As of 2021 there were 37,000 accountants registered in Malaysia and amid repeated reports over the past few years that the country continues to face a shortage of accountants, the Malaysian government has set a target of 60,000 accountants by the year 2030, a target which was originally set for 2020 as part of the Economic Transformation Programme.

ICAEW produces 189 more Chartered Accountants in 2022 to counter national shortage

As a developing country, Malaysia requires not only the physical infrastructure to facilitate economic development and standing, but also the very specific talents of managing resources and providing financial leadership which Chartered Accountants bring to the table.

Julia Penny - President, ICAEW, welcoming new ICAEW members

In support of this national goal, Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales (ICAEW) recently welcomed over 189 new Malaysian members into their fold at the ICAEW annual dinner 2022. Datuk Johan Merican, Deputy Secretary General of Policy at the Ministry of Finance and His Excellency Charles Hay MVO, High Commissioner of the United Kingdom to Malaysia, along with current ICAEW members were present in support of the installation.

ICAEW President Julia Penny was also present to welcome the new Malaysian members, said “As a developing country, Malaysia requires not only the physical infrastructure to facilitate economic development and standing, but also the very specific talents of managing resources and providing financial leadership which ICAEW Chartered Accountants bring to the table. Our members old and new continue to reflect ICAEW’s global commitment to serve the public interest as defined in our Royal Charter. I’m glad to see a greater diversity of talent within chartered accountancy, making the profession more inclusive. We also have more ICAEW members in roles that contribute to the pillars of our 10-year strategy, making great strides in building trust in the profession, while furthering the advancement of technology and ESG goals in order to build sustainable economies.”

Datuk Johan Merican at the ICAEW members annual dinner 2022

Accounting and finance skills are one of the top five skills in demand in Malaysia. This is not surprising, considering that financial performance is the backbone of any business organisation. The rigorous ethical standards embedded in ICAEW syllabus and upheld by its members give the ACA qualification added trust in the financial sector at a time when it is sorely lacking and the country and sector stands to benefit greatly from a greater influx of qualified, and more importantly, ethical Chartered Accountants.

Despite the demand in Malaysia, there is also a misperception that the field being taken over by robots and artificial intelligence. However, among the most in demand skills which new ICAEW members bring to the table is the ability to navigate the digital economy. Accountants will always remain relevant and ICAEW training is constantly being updated with the latest technological skills and competencies, such as data analytics. With cloud accounting and big data growing more prevalent, a central aspect of the Chartered Accountancy profession which comes into play more often is the ability to tell a story with data, something a machine can’t do, but at which Chartered Accountants excel.

In this era of massive globalisation, resources are also becoming more mobile and can be obtained from any part of the globe and the demand for skilled professionals from the field is on the rise globally. Due to the recognition which the ACA qualification receives internationally, Malaysian ACA holders well positioned to work across borders with and multinational organisations. In addition, the flexibility of ICAEW’s training and the recognition which the ACA qualification confers, are two of the main reasons ICAEW is continually able to attract the best talent and why ICAEW members are valued and sought after by Authorised Training Employers.

In addition, experienced Chartered Accountants are well positioned to advise policy decisions at the highest levels of business and even influence ESG directions of organisations. A trending focus among Malaysian stakeholders is resulting in not only multinationals, but businesses of all sizes relying on Chartered Accountants to incorporate ESG risks into management, investment and decision-making. Given the infancy of ESG auditing, Chartered Accountants are also instrumental in bringing much-needed clarity and making financial sense of the transition to investors, employees, customers and other stakeholders.

As trained and qualified Chartered Accountants, the new 189 ICAEW members are well positioned to contribute to the future of the sector and profession as they help build a strong and sustainable economy for Malaysia.