IF you’re business-minded and are keen on crunching numbers, an accounting career may be for you.
There are three key professional institutions which provide routes into the accounting world: the Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales (ICAEW), Association of Chartered Certified Accountants (ACCA) and Chartered Institute of Management Accountants (CIMA).
All three institutions provide globally recognised qualifications which typically take three to five years to pursue and are normally undertaken as part of a graduate role combining periods of work experience and study.
The professional examinations are more challenging as they combine the difficulty levels of a Bachelor’s degree and Master’s degree into one qualification.
Recently two Malaysians from the Centre of Professional Accountancy (IPAC Education) at INTEC Education College were ranked number one in their respective accountancy studies. Siti Nadiah Sh Salleh, 19, put the country on the world map with her perfect score in the Global Certificate in Finance, Accounting and Business (ICAEW CFAB) examinations.
She scored 100 per cent in accounting and joined the elite ranks of only 50 students from around the world who have accomplished a perfect score in the global ICAEW CFAB examinations.
The examinations are internationally recognised for testing essential knowledge in business, finance and accounting.
Fellow student Wan Nor Mafudah Wan Yusof, 21, was named the World No. 1 for the ACCA financial reporting paper last month.
Wan Nor Mafudah also made history as the first Malay to attain number one world ranking with her score of 95 per cent for the paper.
Siti Nadiah chose CFAB because it is one of the shortest paths to become an ICAEW chartered accountant.
It is a 3½-year programme for both the CFAB and ACA qualifications, followed by training for a minimum of two years.
“It comprises six modules that impart essential knowledge, not only in accountancy, but also in business and finance.
“My ambition is to be a chartered accountant, even in secondary school, because I don’t like science and there were only two streams at my school — pure science or accounting.
“Since I have chosen this path, I want to go all out and be a chartered accountant,” said Siti Nadiah.
“As the country is lacking in Bumiputera chartered accountants, I see this as a great opportunity for my career.
“My mantra is to always strive to be number one. Discipline and motivation are key to success, lacking either will lead nowhere.”
Siti Nadiah would not have been a top scholar if she had not almost failed a mock test because she did not study.
“I learnt a lesson. I have made full use of the study resources provided by ICAEW since.
“One of the most effective ways to study is by attempting the questions bank after understanding the study manual, chapter by chapter.
“By doing so, I can apply the concepts, making it easier to remember them. I also pay attention to lectures and try not to miss them.
“I’ve also been fortunate to have excellent lecturers, especially Nurmala Mustaffa Kamal; a supportive family; and encouraging friends to guide me throughout my studies, particularly during challenging times.”
In recognition of her outstanding achievement, Siti Nadiah was presented with the Top of Class Excellence for Accounting award by ICAEW learning and professional development executive director Mark Protherough at a ceremony in Shah Alam.
A former Sekolah Seri Puteri, Cyberjaya student, Siti Nadiah is a scholar of Yayasan Peneraju and Permodalan Nasional Bhd.
PUTTING ONE’S MIND TO IT
A former Maktab Rendah Sains Mara Besut, Terengganu student, Wan Nor Mafudah, 21, was advised to forgo her lifelong interest in accountancy but she has proved that she can be on par with students locally and globally.
The third of seven siblings, who aspires to be an accounting lecturer, is pleased to prove that Malays can also master the field.
After achieving 8A1s and 1B in the Sijil Pelajaran Malaysia examination, Mafudah pursued accountancy studies for 1½ years at Poly-Tech Mara College in Kuala Lumpur before receiving a scholarship from Permodalan Nasional to continue her education at IPAC Education.
She has been exposed to past year examination questions since she started studies.
“Lecturers at IPAC Education provided extra notes to better understand the subjects. The ACCA examinations are one of the toughest accounting tests. But I promised myself to give my very best,” said Wan Nor Mafudah, who believes that one can do anything if one puts one’s mind to it.
“It is not all about numbers. ACCA exams cover everything that a professional accountant needs to know such as the accountant in business, management accounting, financial accounting, corporate and business law, performance management, taxation and financial reporting.”
Sharing the secret of her success, Wan Nor Mafudah said she hones her knowledge by sharing it with others as it helps to increase understanding. It also keeps her abreast of the field.
“The lecturers engage students in critical thinking and highlight the real-world scenario so that we are able to apply the skills and knowledge in the workplace.”
To help herself focus in class, Wan Nor Mafudah manages her sleep well. “Some students stay up late to study but I need enough sleep to concentrate in class. I read up on the topics before I attend classes.
“I also attempt past year questions. I compare my answers with the model answers and pick up new points.
“ The important thing is to understand the principles and take a breather when you are under stress from studies.
“My motto in life is simple, ‘stop whining, keep doing’.”