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Features


Kickstart your career with CPA Australia

At the heart of every business lies an accountant. With the number of businesses and companies increasing year by year, the job prospects for employees within the finance sector are getting brighter. The arena is also becoming more competitive, as more qualified graduates pour in from universities around the world, so it’s up to the individual degree holder to do the necessary to stand out from the rest.

Enter CPA Australia – it offers the CPA Program, which prepares you to go beyond numbers and apply your knowledge to real-life business situations. CPA Australia’s range of knowledge resources targets the four core competencies accountants need to reach the pinnacle of success, which are business, leadership, personal effectiveness and technical skills.

“CPA Australia is 127 years old, with 144,000 members in 127 countries and over 9,000 members in Malaysia alone,” says Priya Dharshini Terumalay, General Manager (Malaysia) of CPA Australia, adding that CPA professionals work for 74% of the world’s top 100 global brands. “Forty-one per cent of that number comprises of those who hold senior roles, and we have 11,000 members who are at the C-suite level – we’re talking about Chief Finance Officers, Chief Executive Officers and even business owners.”

Membership into CPA Australia starts with a degree as the CPA Program is a post-graduate qualification. There are six segments in the professional level, along with a three-year practical experience requirement where you demonstrate your ability, skills and attributes in the four core competency areas.

With the right mix of education, business and leadership ability, there can be no stopping the ambitious individual from shooting up the career ladder.

One ladder that holds promise is the finance subsector in the shared services industry.

“CPA Australia is 127 years old, with 144,000 members in 127 countries and over 9,000 members in Malaysia alone," says Priya Terumalay, General Manager – Malaysia, CPA Australia “CPA Australia is 127 years old, with 144,000 members in 127 countries and over 9,000 members in Malaysia alone," says Priya Terumalay, General Manager – Malaysia, CPA Australia

Why shared services?

If you thought that shared services revolved solely around call centres, think again. The Malaysian 2020 agenda revolves around two things: Bringing more foreign investments into the country, and creating more jobs. With the Asian economy steadily rising (while other regions undergo slumps), an increasing number of large corporations are setting up in Malaysia in their bid to capture the Asian market.

One prominent industry that has been recording impressive growth rates is the shared services industry, and within it, the financial services subsector. Fifty-seven per cent of the shared services’ revenue comes from the financial services subsector, making it the most important subsector in the industry. With growth rates of 7.9% across the Asia Pacific and 13% in Malaysia, the market for financial services in shared services is growing.

“Many international and Malaysian companies are setting up here to get ready for the 2015 Asean Free Trade agreement,” says Michael Warren, Global Sourcing Cluster director of the Multimedia Development Corporation (MDeC). “As a result of companies trying to expand over Asia to go overseas, you will find big companies like Maybank and CIMB setting up shared services centres here to support operations across the region.”

They’re not the only ones; oil and gas giant Schlumberger now houses its second financial services hub in Bandar Utama, Petaling Jaya – the only hub outside its home ground, Houston, where its headquarters is located.

Michael Warren, Global Sourcing Cluster director of the Multimedia Development Corporation (MDeC) Michael Warren, Global Sourcing Cluster director of the Multimedia Development Corporation (MDeC)

The influx of companies has created a demand for good talent, however, Warren says that the supply can be improved upon. Book smarts are well and good, but when it comes to the working world, employees need to be retrained in skill sets that aren’t covered in the school syllabus. “We work with industry organisations like CPA Australia to help us create the required talent in the market,” shares Warren, estimating that those who join the shared services industry at the business processing level (which encompasses fields such as finance and human resources) can expect an average salary of RM5,800 to RM6,500 a month.

The CPA Australia Career Expo 2013

Sometimes, the right matches require a little help. This is where the CPA Australia Career Expo 2013 comes in. Every year, CPA Australia organises a career fair to help potential employers and jobseekers find each other. “The CPA Australia Career Expo is an annual one-stop platform where students can meet strategic employers we work with,” says Priya. “Students can come with their CVs, talk about opportunities with the HR representatives present, and network with other students and like-minded professionals.”

Malaysia is one of the 19 locations worldwide hosting this event, where the question “Do I fit here?” is answered right on the spot.

In Malaysia, it is expected an estimated 800 students will meet representatives from 33 participating organisations like large accounting firms and the leaders of industries such as financial services and shared services.

Those attending the expo are encouraged to bring along their original academic transcripts and certifications for a free preliminary membership entry pathways assessment. The results of the assessment will tell you what you need to do to become a CPA and be on track to join the elite CPA Australia network. “We’re not bean counters,” laughs Priya, emphasising that the CPA Program’s four cores place great importance on business, leadership and personal effectiveness, as well as the technical side.

Those who attend the expo will also be able to catch the Malaysian launch of the The Naked CEO where Alex Malley, CEO of CPA Australia, will invite students to join him behind the scenes with aspirational companies and inspiring leaders as he reveals the secrets they must learn on the road to success. The first Student Diarist outside Australia will be chosen to accompany Alex Malley, as he interviews industry leaders.

The CPA Australia Career Expo 2013 will be held on Saturday, April 13, 2013, from 10am-3 pm at the Banquet Hall, Level 3, Kuala Lumpur Convention Centre. Register here.

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