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More than just figures

Posted on November 8, 2010, Monday

Accountancy profession need to adapt amidst challenging times — ACCA
Dean Westcott
KUCHING: With rapid changes – both good and bad – going on in the global economy, a
ccountants are now charged with even more responsibilities than just delivering
facts and figures.
Moreover, those in the profession should be ready to embrace changes in order to
be relevant in these challenging times, said Association of Chartered Certified
Accountants’ (ACCA) deputy president Dean Westcott.
“The association carries out a Global Economic Conditions Survey on a quarterly ba
sis, where all evidence coming back to us has shown that in all parts of the wor
ld, accountants are still in strong demand.
“Of course, accountants are important at times when economies are booming – but they
are equally as important when the times are tough, and the economies are in rec
ession,” he told reporters after gracing a special dinner here, held in conjunctio
n with the 18th World Congress of Accountants (WCOA 2010).
The event, held once every four years, opens today at Kuala Lumpur Convention Ce
ntre until this November 11. ACCA is amongst the gold sponsors for the congress.
Commenting on the country’s need for accountants and financial services profession
als towards attaining a developed nation’s status by 2020, Westcott related an int
eresting observation he made on his way here from the UK recently.
“I noted that your Prime Minister (Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak) had just announced
a huge investment programme to bolster growth in Malaysia. That growth alone pre
sents a large area that require good business advice – in which ACCA-certified acc
ountants would be very well-placed to provide such advice. I could only see the
demand growing alongside the growth in the Malaysian economy,” he added.
But the accounting community would still have to exhibit its value-adding capabi
lities, he pointed out.
“We have to do more. Accountants nowadays need to provide foresight, not just hind
sight. We need to be able to tell businesses where they are going, not where the
y have come from.
“If we as a profession, can achieve this, then these challenging times would sudde
nly become rich with opportunities. In this respect, what I can say is that ACCA
qualification is very well-precisioned to meet this need,” he stated.
With 140,000 members in 170 countries around the globe, Westcott felt encouraged
that much of its membership growth had been exhibited quite strongly here in So
utheast Asia, particularly Malaysia.
“In Malaysia, we have close to 9,000 members nationwide – out of which about 500 of
them are from Sarawak. It has always been our objective to be the largest accoun
tancy body globally not only in size, but also in reputation and influence.
“Based on our records in recent years, we are achieving that.”
Meanwhile, Westcott also highlighted the prominence of Islamic finance in today’s
economy, in which the sector would have its own platform during the WCOA 2010 in
Kuala Lumpur.
“ACCA is well-aware of the rapid global rise seen in the Islamic financial and ban
king sector. As such, there are a number of sessions in the congress that will a
ctually focus on Islamic finance.
“As far as human talents and capability are concerned, indeed we we do have it. AC
CA does provide several workshops that cater for demands towards syariah-complia
nt financial services,” he said in his parting note.
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