Pact to address skill set gaps in accounting and finance inked

Prof Lam and Protherough exchanging documents at the signing.

THE University of Reading Malaysia (UoRM) has signed a Memorandum of Agreement (MoA) with the Institute of Chartered Accountants In England and Wales (ICAEW) to address key hiring trends and skill set gaps that employers have identified as critical in the near future.

The Henley – ICAEW Programme (HIP) supports fundamental changes in the accounting landscape.

The MOA was signed by UoRM provost and chief executive officer Prof Wing Lam and ICAEW executive director, Learning and Professional Development Mark Protherough.

It was witnessed by Henley Business School Malaysia head Prof Teck Y. Eng and ICAEW regional director, South-East Asia Mark Billington, during a ceremony held at the UoRM campus in EduCity, Iskandar Puteri, Johor.

Based on feedback from employers, three key qualities that have been identified as desirable in accountants are strong IT skills, good analytical skills and astute commercial insight.

As technology plays an ever-increasing role in accounting and finance, employers have expressed a need to hire professionals with a good understanding of data and modelling skills, as well as the ability to actively drive revenue through value added initiatives for their organisations.

The HIP is aimed at producing professionals with an honours degree-level education in accounting and finance, as well as the ICAEW Business and Finance Professional (ICAEW BFP) designation.

The ICAEW BFP is an international recognition of technical competency, ethical awareness and commitment to ongoing professional development. HIP professionals are expected to join the workforce in 2022.

Prof Eng said that the Henley Business School’s Bachelor of Science in Accounting and Finance programme is responsive to changes and demands in the industry.

“Our collaboration reflects our commitment to high standards of education and relevance of our programme. The HIP will enhance our student experience and their employability by closing the gap between theory and the real world of actual practice,” he added.

Prof Lam said in his speech that it is UoRM’s responsibility to produce high calibre, professional, future proofed graduates equipped with good ethics to feed to the industry.

“These components would make them stand out,” he said.

ICAEW head of Malaysia Loh Wei Yuen said it works closely with employers to enable practical approaches that meet the needs of the industry.

“Strategic initiatives such as HIP are one of the many ways we share knowledge, insight and values to develop the accounting profession and ensure trust in business. We believe that accountancy is a force for positive economic change and we support our professionals throughout their career so they can make a difference,” she said.

HIP is an innovative four-year full-time programme that includes compulsory completion of ICAEW’s Ethics Learning Programme. Graduates from this programme will also be on track to attain the ICAEW chartered accountant qualification.

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