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CPA Australia’s CPA Program prepares professionals for bigger roles in the future economy

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Patrick Kwok FCPA (Aust) says that today's accountant needs to be able to provide forecasts and sound business advice for effective decision making and strategic management in this digital era.

From cashless payments to reusable cups, companies these days are coming up with new services and products to keep up with a rapidly changing business climate. How do business and finance executives stay up-to-date with the latest technologies and consumer trends? One way is through education.

For Mr Patrick Kwok, the CPA Program offered by CPA Australia is a structured programme to pick up core accounting skills and technical knowledge as well as management and leadership skills that support his career progression and help him stay relevant in the constantly evolving digital era.

He took up the part-time course through distance learning while he was an assistant accountant with McDonald’s Hong Kong. Since completing the programme in 2001, he has worked his way up the career ladder and is currently the General Manager of Starbucks Singapore.

“Through the CPA Program, I am able to develop insights into business operations and envisage the overall direction of the organisations’ future developments,” says Mr Kwok. “This is the prerequisite for strategic management and a business leader.”

Explaining how the course opened doors for him, Mr Kwok says: “Accounting and finance are the languages of business. CPA Australia is the great business language translator for decision makers and business leaders.

“Many CPAs have contributed beyond their traditional accounting and auditing functions. You gain exposure to different industries, and CPA Australia’s professional insights enable you to diversify into value-added functions like consultants, analysts, business and strategic leaders.”

Mr Kwok feels that the strength of the CPA Program lies in making use of contemporary and internationally relevant material to provide students with an understanding of dynamic issues facing today’s organisations.

Its core subjects such as Financial Reporting, Ethics & Governance, Strategic Management Accounting and Global Strategy & Leadership are tailor-made to groom business advisors and leaders with regional and global perspectives, especially in the wake of the Fourth Industrial Revolution.

In the advent of Industry 4.0, more is expected of professionals across different industries. For instance, traditional job roles in the finance and accounting professions are shifting away from technical accounting, number crunching and compliance to higher-level business consulting capabilities.

“In this digital era, the accountant should know to how to gather internal and external data and information for business analysis (business, industry and economical and social data), then create reports, provide forecasts and business insights for decision making and strategic management,” explains Mr Kwok.

New skills involving the understanding of new technology such as artificial intelligence (AI), machine learning, digital finance and e-commerce are becoming increasingly important, he adds.

In the Future Work Skills 2020 report released by the Institute for the Future, “multi-disciplinarity” and “novel and adaptive thinking” skills were identified as skills important to the future workforce.

The course materials in the CPA Program are not only diverse, contemporary and internationally relevant, but also allow students to acquire skills and insights pivotal in developing regional and global perspectives.

An international career

Another graduate of the CPA Program is Mr Tomas Brandeis, Senior Director, Area Controller & Finance Pre-Openings Asia Pacific with Hilton.

Mr Brandeis feels that the structure of the CPA Program is well designed to cater for recent graduates as well as for industry professionals who are committed to make a significant advancement in their careers.

Tomas Brandeis, Senior Director, Area Controller & Finance Pre-Openings Asia Pacific with Hilton, feels that the CPA Program has enhanced his career and enabled him to take on roles and assignments across the world. PHOTO: TOMAS BRANDEIS

“Completing the CPA Program has given me a paramount kick and foundation to significantly enhance my career and progress into multi-unit and regional level assignments in Australia, New Zealand and Singapore,” says Mr Brandeis. “I believe that the CPA is the most recognised and valuable accounting certification in Asia Pacific.” 

Internationally recognised by employers worldwide, the CPA designation can take members across the globe, including the major economic hubs of Hong Kong, Shanghai, Singapore, Sydney, London and New York.

Forward-thinking course structure

The CPA Program offers a rigorous and integrating education cum experience. Rather than simply providing a technical focus, the CPA Program equips candidates with an understanding of the dynamic issues facing organisations in the global marketplace.

The CPA Program offered by CPA Australia is catered for working professionals and different learning styles. It provides flexible study options of distance learning or full-time study in Singapore.

Candidates can also opt for online or face-to-face tuition with Registered Tuition Providers to complement the distance learning study option and prepare for CPA Program exams.

In January this year, CPA Australia introduced a new full-time CPA Program through Kaplan Learning Institute; candidates can opt to complete it in just two semesters. Subject matter experts provide guidance through exercises, discussions and feedback in a structured classroom environment.

In addition, you can connect and network with professionals from a range of leading accounting bodies all over the world.

Find out what the CPA Program can do for your career. Visit to register for an information session.

This article is sponsored by CPA Australia.

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