5 Ways Having a Professional Qualification Prepares You for a Successful Career in Challenging Times

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We have come a long way since the COVID-19 virus first made its presence felt in Malaysia on 25th January 2020. After months of being in lockdown, our country is now in the Recovery Movement Control Order (RMCO) phase, where many economic activities are gradually returning to normal. As we move forward, we will have to embrace the new normal and the challenges that come along with it. In fact, we anticipate that employers will be looking to hire people who are versatile and possess the relevant skillsets to adapt to the new ways of working and navigate their business through challenging times ahead.

In order to succeed in a competitive and challenging job market, young graduates and students should look into upskilling themselves to enhance their employability and marketability. One way to achieve this is by pursuing a professional qualification, such as the ICAEW ACA, which will not only enable you to be recognised as a business professional, but will also equip you with the relevant knowledge and skills through a training programme that is constantly being updated for an everchanging work environment.

Our team recently spoke to a few ICAEW ACA professionals in Malaysia to find out how they are adapting to the new ways of working and how being a business professional has helped them “weather the storm” given recent economic conditions. Here are our 5 key findings :

1. Sean Lai from Grant Thornton shares how being a business professional gives him an advantage in a challenging socio-economic climate

icaew sean lai portrait“The ability to tell an accurate story behind the numbers from big data and derive meaningful insights that add value to clients is among the many key skills I acquired from my ICAEW ACA training. I believe this is one of the greatest advantages of having the ICAEW qualification in the current socio-economic climate.

The ICAEW ACA programme prepared me with technical knowledge and provided me with important intangible skills and problem-solving abilities in order to consistently add value for clients. With this in hand, I believe ICAEW Chartered Accountants are well positioned to tackle challenges and help businesses in any industry to embrace the new normal.”


2. Yen Ting from Scatec Solar shares how financial management and cash flow projections have become the focus of businesses today, resulting in companies looking to Chartered Accountants for advice and solutions

icaew yen ting portrait“As an Asset Manager within the Renewable Energy industry, my role is to monitor the solar power plant’s performance to ensure it delivers the expected returns. I am also responsible for the financial management of the business, so I am tasked with activities like drawdown planning, control of fund utilisation, and stakeholder managements.

The outbreak of COVID-19 pandemic has changed our lifestyles and caused many businesses to face unprecedented challenges. Financial management and cash flow projections have become the focus of many businesses today, as all organisations are being cautious in incurring costs. This is where an ICAEW ACA would be able to add value by driving cost optimisation exercises to manage financial performance and identify opportunities and risks in every difficult situation to help the company to remain resilient and agile.

The technical knowledge and practical experience I have developed through my ICAEW ACA training enabled me to provide trusted advice to the senior management for decision making. The value of integrity and being transparent is equally important and I apply these in my day-to-day work, especially in administrating project agreements and ensuring compliance.“


3. Michael Louis from EY shares how being a fast learner is an embedded trait as a business professional, which is highly valued by employers today

icaew michael louis portrait“The knowledge gained from the ICAEW ACA training definitely assists substantially in what I currently do on a daily basis. In pursuit of the ICAEW ACA Qualification, I learned about the core aspects of business, such as business strategy, assurance, and financial management, all of which are essential for me to deliver value to my clients.

The current employment landscape is challenging to say the least. In fact, there is a premium in the business world for professionals that are fast learners. As a certified business professional, being a quick and committed learner are embedded traits; as I have been exposed to dynamic work environments and underwent rigorous examinations in order to complete my training. Therefore, I constantly draw on those experiences to overcome any challenges that I face today.”


4. Keertthna from Shell shares how being an ICAEW ACA has enhanced her employability and even helped her to secure a quality job during the MCO

icaew keertthna portrait“The oil and gas industry took quite a hard hit earlier this year due to COVID-19 and as a result, recruitment within the industry has slowed down significantly. However, I was still able to successfully apply for my desired position in Shell Malaysia and was hired during the MCO period due to my relevant experience and skillsets. This goes to show that being a qualified business professional has helped to enhance my overall employability and given me a competitive edge even in a time of crisis.

One interesting thing about the ICAEW ACA programme is that it provides young graduates with the opportunity to secure a training agreement with an Authorised Training Employer (ATE) to gain real work experience while completing the final papers. So, having the ICAEW ACA qualification gave me an advantageous position and paved the way to a rewarding career.”


5. Kingston Lee from Sime Darby Motors explained how the ICAEW ACA programme enables graduates to see the bigger picture within business issues, which is especially crucial in challenging times

icaew kingston lee portrait“The business partnering skills developed through the ICAEW ACA programme enabled me to lead change and add value to the company. As a business professional, I have been trained to always see the bigger picture and gain a holistic view of business issues before making any major decisions. This is a skill that is highly valued by many employers today who are looking for proactive employees who can drive positive change and make a difference.

Being in the Strategy & Business Performance team at Sime Darby Motors, I have the opportunity to use new analytical tools and data sources to derive meaningful insights for market intelligence, strategy formulation, and investment evaluations. This is where my ICAEW training gave me a head start as it equipped me with strong numeral skills and analytical thinking.

Ultimately, I believe that having a professional qualification is often perceived to be an attractive value proposition to employers because of the practical work experience and professional development requirements that are mandatory in the ICAEW ACA programme.”


Interested to Learn How You Can Build a Resilient Career in Business & Finance? Here’s What You Can Do to Get Started…

If you’re looking to explore a career in the field of business & finance, you can consider pursuing a professional qualification to fast-track your career aspirations. Among the many professional qualifications, the ICAEW ACA is a highly recognised and sought-after qualification. It is also one of the most advanced learning and professional development programmes available.

School leavers or graduates from any background or discipline can pursue the ICAEW ACA at Sunway TES Centre of Accounting Excellence, one of ICAEW’s training providers in Malaysia.

To learn more, you can contact ICAEW via:


Related: The Future-Ready Career That’s Always in Demand


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