Exclusive interview with ACCA

Published by on Nov 07, 2016, 04:45 pm

ACCA: The Future was launchedrecently and is set to push the boundaries of accountancy further. We talk to key people involved in the programme to gain some insight into the evolving world of ACCA: Maggie McGhee, Director of Professional Insights, Vincent Hah, Senior Business Development Manager; Leong Soo Yee, Director, Asia Pacific; Juli Speirs, Head of Customer Engagement, and Gareth Owen, ACCA Qualifications Development Manager.


From left: Owen, McGhee, Speirs and Leong

The ACCA examinations have prepared many a student by allowing them to further their careers through a world-recognised accountancy body. The new programme will provide both support and a method for students to become professionals. According to Juli Speirs, employers find the current ACCA qualification to be perfect for their needs. However, ACCA is continuously working on ‘future-proofing’ its students and members with extensive research through a self-assessment test. “This test checks up on the strengths and weaknesses of a person and to further enhance their development,” says Leong Soo Yee.

At the grassroots there is a lot of support from Malaysian universities.

“We are working with a number of them, especially their academics. With the ACCA qualification, it is not just exams, but more importantly, it is about employability. There are talks done by both ACCA members and employer partners. There is also the ACCA-lerate club, a community for students to come together to share experiences,” says Leong.

Vincent Hah says that they are exposing the ACCA programme to Form 4 students with the Foundation in Accountancy product and adds that there are pipeline talks for collaborations with polytechnics. “We also work with local employers and government agencies. The country wants to achieve a total of 60,000 accountants by 2020 in line with the government’s vision. The Malaysian Institute of Accountants works in tandem with us as well.”

Employability is something that has been dwindling in recent years due to a failing economy and higher standards of living. In the government CSEP Report, it projected 60,000 accountants by 2020 for Malaysia to be considered progressive. The ACCA qualification also gives students a wider opportunity to pursue their careers in Malaysia and within the region.

“We also have ties with the Big 4 (accounting firms). There is a development support system for our members and students in more than 180 countries.”



From left: Owen, McGhee, Speirs and Leong

Despite being a global accountancy body, ACCA does not have a strong presence in the US and Latin America..

“Our presence is not as strong in the US and Latin America as it is in Malaysia but Brazil is up-and-coming, with more demand for the ACCA qualification. With regards to the US, they have their own unique standards of accounting,” says McGhee.

Gareth Owen says students should consider the ACCA certification, especially the Strategic Professional programme for it allows them a breadth of careers and opportunities. McGhee shares with us that they do have a research project titled Generation Next that surveys the opinions of millenials, where they were asked about being accountants, what their next role would be and where they see themselves in the future. “Really, you should be listening to your peers. With over 19,000 responses in the survey, accountancy is the way to go!”

Just like everything these days, you need to keep evolving and adapting. ACCA: The Future is taking into account what is needed in the next decade and will help you inform your next step. ACCA is a viable option for those who wish to pursue a successful career in accountancy. With world recognised standards, it would increase the employability of its members and allow them to further their career in many places and areas.

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