Career Advice

How to Become a Professional Accountant in Malaysia

Published by Afterschool.my on Jun 11, 2021, 12:56 pm

Accounting is one of the most desirable fields of study because of the future prospects and the potentially high salary. But accountants need good skills in order to get the kind of earning they want. Here, we will – briefly – explore the pathways to becoming a professional accountant and the skills you need to complement your qualifications.

Pathway One: Degree qualification

Accountant in Malaysia

Becoming an accountant will require you to be exposed to numerous qualifications such as ACCA and CIMA

If you are a numbers lover, and math lover, you are a suitable candidate to enrol in a Bachelor’s Degree in Accounting.

With a degree in Accounting, you will be exposed to a range of subjects concerning financial and non-financial aspects of the field, particularly in areas concerning taxation, management, business and sustainability.

As you move on in your degree, you will be exposed to the types of professional qualifications that you need to acquire for your professional practice. You will also be required to sit for theAssociation of Chartered Certified Accountants (ACCA)exams and/or Chartered Institute of Management Accountants (CIMA)exams.

Once you are done with your degree and once you have completed the practical papers (ACCA/CIMA) needed, you will be able to find a job in the field as you are qualified to go into basic practice.

After 3 years of professional work experience in the field of accountancy, you will need to gain membership with the Malaysian Institute of Accountants (MIA). This membership is essential for your career development and progression.

A membership with the Malaysian Society of Accountants is also required for an MIA membership application in certain cases.

Pathway two: Association of Chartered Certified Accountants (ACCA)


ACCA qualification can be taken after SPM where students can take its Foundation programmes.

These days, everything is changing rapidly around us and, to some people, a 4-year degree is not suitable because it is too long. Many opt for options that are considerably shorter than that and try to finish as soon as possible. ACCA offers such option. Many can pursue ACCA qualification immediately after SPM by doing the ACCA Foundation programme. It is a one-year programmes that focuses on the fundamentals and prepare students for the professional qualifications needed.

Then, the full time ACCA coursewill require at least 2 years of study to complete all the professional papers and take the needed exams.

Upon completion, you will be able to find work relatively faster than your peers.

Remember you need ACCA qualification even if you have a degree.

You still need to be a member of MIA if you need to develop your qualification and have a sustainable career progress.

There are several other qualifications that require exploration such as CIMA, ACA, CFA, CFP and other qualifications.

What companies need


Different companies have different nature of operation so their qualifications will vary

When it comes to policies regarding hiring accountants, different companies, depending on the nature of their operations, might have different requirements. Some companies will require degree qualifications, others will require professional qualifications, others might want a degree and professional qualification and so on.

It is safe to assume that the best option is a degree and professional qualification, but it might not be suitable for everyone. Therefore, you – the student, should evaluate what you would like to be exactly and work towards that.

Click here to read more on how top companies hire accountants



Accountancy is suitable for those who want a high-paying career

Here is a summary of the salaries offered to professionals in the field of accountancy and related fields:

Accounting & Taxation – Annual Salary (RM):

  • Tax Manager (2015) 145 – 216k+ – (2016)145 – 216k+
  • Credit Controller (2015) 96 – 168k+ – (2016) 96 – 192k+
  • Internal Auditor – Manager (2015) 96 – 144k – (2016) 96 – 144k
  • Cost Controller (2015) 96 – 168k+ – (2016) 96 – 180k+
  • Accountant (2015) 60 – 108k – (2016) 60 – 108k
  • AP/AR Analyst (2015) 54 – 96k – (2016) 54 – 96k

Finance – Annual Salary (RM)

  • Chief Financial Officer (2015) 336 – 540k+ – (2016) 336 – 540k+
  • Head of Shared Services (2015) 336 – 540k+ – (2016) 336 – 540k+
  • Finance Director – MNC (2015) 300 – 420k – (2016) 300 – 420k
  • Finance Director – SME (2015) 240 – 300k – (2016) 240 – 300k
  • Financial Controller – MNC (2015) 216 – 300k+ – (2016) 216 – 300k+
  • Head of Functions (2015) 216 – 300k+ – (2016) 216 – 330k+
  • Financial Controller – SME (2015) 180 – 240k+ – (2016) 180 – 240k+
  • Senior Finance Manager (2015) 144 – 240k – (2016) 144 – 240k
  • FP&A Manager (2015) 120 – 216k+ – (2016) 120 – 216k+
  • Corporate Finance Manager (2015) 120 – 216k+ – (2016) 120 – 216k+
  • Finance Manager/Team Lead (2015) 108 – 180k – (2016) 96 – 180k

Analyst – Annual Salary (RM)

  • Senior Financial/Business Analyst: 85 – 120k
  • Financial/Business Analyst: 60 – 96k

Treasury – Annual Salary (RM)

  • Treasury Manager: 150 – 192k+

Biggest accounting firms in Malaysia


Deloitte is a multinational professional services firm that is based in the UK. However, Deloitte also has an office in Taman Tun Dr. Ismail

  • Deloitte
  • Ernst & Young
  • PwC
  • KMPG
  • BDO
  • Grant Thornton
  • Crowe Howarth International
  • Baker Tilly Monteiro Heng
  • Halim & Lee
  • DFK International

To find out more scholarships and courses, check links.

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