Profile of the Country
1. Information of the Country
Ranked as one of the most progressive and diversified economies in ASEAN, Malaysia is poised to become a high-income economy in the near future, providing it can implement structural reforms to scale up global and regional value chains and escape the middle-income trap.
In line with developed economy models, Malaysia emphasises the growth of strategic services whilst strengthening manufacturing and defending its position as a leading global exporter and one of the world’s most open trading nations.
One of these strategic services that has been earmarked as a key economic and social driver is accounting services. The accounting profession continues to play an invaluable role in nation building by supporting the continuing development of the Malaysian economy, from facilitating business, trade, taxation and investment, to promoting ethical practices and adherence to international standards.
As the regulator and developer of the accounting profession in Malaysia, the Malaysian Institute of Accountants (MIA) spearheads the ongoing transformation of the accounting profession to support nation building and sustainable economic growth. Established under the Accountants Act 1967, the MIA is a statutory body that regulates, develops, supports and enhances the integrity, status and interests of the profession in Malaysia. MIA accords the Chartered Accountant Malaysia or C.A. (M) designation to a professional in accountancy, business and finance with a recognised qualification and relevant work experience.
Working closely alongside businesses, MIA connects its approximately 35,500 members to an unmatched range of information, resources, events, professional development and networking opportunities across diverse industries in Malaysia and around the world. Currently, its members operate in four key segments – public practice, professional accountants in business (PAIBs), public sector, and academia.
MIA’s international outlook and connections are reflected in its membership of and strategic collaborations with regional and international professional organisations such as the ASEAN Federation of Accountants (AFA), and the International Federation of Accountants (IFAC).
To remain relevant and future-proof its members, MIA pays close attention to future developments impacting business, specifically the digital revolution and its impacts on the profession via automation, blockchain, cloud and cybersecurity, and data analytics. To advocate technology adoption, MIA issued its Digital Technology Blueprint in 2018 to guide members on their proactive digital strategy over the next 5 years, which in turn will support the country’s advocacy of the shift to Industrial 4.0 and the migration to cyberphysical systems.
2. Professional Associations
Malaysian Institute of Certified Public Accountants
The MICPA is a member voluntary organisation, responsible in developing the accounting profession in Malaysia by providing accounting graduates with an avenue to become a Certified Public Accountant, or better known as CPA since 1958. MICPA has the following mission:
- to enhance the value and distinctiveness of the CPA qualification.
- to promote high standards of professional conduct and technical competence of members to safeguard public interest.
- to provide quality professional education and training thereby creating a competitive advantage for members.
3. Qualifying as an Accountants
There are 3 classes of members in MIA:
- Chartered Accountants;
- Licensed Accountants*; and
- Associate Members.
* The “Licensed Accountants” class of members was a historical arrangement and is no longer relevant.
No person shall be admitted by the Council as a member of the MIA if the person is less than 21 years of age or if in the opinion of the Council, the person is not a fit and proper person to be admitted as a member.
- Chartered Accountants
In order to qualify as a Chartered Accountant, one has to meet the following criteria:
- has passed any of the final examinations specified in Part I of the First Schedule and has not less than three years’ practical accounting experience in the service of a Chartered Accountant or in a Government department, bank, insurance company, local authority or other commercial, financial, industrial or professional organisation or other undertaking approved by the Council;
- a member of any of the recognised bodies specified in Part II of the First Schedule;
- eligible to sit for and has passed the MIA Qualifying Examination and has not less than three years practical accounting experience in the service of a Chartered Accountant or in a Government department, bank, insurance company, local authority or other commercial, financial, industrial or professional organisation or other undertaking approved by the Council; or
- has authority under subsection 8(2) and (6) of the Companies Act 2016 [Act 125] to act as a company auditor without limitation or conditions.
The examinations listed in Part I of the First Schedule can be found here.
The recognised bodies in Part II of the First Schedule are:
- Malaysian Institute of Certified Public Accountants;
- Institute of Chartered Accountants of Scotland;
- Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales;
- Institute of Chartered Accountants in Ireland;
- Association of Chartered Certified Accountants;
- Institute of Chartered Accountants in Australia;
- Certified Practising Accountants Australia;
- New Zealand Institute of Chartered Accountants;
- Canadian Institute of Chartered Accountants;
- Institute of Chartered Accountants of India; and
- Chartered Institute of Management Accountants.
Any member who has been registered as a Chartered Accountant shall, so long as registered and continues to act as a Chartered Accountant, can be described as a “Chartered Accountant”, and may use the letters “C.A.(M)” after their name.
Under the law, the Qualifying Examination (QE) of MIA:
- shall be conducted by the examination body approved by the Council; and
- shall not be conducted without the approval of the Examination Committee.
An individual shall only be eligible to sit for the MIA QE if he possesses:
- Qualification should not be lower than a first degree relating to accounting, business or finance recognised by the Public Service Department (JPA) or other qualification recognised by MIA Council; and
- The accounting content of the above qualification must not be less than 60% from the total qualification.
- Associate Member
Associate Member is a class of MIA membership that caters to members of the academia who satisfy the MIA Council’s requirements as detailed here.
An Associate Member is entitled to all the privileges accorded to a member who is a Chartered Accountant or a Licensed Accountant but is not entitled to vote at the meetings of the MIA.
There are currently approximately 35,500 members registered with the MIA. Out of this, 59% hold qualifications from other recognised professional bodies while 39% were from recognised universities and only 1% from MIA Qualifying Examination. The statistics also show that almost 99% members registered were classified as a Chartered Accountant and the majority of the members (almost 68%) are professional accountants employed in the business sector while 22% of them were in public practice.
4. Working as an Accountant in Malaysia
In Malaysia, to practice or obtain the ‘Chartered Accountant’ or ‘CA (M)’ status, one is required to be registered with MIA. As per the Act, “No person shall unless registered as a chartered accountant and has his principal or only place of residence within Malaysia:
- practise or hold himself out as a chartered accountant, auditor, tax consultant, tax adviser or any other like description;
- adopt, use or exhibit the terms “chartered accountant”, “auditor”, “tax consultant”, “tax adviser” or any other term of like description; or
- adopt, use or exhibit the term “accountant” or any other term of like description in such circumstances as to indicate or to be likely to lead persons to infer that the person is a chartered accountant or that the person is qualified by any written law to practice the profession of or is in practice as a chartered accountant.”
MIA members are governed by the Accountants Act 1967, the Rules and the By-Laws (On Professional Ethics, Conduct and Practice) of MIA.
MIA members encompass Professional Accountants in Business (PAIB) which comprise of members in commerce, industries, financial services and in the public sector, as well as those in public practice.
Befitting their diverse skillsets, MIA members in PAIB play diverse roles in their organisations, ranging from leadership and management; operational; management accounting and control; to accounting and stakeholder communications.
Public practice is similarly diverse. Members in public practice may carry out public practice services such as accounting, audit, liquidation, tax and other related services. In order to set up firms providing public practice services, an MIA member is required to have a valid MIA practising certificate. However, the practice of audit, liquidation and tax are licensed under other legislations i.e. the Companies Act 2016 and the Income Tax Act 1967.
Members who wish to set up a practice must first obtain the approval of the MIA on the use of the firm’s name. It should not be a trade or association name.
A member, in most instances, is allowed to be engaged in public practice as a sole practitioner or in partnership only with another member(s) as the Act and By-Laws prohibits the sharing of profits with non-members. All firms in public practice are described as firms of chartered accountants (or licensed accountants, where applicable).
Further details on setting up public practice in Malaysia can be found here.
5. Law and Regulations on Accountancy Practice
The law governing the profession is the Accountants Act 1967, which was revised in 2001. The accountancy profession in Malaysia is under the purview of Ministry of Finance (MOF). The Malaysian Institute of Accountants (MIA) is entrusted by the Audit Oversight Board (AOB) to set the auditing and ethics standards; and to monitor the implementation of those standards for the accountants and the profession. The Malaysian Accounting Standard Board (MASB) is responsible to set the Financial Reporting Standards (FRS) for the country.
Under the Accountants Act 1967, the functions of MIA include:
- to determine the qualifications of persons for admission as members;
- to provide for the training and education by the MIA or any other body, of persons practising or intending to practice accountancy profession;
- to approve the MIA Qualifying Examination and to regulate and supervise the conduct of that Examination;
- to regulate the practice of the accountancy profession in Malaysia;
- to promote, in any manner it thinks fit, the interests of the accountancy profession in Malaysia;
- to render pecuniary or other assistance to members or their dependents as it thinks fit with a view to protecting or promoting the welfare of members; and
- generally to do such acts as it thinks fit for the purpose of achieving any of the aforesaid objects.
In order to perform its duties under the law, MIA is allowed to create any rules and table it at any general meeting for approval in areas, amongst others, such as:
- the regulation of the practice of the profession of accountancy in Malaysia;
- the admission of members, the fees payable by members on admission and the manner in which a person shall cease to be a member;
- the qualifications of persons for admission as members;
- the training or education of candidates for admission as members and the fees payable;
- the practical experience required for registration as chartered accountants and the authority of the Council or any Committee thereof to approve places of employment in which the practical experience may be obtained;
- the classification from time to time of members;
- the election, appointment, resignation and removal of members of the Council;
- subject to appointment by the Minister on the advice of the Accountant General, the election, appointment, resignation and removal of the President and the Vice President of the Institute; and
- the procedure of the Investigation Committee, the Disciplinary Committee, the Disciplinary Appeal Board and the procedure relating to any complaint to any such Committee.
There are several MIA rules applicable to the accountancy profession such as:
- Membership and Council Rules 2001;
- By Laws (On Professional Conduct, Ethics and Practice);
- Disciplinary Rules 2001;
The accountancy profession is also governed by the Companies Act 2016, Financial Reporting Act 1997, Central Bank of Malaysia Act 2009, and the Securities Commission Malaysia Act 1993, among others.
6. Monitoring Commitee
6.1. List of the member
SALIHIN ABANG - President, Malaysian Institute of Accountants
1. HUANG SHZE JIUN - Vice President, Malaysian Institute of Accountants
2. JAFRIL JUNIT - Representative of Accountant General Department
3. DATO' ABDUL RAUF RASHID - Council member
4. DATO’ MERINA ABU TAHIR - Council member
5. RENGANATHAN A/L RENGANATHAN KANNAN - Council member
6. PROF. DR ROMLAH JAFFAR – Council member
7. DR NURMAZILAH DATO’ MAHZAN - Chief Executive Officer, Malaysian Institute of Accountants
6.2. Assesment Statements