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question for Mr KAMRAN ACA
08-14-2007, 08:01 AM
Post: #9

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// (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.
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Messages In This Thread
question for Mr KAMRAN ACA - mazharje - 08-10-2007, 07:09 PM
[] - kamranACA - 08-11-2007, 06:07 PM
[] - Wandering Star - 08-12-2007, 04:12 PM
[] - mazharje - 08-12-2007, 04:38 PM
[] - Muhammad Amir - 08-13-2007, 03:25 AM
[] - Muhammad Amir - 08-13-2007, 03:32 AM
[] - kamranACA - 08-13-2007, 05:21 PM
[] - Schuaeb - 08-14-2007, 12:13 AM
[] - Wandering Star - 08-14-2007 08:01 AM

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