The working landscape in recent years is becoming more competitive than ever before. Today, we need more than just an undergraduate degree if we intend to distinguish ourselves from our peers when applying for high-quality jobs. Although there are many ways for us to enhance our employability, one of the best ways to get ahead as a young professional is to obtain a global qualification. Enter the ICAEW CFAB programme.
We recently spoke to Mr. Chang Weng Hoe, a chartered accountant who pursued the ICAEW ACA right after school. This enabled him to complete the prestigious ICAEW ACA qualification at a young age, and subsequently obtained his audit license and became an audit partner at the age of 26 years old. He delves into how the ICAEW ACA programme prepared him to become a well-rounded individual, while shaping him to become a resilient and analytical individual.
1. Why did you decide to become a chartered accountant and specifically pursue the ICAEW ACA?
I have always had an interest in accounting since high school, mainly due to the influence from my family who are mostly chartered accountants. In turn, it was not a difficult decision for me to pursue a career that is related to accounting and finance. Right after completing my high school, I did some research and contemplated on which was the most suitable pathway for me to obtain my chartered accountancy. Ultimately, I decided to pursue the ICAEW ACA programme as it is the most prestigious and globally-recognised professional qualification across the globe.
2. You embarked into the ICAEW ACA programme immediately after high school – what are your views on the importance of acquiring a professional qualification compared to pursuing the traditional pathway and acquire a degree?
In today’s competitive environment, having a professional qualification at a young age can open doors to many great opportunities at an earlier stage in our career. If I had gone through the traditional education pathway of acquiring a degree, I would likely only complete my professional qualification after graduating.
As such, pursuing the ICAEW ACA greatly accelerated my career progression and benefited me, as I was able to obtain my audit license at 26 years old, which is far earlier than most of my peers.
3. Where did you acquire your practical experience (training agreement) and how have this experience helped in the final stage of the ICAEW ACA programme?
As part of my ICAEW ACA training agreement, I worked at Folks DFK & Co for a total of 3 years. Overall, the integrated study-work structure of the ICAEW ACA meant that what I learn in the classroom was directly relevant to the work at the firm, and vice-versa. As I could directly put theory into action, I was able to fully understand my classroom studies and successfully completed the ICAEW Case Study using the practical knowledge gained throughout the training agreement.
For me, this is a well-rounded training that makes ICAEW Chartered Accountants stand out from other qualifications.
4. Please elaborate the nature of your work currently as an audit partner and how does the qualification help you in the work you do?
Having obtained my audit license from the Accountant General of Malaysia in 2016, I am currently an audit partner in my own firm at Lim, Cheh & Chang Chartered Accountants. My day-to-day responsibility involves managing my team, provide reasonable assurance on financial statements, and sign off financial reports of the accounts of companies.
The ACA qualification has given me the knowledge and tools I need to run my business and ensure that the quality of work that we deliver is maintained at a high standard. I believe that the ICAEW ACA is more than just a chartered accountancy qualification, as it also equipped me with practical business and financial knowledge that are highly relevant to today’s economy.
5. In a sentence, what would you say will be the greatest benefit of having the ICAEW ACA qualification?
Among the many benefits of being an ICAEW ACA, I particularly enjoy being a part of the ICAEW global network, which provides great opportunities to build professional connections and gain knowledge from experience members, some of whom are already at the pinnacle of their careers.
Ready to Embark on an Exciting Global Career Like Weng Hoe’s? Learn about the ICAEW ACA and Full Scholarships Available!
If you’re considering kick-starting your own dynamic career journey like Weng Hoe’s then learn more about the ICAEW ACA to fast-track your professional career aspirations. You can contact ICAEW Malaysia via:
- Email: Andrew.Yew@icaew.com
- Phone:+603 2171 6022
- Website: https://mailchi.mp/71527715ebcf/icaewmalaysia2019
It’s worth noting that you don’t need an accounting background to study the ICAEW ACA. And for school leavers, you can start the programme as soon as you complete the SPM or O-Levels examinations.