The UK-based Association of Chartered Certified Accountants (ACCA) has become a gateway to dream international careers for a growing number of youth who are pursuing global qualifications in hopes of securing better opportunities.
In an interview with The Business Standard, marketing campaign manager of Asia Pacific, ACCA Abdullah Al Hasan, said anyone having finished their Higher Secondary Certificate, A levels or graduation in any discipline can register for ACCA exams at any age and join the field of accounting.
Hasan, a Bangladeshi business graduate who himself is an example of ascending to work internationally in the field of marketing, said by securing pass marks in the 13 papers and having a three-year job experience, one can become a global member of the prestigious accounting body and sport the ACCA qualification title next to one's name.
The ACCA has two global job portals -- ACCA Careers and ACCA Career Navigator -- only for its members where cross border recruitment is very common nowadays.
Every year a number of Bangladeshis certified by the institute are leaving local jobs to join firms in the developed world for much higher salaries as the qualification is well accepted by international employers, said Hasan, who is now leading ACCA marketing campaign operations in Bangladesh, Malaysia, Nepal, Indonesia and the Philippines.
A total of 7,610 firms worldwide are in partnership with ACCA to recruit students and members.
The best part of ACCA is it offers flexibility without compromising on educational standards, Hasan said.
"We have many bright students who are taking BBA classes at universities and simultaneously taking ACCA exams and they enter the job market with a significant edge, compared to their classmates," Hasan said.
"You will never lose yourself in too many processes and formalities on the way to becoming an ACCA."
Just register, study and take the global exams for 13 papers, which would cost no more than Tk2.5lakh, less than at a local private university, he said.
ACCA also has five learning partners which offer tuition on the exam papers: three are in Dhaka, one in Chattogram and one in Sylhet and which cost roughly another 1.5 lakh for all course classes.
ACCA certification also exempts papers for students based on their background. For example, accounting graduates get exemption for up to four papers, which is up to three for finance graduates.
Qualified chartered accountants or cost and management accountants also get some papers exempted when pursuing the ACCA qualification.
Students having accomplished their A levels have to take 13 papers, while after HSC, a Bangladeshi student needs to take four additional foundation courses as ACCA curriculum to make up for any deficiency in communication, applied accounting and some other mandatory knowledge and skills.
"Paper exemption or addition depends on ACCA evaluation of the degrees a student comes with," Hasan said.
An HSC in Business Management and Technology under the Bangladesh Technical Education Board means exemption from two ACCA papers as the board has already upgraded its accounting curriculum standards in line with ACCA's in collaboration with them.
ACCA students, having accomplished their nine papers and a year in a job, are awarded CAT (Certified Accounting Technician) qualifications, which has a high demand in the market of entry level accounting jobs.
On the other hand, ACCA members who have ambitions for further career growth are offered bachelors and masters degrees by reputed British universities in partnership with the association.
An ACCA member having five years in the profession and participating in the association's continuous development programs becomes a fully qualified member of ACCA and is called a Fellow Member of the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants (FCCA).
"ACCA offers students and members many things step by step and it is up to them how far they want to ascend," said Hasan.
The Bangladesh ACCA community of around 500 members includes a large number of corporate leaders, chief financial officers, accounting heads, consultants and auditors.
ACCA, which began its journey in the UK in 1904, opened its Bangladesh office in 2010, 70 years after it opened its doors in Malaysia. Currently, ACCA has 110 offices in 51 countries.
It also has footprints in 178 countries, boasting 5.33 lakh students worldwide. The number of its qualified members is 2.36 lakh.
Some 346 learning partners across the globe are providing tuition to ACCA students.
At present, around 5,000 students are registered in Bangladesh for the exams, which are taken four times a year simultaneously across the globe.
Hasan believes the number of ACCA students will grow fast in the country because of the flexibility, standard and global appeal of the system.
"We are also working with local universities and colleges regarding increased collaboration," he added.