Gains for the workforce clear through partnership

June 02, 2024 | 09:00
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The Association of Chartered Certified Accountants (ACCA) has signed an MoU to provide training and improve VIB’s human resource capacity. Ren Varma, head of mainland Southeast Asia for the ACCA, talked to VIR’s Linh Le about the dynamic and evolving finance and accounting landscape in Southeast Asia, while also addressing challenges such as the need for skilled professionals and compliance with international standards.

How do you assess the current finance/accounting landscape in the Southeast Asian region?

I would say that the finance and accounting landscape in Southeast Asia is very dynamic and rapidly evolving. One of the main advantages that we see in the region is the economic growth potential, driven by factors such as increase in foreign direct investments, expanding markets and technological developments.

Gains for the workforce clear through partnership
Ren Varma, head of mainland Southeast Asia for the ACCA

However, along with this comes challenges. One of the key challenges is the need for skilled finance and accounting professionals who can navigate complex regulatory environments and adapt to changing market dynamics. Additionally, issues such as financial transparency, compliance with international standards like IFRS and talent retention remain areas of focus for organisations operating within this mainland Southeast Asia region.

Are Vietnamese accounting and finance professionals adequately prepared to support the country’s growth potential?

Definitely. Vietnam has a talented and aspirational young population. The amount of investment that is coming into Vietnam is proof of how, within the region itself, Vietnam is coming up as a leader, so there is natural readiness in the market.

To further assist with that, organisations like the ACCA and partnerships we have with local entities are creating a platform so that this younger population can access internationally recognised qualifications and bring up the level of skill for accounting/finance professionals.

What were the key motivations for both the ACCA and VIB to enter into the newly signed partnership?

The partnership between stems from a shared commitment to promote excellence in the financing and accounting professions. For the ACCA, this partnership presents an opportunity to leverage expertise in delivery of professional education and certification to support VIB in enhancing the skills and capabilities of their employees and their workforce.

And for VIB, this provides access to the ACCA’s global resources, enabling its employees to acquire internationally recognised qualification as well as staying abreast of industry practices, especially in areas like sustainability and IFRS.

The specific programmes included in the agreement were for the two sides to work together for a fast-track programme, offering a range of training initiatives and certification pathways for VIB’s workforce, as well as proficient development opportunities.

How will the success of this partnership be measured over time?

The success of this partnership can be measured using a number of metrics, for example, the number of VIB employees who would be enrolling for the ACCA qualification, the pass rates in ACCA examinations and the extent to which they apply the learning in their roles within VIB, in addition to long-term impacts like talent retention. These are some of the metrics that we can actually measure.

Again, the ACCA remains firmly committed to being a trusted partner for VIB. The partnership offers VIB a clear benefit: a more skilled and well-rounded workforce equipped with the latest international standards. This translates to a competitive advantage for VIB and reinforces the long-term positive impact of this collaboration. And those are also some of the areas in which we can see the long-term impacts of the partnership.

Are there any plans in the pipeline to expand this type of partnership with other organisations in the region?

As the region continues to experience economic growth and digital transformation, there will be an increasing demand for skilled finance professionals. So similar to VIB, we will be working with other institutions within banking, financial services, and insurance as well as with a number of universities within the region. In Vietnam, we already work in partnerships with over 40 universities to provide ACCA qualification. The idea, again, is to bring up trained and skilled finance professionals and to support the growth of the community and the whole economy.

How do you envision the future of such collaborations in advancing the finance and accounting profession in Southeast Asia?

We envision finance and accounting professionals within this sector as key drivers of organisational growth, resilience, and sustainability. Equipped with skills, knowledge and ethical standards, they can navigate the complex challenges and seize opportunities in a rapidly changing environment.

Through strategic partnerships like this, thought leadership initiatives and continuous professional development, we aim to empower professionals to lead with integrity, adaptability, and forward-thinking mindset, ultimately contributing to Vietnam's economic prosperity and social progress as well.

What advice would you give to young finance/accounting professionals starting their careers?

No organisation can operate without a finance professional - that's a non-changing requirement. In this changing world, the role of finance professionals is much more crucial, and it's important to have trained professionals who will be able to navigate complex and dynamic regulatory scenes and the changing digital landscape.

So the opportunities are innumerable, and it's always good to have a qualification that is recognised internationally so you can be a future finance professional, not just for Vietnam, but for the globe as well.

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By Linh Le

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