The Ultimate Guide to Accounting

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According to our study on 30,000 SPM students, in 2021, about 10% chose Accounting as their preferred field of study to pursue in university. So what is Accounting all about? Here’s a comprehensive look.

What is Accounting?

In accounting, you gather, analyse, and report financial data to the management so that they can keep track of the company’s financial status and make strategic business decisions based on that.

Why Should You Study Accounting?

Accounting jobs remain in high demand despite the rise of other career fields as hot commodities, such as tech jobs. A quick search through the pages of will return you a long list of accounting-related jobs.

Accounting also gives you various options in terms of education pathways and careers. After SPM, your choices range from pre-university, the ACCA Foundation in Accounting (FIA)*, or diploma courses, which upon completion, will put you in a position to either proceed to a degree in accounting or an ACCA course.

After graduation, your career options are endless. Want to work with a sports team? How about a top tech company? As an accounting graduate, you can have your pick of any industry to start off in. The knowledge and skills you learn in an accounting course are applicable wherever financial management is needed. Which is to say… just about everywhere.

*ACCA is replacing Certified Accounting Technicians with ACCA-FIA as a direct route to ACCA.

What Are The Common Pathways of Accounting Courses?

Common Pathways to Accounting Courses

If you want flexibility or are uncertain of what you want to do, choose pre-university courses to explore your options. It gives you flexibility and opportunities to hone your soft skills through assignments.

If you are sure you want to take ACCA, FIA will be the best option since it focuses on the fundamental papers and is 100% exam-based. 

For those of you considering a diploma course, you’ll get to save on your tuition and secure a job earlier. 

Not all degree courses are the same. Some offer more exemptions for professional exam papers and also a wider variety of modules. 

Note: There is a difference between Accounting and Accountancy degrees. An Accounting degree does not mean you are automatically qualified as a chartered accountant. You will still need to obtain the ACCA/CIMA qualifications and 3 years of work experience for that.

Graduates with a 4-year Accountancy Degree can skip ACCA/CIMA and register with the Malaysian Institute of Accountants (MIA) as a chartered accountant after getting 3 years of work experience. Only Accountancy degrees from MMU, INTI at Nilai, UTAR at Sungai Long, and MSU are recognised by MIA. 

Top Universities in Malaysia for Accounting Courses

There are many colleges and universities that offer Accounting courses. Some offer a better study environment, while some offer experienced lecturers with a good track record of excellence. Below are 9 options, considered among the top universities in Malaysia, that you should be checking out.

Top Universities in Malaysia for Accounting

How Fast Can I Get a Job in Accounting?

You can start working in accounting-related jobs in as little as 2 years with a diploma after your SPM. Your starting pay would be between RM1,500 to RM1,800. 

For those who are considering the degree path, you can start working in an accounting-related job 4 years after your SPM. Starting pay for degree holders are between RM2,300 to RM2,500.

What Are The Common Qualifications/Certifications In Accounting?

You don’t need to be a chartered accountant to work in accounting in Malaysia. However, professional qualifications such as ACCA, CIMA, ICAEW, and CPA are pre-requisite for you to be registered with the MIA as a chartered accountant, alongside 3 years of work experience.

Are you debating between a regular accounting course or ACCA? Check out the added benefits of an ACCA course here!

Things You Need To Know About Accounting Career

  1. Professional certification is not a necessity (but it is encouraged)

Should you go for that professional accounting certification? Absolutely, especially when you want to advance your career (and enhance your earnings) in accounting. 

However, you should also consider other certifications that can complement your accounting knowledge. Why not consider tech certifications and venture into accounting technology?

  1. Professional certification is a minimum requirement for some firms to hire graduates

For major accounting firms such as Ernst & Young, KPMG, Deloitte, and PriceWaterhouseCoopers, an accounting degree is the minimum requirement for their entry-level hires. 

Pro tip: Employers will prioritize those with professional certifications in their consideration when hiring new employees.

Beyond the major firms, smaller companies will hire graduates with a diploma qualification for some of their accounting roles.

  1. Becoming a chartered accountant takes 7 years on average

You will spend a minimum of 4 years studying. Only after that will you be able to sit for the exam papers that will fulfil your professional certification requirements. You will need 3 years of work experience after that in order to register as a chartered accountant.

The quickest way to get chartered accountant status is through the ACCA Foundation in Accounting (FIA) course, followed by the ACCA course itself. You will need to accumulate 3 years of work experience before you are able to register as a chartered accountant. 

  1. Finance Executive

Manages daily banking transactions, ensures the relevant records are updated, and compiles various financial reports.

  1. Tax Advisor

Advises clients on how to calculate taxes in the most efficient way based on current tax benefits and exemptions.

  1. External Auditor

Examines financial records and other data to keep stakeholders updated on the company’s performance, and helps business in risk management.

  1. Chartered Accountant

Gives advice, audits accounts and produces accurate financial records to help the company increase its profitability.

Want to know how to apply online or lock-in special deals? Tell our counselors what you want to study and they’ll guide you the rest of the way!