This article was first published in the April 2019 Malaysia edition of Accounting and Business magazine

ACCA kicked off 2019 with the launch of two programmes aimed at the upcoming generation of accounting and finance professionals: the ACCA Student Ambassadors Programme and the ACCA Young Members’ Network.

The ACCA Student Ambassadors Programme is a platform offering undergraduate accounting students an opportunity to connect with and be mentored by young ACCA members. It also offers the chance for students to gain industry knowledge and enhance their skills, increasing their future employability.

Fahmi Fadzil, Member of Parliament for Lembah Pantai, who officiated at the launch, applauded the programme, saying that it was important in preparing students for the trends of the future. ‘Who knows how the field may change in the next five, 10 or 20 years?‘ he asked. ‘It’s important that students are prepared for change and have the ability to think ahead.’

Connect and engage

ACCA Malaysia country head Edward Ling, in welcoming the first cohort of 90 students from 22 public and private universities, encouraged them to take advantage of the opportunity to connect and engage with ACCA’s young members. The Student Ambassadors from institutions of higher learning – including Taylor’s University, Sunway TES, UCSI University, University of Malaysia and Universiti Teknologi MARA – have undergone a stringent selection and interview process to be part of the programme.

The setting up of the ACCA Young Members’ Network, meanwhile, was spurred by the fact that more than 62% of ACCA Malaysia’s 15,000 members are under 40, said Ling, adding that the goal was also to engage, inspire, support and contribute towards the career development of young members.

‘The Young Members’ Network programme also seeks to create a strong network of young ACCA professionals through career guidance and mentoring opportunities with senior and C-suite ACCA members,’ Ling said. ‘Concurrently, our Young Members’ Network also aims to support and encourage students and affiliates in the progression of their ACCA journey.’

Ling added that the goals of both programmes are closely linked to the findings of ACCA’s study (of 19,000 respondents from 150 countries) into the career aspirations of the younger generation in the finance and accounting community. ‘Fifty-two per cent of the participants rated experiential learning high on their list of career aspirations,’ Ling noted, pointing out that younger finance professionals also favour on-the-job learning, mentoring and coaching. These, he added, were key aspects of the new programmes.

Future leaders

‘The ACCA Student Ambassador Programme and the ACCA Young Members’ Network form part of ACCA’s vision to develop future leaders in the accounting profession with the seven professional quotients of success: intellect, creativity, emotional intelligence, vision, experience, mastery of the digital world and technical skills,’ Ling said. ‘Together, we have the opportunity to make a lasting difference to the next generation of young professional accountants and to help develop future leaders that Malaysia needs.’

Look out for an interview with the ACCA Young Members’ Network in next month’s issue.

Sreerema Banoo, journalist