Grooming finance professionals
oN Nov 9, the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants (ACCA) welcomed over 300 finance and accounting undergraduates from 18 universities and colleges nationwide to its Fellowship of Future Leaders Conference held at Pullman Putrajaya.
Themed “Great Expectations: Gen Y Graduates”, the two-day conference was packed with programmes aimed at educating these undergraduates on the work-life expectations when they join the workforce.
The highlight of the conference was the special session by the guest of honour, Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department and Fellow of ACCA Senator Datuk Sri Abdul Wahid Omar, who spoke at length about his inspirational career journey.
With an aptly titled talk called “Zero to Hero”, Abdul Wahid talked candidly about his student days while studying for his ACCA qualification, saying it took him three attempts to pass his final exam papers. He also said that his ability to progress up the corporate career ladder was largely due to his thirst for more challenging work.
Imparting some advice to students, Abdul Wahid said: “Firstly, it is very important for you to choose a career that you can be passionate about, taking advantage of your natural tendencies.
“Then, you should work hard and smart to become successful. Some people think working hard is not necessary if you can work smart. But in this day and age, there are a lot of people who are smarter than you are. Be prepared to put in the hours.
“Lastly, my advice to you is to never stop learning, even after you graduate. Learning can be on the job or simply by reading the news or relevant articles. The important thing is to keep your knowledge and skills up to date.”
Abdul Wahid shared how gaining the ACCA qualification has helped him in his career. As a member of the global body for professional accountants, continuous professional development (CPD) is emphasised at all stages of his career, and this has ensured that his skills and knowledge are kept relevant.
This commitment to offer business-relevant, first-choice qualifications has been a legacy of the ACCA for over 100 years.
ACCA Malaysia head Jennifer Lopez said: “The ACCA continually improves the content of our global syllabus to meet the needs of employers and ensure newly qualified members have the skills and knowledge to be complete finance professionals.”
Through an ongoing process, the ACCA has made a wide range of changes to its qualifica- tion content which enhances competency in key areas as follows:
1. Professionalism and ethics: The syllabus content has been enhanced around governance, risk and ethics, and amended to introduce a greater focus on the requirement for more diversity on boards.
2. Strategy and innovation: More areas of the paper have been made relevant to the corporate sector and business leadership in terms of forecasting, budgeting, cost management and decision support, including pricing.
The latest area to be added is on the role and limitations of cost accounting in strategy development and implementation.
3. Financial management: The ACCA has increased content on developments in Islamic Finance.
4. Corporate reporting: Greater coverage is included on the typical contents of a social and environmental report and the usefulness of this information to stakeholders, especially relevant in light of new guidelines issued by the Global Reporting Initiative.
5. Sustainable management accounting: The ACCA’s Performance Management exams contain key sections which support businesses in making sustainable and efficient use of resources through strategic planning, control, measurement and performance evaluation.
6. Audit and assurance: More emphasis on professional scepticism has been added to reflect the new IESBA (International Ethics Standards Board for Accountants) code of ethics for professional accountants.
7. Case study approach: Since June 2013, all seven of the ACCA Qualification Professional Level exams use case studies in their assessments. This provides in-depth practical scenarios for students to work on for these exams, all of which are examined at Master’s degree level.
This syllabus improvement is part of the ACCA’s global process to refresh the content of the syllabus and ensure that ACCA students develop as competent professionals with the latest accounting skills and knowledge required across all sectors.
“These changes position ACCA members well to thrive in the emerging business context, to enhance their prospects as professionals and managers, and bring success in their careers. We are very proud that employers in Malaysia and around the world recognise the value that our members bring to their business, and have indeed come to depend on the expertise of ACCA professionals,” said Lopez.
Log on to www.accaglobal.com to find out more about the ACCA and becoming a complete finance professional.
Lopez (left) with Abdul Wahid, who spoke at length about his inspirational career journey.