ISBF recently signed a memorandum of understanding with the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants (ACCA) for promoting the importance of programmes like BSc (Hons) Accounting and Finance. Pursuing this programme offered at the Indian School Of Business and Finance, New Delhi, grants students exemptions from 8 examinations of the 13 required to gain the ACCA accreditation.
Below are some excerpts from an interview conducted with Mr Krishan Mishra, Head of North and East India for ACCA, and Dr Jitin Chadha, Director, ISBF.
Q: Could you tell us a little bit about the ACCA for the benefit of our students?
Mr Mishra: We are a professional accountancy body with London, United Kingdom. Started in 1904, we are 115-years-old and now have operations in 183 countries. As an organisation, we believe in providing qualifications to people who have the ability and desire to become a professional accountant. We focus on application-based learning which increases the chances of employability. We started our operations in India about 4 years ago and have a strength of about 31500 students who are highly ambitious and have the right temperament to pursue a professional accountancy course.
Q: ACCA has just granted exemptions to ISBF for 8 out of 13 examinations required to become ACCA qualified. Could you talk us through the process that led you to grant these exemptions to the Accounting and Finance programme students at ISBF?
Mr Mishra: We have a very strong gradation process where we look at factors like the rigour of qualification, examinations and the teaching-learning practices. We look at the kind of courses provided and map them with our syllabi to understand your methodology. After careful deliberation, we came to the conclusion that ISBF has got all the strengths. Also, being an affiliate centre of the University of London (UOL) actually makes you stronger in terms of teaching this qualification in Delhi.
Q: Surely this is a very exciting development. and occasion for ISBF, Dr Chadha. Could you tell us a little bit about what this means for ISBF students?
Dr Chadha: Firstly, we are very excited about our new partnership with ACCA. It's really an endorsement by ACCA on the quality of education we provide at ISBF with UOL and LSE. Getting 8 out of 13 exemptions is quite an achievement for students. We are very excited about it and think it's a great option for our students alongside studying Accounting and Finance. They would be getting prepared for a world-renowned qualification of ACCA, which is a great professional and career path. In India, we learn that they have tremendous career opportunities with big accountancy firms. So alongside receiving a LSE education they are also getting a professional qualification that really would set them ahead for the careers. I think they'll get tremendous preference compared to other graduates when they look at careers in investment banking, accounting management, marketing but generally the whole gamut of financial services, so we're very excited to give prospective students a professional career opportunity.
Q: One of the most common queries that students in India seem to have is to understand the difference between ACCA and the Chartered Accountant (CA) program in India. Could you elaborate a little bit on that? And on a related note also on the work opportunities that exist for ACCA qualified professionals in India as well as globally?
Mr Mishra: So, if you look at any professional accountancy course globally, they have something similar to each other when it comes to the course offerings. The main difference is that as we know that every country has a local body for accountancy. India has the Institute of Chartered Accountant of India (ICAI) which was started through the Act of Parliament. We have the Institute of Chartered Accountant of Pakistan, in Nepal they have the Institute of Chartered Accountant of Nepal. Canada has CPA, Australia has CA Australia & New Zealand, US has CPA in America. A doctor is a doctor anywhere in the world, an engineer is an engineer anywhere in this world but an accountant is always called a local accountant. We are in the journey of creating local accountants and we believe that we can do that.We have got the right strengths and the right mix of subjects which prepare them to qualify.
CM: Could you elaborate a little bit on this about opportunities in India as well as globally for ACCA qualified professionals?
Mr Mishra: India has strong employment opportunities today. If you look at the tagline of ACCA we say, 'Think Ahead', which means we tell people that you have to think about the future, whatever you study today is not important for you today, it becomes important three years later. We are trying to prepare the students so that they're able to pick up the right set of jobs when they graduate and are capable of handling the pressure of work requirements. If you look at organizations and multinational companies like HCL, ITC, Oracle, Microsoft, Wipro, they are hiring ACCAs because of the kind of expertise we provide. If you look at the current situation In India, by 1st April 2020, financial services and insurance companies are going to implement the IFRS, which means they will need a lot of people in the financial services sector. Think about SBI and how many branches they have. They need a lot of people to support them. Not a lot of people opt for professional accountancy qualifications, therefore, their importance is on the rise as they can work in any business or industry, be it a school, college, university, corporate, fashion organization or a hotel. To help with jobs, students can search ACCA site jobs.accaglobal.com or look at naukri.com to get a glimpse into the other kinds of industries and roles.
Q: Could you just tell us a little bit about the recognition that ACCA enjoys across geographies through perhaps partnerships that you have in these countries?
Mr Mishra: Currently we have around 80 partnerships with various countries. Such partnerships ensure that students can go and work in these countries. They have to just write one or two papers as per the requirements of the local bodies and they can become the local accountants. With various tie-ups, we have covered markets in the Middle East, Singapore, Malaysia, Australia, New Zealand, Europe, Canada and Africa. We have a strong agenda of supporting the students from the day they join us and we will continue to do so.
CM: Dr Chadha, could you tell us about this exemption and what this partnership with ACCA brings to students in terms of time and cost-saving because that is a very material thing that students look at to start their undergraduate journeys?
Dr Chadha: Yes, there's a tremendous saving of time because by the time you finish your undergraduate degree, you are already through with 8 papers. I believe that normally people take them another year to finish the balance. On an average, they'll be 21 by the time they finish their bachelors and by 22 they will become ACCA qualified. Going by all the information that we have about ACCA, it has tremendous acceptability in the financial services sectors and then there is fair cost saving - because if they are going to do first eight papers independently it could cost them approximately a lakh or so rupees and more importantly you're saving three years of your life which is far more important. Also, an ACCA qualified student would have a far better starting salary compared to just a fresher.
Both ISBF and ACCA are looking forward to a blossoming partnership that will create accountants who are global citizens of the world.
The interview was conducted by Mr Chiraag Mehta, Associate Director, ISBF.