Top 10 Accounting & Audit Firms in Malaysia
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Accounting, also called “the language of business”, is the means by which financial information about businesses is relayed to various parties. Accounting graduates in Malaysia should aim to secure jobs in the top accounting & audit firms for a successful career.
According to the Robert Walters Salary report 2018, salary growth for accounting professionals in Malaysia varied in 2017. Professionals with unique skill sets and those who were pursued by multiple organisations could negotiate decent increments of more than 20%. In Kuala Lumpur (KL), accounting and finance CFOs can expect to earn an annual salary of RM420k – RM720k. Meanwhile, finance directors can expect an annual salary of RM300k – RM456k (for MNCs), and RM240k – RM300K (for SMEs).
In order to be successful, graduates should also possess leadership skills, soft skills, communication skills and a strong command of the English Language. A top university in accounting & finance in Malaysia would be able to equip you with the academic knowledge as well as the skills necessary. Accounting & Finance is a career with high salary and top job in demand in Malaysia.
Accounting firms have a vital role to play in this aspect and they do provide the essential services that businesses will require. In this issue, the Top 10 of Malaysia takes a look at the nation’s top 10 accounting firms, listed in no particular order.
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Top 10 Accounting & Audit Firms in Malaysia
Accounting & Audit firms in Malaysia provide a wide range of accounting, tax, consulting, auditing, financial advisory and corporate services to their clients.
Deloitte, PwC, EY, KPMG and BDO are the top five global firms by revenue. Other top accounting firms in Malaysia not listed are PKF Malaysia (PKF International), Mazars, Nexia SSY (Nexia International), Moore Stephens Malaysia (Moore Stephens International), HLB International, Kreston, John & Gan, UHY International, Russell Bedford Malaysia (Russel Bedford International) and IECnet (Lee & Lee).
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The list of Top 10 accounting & audit firms in Malaysia are:
1. Deloitte Malaysia
Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu Limited, more commonly known as Deloitte. With over 150 years of experience, It is one of the top four audit firms in Malaysia. As the second largest professional services network in the work, Deloitte provides audit, tax, consulting, enterprise risk and financial advisory services. The firm employs some 264,000 employees that are spread across 150 countries.
In Malaysia, the services are provided by Deloitte and other related entities in Malaysia (“Deloitte in Malaysia”), which are affiliates of Deloitte Southeast Asia Ltd. Deloitte Southeast Asia Ltd is a member firm of Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu Limited. Deloitte Southeast Asia was established to cater to the demands of the increasingly intro-regional and fast growing companies and enterprises.
2018 is a special year for Deloitte Malaysia as they celebrate the 50th anniversary of their founding – half a century of collective efforts, achievements, excellence and many successes along the way.
2. PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC Malaysia)
PwC or PricewaterhouseCoopers as it was previously known is the world’s largest audit and accountancy firm and one of the Big Four auditors. The firm is the result of the mergers of Price, Waterhouse, Coopers and Lybrand. It is a Multinational corporation that has offices in more than a hundred countries, including Malaysia.
Headquartered in London, PwC spans over 771 cities in 158 countries including Malaysia and boasts a strong body of more than 236,000 people committed to delivering quality in assurance, advisory and tax services,. PwC began its operations in Malaysia (then Malaya) as early as 1900 and since then it has been supporting large MNCs, public sector entities and Malaysian companies by delivering solutions to them through its assurance, auditing, taxation and consultancy services.
Similarly in Malaysia, PwC employs more than 2,500 people in six locations (i.e. Kuala Lumpur, Pulau Pinang, Ipoh, Melaka, Johor Bahru and Labuan) who are dedicated to solving the complex problems businesses are facing in today’s changing market place.
3. Ernst & Young (EY) Malaysia
The fourth accounting firm to make the Big Four is Ernst & Young and was founded in the 19th century. Its headquarters is now located in London and has 695 member firms in more than 140 countries across the world employing 231,000 people. The services it provides include assurance, advisory, tax and transaction advisory services.
Arthur Young was born in Glasgow, Scotland. He graduated in law, but became interested in banking and investment. In 1890, he moved to the US to pursue his career in accounting. In 1906, he formed an accounting firm, Arthur Young & Company, with his brother Stanley.
Alwin C Ernst was born in Cleveland, USA. After leaving school he worked as a bookkeeper. Then, in 1903, he and his brother Theodore started Ernst & Ernst, a small public accounting firm.
Both Arthur Young and AC Ernst were innovators and appreciated the importance of quality in their work. Ernst pioneered the idea that accounting information could be used to make business decisions and make a difference to clients’ organizations. He inspired his people to deliver better service to clients. Young also positioned himself as a business advisor as much as an accountant.
Both men understood the importance of their people. In 1920, Ernst & Ernst’s operating philosophy stated: “The success of Ernst & Ernst depends wholly upon the character, ability and industry of the men and women who make up the organization.” Young supported the development of professionals. In the 1920s he originated a staff school and, in the 1930s, the firm was the first to recruit from university campuses.
Both firms were also quick to enter the global marketplace. As early as 1924, they allied with prominent British firms: Young with Broads Paterson & Co and Ernst with Whinney Smith & Whinney. These alliances were the first of many for both firms, which opened offices around the world to service their international clients.
AC Ernst and Arthur Young never met in life, but died within days of each other in 1948. However their philosophies lived on and, in 1989, were brought together when the firms they started combined to create Ernst & Young. The new organization quickly positioned itself on the leading edge of rapid globalization, new business technologies and continuous business change.
4. KPMG Malaysia
One of the Big Four auditors, KPMG’s global headquarters is situated in the Netherlands. The KPMG network was formed in 1987 when Peat Marwick International and Klynveld Main Goerdeler merged along with their respective member firms.
The audit firm employs some 174,000 people in its member firms scattered across 155 countries. The Malaysian arm of the KPMG network of firms is KPMG DesaMegat& Co.
KPMG first established a presence in Malaysia in 1928 and has grown to be a part of the global success of KPMG’s international network of member firms. With a nationwide team comprising over 2,000 staff across 8 offices, they provide professional services in Audit, Tax and Advisory across a wide range of industries, government and not-for-profit sectors.
5. BDO Malaysia
The fifth largest accountancy network in the world, BDO International was founded in 1963.
Five accounting firms from Canada, Germany, Netherlands, UK and the USA came together in 1963 to form the Binder Seidman International Group, which became the foundation for the current day BDO Global. Ten years on, in 1973, the British, Dutch and German member firms adopted the common name Binder Dijker & Otte Co – the acronym of the firm’s name gave life to the BDO of today.
Celebrating its 50th year in 2013, BDO’s global network is now in 162 countries and territories, with more than 74,000 people working out 1,500 offices generating a worldwide fee income of US$8.1 billion.
BDO Malaysia’s legacy is closely intertwined with our global history. Established in 1964, with a staff force of 6 in Seremban, Negeri Sembilan; BDO Malaysia now service our clients with a well-qualified and experienced team of individuals from our offices in Kuala Lumpur, Penang and Johor Bahru in Malaysia as well as through our regional operations in Brunei, Cambodia, Lao PDR, Myanmar and Vietnam.
6. Grant Thornton Malaysia
Grant Thornton Malaysia is a member firm of Grant Thornton International Ltd (GTIL). We have progressed expeditiously in every aspect ever since our establishment in 1974. Our firm provides assurance, tax, public listing, corporate finance, restructuring and other specialist services to public listed and private companies. With offices in Kuala Lumpur, Penang, Johor Bahru, Kuantan and Cambodia, and over 700 people, we have invaluable local expertise support by global reach.
Grant Thornton is one of the world’s leading organizations of independent assurance, tax and advisory firms. These firms help dynamic organisations unlock their potential for growth by providing meaningful, forward looking advice. Proactive teams, led by approachable partners in these firms, use insights, experience and instinct to understand complex issues for privately owned, publicly listed and public sector clients and help them to find solutions. More than 50,000 Grant Thornton people, across over 130 countries, are focused on making a difference to clients, colleagues and the communities in which we live and work.
Grant Thornton is the sixth largest accounting network globally and has been named ‘Employer of the Year’ by International Accounting Bulletin two years consecutively, for years 2015 and 2014. Grant Thornton is one of the ‘Top 50 Most Attractive Global Employers’ awarded by Universum and is also the winner of ‘Best Programme for Leadership Development’ awarded by The Managing Partner’s Forum. This is the result of our strategic drive, global leadership, and remarkable growth around the world and we understand that these awards reflect not only our strength as a global organisation, but as a collection of member firms who are all dedicated to the highest level of client service.
7. RSM Malaysia
RSM Malaysia (formerly known as RSM Robert Teo, Kuan & Co.) is a member firm of RSM International. RSM is the 6th largest worldwide network of independent audit, tax and advisory firms, encompassing over 120 countries, 800 offices and 43,000 people internationally on hand to serve your needs.
Founded in 1978, RSM Malaysia is now one of the leading and fastest-growing providers of audit, assurance, accounting and tax services to companies in Malaysia. Our affiliates also provide a diverse range of business solutions and consulting services, including corporate finance and transaction support, cross-border tax, risk assurance service, business restructuring, outsourcing and general management consultancy.
8. Crowe Horwarth International or Crowe Malaysia
Crowe Horwarth International was founded in 1907 and is ranked among the top 10 accounting firms in the world providing audit, tax, advisory, risk and performance services. Ranked the eighth largest accounting network in the world, Crowe Global boasts personnel of 2,500 and has 200 independent accounting and management consulting firms that have offices that are spread out in over 580 offices in more than 130 countries.
Ranked as the 5th largest accounting firm in Malaysia, Crowe Malaysia serves mid-to-large companies that are privately owned, publicly listed and multinational entities at both local and global levels.
9. Baker Tilly MonteiroHeng or Baker Tilly Malaysia
Established in 1978, Baker Tilly is the sixth largest accounting and business advisory firm in Malaysia, with eight offices across Malaysia and an office in Phnom Penh, Cambodia.
Led by a leadership team of 24 key partners with over 600 professional staff, we provides high quality accountancy, business and financial advisory services to multinational corporations, organisations in the public sector, and smaller independent enterprises. As an independent member of Baker Tilly International; the eighth largest accountancy and business advisory network in the world with a combined income in excess of US$3.8 billion, we have the opportunity to draw on the expertise of more than 28,000 high-calibre professionals across 141 countries.
Through their subsidiary, Ferrier Hodgson MH; a joint partnership between Baker Tilly Malaysia and Ferrier Hodgson Group, we also provide comprehensive forensic accounting and corporate advisory services. Leveraging on the pedigree and expertise of the Ferrier Hodgson Group in Corporate Advisory, Forensics, Management Consulting and Corporate Recovery to deliver expert solutions above and beyond that of other firms.
10. DFK International
DFK International is ranked among the top 10 accounting firms and business advisors and has been offering its services to the public for more than 50 years. DFK has 220 member firms and 435 offices worldwide with its headquarters situated in London. It has a total of 1,179 partners and more than 10,040 staff in its offices across the world. In Malaysia, the independent member of DFK International is Folks DFK & Co.
The Best Universities in Malaysia to Study Accounting & Finance
In order to succeed in the competitive field of accounting, students must choose the best universities in Malaysia to study. The best university doesn’t necessarily mean the most expensive. Students should choose the right university that fits them which has a good reputation for business programs, excellent facilities, top lecturers and an English-speaking student environment.
To be a registered chartered accountant in Malaysia, you must be a member of the Malaysian Institute of Accountants (MIA), which is the regulatory body for accountants in Malaysia. Members of ACCA, CIMA, CPA Australia, ICAA, ICAEW and MICPA are eligible for MIA membership.
Upon completion of the accounting degree programmes, graduates will have 9 paper exemptions from the total of 14 ACCA papers. I would recommend students who are weak in the English language to go for the accounting degree course first and then only pursue the ACCA. The ACCA is exam-based and marked in the UK. Another pathway is to take the ACCA Accelerate Programme.
With at least 5 credits in SPM or O-Levels students can go for the Foundation in Arts or Foundation in Business at the best private universities in Malaysia. After that, they can enter into the 3-year accounting degree programme. Alternatively, students with 3 credits in SPM or O-Levels may enter into the Diploma in Accounting for 2 years. Upon completion of the Diploma, students can enter into Year 2 of the Accounting Degree with advanced standing.
Study at Top Accounting Degree Course at Universities in Malaysia with the ACCA Accelerate Programme
To become a Chartered Accountant in Malaysia students need to be certified by a professional accounting body such as the ACCA. There are currently about 33,000 accountancy professionals in Malaysia, of which 28 per cent are registered chartered accountants. Malaysia needs 60,000 accountants by 2020.
Students can now become chartered certified accountants in a shorter timeframe at top universities in Malaysia with the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants (ACCA) Accelerate Programme. Students who are pursuing accredited accounting degree programmes to start taking ACCA Accelerate scheme exams in the third year of their degree programme and graduate with both the degree and ACCA professional qualification at the same time.
The ACCA Qualification and membership are well-recognised by employers not just in Malaysia but also 181 countries worldwide. Undergraduates registered in this scheme can be assured of a competitive edge with both their degree and ACCA certificates in hand.
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What is the ACCA Accelerate Programme?
The programme allows undergraduate students the option to take Professional ACCA papers (maximum 5
ACCA papers) before or after graduating from their degree course.
Students who sign up for the ACCA’s ACCELERATE PROGRAMME would enjoy many benefits, amongst them being:
- Expedited pathway to becoming an ACCA member. Complete some or all of the ACCA papers before
- FREE initial registration fees. Your initial ACCA registration fee of GBP79 will be waived
- FREE annual subscription fees – two years including graduating year subscription fee of GBP170 will be waived
- DEFERRED exemption fees – You need to only pay the exemption fee two years after graduation.
- Membership in the exclusive Accelerate club that will provide access to events and promotion by ACCA.
- Access to employers in the form of: Employer Fair at ACCA events, Trips to employers, Talks and
Activities organised by employers.
- Self-improvement opportunities from workshops conducted by ACCA.
- Networking opportunities with students from various universities, employers and prominent
- Receive Student Accountant Direct alerts — you will receive e-alerts such as career advice, study tips and ACCA news straight into your inbox.
ACCA will support students of ACCELERATE accredited programmes with the following:
- Free initial registration fee
- Free annual subscription fee of up to two years after graduation (inclusive of graduation year)
- Deferred exemption fee payment (up to 24 months after graduation)
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Suggested accounting pathway for students in Malaysia with weak English
However, as we all know, the standard of English in Malaysia has dropped a lot. Some students thinking of going for accounting go into CAT and then the ACCA not realising that both are external papers and marked by the UK examiners.
Therefore, although these students may be capable in their knowledge but their weakness in the English language to write properly during the exams will lead them to fail these papers. Furthermore, the final 5 papers of the ACCA are not easy and if you attempt these papers while you are too young, can be challenging.
I would suggest that students go into an accounting degree programme first where the degree is exempted from the 9 papers of the ACCA. Upon graduation, you find a job and then take the final 5 papers of the ACCA to become a professional accountant.
In choosing the university or college for the degree, you should go for a university where the students speak English mostly.
Research by Star newspaper has shown that graduates with good command of the English language tend to get a higher salary (25%) and faster promotion.
A lot of students like the easy way out and choose colleges and universities that are cheap and lacking in quality and facilities thinking that as long as they just get the qualification, they are alright.
They forget that if the quality of the university is low, the student’s quality will also be low when they graduate. You won’t have the necessary knowledge and skills to succeed in the working world. Not being able to speak English well, you won’t be able to become a manager in a Multi National Company.
The management will not ask you to give a presentation if you cannot speak well and furthermore how are you going to be able to write a report? When you become an auditor, you will need to communicate with your client in English as well as your report.
EduSpiral Consultant Services- Your Personal Online Education Advisor
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These universities and colleges are chosen by EduSpiral because they represent the best in their fields in Malaysia and affordable. EduSpiral provides in-depth information and counseling on their courses so that students are able to make the right choice.
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