KUALA LUMPUR: More accountants are needed for Malaysia to achieve Vision 2020 and be known as a high-income nation, said Malaysian Institute of Accountants (MIA) president Johan Idris.
“For a country to have a mature capital market, it needs accountants because we provide confidence and assurance.
“We have a role to play to ensure that the capital markets are robust and forward-looking,” he told StarBiz in an interview.
To-date, the statutory body has just under 30,000 registered members. This is in comparison to Singapore, which has a similar number of members registered for a population of roughly five million.
“Australia, with a population of about 28 million, has about 100,000 members,” he said.
He added that talent retention within the accounting industry was of utmost importance, due to the global nature of the profession.
“The accounting profession is very mobile. There is an urgent need to have a review of the low level of audit fees in Malaysia. Our audit fees are one of the lowest in the region,” he said.
Low audit fees would not attract good talent, nor would it help retain talent in the country, Johan pointed out. Furthermore, he said a consolidation of universities offering accountancy programmes could help improve the accounting profession.
“I think there are too many universities offering too many accounting courses. The Government needs to look at consolidating some of these universities to only a few universities in Malaysia. This is so that we can be more focused in terms of providing an accounting education,” he said.
He added that the quality of education was important because it equated to the future supply chain of accountants in Malaysia. Accounting firms are constantly on the lookout to hire competent accounting graduates.
“Suitable candidates are hard to find. MIA can talk to the minister responsible for this, in terms of how we want to bring the accounting profession to the next level,” he said.
Johan highlighted that more importance should be placed on improving the level of competency in the English language.
“Accounting is about communicating financial statements and what you have done to the public at large.
“If you aren’t able to communicate well and if your supply of graduates doesn’t have a strong command of the language, then you would not be as strong as what you ought to be,” he said.
He added that while Bahasa Malaysia unified the country, English was still the language of commerce.