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question for Mr KAMRAN ACA - Printable Version

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question for Mr KAMRAN ACA - mazharje - 08-10-2007

Sir assalam o alaikum I have seen that people on this forum respect you a lot I want to ask a question fro you that If ACCAs are allowed to conduct external audit in an advanced country like UK than why they are not allowed to do so in such a third class country like pakistan.If you dont agree with me than I want to tell you taht I am a doctor (Medical)MBBS I am working as a medical doctor here in pakistan many of my friends have come from UK after doing their MD(MBBS) from Uk and other Euro countries than they should not be allowed to practice here too.


- kamranACA - 08-11-2007

Dear Mazharje,

In spite of the ground realities to the contrary, I at the outset dont agree with your statement that Pakistan is a thrid class country. One can call it under-developed or un-developed but using the words "third class" is, in my eyes, in-appropriate. This would be a very lengthy discussion so I dont get into it.

Your question appears to be logical one at its outlook but if one will get into the roots of the things, he/she can understand the problems associated with allowing the ACCAs the public practice in Pakistan.

The major issue for you is that you dont belong to the profession of accountancy. Medical profession has nothing to do with varying level of rules, regulations, local laws, diversified accounting practices, variant regulations of central banks of different countries, penal codes, economical structures, monetary and fiscal policies and other such practices. It is substantially same all over the world except for the new developments and technoligical advancements in advanced countries for which the developing countries normally fall short of.

Medical profession in its entirety is same as far as school of thought is concerned. You are a doctor and can undertsnad it far better than me. However, if you compare allopathic with homeopathic, you will understand why homeo specialists are not comparable to you people. It does not mean at all that homeo would have no relevance in the field of medicine. Of course they have, but they cannot be appointed MS of a teaching hospital you know. This may help out you to understand the issue.

The above comparison of homeo and allopathic school of thoughts however does not materially resembles the nature of difference in CAs and ACCAs in Pakistan or any other country. Basically the CA profession is always chartered by a specific country's government under specific law to produce the professionals who can understand the structure of its own legality and statutes. This is the prerogative of every country to charter what it deems fit for its ownself. ACCA is not a chartered association at least in Pakistan. This has never been endorsed by any law of Pakistan. ACCA in Pakistan has recently been established as a company having no profit motive under section 42 of the companies ordinance, 1984. This is still a company in Pakistan and not a chartered Institute. Any association having any world wide setup cannot by force ask any country to do what such association deems fit. Rather, it is to be decided by the country itself. There are so many confidentialities which cannot be shared with foreign associations. (This is a general sentence and should not be specifically interpretted.) Similar things happen when an economy levies tarif protection to its own products. This has to be done to encourage own economy. This is not comparable with medical profession at all.

CA is not only meant for producing the accounts of some entity. Rather, it is a very wide ranging profession in which one gets the grasp on so many legal facets of his own economy. Laws specifically relating to corporate issues and taxation matters are normally very much complex and cannot be completely understood by some one who has not passed through the whole phase of training, education and on hand practices of such issues. As a homeo doctor cannot be trusted for open heart surgery of a heart patient (as it will certainly lead to the death of patient), the accountant who do not have an on-hand training in specific financial, economical and social environment, basic and detailed and in depth knowledge of all the pros and cons specific to the situation, cannot be trusted for providing the solutions of some corporate matters, specially in statutory audits which have direct impact on whole of the economy. This does not degarde the level of knowledge and expertise of ACCAs as it is a reality that merely doing ACCA cannot make any body an expert of what is being happening in Pakistan's economy, regulations and environment. There is extreme of diversification even if ACCAs are allowed to opt for Pakistani laws and subjects. Accountancy profession at any country is a mafia. This is again not to disgrace anything. There is so much which one cannot be understood unless he is one of the insiders.

In Pakistan CAs (members of ICAP) are allowed to engage theirselves in public practice. This is by no means a threat for ACCAs or disgrace of ACCAs. This is law of Pakistan and, logically speaking, should not be challenged merely if ACCAs feel they are also qualified in accountancy profession. There are so many reasons for Pakistan for doing so. These cannot be discussed in one session. Of course every regulation has its basis before getting into promulgation. This is not to be messed up. ACCAs are given full respect for their studies and knowledge and international affiliation, in Pakistan. They are not totally banned from practising in Pakistan. They can open their consulatncy services, accountancy services, system implementation services, ERP and IT consultancies, internal audit specilized services and much more which is included in the profession. The only thing which will remain banned will be the Statutory Audits. This may also at some point of time in future be allowed to them with some restrictions and limitations as it has also been allowed to ACMAs with similar limitations. Yes, if some one will like their services, he will come to them leaving CA firms behind and vice versa. I already said that the example of homeo and allopathic does not 100% apply on ACCAs vers. CAs when compared.

There is something to understand and infact ACCAs are disallowed to be in public practice statutory audit) directly. But indirectly they are not banned. They can get into public practice by qualifying the CA final exams after getting exemption from its Intermediate modules. The Institute of Chartered Accountants of Pakistan (ICAP) provides exemption to ACCAs from four modules of its intermediate examinations. ACCAs can qualify finals and can also get into practice as ICAP members. Such exemption is a big privilage and cannot be ignored.

You know this is not only ACCA who is disallowed to be in public practice in Pakistan. CAs from England and Wales and CPAs from USA can even not engage theirselves in public practice unless they complete necessary qualification and other requirements to become a CA from ICAP. Of course requirements to be fullfilled are variant for each foreign qualification.

MBBS from Pakistan can get into FCPS exams after completing MBBS and house job. But even then MBBS from Pakistan has to fullfil variant level of requirements to do FRCS in UK or some specilization (e.g., Diplomate of American Board of Surgery) from USA. These may include passing through TOEFL, PLAB or getting some master degree from Pakistan in medicine etc. I am not sure about what are current requirements but when my brother went for FRCS to UK in 1992-93, he had done some thing like that. Therefore it is not a matter of criticism and tension. If there is some requirement to do some thing, this should be fullfilled irrespective of how much any country is advanced or poor. Every country's law is respectable and should not be disgraced.

Hope the things would be little bit clarified to you. This had been a lengthy response from me. How much you normally charge for allocating such amount of time to any patient? Just kidding.

{This post is only in response to the query posted by Mr. Mzharje and is not aimed at to disregard any body's capabilities.}

Best regards,

Kamran.


- Wandering Star - 08-12-2007

This is a slightly modified version of a post which I made earlier in regards to a query of similar nature.

ACCA will not get practicing status any time soon.

Why?

Disclaimer Please note I am not criticizing the ACCA profession in Pakistan. I am attempting to repeat some facts I have already explained in another post so you can collectively work to develop the profession.

There are simply not enough qualified ACCA's in Pakistan who can have a collective majority to even get considered for practice rights over here.

There is a far, far lower number of fully qualified members of ACCA residing in Pakistan compared to ICAP.

Take the current ACCA member count, by ' ACCA member' I mean FULLY qualified ACCA's,...according to this official ACCA document http//www.accaglobal.com/reputation/performance/ the number of ACCA members in ALL of South Asia is only 551 out of nearly 20000+ students and Affiliates, which is unfortunately, very low...and an even lower amount is admitted to membership annually compared to ICAP.

Deduct from that...

The amount of members who have NOT chosen the local law and tax variant examinations, which were only recently introduced.

The amount of members who have NOT chosen the advanced auditing and taxation exams. Most chose the financial management exam over advanced taxation.

The amount of members who have NOT trained in an audit practice.

Arrive at a ballpark figure. I'd say you'd be left with less than 10 ACCA members in Pakistan who satisfy hypothetical 'practice' requirements, assuming that ACCA is their standalone qualification.

Now, compare that with 3800+ ICAP members.

I would not like to dwell on the reasons for the low member count over and over again but anyway I'd summarize some of them...

1) 21 year olds who have simply passed the examinations start calling themselves 'ACCA Qualified' and end up damaging their profession when they really arent qualified. Then they start suffering a 'complex' that they have no value while being 'qualified' and instead go on trying to collect other degrees or go abroad for greener pastures. This, automatically dilutes the benefits of gaining membership. THe local ACCA body is doing nothing to help this. While ACCA publications boast about the numbers of students in Pakistan, they deliberately ignore mentioning growth in qualified members, since its nothing to boast about!

2) Teachers who have been selectively brainwashing students into gathering as many degrees in the minimum time possible. They have relegated ACCA into simply an interim platform to gain footing for supposedly 'higher' qualifications. In the UK, the case is completely opposite. The choice between CIMA, ACCA, and ICAEW is dictated by your future anticipations, employer needs and of course your personal requirements.

3) Abysmal industry awareness of the ACCA qualification. Its hilarious to see newspaper ads asking for fresh qualified ACA's or ACCA's "with 3.5 years experience", stipulating that the ACCA qualification has no training requirements. I wouldnt blame them however, since ACCA's flexibility allows people to clear the exams before they even start work, while in almost 90% of ICAP cases you have your articleship far in the past by the time you clear the exams.

Regarding the profession in the UK, currently ICAEW has been going somewhat downhill with only 0.3% growth last year, with the ICAS having the highest compounded growth and ACCA following close behind. Last year only about 800 individuals sat the ICAEW final examinations with an 80% pass rate compared to about 55% for ACCA and 45% for CIMA. People are now choosing ACCA over ICAEW because of its more flexible training requirements. In Pakistan these same "flexible" training requirements are the reason ACCA is shunned by people who have gone through ICAP's articleship scheme, especially those who went through the '5 years after BCOM programme' and never managed to qualify. More in the UK who want to commit to an articles based training program are now trying to go for ICAS over ICAEW, because of the notions/perceptions of higher prestige and discipline ICAS sometimes enjoys over the ICAEW.

I will recall an amusing conversation I had once with an England & Wales FCA. I asked about the numbers of ACCA and ICAEW trainees in his past firm. The conversation later moved to trainees from Pakistan. He remarked "Only Pakistani trainees are obsessed about doing ICAEW after ACCA. They appear complexed/confused and want to gather as many qualifications as possible and their sole focus is on remuneration, perhaps its because of impressions in the country, since ICAEW is not as accessible in Pakistan compared to ACCA. We dont complain however. Having already gained ACCA Affiliate status we get a trainee who is far more competent than an ordinary graduate! Infact, I have seen some of your ICAP ACA's who are willing to start afresh as entry level trainee just to secure the ICAEW qualification after ICAEW allowed more exemptions for ICAP"

Work hard for your profession. Prove your worth with elegance and dignity. Trust me on this. Theres nothing stopping you if you work hard.


- mazharje - 08-12-2007

O sorry for using third class country term I should have used term third world country ( located in third Dunya another rd planet then you would be an alien to the first world, I think you will mind it as well.What are pakistanies it can be seen from the attitude of Icap,they were used to sajda ACCA and ICAEW but now they dont SAJDA ACCA because it has arrived in PAkistan AND STILL icaew IS BEING sajda able qualification for President of ICAp ,when It will come to PAKISTAN ot will lose that wstatus too.


- Muhammad Amir - 08-13-2007

<blockquote id="quote"><font size="1" face="Verdana, Tahoma, Arial" id="quote">quote<hr height="1" noshade id="quote">why they are not allowed to do so in such a third class country like pakistan<hr height="1" noshade id="quote"></font id="quote"></blockquote id="quote">

What Do you want to say??????

I don't know why people like you forgot your past If Pakistan is a Third World Country then you of course are the Third CLASS citizens of this "SO CALLED THIRD" Class Country....

I will recommand you to read a book named as "GHAZI" of "ABOU SHUJA ABOU WAQAR" published by "UMMAT" Publications...This is true story of a Secret Agent of Pakistani Intelligence Agency he has given Third Degree Torture by "HINDU BANIA(CHANKIA KAY POUJAREE)" just because he is "A Muslim" and "A Pakistani"...

I think you also forgot how 600,000 people were killed by this "________HINDU QUOM" in 47...

Of course this is completely of the topic but I regret your thinking for our Mother Land Pakistan...

Amir


- Muhammad Amir - 08-13-2007

Dear Wandering Star By facts you are 100% right and I appreciate your clarifications of some of the critical aspects....


- kamranACA - 08-13-2007

Dear Wandering Star,

It was a concrete facts based post. Keep it up.

Best regards,

Kamran.


- Schuaeb - 08-14-2007

Dear Wandering Star,

I will also like to appreciate your post as done by some other members. Definitely it was based on some concrete facts. However, I found your post a little ambiguous, perhaps due to my own inability to grasp things. I mean it didn't clearly reflect that what is to be concluded from your lines.

I clarify my point of view that at one point it seemed to me that you are justifying the case of ACCAs not being allowed statutory audit in Pakistan. However, on the whole your post sounds contrary to this view (especially your previous post, and the one you referred here). And then you kept of insisting that pursuit of multi qualifications is futile and the mind of a Pakistani student obsessed with the craze to gain maximum qualifications in minimum time is harmful. Another point you mentioned that in case of Pakistani student the main motivation factor is remuneration. What else is supposed to be?

Our posts can be more fruitful if we keep them concise and do bear in mind at all the time that what actually we are trying to derive from our lines.

However, my post never means to criticize the informative posts from you. Your posts like this one are often very informative and based on objective facts. So your contributions are really handy for the members like me

Regards
Shoaib



- Wandering Star - 08-14-2007

Hello,

I am sorry if my rambling did not appear focused since I try to keep my discussion more open to debate by looking at both sides of the situation. I will take more care to be specific in the future. I have slightly edited the original post to make some points a bit clearer and removed the reference to the other post which although related, has a different topic focus.

In a nutshell, currently, ACCA is still in infancy in Pakistan and barely a decade old. Although they have that 'global' facade, it is still very much a UK body, with majority of council decisions originating from the UK.

The profession is very different in the UK as compared to Pakistan, and is tailored to meet the demands of a highly documented economy. According to FRC/ Professional Oversight Board statistics, as of 2005, the six chartered bodies constituted nearly 265,000 members in the UK. The break up as of 2005 is as follows

ACCA 59,059
CIMA 53,697
CIPFA 13,317
ICAEW 111,114
ICAI 13,523
ICAS 14,255

(Out of these six, ACCA, ICAEW, ICAI and ICAS are RQB’s and I am not fully informed of the latest membership counts)

Note I think I was wrong about the growth rates of ICAS I quoted earlier (I apologize if I was mistaken since I need to update myself on latest statistics).

ICAS has apparently recorded the highest student growth, but highest membership growth was recorded by ACCA. ICAS student growth figures are slightly skewed by the fact that some major firms like E&Y and PKF are dropping ICAEW in favor of ICAS.

Anyway, the point of that is; their economy is able to afford so many accountants.

The case is entirely different in Pakistan. People complain about ICAP ‘reigning supreme’ and sidelining ACCA in Pakistan, but some are of the opinion that this mutual ‘de-recognition’ has helped both the professions. Ever since case by case exemptions were cut down by ICAP, a lot of ACCA’s have struggled and developed their profession. I am personally of the opinion that even PPT shouldn’t be allowed exempt to ACCA students. Then they will focus on gaining a higher professional standing and struggle even harder in the workplace. (The CA-Inter equating may be competitively inclined, since there is a substantial difference in the technicalities examined in Module C-D and ACCA’s 3rd Level). It’s a complicated paradox however and is open to more debate, and those of you who have dual qualifications may argue against it and maybe your argument may hold more weight than mine, since I myself have neither (yet)!

The profession in Pakistan has also changed. ICAP has become a lot more modernized, and the last AGM also brought up the issue of disclosing past solutions to students. If you look at recent ICAP papers, the examination scheme is becoming more refined and being brought to international standards with more focus on conceptual application and current issues rather than just examining technical proficiency. You may see the case study based approach like that of ACCA’s exams appearing more frequently in future ICAP examinations. The issue of ICAP’s examinations not being up to IFAC’s education standards was mentioned in the World Banks Report on the Observance of Standards and Codes (ROSC) (2005)
http//www.worldbank.org/ifa/rosc_aa_pak.pdf (Note 44)
(The report also mentions the need for ICMAP to be the premier management accounting body in the country, you may want to read through all of it since it is an interesting piece of work)

Right now, in Pakistan, the number of ACA’s qualifying each bi-annual final exam attempt is roughly the same as ACCA students graduating as ‘Affiliates’ at each attempt, however, as we are all aware, nearly 95% of these ICAP pass-outs instantly gain membership, while the case is exactly the opposite with ACCA students. Please note, in the UK, you need to satisfy additional requirements usually involving experience credits set by your relevant institute before you are given practice licenses. These requirements vary from institute to institute.

Regarding my comments on students in Pakistan focused on remuneration, sadly, I have seen coaching centers actually going as far as advertising in the print media ‘prospective starting packages’ after you do XYZ professional qualification from them. I am at a loss of words to explain this further, but why do some ACCA’s go for audit training while some go for higher paying contract based training within the industry? There is a portion of ACCA part qualified students who due to lack of career guidance, end up in accounts jobs in the industry because they pay marginally better than audit firms. This severely limits professional scope and learning potential. Of course if you are in a financial/consulting services firm handling accounts of clients, then of course the opportunity to learn and grow is far better and highly recommended. That’s why some recommend training for ACCA in a consulting or financial services firm if you don’t want to go with the audit training route. It pays better too!

Anyway, the whole point is, if you want practicing rights; go for ICAP, right from the very start. Using ACCA simply as a footing to gain another similar qualification defeats the purpose of doing ACCA in first place, unless of course you are very young and have lots of study years left. Qualification should always be expanded and diversified with focus (MBA, Asset Management, IT Consulting etc), rather than constricted. However, care should be taken not to ‘over-diversify’ and become a double minded and confused professional.

I would like to elucidate on ACCA’s beginnings in the UK. In the early years of the last century, when ICAEW (est. ~1880) was still growing and ICAS (est. 1854) had slightly matured, the accountancy profession was deeply rooted in aristocracy and archaic concepts. Apprentices were sometimes charged for training and this was the fee an individual paid for getting trained under the royal charter. There was also the issue of getting the appropriate ‘reference’. This automatically limited people from humbler backgrounds from obtaining training and limited the scope of chartered accountancy to those who could afford it. Out of this, a body, which would later become the ACCA, was established in 1904, to allow more ‘open’ access to the profession.

Times changed and now in the UK, the orthodox concept of professional accountancy is moving in a more modernized structure, with field specialization being the chief focus rather than overall exposure. Institutes are now appreciated in the financial press and media for having a younger member profile and a higher proportion of female membership rather than ancient concepts of ‘grumpy old men’. All six bodies in the UK are known as ‘chartered accountancy’ bodies, and even though institutes have different designations for their members, the exclusive use of the ‘CA’ (rather than ACA or FCA) designation in the UK remains with ICAS alone. Entry routes are more or less similar (ACCA being more relaxed since it actively pursues its training providers to give due consideration to all applicants), however all institutes require you to be a graduate in order to qualify as a member. ICAEW still has deep penetration in all tiers of the profession and industry, since it has more members than any other body within the UK and nearly twice as many as ACCA.

Likewise, if ACCA wants to make inroads towards being considered for practicing privileges in Pakistan following points should be considered

1) ACCA students should be made aware of the exam papers, stream variants and relevant experience they require. Like I said earlier, given ACCA’s options and ‘flexibility’, only a handful number of ACCA members satisfy such hypothetical requirements.

2) Practice rights are more of a ‘stamp’ of privilege and ‘market value’ rather than an intrinsically lucrative career. Likewise, ACCA does not have a fully developed collection of members in Pakistan as of yet.

3) ACCA is still in infancy in Pakistan and needs more time to grow. As mentioned in an earlier post, most employers have no knowledge about the qualification.

4) The local representative body of ACCA should more actively guide students into professional growth and should conduct compulsory seminars for career counseling. Sadly, the only guidance they get is from coaching centers and hearsay from classmates.

5) ACCA students should themselves be more focused on developing their profession within the country.


I will refrain from passing an absolute opinion in the matter of topic, since I can be wrong. However, one thing I will definitely reaffirm; a professional body is always recognized by the excellence of its members and how well they represent it, rather than the other way around.