Increased Job demand for Accountants in Malaysia
The career of a chartered accountant is stable and their services will always be required, no matter the economic climate even in pandemics. The job of a chartered accountant is a great choice for students wanting a career that’s stable with high job demand and salary. Furthermore, chartered accountants are in high demand even during economic downturns, are able to command high salaries and excellent benefits. Accountants are also needed in almost every industry sector. Malaysia is in need of 60,000 qualified professional accountants by 2030. Currently, there are just over 37,000 members registered with the Malaysian Institute of Accountants (MIA).
Global trends and technological advancements are transforming the world of work and reshaping the future of the accountancy profession. As technology becomes increasingly sophisticated and present in all aspect of businesses, accounting professionals can expect a shift towards more strategic and analytical roles.
Automation has made things easier for the modern-day finance professional, especially when we are talking about commercial finance that requires information from across business divisions such as sales and marketing or logistics to be analysed. The advances in data science and artificial intelligence are opening up new ways to look at businesses and generating insights that can lead to major productivity improvements.
The automation of accounting transactions is inevitable and accountants have to constantly stay relevant by providing value-add to the business. Competition may be stiffer with lesser accounting jobs in the market over time as a result of automation thus there is a demand for higher quality accountants who are able to provide sound business judgement, proposals while still upholding accuracy. Transactional roles like general ledger, accounts receivable and payable may be endangered, but other higher-skill roles like financial planning and analysis or business controlling would still be in high demand.
In Malaysia, trends in the accountancy profession are Big Data Analytics and Integrated Reporting.
Irrespective of the industry, we generate tonnes of data every day. Accountants and financial professionals can leverage on Big Data. They have the ability to analyse data to help management make informed decisions. Accountants and financial professionals could play a strategic role in the organisation as their ability to interpret data could reveal business opportunities.
Integrated Reporting is the next evolution of corporate reporting. Companies are encouraged to focus beyond financial performance, with an emphasis on the impact of their activities on the economy, environment and society. In doing so, organisations can create greater value over the short-, medium- and long-term.
In Malaysia, the Integrated Reporting initiative is jointly promoted by various parties including the MIA, Securities Commission, Bursa Malaysia and PriceWaterhouse Coopers. The awareness of Integrated Reporting among public listed companies is gradually increasing.
In addition, aspiring accountants also need to keep pace with standards, particularly the International Financial Reporting Standards (IFRSs), a single set of accounting standards developed and maintained by the International Accounting Standards Board. With nearly 120 countries requiring the use of IFRSs by public companies while most other jurisdictions permit the use of IFRSs in at least some circumstances, knowledge of the standards will be most useful to aspiring accountants. It will enable them to stay relevant not only in Malaysia but also across international borders. For example, a Malaysian firm may do business with multinational clients or it may have subsidiaries overseas.
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Accounting: A Career with High Job Demand & Salary in Malaysia
Choosing an accounting career path means you will have the skills to work in a profession that is constantly in high demand in Malaysia and globally. Companies from all types of industries require accountants to manage their finances. High demand for accounting graduates means you will have strong job security.
Accountants are the 4th most in-demand professionals in Malaysia, according to the Institute of Labour Market Information and Analysis which listed them in the top five hottest jobs in 2021.
Currently, there are just over 37,000 members registered with the Malaysian Institute of Accountants (MIA). As the country progresses, diversity and inclusiveness will be critical in achieving the targeted number of 60,000 professional accountants by 2030.
With the establishment of the Asean Economic Community and the signing of the Asean Mutual Recognition Arrangement Framework for professional accountancy services, the playing field for those in the profession will be bigger. This means aspiring accountants with the right skills and attitude will be in demand with the opening up of Asean. Indeed, there is an opportunity for Malaysia to position itself as a hub for the development of Asean accountancy, based on our talent pool and our adoption of international standards.
Financial skills are among the most in-demand capabilities in today’s competitive job market, despite the pandemic. According to professional recruitment consultancy Robert Walter Malaysia, to attain a position such as a finance leader, graduates need a good mix of business and accounting abilities.
Furthermore, graduates that hold a degree in accounting have the potential to earn high-paying salaries depending on the career path they follow. An accounting degree will give you a number of transferable skills that will help enhance your CV and make you a desirable employee to a range of employers. Students will develop strong numerical and quantitative skills, with advanced analytical and problem-solving capabilities.
The Most in-demand Jobs in Accounting and Finance 2019 According to Randstad
In Randstad Malaysia’s new report, the five most-in-demand accounting and finance jobs in Malaysia in 2019 (in no specific order) are as follows:
- Commercial finance manager
In 2019, more MNCs and startups are expected to set up their headquarters or regional hubs in Malaysia because of its favourable tax policies and low labour cost. These new entrants will drive the demand for high-performing commercial finance managers next year.
Expected salary: MYR120k – 156k per annum for finance managers in MNCs or listed companies
- Commercial finance planning manager
As foreign and Malaysian companies set up more offices and site operations in the country in 2019, we expect to see a higher demand for finance planning managers. Requests for such talent are likely to come from the fast-moving consumer goods and pharmaceutical sectors.
Expected salary: MYR120k – 144k per annum for finance managers in MNCs or listed companies
- Financial controllers
In 2019, companies need to consider probable cost reduction measures to improve productivity and ensure business sustainability. This means that the job responsibilities of financial controllers will expand as they are expected to play a more integral role to support restructuring exercises.
Expected salary: MYR216k – 264k per annum for finance managers in MNCs or listed companies
- Financial planning manager (bank)
The newly-implemented Malaysian Financial Reporting Standards (MFRS) 15 and 9 by Bank Negara Malaysia will result in an increasing demand for experienced finance managers in 2019.
MYR120k – 144k per annum for finance managers with six to eight years experience
MYR160k and above per annum for finance managers with more than 9 years of experience
- Group accountant
As businesses gain more confidence to operate and scale in 2019, companies will start to increase headcount for group accountants to support the consolidation and reporting of financial performance and statements.
Expected salary: MYR144k – 156k per annum for finance managers in MNCs or public listed companies.
Accounting Salary According to Hays Malaysia Salary Guide 2022
Accounting Salary According to Kelly Services Malaysia Salary Guide 2022
Malaysia Average Salary according to Robert Walters Salary Guide: Accounting & Finance
This is the average salary in Malaysia for Accounting & Finance jobs:
|Job Title||Average Annual Salary (MYR)|
|Chief Financial Officer||420 – 720k+|
|Head of Shared Services||420 – 660k+|
|Finance Director – (MNC)||360 – 480k+|
|Finance Director – (SME)||264 – 360k+|
|Financial Controller – (MNC)||180k – 360k|
|Head of Functions – RTR, OTC, PTP||300 – 360k+|
|Senior Finance Manager||180 – 240k+|
|FP&A Manager||180k – 240k+|
|Corporate Finance Manager||144 – 216k+|
|Finance Manager/Team Lead||120 – 192k+|
|Tax Manager||168 – 240k+|
|Credit Controller||96 – 180k+|
|Internal Auditor – Manager||168 – 240k+|
|Cost Controller||156 – 216k+|
|Accountant||84k – 132k+|
|AP/AR Analyst||54 – 96k+|
|Senior Financial/Business Analyst||120 – 180k+|
|Financial/Business Analyst||84 – 120k+|
|Treasury Manager||144 – 216k+|
Salary for Accounting Professionals According to Michael Page Salary Guide 2020
Where can Accounting graduates work in Malaysia?
From the list below, you can see that the companies that accounting graduates would work at are Multi-National Companies (MNCs) and Government Linked Companies (GNC) therefore requiring a good command of the English language to communicate to the clients, customers, management and overseas partners.
- Insurance – Prudential Assurance Malaysia, Sun Life Assurance, Hong Leong Assurance, Prudential BSN Takaful, Zurich Insurance Malaysia, AIA, Etiqa, ING, MCIS Zurich, AXA AFFIN Life, Manulife, Tokio Marine Life, Uni.Asia Life Assurance, Great Eastern, AM Life, AIG, Berjaya Sompo, MSIG, Kurnia, Lonpac, Danajamin, Pacific Insurance, Pacific & Orient Assurance, RHB Insurance, Tune Insurance, UniAsia General, Overseas Assurance Corporation, Progressive, QBE, MAA, etc
- Financial & Investment Institutions – Bank Negara, Bursa Malaysia, Securities Commission Malaysia, AFFIN Investment, ECM Libra, HwangDBS, Hong Leong Investment, Kenanga Investment Bank, KAF Investment Bank, CIMB Investment
- Bank, AMInvestment Bank, Alliance Investment Bank, OSK Investment, MIDF Amanah Investment, Public Investment Bank, RHB Investment Bank, CIMB Investment, etc
- Banks – Public, AmBank, Citibank, Hong Leong, HSBC, Maybank, RHB, CIMB, AFFIN,
- Alliance, Deutsche Bank, J.P. Morgan Chase Bank Berhad, Mizuho Bank (Malaysia), OCBC, Standard Chartered, UOB, The Royal Bank of Scotland, The Bank of Nova Scotia, etc.
- Islamic Banks -Al Rajhi Banking & Investment Corporation, Alkhair International Islamic Bank, Deutsche Bank Aktiengesellschaft, Affin Islamic Bank, Al Rajhi Banking & Investment Corporation, Alliance Islamic Bank, AmIslamic Bank, Bank Islam Malaysia, Bank Muamalat Malaysia, CIMB Islamic Bank, HSBC Amanah Malaysia, Hong Leong Islamic Bank, Kuwait Finance House, Maybank Islamic, OCBC Al-Amin Bank, Public Islamic Bank, RHB Islamic Bank, Standard Chartered Saadiq, etc
- Accounting & Auditing firms – Ernst & Young, PricewaterhouseCoopers, Deloitte, KPMG, Baker Tilly Monteiro Heng, Moore Stephens AC, Steven Chin & Co, BDO, Grant Thornton, RSM, Mazars, Crowe Horwarth International, DFK International, Halim & Lee, Begbies Traynor, etc
- Companies – Every company large or small needs at least one accountant therefore the jobs are plenty. Graduates can work in industries like property, FMCG, retail, fashion, construction, trading, hotel, travel, restaurants, Food & Beverage, SMEs, entertainment, automotive, education, and more.
Best Education Pathway to Become a Chartered Accountant in Malaysia
Presently, Malaysia has about 7.5 million Accountants. The country requires another 60,000 Accountants. All Accountants have to abide by a strict code of ethics and maintain high professional standards. All practising accountants must register with the Malaysian Institute of Accountants (MIA). Students after high school wanting to know about the pathway to become a Chartered Accountant in Malaysia can read on or contact us for advise.
Becoming a Professional Chartered Accountant in Malaysia
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.
Professional Recognition for Accountants in Malaysia
- Association of Chartered Certified Accountants (ACCA), UK
Upon completion of the BA (Hons) Accounting & Finance degree, students are eligible for exemption from a maximum of 9 papers.
- Certified Practising Accountant (CPA), Australia
Upon completion of the BA (Hons) Accounting & Finance degree, students are exempted from the Foundation Level and they can proceed with the Professional pathway (6 subjects).
- Malaysian Institute of Accountants (MIA)
Upon completion of the BA (Hons) Accounting & Finance with 3 years relevant working experience plus completion of Professional qualification (ACCA or CPA), students are eligible to apply for membership of the MIA.
Becoming a Chartered Accountant in Malaysia through ACCA Membership
ACCA affiliates, with a minimum of 3 years of relevant supervised practical experience (which may be pre-, during or post-examination / studies), are required to submit their Practical Experience Requirement (PER) to ACCA to demonstrate sufficient competency to merit membership.
The standard of competence required consists of a range of technical, management and personal skills which are essential for all aspiring members.
Upon approval, ACCA graduates may add the prestigious designatory initials ACCA to their names. They may also apply for membership to the Malaysian Institute of Accountants (MIA) and use the designatory initials ‘Chartered Accountant (Malaysia)’.
Who Should Study Accounting?
Accountants pay close attention to detail and possess strong analytical abilities. If you answer yes to the following questions, there’s a good chance you might thrive in many accounting careers.
- Did you get at least a Credit in Maths for SPM or IGCSE O-Levels or UEC?
- Are you able to carefully follow rules?
- Are you accurate and reliable?
- Do you have a strong attention to detail?
- Are you good with numbers?
- Do you thrive when you have a routine?
- Do you have strong analytical skills?
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.
After SPM or IGCSE/O-Levels, with 5 credits, students can go into the Foundation in Business for a year and then continue into the degree for 3 years. The other way is to go for the Diploma in Business or Diploma in Accounting for 2 years and then enter into the Degree in Year 2 to finish that in another 2 years. You will need at least 3 credits in your SPM to join the diploma.
After your degree, you can find a job and then take the final papers of the ACCA part time.
During your university studies, you have about 3-4 years to improve your English language skills. 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.
Accountants with Good command of the English language needed in Malaysia
“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.
MICPA has more than 3,200 members and over 500 registered candidates. Members of the Institute are professionally qualified “certified public accountants” bearing the CPA qualification.
Becoming a Professional Accountant or Chartered Accountant in Malaysia
Malaysian Institute of Accountants (MIA) is the umbrella body for the accountancy profession in Malaysia. It was established under the Accountants Act, 1967 to regulate and develop the accountancy profession in this country. MIA operates under the purview of the Ministry of Finance through the Accountant General’s Department.
MIA is the only accountancy body empowered by law to regulate the accountancy profession in Malaysia, thus making MIA membership mandatory for those holding themselves out or practising as an accountant in the country.
MIA’s membership encompasses both legal and market recognition for accountants in Malaysia.
Members of MIA are conferred with the designation Chartered Accountant Malaysia, abbreviated as `C.A.(M)’. This designation is given to a professional in accountancy, business and finance with recognised accountancy qualification and relevant work experience.
At present, there are more than 30,000 MIA members working in all industries and states of Malaysia.
MIA is a statutory body established under the Accountants Act, 1967 to regulate and develop the accountancy profession in Malaysia. To date, MIA has 31454 members. 80,000 accountants are needed by year 2020.
In becoming a high income nation, more accountants are needed so that professional services can be rendered by the professionally competent accountants in line with the objective of Economic Transformation Programme (ETP) in Malaysia.
In Malaysia, the accounting profession is governed by the Accountants Act 1967. Under the Accountants Act 1967, a person is called chartered accountants when he is a member of the Malaysian Institute of Accountants.
Prior to the application of membership the future accountants must either have a recognized professional accounting qualification or has an accounting degree from local universities and have work experience of not less than three years in a public accounting firm or other accounting related areas.
First Schedule, Part 1, of the Act lists down the local universities whose accounting degrees are recognized and Part 2, of the Act lists down the recognized professional accounting bodies.
In this regards, future accountants should obtain the professional accounting education as part of the pre-qualification of chartered accountants.
Top universities and colleges in Malaysia offer accounting degrees that are exempted from 9 papers of the ACCA which means that after the degree in accounting, students need only to take the final 4 papers.
Careers in accounting
- Financial reporting accountant
- Cost accounting manager
- Accounts receivable clerk
- Accounts payable clerk
- Technical accounting manager
- Tax accountant
Accounting Job Functions & Responsibilities
- Tracking of revenues and expenses
- Internal reporting
- Financial reporting
- Risk management
Required Skills for Accounting
Similar to pursuing a career in finance, aspiring accounting professionals need to have a combination of accounting expertise, general business knowledge and soft skills to be successful.
Hard skills in demand for accountants include expertise in technology and software systems, including Excel, ERP experience, SQL, Microsoft Visual Basic and business intelligence software. Soft skills include communication, leadership and customer service.
Setting up a Public Practice in Malaysia
Public practice is governed by the Act, the Rules and the By-Laws (On Professional Ethics, Conduct and Practice) of the Malaysian Institute of Accountants.
Under the Act, the person must be a member of the Institute, and is prohibited from public practice through a body corporate save where this is allowed by other statutes for limited areas of public practice, namely tax.
A member, in most instances, is allowed to be engaged in public practice as a sole practitioner or in partnership only with another member(s) as the Act and By-Laws prohibits the sharing of profits with non-members. All firms in public practice are described as firms of chartered accountants (or licensed accountants, where applicable).
Only members registered as chartered accountants with valid practising certificate can describe and hold themselves out as chartered accountants in public practice and are able to set up firms providing public practice services.
Members in public practice may carry out public practice services such as accounting, audit, liquidation, tax and other related services. However, the practice of audit, liquidation and tax are licensed under other legislation.
Career Opportunities for Accountants in Malaysia
- Chartered Certified Accountants
- Chartered Management Accountant
- Chartered Public Finance Accountant
- Corporate Treasurer
- Internal Auditor
- Tax Advisor
- Tax Inspector
- Credit Manager
- Financial Analyst
- Financial Controller
- Investment Fund Manager
- Risk Management Manager
- Chief Financial Officer
- Tax Head/Director
- Shared Service Director
- Finance Director Treasury Head/Director
- SS Finance Head/Director
- FP&A Head/Director
- Audit Head/Director
- Operations Manager
- Finance Manager/Controller
- Tax Accountant/Manager
- Financial Controller
- Finance Business Partner
- Treasury Accountant/Manager
- RTR Team Lead/Manager
- Financial Accountant
- Internal Auditor/Manager
- PTP Team Lead/Manager
- Management Accountant
- Systems Accountant
- OTC Team Lead/Manager
- FP&A Analyst
- Technical Accountant