AN ACCOUNTANT doesn’t have to be a good mathematician.
Computing, after all, is easily done using a calculator or a computer programme. There’s no need for algebra or trigonometry in accounting.
“It’s only about the digits 0 to nineMore important is the ability to be creative with numbers. Having the flair for number is what matters,” said former Malaysian Institute of Accountants former president Abdul Rahim Abdul Hamid who was one of the speakers at the recent Career Counsellors Workshop.
During his talk, he told career counsellors that they could identify students with a knack for accounting even during their secondary school years, or even younger.
“Normally when you ask students what the sum of one to 10 is, they would add up the numbers one by one. An accountant would look at it as five sets of 11 instead,” he said.
“There is a misperception that one has to be good at Mathematics to be an accountant.”
He also recommended that teachers organise events such as Canteen Day and see which students take up the duties of handling the finances. He suggested that schools could also have an Accounting Club that could provide “accountants” for these events.
“The Government said that we will need 60,000 accountants by the year 2020. There are now 30,000 accountants. The challenge is to double the figure in six years,” said Abdul Rahim.
“Otherwise, as the country develops, we’re going to be very short of accountants. Every business needs one,” he said.
Besides Abdul Rahim, there were two other main speakers at the workshop — Board of Engineers Malaysia executive director Ashari Mohd Yakub and Universiti Teknologi Petronas Petroleum Engineering head Assoc Prof Dr Ismail Saaid.
Ashari’s talk was injected with humour as he talked about the engineering career.
Counsellors who were present at the workshop asked if vocational schools were a good option and if engineering was an appropriate field for female students.
To the former, Ashari said that the world was changing and there were now many other pathways.
Many of the counsellors who were from government schools shared that they had a wide range of duties that required them to counsel individual students, hold regular counselling sessions and even organise various programmes to help students determine their career options.
The workshop was organised by The Star and Afterschool.my, a web portal for secondary school students who are planning to pursue higher education in Malaysia.
It was sponsored by Brickfields Asia College (BAC) and the SEGi University Group, both of which had their respective speakers on hand to provide the neccesary tips and guidance.
SEGi College Kuala Lumpur International Marketing Department assistant manager T. Nesh Thamboo said that it was important for counsellors to understand their students before providing them with the appropriate advice and guidance.
While it was necessary to offer them career tips, counsellors, he said must be mindful of a student’s academic capabilities and emotional needs. BAC chairman Raja Singham Sukumara Singham said that the current job market required people from varied backgrounds and professions.
“There has to be a blend ... there is no need for just doctors or lawyers, we also need bus drivers who must be properly trained.
“If you want to be a waiter, then be the best one,” he said, emphasising that one should be focused and strive to be a star in their chosen fields.