Accountancy opens up a whole range of career opportunities. The profession is stable, progressive and pays well. The services of accountants are required by all organisations as they must maintain systematic records of all transactions for purposes of planning, effective management and furnishing tax returns. Presently, Malaysia has about 7.5 million Accountants. The country requires another 60,000 Accountants to fulfill Vision 2020.
All Accountants have to abide by a strict code of ethics and maintain high professional standards. All practising accountants must register with the Malaysian Institute of Accountants (MIA). The Accountant Act, 1967 recognises an Accountant as one who is a member of MIA. MIA members can either be registered as Registered Accountants, RA(M) or Public Accountants, PA(M).
There are a few educational routes to becoming an Accountant. Aspirants can enrol to study a professional course full time or part time by pursuing the ACCA, CIMA or MACPA qualification. Alternatively, he/she may opt to study for a university degree in Accounting recognised by MIA.
The professional bodies and university degrees recognised by MIA are as follows:
- Professional Accounting Bodies
- The Malaysian Association of Certified Public Accountants (MACPA)
- The Australian Society of Certified Practising Accountants (ASCPA)
- The Institute of Chartered Accountants of Australia (ICAA)
- The Institute of Chartered Accountants, Canada (ICAC)
- The Chartered Association of Certified Accountants, UK (ACCA)
- The Chartered Institute of Management Accountants, UK (CIMA)
- The Institute of Chartered Accountants, England and Wales (ICAEW)
- The Institute of Chartered Accountants, Ireland (ICAI)
- The Institute of Chartered Accountants, Scotland (ICAS)
- The Institute of Chartered Accountants, India (ICAI)
- The New Zealand Society of Accountants, New Zealand (NZSA)
- Universities offering degrees in Accounting
- Universiti Malaya
- Universiti Putra Malaysia
- Universiti Utara Malaysia
- Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia
Advanced Diploma in Accounting - Universiti Teknologi MARA
The roles performed by Accountants are varied and interesting. Generally, they are expected to be able to:
apply theoretical and practical knowledge and principles of accounting systematically and accurately in the maintenance of both public and private financial records devise and control systems to calculate cost, estimate expenditure incurred and prepare budget reports for management, review cash flow and cash planning for a variety of business activities, conduct feasibility studies of special projects, co-ordinate and adapt mechanised accounting operations, maintain accounting records for customers, identify and keep records of establishments' properties, liaise with bankers, tax consultants and external auditors
Qualified Accountants can easily fill management or administrative positions in government departments, semi-government, statutory, business and industrial establishments. Below are some of these positions, each followed by a list of functions required of the Accountant.
- General Accountant
- Maintains proper and systematic accounting records of businesses, financial establishments and private and public institutions.
- Checks bills, receipts and other related documents for entries into accounting books.
- Provides up-to-date financial information to establishments.
- Keeps record of all taxes, licences and fees to be paid by the establishments.
- Examines contracts, orders, vouchers and prepares reports to substantiate transactions.
- Prepares annual budget.
- Prepares final accounts, profit and loss account and balance sheet.
- Ensures compliance of accounting procedures by supporting staff.
- Carries out regular checks on inventory, cash and documents to ensure there is no misappropriation.
- Carries out investigation in the event of misappropriation or fraud and prepares a report on the findings.
- May act in the capacity of a Company Secretary or General Auditor.
- Budget Accountant
- Forecasts expenditure incurred, analyses records of present and past operations.
- Maintains records of actual production costs to compare with expected costs.
- Advises on the pricing of products/services and monitor sales results.
- Develops, installs and maintains budgeting systems to control expenditure on activities such as advertising and marketing, production, labour etc.
- Advises management on methods of effective use of resources to prevent capital being frozen.
- Carries out cost studies of future projects.
- Company Secretary
- Convenes board meetings and draws up agenda for meetings.
- Ensures that all the legal, financial and statistical information needed is ready for discussion.
- Records minutes of proceedings during meetings.
- Keeps shareholders informed and makes the necessary returns to the Registrar of Companies (ROC).
- Cost Accountant
- Devises and controls systems which determine the unit cost of products/services.
- Analyses cost records such as purchases of raw materials, wages and salaries, depreciation of machinery and overhead charges to determine the distribution of cost for management and production.
- Devises ways of detecting wastage of materials or labour and suggests measures of eliminating wastage.
- Helps to control expenses, decides on price structure, policies and amount of work to be assigned to employees.
- Machine Accounting System Accountant
- Co-ordinates mechanised accounting operations to adapt to machine accounting processes.
- Basic tasks similar to that of the General Accountant but specialises in mechanised accounting systems.
- Seeks to improve operations by looking into new machine accounting and computing techniques.
- Property Accountant
- Keeps records of company-owned equipment, buildings and other properties.
- Examines records to ensure that acquisition, sale, retirement & other entries have been made.
- Prepares monthly statements to reflect the monthly financial situation.
- Summarises statements for income tax purposes.
- Systems Accountant
- Devises and installs special accounting systems where the standardised system cannot be used.
- Conducts survey to ascertain needs of establishments.
- Devises forms and manuals to guide book-keeping and clerical activities.
- Tax Accountant
- Clarifies current tax laws to clients, advises on tax avoidance and assists businesses in calculating annual tax returns.
- Prepares tax returns of individuals or establishments.
- Advises on investments, insurance and property purchases.
- May specialise in particular areas of tax accounting such as income, property or real estate taxes.
- Public Accountant & Auditor
- Maintains accounting books and records of financial transactions for customers.
- Basic tasks similar to that of the General Accountant but works independently to provide services to customers.
- May work in the capacity of a Public Auditor, provided an audit licence is obtained from the Ministry of Finance to practise as an auditor.
- Only MIA members, who are registered as Public Accountants PA(M), can apply to the Ministry of Finance for a licence to practise.
- Examines and analyses accounting records of establishments and prepares reports concerning the financial status.
- Reports to shareholders of companies on whether the accounts are properly drawn up and reflect the companies' actual financial situation.
- Only a qualified Public Accountant, PA (M) with a licence from the Ministry of Finance can practise as an Auditor.
- Trains future accountants or business students in a higher educational institution or a private business school.
- Carries out research in accounting and management matters in addition to lecturing responsibilities.
- Advises clients on ways to improve efficiency and profitability of business operations.
- Advises clients on the best use of resources and helps estimate the cost of major projects.
- Gives advice on mergers and acquisitions.
- Advises on the recruitment of professional staff for companies.
- Helps draw up pay packages.
An Accountant is often supported by accounting technicians (accounts assistant, accounts clerk, accounts executive, audit clerk, billing clerk, tax assistant). Good accounting technicians can qualify as accountants if they pass the professional Chartered Association of Certified Accountants (ACCA), The Chartered Institute of Management Accountants (CIMA) or Malaysian Association of Certified Public Accountants (MACPA) examinations.
Adapted from http://www.studymalaysia.com/education/art_career.php?id=1