Have you just completed your accounting degree and are looking forward to getting into this financial accounting career opportunity? Well, this is one big step in your life, but it is certainly worth it!

According to The Star, accountants are currently the fourth most in-demand professionals in Malaysia. Moreover, the Institute of Labour Market Information and Analysis has recently listed accounting in the top five hottest jobs in the country.

To be able to compete with other candidates and to increase your chances to get hired by corporate companies, you might want to obtain professional accounting qualifications like CPA. CPA holders are often favoured by top companies such as KPMG, Accenture and Deloitte.

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What is a CPA qualification?

Before going further, it is best for you to understand what is the CPA meaning. CPA or Certified Public Accountant is a finance, accounting and business professional body with a specific qualification.

It is Australia’s most respected professional organisation and is recognised worldwide. With a CPA designation, you will be valued highly by employers.

The qualification makes you one of the trusted and certified accountants as well as respected business professionals. Apart from that, you can look forward to better financial rewards and career opportunities.

CPA qualification
CPA qualification allows you to advance your career in diverse areas of expertise. (Source: Unsplash)

In order to be awarded and use CPA certification, you will need to:

  • Receive a degree or a postgraduate award recognised by CPA Australia.
  • Complete the CPA Program, including three years of professional experience in finance, accounting or business.
  • Get involved in CPD activities each year.
  • Adhere to a strict code of conduct set by CPA Australia.

Once you receive your CPA designation, you must use the designation CPA (Aust.) or FCPA (Aust.). These designations are used to differentiate you from other people who are members of other accountancy bodies in Malaysia.

To be an accountant in Malaysia, you must register as a member of the Malaysian Institute of Accountants. Malaysian Institute of Accountants is the Malaysia's accountancy body. It regulates, establishes, supports, and enhances the integrity, status and interests of the profession in Malaysia.

Since the word ‘Accountant’ is protected under the provisions of the Accountants Act 1967, you can’t simply represent yourself or practise as an Accountant. The terms for ‘tax consultant’, ‘tax advisor’, ‘auditor’, or any other very much alike terms are also included under the same rule.

But, fret not. CPA program is recognised by the Malaysian Institute of Accountants. In fact, if you hold a CPA status, you are eligible for admission to the Malaysian Institute of Accountants with no other requirements.

How can you become a CPA in Malaysia?

To be a CPA member, you can apply directly on the CPA Australia Registration page. Before you start with the online application, it is encouraged that you prepare all the documents beforehand.

Having the important documents ready allow you to have a smooth and uninterrupted registration. However, if you are unable to complete the registration on one go, you can always exit and come back where you left off. Your application will be automatically saved.

These are the documents needed for the online registration:

  • Official academic transcripts
  • Evidence of degree completion
  • Proof of identity: passport (ID page), national ID card, birth certificate or driver's license

You will be asked to submit digital copies of your original documents as part of the online application process. Do note that for your application to be completed, you need to pay for the application fees.

Registration doesn’t mean you are already a CPA member. You need to wait until your outcome is verified. Within 10 working days, you should be getting an email on your outcomes and the next steps that you have to take.

Once you receive your confirmation and are accepted into the CPA program, you can start studying straight away.

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How many papers are in the CPA program?

In the CPA program, you will have to sit for four compulsory subjects and two electives. The compulsory subjects are as follows:

  • Ethics and Governance
  • Strategic Management Accounting
  • Financial Reporting
  • Global Strategy and Leadership

As for the electives courses, you can choose 2 of any of these subjects:

  • Advanced Audit and Assurance
  • Contemporary Business Issues
  • Financial Risk Management
  • Digital Finance
  • Malaysia Taxation
  • Australia Taxation
  • Australia Taxation - Advanced

You are free to choose any of the elective subjects given that you already completed recognised studies in tax and auditing.

Studying Australian Taxation is a requirement to become a CPA. However, if you are based in Malaysia and planning to pursue your career in Malaysia, it is advisable for you to complete Malaysia Taxation instead.

In case you have previously completed a designation with another accounting body, you may have the opportunity for subject exemption. CPA has a number of membership pathway agreements to allow your designation to be recognised in part or full.

As the Malaysian Institute of Accountants has partnered with CPA on special membership pathway arrangements, you may be eligible for CPA membership if you already became an active member of the Malaysian Institute of Accountants. All you have to do is apply individually during your membership application or update it at a later time.

CPA qualification
An accountant is responsible to help companies and clients with financial tasks. (Source: Unsplash)

How much does CPA cost?

Just like Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA), you have to pay a significant amount of money to be able to be CPA’s member. Below are the fees that you can expect to pay to receive your CPA license.

 

Fee TypeItemFees
New membershipApplication feeRM 497 (Subject to change according to the year)
Application Review feeRM 262
First-year membership: Associate (full year)RM 710
First-year membership: CPA or FCPA (full year)RM 1960
First-year membership: Associate (half year)RM 355
First-year membership: CPA or FCPA (half year)RM 980
Renewing membershipsAssociate

RM 710
Associate (on full rate)

RM 1960
CPA or FCPARM 1960
RetiredRM 390
Reduced (on application only)RM 980
Late feeRM 130
PublicationsAustralian Accounting Review (print and online)RM 360
Australian Accounting Review (online only)RM 270
CPA Programs Subject enrolment (early bird)RM 2600
Subject enrolmentRM 2928
Standard exam deferralRM 743
Late exam deferralRM 1005
Subject material re-orderRM 300

 

These fees are subject to change according to the respective year. They apply to both new and existing members. Do take time and check the CPA website for updated fees.

All the fees should be directly paid to CPA Australia. You can make the payment online through your CPA Account by creating an account on the website.

However, for changes to exams 24 to 72 hours before the scheduled appointment, the fee should be made to Pearson VUE in Australian dollars.

How can you study CPA in Malaysia?

If you are wondering whether CPA provides any courses to study. The answer is yes. Unlike the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants or ACCA qualification, CPA Australia provides multiple ways to study the CPA program.

If you plan to study full time, you will be able to finish the program within one year. The full-time study option will be conducted in a classroom environment where you can connect face-to-face with your instructors and other peers.

The program will be delivered in 12 months and consists of tuition as well as exam preparation. CPA Australia has partnered with two registered tuition providers to offer the CPA Program full-time. These tuition providers are:

  • Sunway TES
  • Unirazak

The fees for the CPA program in both institutions are subject to change. Therefore, it is recommended for you to check out their websites and request the information directly from the respective college and university.

Or you can also choose to go for online learning called ‘My Online Learning’. ‘My Online Learning’ consists of a range of online courses. This distance learning is designed for those who prefer to study at their own pace.

Through the ‘My Online Learning’ page, you will have access to all of your learning materials and study resources in one place. However, it cost you RM518.86 for the e-learning enrolment.

CPA will also host a number of courses, online learning and webinars about targeted professional topics. These resources are tremendously helpful to improve your technical, practical and soft skills. But again, these courses, online learning and webinars come at different prices.

Study CPA online
Search for a CPA tutor online and earn your own professional qualification with ease. (Source: Unsplash)

If you want to improve your finance and accounting skills but you are on a tight budget, you can always count on Superprof to find a CPA tutor.

At Superprof, you can search and hire a CPA member as your tutor to study the program as low as RM17 per hour. What a bargain!

In fact, Superprof has an array of qualified tutors in just about any subject. More than 16 million tutors for over 1,000 subjects to be exact. You will definitely find your ideal tutor for your CPA program.

Becoming a CPA will boost your chance to be hired by big companies. It is one of the professional qualifications that you must have if you want to go further in the finance and accounting industry.

Having a good tutor will help you get through the examinations. And with Superprof tutors, rest assured you will be in good hands.

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Fadzi

Fadzi is a social introvert content writer. She is shy, please say hi.