How accounting and finance professionals can stand out from the crowd

TheStar Mon, Nov 16, 2020 07:59am - 4 months ago


In today’s volatile economic climate, accounting and finance professionals with a diverse set of skills have the best chance of success in the job market

CUTS to the GDP forecast in Malaysia as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic have impacted employment opportunities across all sectors with nearly 90,000 job losses reported so far this year, according to the Social Security Organisation (Socso).

The fallout from the pandemic has made a huge impact on the national economy, resulting in losses all around that affect both individuals and companies alike across the board.

Bank Negara Malaysia took action after the economy plunged into its first contraction since the 2009 global financial crisis.

While this market downturn is challenging for jobseekers, being an all-rounder who brings diverse professional tools to the workplace is the key to employability for accountants.

Tom Osborne, director of global recruitment firm Hays for Malaysia, told the Finance Accreditation Agency that employers in both the West and Asia now consider the skills of problem solving, communication and open-mindedness, as well as a global mindset, critical to success across industries.

Organisational skills and strategic ability are also highly valued, he adds, and in addition to an undergraduate degree, professional qualifications can help a candidate stand out from the crowd.

This gives jobseekers a competitive edge in the volatile market of today.

In short, many high-level accounting and finance roles now require more than a typical accountant who prioritises number crunching.

The role of today’s accountants has evolved to encompass much more and correspondingly this has created the need for a more diversified set of skills and knowledge.

Hariz Hazmi Izham CPA (Aust.) an accountant at the Group Strategic Planning Department of the Federal Land Development Authority, says the CPA Australia designation has been a huge advantage in the workplace.

“I have a qualification with one of the world’s largest accounting bodies that is recognised internationally by employers, ” he says. “It has equipped me to face any changes in today’s global marketplace.”

Hariz believes being a CPA is a mark of high professional competence.

“For me it is a commitment to maintaining a high level of professional ethics and standards.”

He says the subjects he has studied, such as Strategic Management Accounting and Global Strategy and Leadership as part of the CPA Program, are related to his current role and have provided him additional business insights.

“I am part of Felda’s road to creating a new culture and future successor plans, now driven by Felda’s chairman, ” he says.

“His vision is for Felda to become a Fortune Global 500 company by 2040 and hopefully, I can contribute to realising that aspiration.”

Success in a competitive market

Liew valued the flexibility of the CPA Program that allowed her to tailor her study to suit her needs.Hariz managed to pursue interests that include competing in the Ironman Langkawi 2016.

For fulltime student Liew Sin Yee who will complete her qualification by 2021, the CPA Program has assisted her to shine in professional internships.

Before starting the program, she interned as an auditor at one of the Big Four firms, PricewaterhouseCoopers.

After beginning her study, she gained an internship as an investment analyst at Venture Capital firm Nexea. Her study was directly relevant to the analysis of financial statements she was carrying out.

In turn, the internship ignited her interest in problem-solving, eventually leading Liew to take a two-month role with The Malaysia Social Project which recruits students to consult for non-profits.

When she completes her qualification at the end of this year, Liew hopes to continue consulting, to help businesses come back from the pandemic.

She says she chose to study with CPA Australia because she wanted to take her Bachelor of Commerce degree from Monash University Malaysia further and liked that the CPA Program offers specialised subjects in not just accounting, but also in business, leadership and strategy.

“I knew I needed more than specialised accounting skills to be successful in my career – skills that reflect the real work environment, and what is happening around us, ” she says.

“For example, I have just finished studying Global Strategy and Leadership, and learnt about how Covid-19 is affecting companies internationally.

“My CPA Australia designation will definitely give me an edge in a competitive market, compared to a university degree without any other qualification, ” she adds.

Superior support and flexibility

A Yayasan Peneraju scholar who completed his Bachelor of Commerce degree at the University of Melbourne, Australia, on a Felda scholarship, Hariz has worked at the organisation since 2014.

Hariz managed to pursue interests that include competing in the Ironman Langkawi 2016.

In between, he has managed to pursue interests that include competing in the Ironman Langkawi 2016 which involved hours of training.

He found studying with CPA Australia much less arduous, with classes on weekends at Noesis, and only one exam subject per semester.

“These arrangements in no way affected my full-time job and I was able to spend more time doing the things I love, ” he says.

Liew, a keen basketball player, also valued the flexibility of the CPA Program that allowed her to tailor her study to suit her needs.

Online learning and support from the many CPA Australia staff, from the Knowledge Equity platform to those in the office, have also facilitated her study, she says.

“It also helps that the CPA Program is constantly updated, so we are always provided with the most relevant information.”

Hariz concurs: “In April when Malaysia was under the movement control order, CPA Australia even offered 100% discount for any 1 CPD hour online courses.

“As a member, you are also kept at the forefront of industry change through regular updates by CPA Australia through its newsletter, INTHEBLACK publications and Continuous Professional Development.”

Applications for the CPA Australia – Yayasan Peneraju Sponsorship for S1 2021 are now open for to Malaysian bumiputera candidates between 18 and 45 years of age who have completed, or will be completing, a degree in accounting by December.

To apply and for any other enquiries on the CPA Program, register your interest by scanning the QR code below.

You can also join an upcoming Become a CPA info session and enjoy significant discounts on application fees.

For further queries, WhatsApp or call the CPA Australia team at 012-229 6746 or 012-207 5772.






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