Which are the Ten Top Accounting & Audit Firms in Malaysia?
Accounting graduates in Malaysia should aim to secure jobs in the top accounting & audit firms for a successful career. In addition, Accounting & Finance is a career with high salary and top job in demand in Malaysia.
The knowledge, skills and values of accountants enable the members of the accountancy profession to be involved in most economic sectors in a country. Accountants are employed at all levels of management and leadership and normally are key people in financial management, financial and management reporting and governance. Some members of the accountancy profession may not have direct accountancy-related roles; however their accountancy qualification and skills remain important in other key roles (such as internal audit, risk management and general management) that support the effective functioning and oversight of any organisation.
THERE is an acute shortage of accountants in Malaysia. 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 2030. The Financial sector stands as one of the largest sectors in Malaysia with more than 300,000 people employed. This sector is made up by professionals in the Accounting, Banking, Economics, Finance, Insurance and Statistics and Taxation sub-sectors.
An important industry for the country, it contributes up to 11 percent of the nation’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP).There are many areas in the Financial Services sector in Malaysia where each sub-sector requiring specific knowledge and skills.
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 to secure a job at a top accounting & audit firm 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.
These articles may change your life! –
- What are Malaysia’s Top 10 Accounting & Finance Certifications?
- Best High Salary Jobs in Malaysia in Banking & Financial Services
- Studying ACCA Professional Papers vs Accounting Degree in Malaysia
- Best Accounting Degree Courses with ACCA Accelerated Programme at Top Universities in Malaysia
- Best Accounting Education Pathway at Top Universities to Become a Chartered Accountant in Malaysia
- Top Accountancy Universities in Malaysia
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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.
According to the latest annual survey of networks and associations by the International Accounting Bulletin (IAB) covering 51 organisations, the largest global professional services network Deloitte cemented its advantage over close competitor PwC.
It experienced 7% growth to US$46.2bn, driven by growth in advisory services. It made 60% of its fee income of US$46.2bn from advisory in the year to 31 May 2019.
The gap between third-ranked EY and KPMG in fourth place also widened, with the difference now standing at just over US$6.6bn. EY made US$36.3bn in fee income for the year ending 30 June 2019, up by 8%.
In the top 10 networks ranking, RSM edged over Grant Thornton, making US$19.3m more in fee income, and totalling US$5.73bn. It also took the spot of the sixth-largest network globally. It should be noted, however, that RSM fee income includes US$1.3bn from alliance member firms.
In the association ranking, three new additions bring minor changes to the overall list. A merger between the network MGI Worldwide and association CPA Associates International makes the newly created MGI Worldwide with CPAAI the 11th-largest association, with a combined fee income of US$914.9m.
Deloitte, PwC, EY, KPMG and RSM are the top five global firms by revenue. Other top accounting firms in Malaysia 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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List of Top 10 accounting & audit firms in Malaysia
The top 10 largest accounting firms by revenue in 2021:
1. Deloitte Malaysia
Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu Limited, more commonly known as Deloitte. Deloitte is located in more than 150 countries and has over 600 offices in the world. The firm is headquartered in New York City, New York. They have most recently reached the 100-partner milestone when they merged with Curtis Mclean.
Typically, Deloitte specializes in audit & assurance, tax, advisory, and risk. Additionally, they offer a wide range of tax services that include strategy, financial and technical, and human capital.
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.
A must read article for students interested in accounting – Best Recommended Education Pathway to Become a Chartered Accountant in Malaysia
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.
Recently, the firm has merged with Booz & Co, a medium-sized consulting firm. The merger was approved on December 23rd, 2013. Ultimately, they offer a wide range of services but they specialize in audit & assurance, tax, and consulting.
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.
This article may be relevant for you – Top 10 Private Universities in Malaysia for Accounting & Finance
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.
Find out more about the job demand for accounting in Malaysia – Accounting is a Top Job in Demand in Malaysia
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.
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5. 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.
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6. 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.
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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. 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.
9. 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.
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.
Choosing The Right Accounting Firm in Malaysia
Article below is taken from Gradmalaysia. It is a good article to help accounting graduates choose the right accounting firm that fits them.
Mok Wai Ling, Partner at Crowe Horwath shares her professional advice on how a fresh graduate go about in selecting the firm of their dreams.
What are the available accounting firms?
Accounting firms that are available to fresh graduates include the Big Four, second tier firms, smaller firms as well as boutique firms. However, if students are looking for accounting firms where they can learn and develop their capabilities, then boutique firms may be too specialised for them as these firms may focus specifically on tax or corporate advisory. Fresh graduates without the relevant experience may end up conducting research or performing low level work in such boutique firms. Hence, for those who are looking to develop themselves and broaden their experiences in the accounting industry, they should consider working for three to five years within an audit firm.
Big or small firm?
For smaller firms, the number and variety of clients that the graduates are able to manage may not be as extensive compared to those in bigger firms, and thus, their experience may not be as wide. Due to the size of the smaller firms, graduates may end up servicing a lot of small mom-and-pop shops, trading, investing holding companies, etc, and may not have the opportunity to audit large organisations or public listed companies.
This is not to say that working with smaller firms should be discouraged but rather graduates should be careful and choose with caution. If graduates are seeking for a breadth of experience, then perhaps smaller firms may not be appropriate for them at this stage of their career. As a fresh graduate, you would want both the breadth and depth of experience, and this is something that larger firms can provide.
With that said, one of the common reasons that drive graduates to leave larger firms is because larger firms have silos. For example, if one works in audit, they will only be expected to focus on audit. Graduates will then find themselves specialising too much and not being able to learn or do anything else.
Qualities of a good firm
When you ask students or job applicants ‘what do you look for in an accounting firm?’, most of them will state that the culture of the firm is extremely important to them. The audit industry can very stressful as there is a lot of pressure in your day-to-day work. Hence, it is important for a firm to have a culture of appreciating its people. For example, Crowe Horwath is a performance-based company but they are also people-focused because, at the end of the day, they consider their people as their assets and not their expenses.
A firm that has good culture will also have good values. Such values include also placing emphasis on the importance of staff bonding, encouraging their staff to get to know each other when they are out of the office as well as developing friendships. After all, when you work with friends, it makes life so much easier.
A firm who is concerned about their employee’s future will also be interested in developing and investing in them. Some firms encourage their fresh graduates to take up professional qualifications or provide sponsorship programmes to pay for their employee’s courses and exam fees. All these embody the culture of the organisation, and the caring culture is very important.
Then, there is training. Some organisations have a strong training division to train their staff and whenever they lack the expertise, they will bring in trainers and specialists from beyond the company. Aside from technical training, there should also be extra training for those who scale the corporate ladder as they will need leadership skills, management skills, presentations skills and soft skills.
Learning more about accounting firms!
Students can discover and engage accounting firms directly at career fairs.These career fairs may be organised by universities or third-party organisations. At the career fair, students will be able to direct their questions to the HR personnel or representatives from the accounting firms, who can then help them gauge the industry better and understand what is it like to work with the firm.
More and more companies are conducting industrial visits for students, allowing them to visit and experience the company first hand. University students are invited to visit the company on site and gain some insights about their work environment, while the companies will use this opportunity to meet fresh candidates as well as share their experience with the students.
Internships usually last three to six months, and allows the students to work within a company or industry of preference. Students may use the internship to determine if they are genuinely interested with working with the firm as well as gain networks within the organisation. Graduates who perform well may even be hired upon graduation or at the end of their internship.
End of Gradmalaysia article
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.
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