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The Financial Express

When degree is the passport to a global career

MD Zarif Tajwar Shihab | Published: June 17, 2020 22:04:46 | Updated: June 18, 2020 16:18:18


Interested candidates crowd at an ACCA admission information session Interested candidates crowd at an ACCA admission information session

Rapid globalisation has turned the world into a global village. In this era a qualification like ACCA can be one's passport to a career that transcends national boundaries. ACCA, the abbreviation for the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants, is a globally recognised professional qualification based from the United Kingdom. Just like any professional qualification this requires passing a series of exams and also accumulating work experience to become a fully qualified member.

It consists of three levels and a total of 13 papers. Upon completion of these papers one becomes an ACCA affiliate. And an ACCA affiliate with three years of work experience in finance or accountancy or a relevant field can claim ACCA membership. Exams are administered all around the world. Students can choose to self-study, enroll in an Approved Learning Partner (APL) institute, or use online resources some of which are free while some are paid. Some exams take place as On-demand Computer Based Exams (CBE) meaning one can sit for them at any time of the year while others are taken as session CBEs. Students have the opportunity to sit in four sessions each year. And to continue taking exams during a pandemic like COVID-19, ACCA is going to introduce remote proctoring so that students can sit for exams from their homes if centre-based exams are disrupted.

ACCA students can also receive a BSc in Applied Accounting from the Oxford Brooks University, UK after completing their second level of the ACCA exams. So, for students who skip university and directly start ACCA still have the opportunity to obtain an undergraduate degree. Furthermore, ACCA partners with selected universities which are leading in the global level, to offer integrated master's programmes-- giving students an opportunity to take professional exams and obtain a master's degree simultaneously.

The most attractive criteria for ACCA is how it is not only globally acceptable but it is as such for a very good reason.  "Qualifying ACCA opens multiple doors and career pathways. Be it in Accounting, Finance, Tax, Business Consultancy, Audit, you name it, we are everywhere!" mentions an ACCA member. ACCA professionals understand international accounting standards, international audit standards and international business laws. Being an expert in these areas essentially translates into being an asset for any organisation that is operating beyond national borders. This gives ACCA members an edge to land jobs in multinational companies. If one looks at the career of any ACCA fellow, basically an experienced member, they will see that these people work at the top level of multinational corporations. In fact, most start their careers from such companies and propel their careers forward with the flexibility of being able to switch roles or jobs.

Another major point for enrolling as an ACCA student is the amount of assistance that is available from the ACCA global platform. "I am having a great time studying ACCA as it is like getting a 360-degree view of the market as a student," says ACCA student Nihal Ahmed. Besides having resources for exam preparation ACCA website provides a 'competency framework', a platform which translates the various papers and relevant experiences to competencies in finance jobs. Not only does this prove that an ACCA degree holder is a well-rounded professional but it also acts a guide for career planning. One can plan the next step of their professional life by taking input from this tool.

The ACCA global website also features job listings with specific roles, experience requirements and salaries which are divided geographically. The most obvious upside to this is that the initial job hunt for a newly qualified professional becomes significantly more streamlined due to this. There is no need to scramble through the job pages of newspapers to make a shortlist of jobs. All the jobs in this platform are for ACCA members or affiliates. Switching roles also becomes easier, even across countries. The existence of this ever-updated list also shows that there are plenty of ACCA jobs around the globe.

Augmenting the aforementioned benefits, the job portal features a multitude of roles to choose from-- starting from CEO, CFO, controller, accountant, management accountant, treasury, finance director, business analyst, forensic accountant, hedge fund management, lecturer and many others. This provides a slice of evidence that an ACCA qualified member is a well-rounded finance professional and can later choose to specialise from a plethora of areas.

ACCA is one of the world's largest and fastest growing accountancy body with more than 227,000 members and 544,000 future members in 179 countries. This provides an abundance of opportunity to network with like-minded professionals. One can connect with other members through social media platforms LinkedIn, Twitter and YouTube.

ACCA also holds award ceremonies which provide the opportunity for face to face networking. The benefits of being able to network with professionals of different specialisations working in top companies are immense.

The writer is a third-year student of BBA programme at the Institute of Business Administration (IBA), University of Dhaka. He can be reached at zariftajwar4@gmail.com

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