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  • The STar, tuesday 19 January 2016

    special

    advancing to the top

  • 2 postgraduateTHE STAR, TUESDAY 19 JANUARY 2015

    Professional accounting qualifications in Malaysial Chartered Certified Accountant by ACCA

    The Association of Chartered Certified Accountants (ACCA) is a global body for professional accountants that sets out to bring long-term value to economies by applying consistent accounting standards to support businesses.

    The Chartered Certified Accountant qualification that is accredited by the ACCA provides individuals with the necessary skills, competence and ethics to progress through the corporate ladder and succeed at the top level of accounting, giving individuals the opportunity to choose which type of accountancy role and the organisation they wish to work for.

    The course has a high focus on professional values, ethics and governance and requires each student to complete a series of examinations at a fundamental and advanced level, record 36 months of experience in a relevant accounting role and complete a Professional Ethics module.

    The ACCA qualification is flexible and self-paced, allowing students the opportunity to choose how they study, how often they will sit for examinations and where they can get their relevant practical experience.

    Students can choose a variety of different study options, including a full- time course, part-time or evening courses and distance learning.

    However, new students who register from March onwards must complete all professional level papers within a seven-year time limit.

    l CPA Program by CPA Australia

    Recognised as one of the worlds largest accounting bodies, CPA Australia has more than 150,000 members working in 120 countries.

    The core services offered to its members include education, training, technical support and advocacy.

    The Certified Public Accountant Program (CPA Program) endorsed by CPA Australia moulds individuals to become finance, accounting and business professionals who are widely regarded by employers as it is an internationally recognised

    qualification. Following an accounting-

    related degree, students who wish to become a CPA must complete four compulsory subjects that are ethics and governance, financial reporting, strategic management accounting, and global strategy and leadership as well as two elective subjects.

    Practical experience is also needed before one completes the CPA Program.

    The qualification indicates soundness in depth, breadth and quality of accounting knowledge and the programme uses real business examples drawn from current news and legislation.

    l CIMA Professional qualification

    The Chartered Institute of Management Accountants (CIMA) is a professional body offering training and qualification in management accountancy and its related subjects.

    It is also a leading professional body in the areas of product costing, budgeting, management accounting, investment appraisal and business decision-making.

    The CIMA Professional qualification aims to provide students with financial knowledge to influence strategic decisions and manage performance.

    Students will be able to uphold the highest ethical and professional standards and have a qualification that is relevant to current issues.

    The three main pillars of study are enterprise (how to formulate and effectively implement strategy), performance (how finance helps in formulating and effectively implementing strategy) and financial (how to prepare and interpret financial statements to make decisions).

    These subjects are further divided into the operational, management and strategic level.

    CIMA offers Certificate in Business Accounting for students with little or no accounting background, which is the basis for its CIMA Professional qualification.

    The professional body also has award-winning Islamic finance qualifications at the certificate, diploma and advanced diploma level.

    Well-rounded employeeTHE debate on which is the more valuable asset between industry experience and education is not a new one.

    A quick search through the Internet will highlight numerous websites that feature the opinions of industry professionals such as human resource managers, senior executives and business owners who favour one criterion over the other when hiring or promoting their staff.

    Depending on the organisation and management, the number of years spent within the company and on-the-job experience may be sufficient prerequisites for management to consider offering a promotion to its staff.

    Others may be more partial to an individual with a commendable tertiary education background.

    However, in many occasions, both experience and education are needed before one can excel, especially in larger organisations with regional or multinational operations.

    Applicants for senior management positions are often expected to have not only tertiary education and a high level of experience but professional qualifications as well.

    These certifications provide individuals with the necessary industry-specific skills, competence and ethics to progress through the corporate ladder and succeed at the top level.

    Professional fitOne of the reasons professional

    qualifications are highly regarded by employers is these certifications are accredited by industry professional bodies.

    Bodies such as the Certified

    Management Institute (CMI), Certified Practicing Accountants Australia (CPA Australia), Association of Chartered Certified Accountants (ACCA) and Chartered Institute of Management Accountants (CIMA) are nationally or internationally recognised and therefore set high assessment standards.

    Individuals who are preparing for these certifications are assured of being introduced to the most effective methodologies and kept abreast of the current expectations of the industry.

    Not only will individuals gain industry-specific knowledge but the training and preparation involved will help develop cognitive skills such as decision-making that will have a positive impact on their career. A higher earning potential and professional recognition are merely added perks.

    Many of these qualifications

    have a flexible structure that allows candidates to complete the qualifications on a part-time basis. This means industry professionals can sit for the necessary papers and assessments as well as do assignments and prepare for the examinations around their busy work schedules.

    Some certificates have only minimal requirements during the duration of the course, allowing professionals to progress according to their desired timeframe.

    Individuals will also have access to a substantial amount of resources as they prepare for the various examination papers.

    Companies are confident in hiring and promoting individuals with a professional qualification as every candidate would have completed rigorous examinations before obtaining their certification.

    As companies recognise that trained individuals have a positive influence on the organisation, it is not unusual for companies to encourage their current staff to obtain a professional qualification if they do not already have one.

    Some examples of how various companies have supported their staff include study leave and funding for examination fees, tuition and required texts and membership fees.

    Strong intellectual foundation

    Emmanuel Anni Acquah who completed his qualification as a Chartered Certified Accountant accredited by the ACCA believes that professional qualifications such as his make individuals more valuable in the workforce.

    > SEE NEXT PAGE

    Chartered Certified Accountant Emmanuel Anni Acquah says that the wide breadth of knowledge offered by professional qualifications is useful throughout ones career.

    Professional qualifications provide the skills and knowledge required to succeed in specific industries.

  • THE STAR, TUESDAY 19 JANUARY 2016

    postgraduate 3

    Engaging in a constantlearning curve> FROM PREVIOUS PAGE

    To become a Chartered Certified Accountant, you need to learn a broad range of topics such as law, financial reporting, auditing and basically everything you will need to know to be a financial professional.

    That is the reason for the popularity of the ACCA qualification it makes you more versatile.

    The ACCA does not train you to be an entry-level accountant but somebody with the skills to be a finance manager or a chief financial officer of a company, says Acquah.

    Acquah adds that the course is structured with a wide breadth of knowledge and theoretical concepts that will be useful throughout ones accounting career and even at a higher management level.

    Acquah is a regional reporting lead at a world- leading company that supplies technology, integrated project management and information solutions to customers in the oil and gas industry.

    He says, A professional qualification says something about you, for example, it shows what you have studied, and that your ethical dimensions and decision-making skills are strong.

    Future opportunitiesTwenty-eight-year-old Linus

    Ng, who works as a senior associate in one of the Big Four network of companies, is another individual who has completed his ACCA qualification and believes the certification helps anyone who intends to build a career in the field of accountancy or finance.

    Many accountants will try to work with the Big Four and the ACCA qualification will give them that avenue.

    Although firms do hire individuals with other degrees or from non-accounting backgrounds based on their personal attributes, including attitude, personality and willingness to learn, individuals who complete a professional qua