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In today's fast-moving business world, accountants must continually keep up to date with the latest developments affecting their roles and their clients' businesses.
But with ever changing regulations, tax laws, accounting standards and trends, this is no easy feat. What may suit one person may not work for another and with so many learning options available, making a choice can be daunting.
After doing her homework, Jing Li Yim CPA (Aust.), deputy head of data at EDHECInfra, opted for the CPA Program, which is offered by CPA Australia, one of the world’s largest professional accounting bodies with more than 164,000 members working in 150 different countries and regions.
"Having studied accounting for my undergraduate studies and having started out my career in audit, it was a natural consideration to pursue a professional accounting qualification," says Yim.
"I feel that in the business field, it is increasingly necessary to engage in postgraduate studies and continuous learning."
One of the attractions of the CPA Program is the importance it places on balancing work, life and study. It offers the flexibility to study online or face to face, part time or full time, and at your own pace, anytime, anywhere in the world and with the level of support you personally need.
Yim particularly liked the choice of electives offered in addition to the core modules. "This allows candidates to customise the program to their own requirements and select subjects which are more relevant to the industry they are in or which would give them the technical background to explore and transition to a new field," she says.
After majoring in accounting at an Australian university in Singapore, Wanya Huang ASA also signed up for the CPA Program.
"I felt that a bachelor's degree wasn't enough and that the CPA Program was another way for me to equip myself well," she says.
"CPAs are in high demand in many companies and accounting firms such as the Big Four. The CPA Program teaches us more than basic accounting theory; it teaches practical topics such as resolving tax issues, processing auditing and being a good leader."
Huang says she chose to study the CPA Program Full Time in Singapore because it's taught face to face by a lecturer so students can get the teacher's valuable guidance and more help than self-study. She also benefitted from the group discussions. Plus, she could take the three exams in half a year. "I prefer committing to one thing at a time," she says.
Huang particularly liked the program’s online learning resources as they allowed her to think through possible questions before the actual exam.
Yim adds that these helped to reinforce concepts from the study guide. "The content was not excessive. It helped to complement the study guide rather than serving as additional independent study material," she says.
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Kam Weng Chan ASA, an assistant accountant at Omnicom Public Relations Group, suggests his favourite online resource was the topic finder. "It's almost as if a summary was done for me and allowed me to easily locate the readings during the exam if needed," he says.
He opted for the CPA Program because he found the content more appealing compared to other professional programs.
Overall, Yim who achieved six high distinctions in her exam, says the CPA Program is holistic and focused on developing the individual as a professional business leader. "It gave me exposure to topics which are currently highly relevant, such as environmental, social and corporate governance, and also topics which are not normally covered in undergraduate studies, like leadership and management. The main benefit for me in the long run is the continuing professional education that will allow me to keep up to date with industry trends."
Chan believes completing the CPA Program will provide him with more career opportunities.
"I believe my opinion will also be more valued and respected given the professional credibility achieved by being a CPA," he says.
"The CPA Program has equipped me with soft skills apart from the technical skills required from our daily work. The last module, Global Strategy and Leadership, made us think beyond just numbers as we are currently living in a world where numbers are no longer the only factor. Environmental and social factors could also affect our decisions these days."
Chan adds that recruiters react positively when they find out he's pursuing the qualification. "I believe it shows the commitment and dedication towards my career which has actually landed me into my current job from an intern to a permanent staff member."
To find out more about the program, visit www.cpaaustralia.com.au/become-a-cpa