Sunway-TES, University of Malaya and ACCA sign agreement

First in the world innovative programme for outstanding accounting students

Kuala Lumpur – Sunway-TES, a subsidiary of Sunway Education Group, University of Malaya (UM) and ACCA (the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants) have collaborated in a milestone agreement that provides students reading the Bachelor of Accounting programme at UM with the opportunity to attain an ACCA Qualification through a unique fast-track programme.

This tripartite agreement supports Malaysia’s Economic Transformation Programme. Under the ETP, the accounting sector has been identified by the Business Services Lab, an outcome of the deliberations of the National Key Economic Areas (NKEA), to provide business opportunities which will contribute to Malaysia’s efforts to achieve high income status.

This collaboration is also aligned to the government’s proposal that accounting graduates should have a professional qualification before admission to the Malaysian Institute of Accountants (MIA) with the aim to increase the quality of chartered accountants in Malaysia.

This collaboration was formalised at a Memorandum of Agreement (MoA) signing ceremony held yesterday at the Sunway Resort Hotel & Spa, witnessed by Yang Berhormat Dato’ Devamany a/l S. Krishnasamy, Deputy Minister in the Prime Minister’s Office.

Through this agreement, students in their third year of the accounting degree programme in UM who have demonstrated good potential can take up the ACCA Qualification concurrently. Those selected for this programme will have their ACCA course fees fully sponsored by participating employers which include the Sunway Group, AFTAAS, KHR, the Big 5 Professional services firms, namely BDO, Deloitte, Ernst & Young, KPMG, and PwC; and will also be provided internship placements.

UM accounting degree students will be able to claim nine exemptions from ACCA should they choose to register and study under this special collaboration. Thus, they will only be required to sit for the remaining five ACCA papers at the Professional level.

This unique initiative supports the Talent Roadmap 2020, launched recently by Prime Minister YAB Dato’ Sri Mohd Najib bin Tun Abdul Razak which sets out Talent Corporation Malaysia Berhad’s (TalentCorp) strategic focus and initiatives till 2020 in addressing Malaysia’s talent needs arising from the Economic Transformation Programme (ETP).

To ensure Malaysia’s domestic talent is optimised in line with the country’s economic needs, the Talent Roadmap 2020 prioritises enhancing school-to-work transition through programmes which provide graduates in-depth and more focused work exposure at the university level. Initiatives like the Sunway-TES’ ACCA Professional Certification via the Structured Internship Programme (SIP) serve the dual purpose of bridging the gap between academia and industry while encouraging greater employer participation in terms of preparing graduates to be workplace-ready.

“For Malaysia to emerge as a developed nation and a global talent destination by 2020, we must recognize the importance of optimizing our home-grown talent, who are our most precious resource,” said Johan Mahmood Merican, CEO of TalentCorp.

He added that TalentCorp is working closely with the relevant stakeholders including industry partners, professional certification bodies, and higher education institutions (HEIs) to deliver 12,000 structured internship opportunities annually across key sectors, in order to meet the overarching goal of preparing graduates to be market ready and capable of meeting the demands of the 12 NKEAs driving Malaysia’s growth.

ACCA chief executive, Ms Helen Brand said, “Strategic and valuable partnerships such as the one formalised today is one the foundations behind ACCA’s ability to flourish and produce qualified ACCA graduates with talent, drive and ambition. These graduates – polished, ready and primed with state-of-the art technical knowledge and skills – are a testament to the power of collaborative partnerships and are the best advertisement we can possibly have for ACCA, University of Malaya and Sunway-TES.”

Students will attend classes conducted at Sunway-TES, an ACCA approved learning partner – Platinum status. Platinum is the highest and most prestigious level of approval granted by ACCA to learning partners around the world, and is granted only upon fulfilling stringent performance indicators such as pass rates and student support services. Sunway-TES has achieved the Platinum (formerly Premier Plus) since 2003 and is the only institution in Malaysia to achieve this accolade for 9 years in a row.

Sunway Group’s Founder and Chairman, Tan Sri Dato’ Seri Dr Jeffrey Cheah said, “For the past 18 years, Sunway-TES is always at the forefront of the accountancy and finance education to ensure graduates of Sunway-TES are meeting industry demand. In today’s globalised world, it is certainly an advantage for local public university graduates to gain a world-class professional qualification. We are glad to be part of this exciting collaboration, in support of Malaysia’s agenda to produce 60,000 professional accountants by 2020.”

UM’s Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Student Affairs), Professor Datuk Dr. Rohana Yusof also shared the same enthusiasm for this collaboration. She said, “This is a bold and timely step taken by UM, ACCA and Sunway-TES. It shows that we are very much in touch with the changing demands of the highly skilled labour market, the mobility needs of our young students and their education aspirations generally. The demanding standards set and the applied skills acquired help to produce accountants which employers can feel confident to employ. This is a rational step purely based on the academic merits of the ACCA Qualification. I believe it will go a long way in promoting young professionals in Malaysia for developing a career in accountancy, increasing their market employability and contributing to social and economic development goals of Malaysia in the long run.”

This is the first time that all three parties have collaborated in such an agreement, which clearly aims to develop the technical skills and competency of accountants and finance professionals in Malaysia, and address the matter of talent shortages within the industry.