Sunday 2 December 2012

Close Encounters With My Accountant Friends

I have been writing about accountancy in the last few postings. Being an accountant myself, I have a deep affiliation with this profession and would try to contribute as much as I could. I was a panellist at the latest edition of the MIA International Conference where more than 2,400 accountants from many parts of the world congregated and discuss current issues relevant to the profession and global economy.

This event is slowly but surely being turned into a really international platform for accountants to exchange ideas, thoughts and explore solutions to many emerging issues which are important to our society.

One of the other panellist is Tan Sri Abdul Samad Alias, a prominent accountant that needs no introduction. Well known for his frank and honest views, Tan Sri Abdul Samad holds a number of positions even after his retirement from public practice more than 10 years ago. Although I was the auditor to his private company many years ago, we became closer when we were elected to the MIA Council in 2000. I have learnt a lot from his experience and he had provided me with his support in many occasions.

He is presently the Chairman of Perbadanan Insuran Deposit Malaysia (PIDM), an institution which guarantees our deposits in banks in Malaysia. Having known him for about the same time, his values and commitment towards integrity and honesty are things which we should all emulate.

Last Friday, I was invited for a dinner held by the Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales, Kuala Lumpur City Group. It was held at the new Grand Hyatt located besides the Kuala Lumpur City Centre. Notwithstanding it was held on a Friday evening, the traffic was surprisingly smooth. Not sure whether that was also arranged by ICAEW.

One of the highlights of the evening was the Lifetime Achievement Award which was accorded to Datuk Ali Abdul Kadir. This is the second award that he received this year, a testament for his excellent achievement as an accountant in Malaysia. He presently chairs the Financial Reporting Foundation where I am also a member. He was among the first members of the Audit Oversight Board which I chair. I wrote about Datuk Ali Kadir in an earlier posting.

I saw many young and upcoming accountants at the dinner. Ensuring continuous supply of talents into the profession is very important, not just for the accountancy profession but for nation building. As our economy becomes more globalised and sophisticated, finance and assurance will be critical to support new economic activities. 

On the earlier evening I had dinner with two gentlemen who were visiting a university in Malaysia as part of its assessment programme. Although they were not reviewing any accountancy programme, one of the topics over dinner was on the importance of our education system to support the needs of the industry. Any misalignment between the missions of universities with the need of the market may lead to major problems.

This is where we need to convince more accounting graduates to pursue professional accountancy. In building their career, having qualifications which are recognised by the market is very important. Not only professional accountancy qualifications provide the graduates with the knowledge, skills and values demanded by the market, they would also provide the holders with opportunities beyond our border. Other things being equal, who would appoint to be your CFO? A person with or without a professional accountancy qualification?

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