Friday, September 12, 2014

The Institute of Chartered Accountants Sri Lanka – Leading students astray


It is VERY regrettable that the Accountancy Profession in Sri Lanka, much to my disappointment,  and all the pompous words emanating from their senior decision making body is going the way of the Rabid Dogs, like the Legal Profession and the Medical Professions before them.

The Institute has just put out a series of half page ads costing millions, especially after the recently concluded A level exams, firstly showing with photos and names that the top 10 in the Island in the Commerce Stream at the 2013 August A levels have ALL consented to study for the chartered accountancy qualification carried out by the said Institute! This is an invitation if ever there was one, that this is the preferred mode for the newly minted lot too!

A powerful ad like that will persuade any parent to direct their kids to that, by getting them first to enroll them in, first as students, then into a related tutory to follow the study course, and thirdly to sit for the first CAB exam the start in this long road to impending doom for the many.


Let us start with the enrollment of the students. There is an annual fee as a student who is enrolled, as without it one cannot sit the exams, and if one is late one is charged a punitive late fee too! To keep them in check and ensnared by force, and indirect threat of expulsion. The Starting fee is Rs7,400 see the attached and click on the registration and initial course fee.

In a recent document from the profession they said that there were 45,000 students enrolled and at most 450 qualify a year. So we have 100 years of students enrolled! With at most 10% of students, who will be able to be employed either as part of fully qualified accountants the institute is  fooling at least 40,000 of those students!     

They have lost what they are here for, and have put petty personal and greedy goals infront of, and I have now come to the conclusion instead of the noble goal to create a product of excellence that can hold its own anywhere in the world with pride. It is them who can contribute directly by unparalleled professionalism to the rapid growth of the Sri Lankan Economy to achieve the targets that the State has set and an economy that is both equitably fair, and will be on course for a GNP per capita of US$7,000 by 2020.

While I believe this goal is possible and do able, I don’t believe the profession by their action, is contributing to that target AT ALL.

I am speaking as one who is a Chartered Accountant and mercifully from the Institute in England and Wales and did not seek reciprocity with the local one, who qualified 33 years ago. I wish to add that I am not currently seeking to make it more difficult for qualified accountants to obtain employment in Sri Lanka, by presenting myself to the employment pool, and remind every applicant I meet for employment in accounting of this fact, as they struggle desperately to find a job.

I am writing in my capacity as an unpaid adviser to desperate job seekers, in tears due to their inability to obtain employment in the accountancy field. I have to firstly explain the plight the Institute has wronged them into, and secondly trying to get them to accept the current predicament they are in, and MORE importantly in doing my utmost into mentally transforming them into an optimistic person in their employment search, where they are willing to explore the possibility of other avenues to achieve their personal goals in life.

I have helped those at various stages of qualification get jobs, (all without a fee, I might add, and as our culture has it, NO thanks from the person who gets the job once they are able to secure the position either!) In preparation for their job, I first have to get them to prepare a Resume at least worthy of getting an interview as most CV even from qualified accountants would not even get a look in if sent!

The gulf between expectation and disappointment, once they realize what the real world for accountants is like is mind bogglingly disheartening.


MY RECOMMENDATION – Stop being indecently greedy, as the entry requirement is just too lax. Have an entrance exam that restricts the annual student numbers to only 2,000, but the exam must test analytical skills and NOT ability to pass exams. Take these 2,000 and give them the training to run any company on the face of the earth. 

You will then have an Institute that is respected worldwide and alumni that are likewise employable globally. The insinuation that the current syllabus has been upgraded to fit with the times and therefore will answer my allegations is just hogwash. That in itself is NOT enough, until you have people who are designated trainers who know how to get the most of the students under their tutelage. Let us hope those preening peacock primadonnas of the Institute read this, and  act to save the profession from disgrace, and possible agitation against their unethical policies and misleading claims. 

No wonder accountants are NOT permitted to advertise. See what a mess the Institute has made by trying to do it themselves! One of the most misleading ads in Sri Lankan print media of late!  

3 comments:

Anonymous said...

Why can't Sri Lankan Institutions act in a reasonable manner?

All of society including the higher earners like Accountants, Doctors and Lawyers turn out to be crooks feeding off people who are less better of than them.

Surely it should be the other way round? Worse few of either of this lot pay any taxes!

Anonymous said...

First throw the bums out from the Council or take them to the HR Court for FR violation, based on misleading statements aimed at fooling impressionable people into believing something that is NOT

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