to patronise – give
    detail only you could be expected to know.
•   Be prepared for the naïve question
•   Use answers to key questions you are expecting

                      Graham Ball NBS            21
              Viva CIPFA!

             The 2 minute finale
• Deal with any issue you may not have
  dealt with well during the viva
• Clarify any unclear points
• Do a mini swot analysis
  – Emphasise key points
  – Emphasise strengths

                   Graham Ball NBS       22
             Viva CIPFA!

• You think you know it all
• You think you have adequately prepared
• You think you know your subject better
  than anyone else
• Worst of all:
• You think you have failed!!
                 Graham Ball NBS           23
                 Viva CIPFA!
                A few tricks
• Use prompt cards
• Stall awkward questions:
  – Ask for clarification
  – Drink the water
• Defend aggression with assertiveness – do
  not attack
• Smile – make eye contact – try to relax
                      Graham Ball NBS       24
               Viva CIPFA!
                On The Day!
• You are trying to convince the examiners
  that you are professional
• So :
  – Dress the part.
  – You are an accountant – wear a suit!
  – It‟s November – wear a poppy?
  – You are not on the pull!

                   Graham Ball NBS           25
              Viva CIPFA!

• Get there at least an hour before your
• If travelling- go the night before
• If close – get someone else to drive you
• Leave plenty of time – you need an
  emergency plan if things go wrong

                  Graham Ball NBS            26
              Viva CIPFA!

• Use relaxation techniques before the viva
• Use the loo!
• Do not rehearse your introduction while
  you wait = you already know it!
• Panic is confusing!

                  Graham Ball NBS             27
               Viva CIPFA!

• Failure to prepare is preparing to fail
• Work hard – it is crucial
• Give of your best
• Remember – you wrote the question!
• No one writes a question they cannot
  answer – do they?

                   Graham Ball NBS          28

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