Categories: SpeechesPublished On: 23/11/2021

Distinguished Speakers, Ladies and Gentlemen

Good morning. On behalf of the Malaysian Institute of Accountants (MIA) and the MIA Education Committee, I am delighted to welcome you all to the National Accounting Educators Convention 2021 (NAEC).

The NAEC is a flagship event in the MIA’s yearly training and professional development calendar as it is specially geared to upskill one of the profession’s most important categories: academicians, specifically accounting educators who are instrumental in strengthening the accountancy talent pipeline and shaping graduates for the workforce of the future.

This year’s Convention theme of Nurturing Future-Ready Accounting Educators is especially relevant as the landscape in which accountants operate has changed tremendously due to numerous disruptive factors, such as the COVID-19 pandemic impact, digital technologies, and the increasing emphasis on environment, social and governance (ESG) factors and sustainability matters, especially climate change.

Accounting educators are entrusted with developing the young talents under your tutelage for this highly volatile and uncertain world in the post-pandemic digital economy. Therefore, MIA is prioritising the importance of equipping accounting educators to become future-ready and relevant for the digital economy and society. MIA is providing the tools and resources that can support your transformation, so that you can be more agile, adaptable and resilient in navigating the new normal. Failure or reluctance to change, especially in this new environment that is digitally driven and ESG-conscious, will be catastrophic.

Throughout the years, MIA has advocated upskilling for accounting educators through numerous initiatives such as NAEC, the Train the Trainer workshops in collaboration with professional accountancy organisations, facilitating digital adoption and pedagogical innovation, and providing opportunities for accountancy research through MIA’s collaboration with the Malaysian Accountancy Research and Education Foundation (MAREF).

In addition, MIA also looks for opportunities to deploy its financial expertise to support policy-making and decision-making that drive sustainable nation building, especially in the area of professional development and capacity-building. Most recently, MIA was able to contribute to Budget 2022, which prioritises resilience, agility, sustainability, equitable prosperity and transformation. Specifically, Budget 2022 incorporated:

One, MIA’s recommendation for increasing the tax relief from RM1,000 to RM2,000 for professional development and upskilling courses

Two, MIA’s recommendation for a tax relief of up to RM7,000 on course fees for programmes offered by approved professional bodies, including accountancy, finance, and ESG. These two measures will help enable professionals, including MIA members, to upskill accordingly and play a larger role in the digital and sustainable transformation of their respective organisations, as strategic business advisors and partners.

At the same time, as the voice of the accountancy profession, MIA engages closely with key stakeholders in the education sector to ensure that accounting interests are validated, and that accounting education reforms and innovations are incorporated to future proof the profession and business. As such, MIA welcomes the allocations and proposals in the recent Budget 2022 which will benefit education, including accounting education, specifically:

The allocation of RM6.6 billion for education facilities under MARA, UiTM and Yayasan Peneraju. Among others, the allocation focuses on upgrading quality of education programmes from Diploma level to Degree as well as producing more professionals among Bumiputera, including accountants

The allocation of RM52.6 billion for Ministry of Education, which is the largest allocation of Budget 2022. The Ministry of Higher Education is expected to be allocated RM14.5 billion, which will have an impact on producing quality graduates who are technologically ready for the IR4.0 economy

The allocation of RM6.6 billion to further enhance the TVET initiatives will support the emergence of more quality graduates who can support the roles and functions of the accountants and further improve the ecosystem of the accountancy profession

The allocation of RM450 million to supply B40 students from Institutions of Higher Learning with tablets will not only support their online learning and assessments but overall technology adoption and digital economy. This initiative is expected to benefit 600,000 undergraduates from B40 families.

Ladies and gentlemen, we hope that all accounting educators will continue to leverage on MIA’s varied initiatives for enhancing the capacity and competency of accountancy education and educators, such as today’s Convention and our other professional development programmes for academicians.

Based on the latest research and monitoring of developments, MIA has put together a two-day virtual Convention that features a stellar line-up of subject matter experts, speakers and panellists who will share on the significant trends and developments impacting the accounting profession and education. Before I proceed, I would like to thank all the speakers, subject matter experts and supporting partners who have helped make this Conference possible.

Over the next two days, you will learn about:

THE MIA COMPETENCY FRAMEWORK – Shortly, MIA CEO Dr. Nurmazilah Dato’ Mahzan will be elaborating on this Framework which is a key tool in future-proofing accounting talents. The Framework illustrates the benchmark required for the three proficiency levels for accountancy professionals in line with International Education Standards (IES).

Accounting educators will need to understand and link themselves to the IES in order to embrace changes in the environment. It is also important to undergo ‘’supervised training’’, such as the structured professional development programmes and Train the Trainer workshops delivered by MIA in collaboration with other professional accountancy organisations (PAOs); otherwise, educators would not know if they are using the right approach that is aligned with the IES.

The Convention will also focus on:

AGREED-UPON PROCEDURES (AUP) ENGAGEMENTS which are the wave of the future in audit due to the high cost of audit or the inevitable increase of the audit threshold for private limited entities.

ESG FOR EDUCATORS – which will focus on how you can support future accountants in developing competencies in ESG and sustainability as their roles evolve to include new responsibilities in climate leadership and heat leadership. I understand that organisations have even created the new position of Chief Heat Officer to deal with extreme heat risks.

Another topic that continues to be critical is EMERGING TECHNOLOGY ADOPTION. Shortly, we will witness the launch of the important ‘’Report of a Study of Emerging Technology Adoption within Accounting Programmes by Higher Learning Institutions in Malaysia’’. This study was carried out by the Academicians Working Group (AWG) under the Digital Technology Implementation Committee of MIA. I would like to take this opportunity to commend and thank the AWG as well as all supporting parties and stakeholders for their work in generating this report, which addresses the future skillsets of accounting graduates in Malaysia and the emerging technologies recommended for accounting programmes to ensure future relevance.

In line with the emphasis on digital, the Convention will also look into INDUSTRIAL REVOLUTION 4.0 (IR4.0) and THE READINESS OF GRADUATES OF HIGHER EDUCATION INSTITUTIONS FOR FULFILLING JOB DEMANDS – as well as the need to teach undergraduates about CYBERSECURITY awareness and risk management in the workplace of the future.

Ladies and gentlemen, even as MIA advocates for the transformation of accounting education and accounting educators to create future-proof talent, I wish to remind all accounting professionals of the necessity of ethics and values. This Convention continues to press this point and the programme includes a session on ETHICS AND TRUST IN A DIGITAL AGE – ACCOUNTING ETHICS EDUCATION AND ETHICAL AWARENESS.

We must tirelessly internalise our values of integrity, accountability and transparency within accountancy education and training to ensure that good behaviour comes naturally for young professional accountants. Future generations must develop strong moral fibre to protect the public interest and champion good governance for the sake of nation building and the greater good.

As we go forward, MIA will continue to invest substantial resources in advocacy and transformation of accountancy education and competency-building initiatives that are not only benchmarked with global accountancy education standards but also integrate ethics and values for the highest standard of professionalism.

We will continue to make numerous tools and resources readily available for accounting educators. With all these at your fingertips, the decision to transform and shape a more prosperous and sustainable future rests in your hands. It is entirely up to you to adopt an open-minded attitude and to use the tools made available. Educators must be willing to embrace new ideas, systems and tools, otherwise you risk being left behind in an environment that is becoming increasingly volatile, uncertain and dynamic. Importantly, in all that you do, educators must strengthen the value propositions of graduates and ascertain that graduates are meeting the expectations of their ultimate stakeholders, the employers, or risk being irrelevant.

At the same time, be cognizant of the evolving formula for success. It is necessary to learn both in depth and breadth and embrace technology while acquiring solid fundamentals in broad-based education – Finance, Banking, Audit (internal and external), and Economics to name a few core subjects for accountants, while integrating these with the International Education Standards (IES), as mentioned earlier.

Embarking on these recommended changes while upholding the professional values of integrity, accountability and trust that differentiate accountancy from other professions and protect the public interest is the key to future success. Only then can accounting educators evolve into future-relevant professionals, who are able to carry out the trust of nurturing and shaping young minds that are themselves future-relevant and capable of contributing to the digital economy and sustainable nation building.

I trust that this Convention will inspire you on your continuing journey of professional and personal development. In ending, I would like to wish everybody a productive Convention and do stay safe. Thank you.