How Malaysia is preparing students for success with AAT

Malaysia is planning to almost double its number of accountants by 2020, as part of the accountancy industry’s pledge to contribute to the Economic Transformation Programme (ETP).

The goal of the ETP, which was launched in 2010, is to help elevate Malaysia to developed nation status over the next two years and produce 60,000 accountants by 2020.

Preparing for a career in finance

Mei Yoke Pak, founder of System & Skills Training Concept (SSTC), a finance training provider in Malaysia, says courses, such as AAT, are helping to make a career in finance more accessible and achievable to students.

“One of our strategies is to work closely with local institutions for higher learning and training centres starting with main cities such as Kuala Lumper, Selangor, Penang, Ipoh and Johor Bharu to offer AAT qualifications.” Ms Pak says, they’re also in talks with FEMAC, the association of vocational training providers in Malaysia.

AAT qualifications in Malaysia provides students with industry relevant accountancy skills across a range of levels, from introductory to professional.

“The curriculum prepares students progressively – from introductory level to professional where students acquire very good foundation skills in accounting, up to being able to give objective feedback to companies on financial matters,” says Ms Pak. “It also covers critical areas, such as ethics and the importance of a solid accounting system to prevent fraud.”

Other key areas, such as decision making and control, budgeting and cash management are also covered as part of the courses.

Students who have gone through AAT qualifications value the practicality and relevance to their work

The opportunity for flexibility

“AAT offers learners a range of learning models, which include face-to-face learning provided by training providers, on-line learning by Kaplan and even blended-learning (a combination of the two,)” Ms Pak says. “Students also gain access to a comprehensive range of study materials, from webinars to e-learning modules and practice assessments.”

Pui San Ng, an AAT student and member of AAT’s international team in Malaysia, says the courses provide work-based accountancy knowledge and practical skills.

“AAT’s flexible learning timetable and exam schedule allow me to study and be well-prepared for my exams without interrupting my job,” she notes. “I’m currently working as an account assistant in a small accounting firm. All the knowledge I have learned from AAT course can be easily applied to my work. It’s also helped improve my efficiency and confidence art work.”

Ms Ng says one of the most beneficial aspects of the course is the tutor training.

“Tutor training is quite important and helpful to me. My tutor often gives explanations and examples that related to the topic in class. This helps me understand the topic better and to apply the knowledge learned from the textbook to the real scenario. Of course, the study materials provided by AAT are also helpful. The practice assessments allow me to be prepared and build up my confidence for the real exam,” she notes. She hopes to become a tax adviser once she has qualified.

Getting a job after AAT

Ms Pak says getting a job on completion of the course is one of the student’s primary focuses. The fact that the course provides them with practical, transferable accounting skills is a major part of its appeal.

“Malaysians are very accustomed to traditional accounting courses, and the idea that AAT is branching out internationally gives them peace of mind that what they study will be accepted by employers,” she notes. “In terms of curriculum coverage, students who have gone through AAT qualifications value the practicality and relevance to their work. It gives them the confidence to deal with issues at work such as dealing with impairment losses, credit control and cash flow.”

Feedback so far, from students and their respective employers, has generally been positive. “Even the institutions of higher learning realise the importance of practical accounting skills and work-related skills,” says Ms Pak.

“We’re really pleased with the excellent work that is taking place in Malaysia. Building these relationships with training providers will be key to the success of AAT for students. We’re excited to see how the Economic Transformation Programme will continue to grow.” Daniel Westley, AAT’s International Account Manager.

 AAT provide practical workplace qualifications for finance staff worldwide. Find out more about our international partnerships and AAT’s qualification range. 

Georgina Fuller is an award winning freelance journalist and editor.

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