US-based couple Heer Mehta CPA (Aust.) and Jameson John, CPA (Aust.) completed the CPA Australia designation together to distinguish themselves on the global stage while improving their business acumen.
In an era of rapid and continuous change, professionals in accounting and financial fields require unique opportunities to accelerate their career growth and gain a global outlook.
Since 2009, a Mutual Recognition Agreement (MRA) between two peak professional accounting bodies, CPA Australia and the Institute of Chartered Accountants of India (ICAI), has been a powerful vehicle to promote the professional development of accounting professionals in India.
In 2017, Heer Mehta CPA (Aust.) and Jameson John, CPA (Aust.) discovered the CPA Australia designation and decided to pursue this professional accreditation through the MRA pathway.
“In addition to my CA qualification by ICAI, I wanted to hold a designation which would help me enhance my knowledge and broaden my professional network globally,” says Heer, Financial Controller at Epsilon Acquisition Services.
The CPA Program complements the CA course by ICAI further with two subjects – Global Strategy and Leadership (CPA Program) and Better Practice in Governance and Accountability (CPA online module) to give ICAI members a global perspective.
Heer, who completed the CPA Program in 2018, says it was “a valuable opportunity to build on management-level decision-making and business development through subjects like Global Strategy and Leadership that combine the knowledge of financial accounting and management with concepts of strategy and leadership.”
Moreover, she explains that the skills learnt from completing the subject have practical implications for business management.
Heer has found that global recognition from having a CPA Australia designation has meant an increase in her career prospects across ANZ and South-East Asia regions. When building an international career, possessing such credentials can be instrumental in creating professional networks and attracting employers.
Jameson, like Heer, started his career in the industry after completing the CA course from ICAI in 2016.
Currently as Finance Head, North America at Wipro Infrastructure Engineering, he says, “While I worked for a reputable company with great exposure and learning, I always questioned myself as to how I could further enhance my professional profile and differentiate myself from my peers.”
For many professionals, earning a global qualification to stand out from your peers in your field shows demonstrated commitment to understanding and excellence in your profession.
When Jameson first realised that he wanted to pursue a professional credential, he sought to find one that was globally recognised and that would augment his current Indian qualification.
After researching his options, he decided on CPA Australia, mainly due to the MRA with ICAI and the institution’s networking reach in the ANZ and Singapore regions.
CPA Australia, one of the world’s largest professional accounting bodies, positions its post-graduate CPA designation and ongoing professional development as a foundation for business leaders and those who aspire to lead.
A step towards enhanced management skills
One of the most rewarding benefits of the CPA Program for Jameson was learning practical concepts from the course and watching them being put into practice in a real business scenario.
It was through the many industry examples provided within the Global Strategy and Leadership modules, that Jameson was able to expand his business management capabilities.
“At that time of studying the course”, says Jameson, “I worked in a business finance role and was able to relate the topics to my employer’s business with the help of these examples and illustrations.”
Jameson advises that, as a professional, completing individual smaller tasks requires the ability to always be informed by the “big picture”.
“Keeping this ‘big picture’ in mind can help deliver high-quality outcomes for every project and improve communication between coworkers and stakeholders,” he says.
For Heer, a significant benefit of the program was how it connects important concepts of accountancy and management. By making these links, she increased her ability to form business processes critically and strategically.
“I could understand the business better and communicate with the management and stakeholders,” says Heer, who was motivated to gain an understanding of management decision-making.
A window to international exposure
Jameson believes the CPA Australia designation is lucrative for Indians who wish to grow their professional network and to enhance their professional resume.
Earlier in his professional career, Jameson was always looking for ways to distinguish himself from his peers.
“Having an international stint is important for various reasons,” says Jameson. “It provides an opportunity to experience a different work culture and helps in gaining first-hand exposure to the functioning of businesses and associated laws, financial frameworks and business practices in a foreign land.”
This is why Jameson was delighted to accept a challenging position in the US although working in the US was not a specific part of his career plan.
“Candidates with a globally recognised qualification such as the CPA Australia designation would be in a better position to be considered for interview opportunities at multinational companies,” Jameson says.
However, Jameson believes that having a CPA Australia designation does not guarantee a dream job overseas. He emphasises that beyond qualifications, there are other factors involved in career progress such as work ethics, hard work and perseverance.
Heer recommends CPA Australia to students and professionals who wish to improve their understanding of international business standards and who are searching for ways to network with professionals around the world.
“Holding an international designation like CPA Australia is always a value-addition to existing qualifications, provides good opportunities and helps you stand out from other professionals,” Heer says.
She credits a solid educational background and work experience as important factors in seeking international opportunities. “While I moved to the US with my husband, my professional designations which are the CA course from ICAI and CPA Australia designation along with over six years of experience including MNCs, helped me find a job despite my lack of local experience which is commonly sought after by potential hirers.”
Gaining access to a diverse network
For Jameson, being a member of a reputable institution like CPA Australia adds direct value to his resume.
“The CPA Australia designation has given me better visibility within and outside my organisation,” he says. “It has provided me with avenues to expand my professional network globally, which will benefit me in the long run.”
CPA Australia periodically organises seminars and Jameson was able to attend one in Bangalore. He found the seminar to be “an excellent place to network and expand his professional reach.”
For Heer as well, one of the most valuable benefits is access to numerous professional networks especially in South-East Asia and ANZ.
Additionally, Heer was inspired by the experiences shared by other professionals at the seminars she attended in India.
A fast track path to success
“I am very thankful to ICAI for this international collaboration with CPA Australia. The MRA has been invaluable for us, helping us to learn and connect with professionals.”
Both Heer and Jameson found the course material and online delivery of the CPA Program engaging and convenient for self-study.
“The online learning was a very good and different experience for me,” Heer says. “After I registered through the MRA, I received study material and a list of online learnings that I could take up to successfully complete this course.”
Jameson too thoroughly enjoyed the online learning experience. “The online resources such as exercises, case studies, study circles and mock tests were very useful while preparing for the exams,” he says.
Both Heer and Jameson hope to see further collaborations between ICAI and CPA Australia in the future and look forward to industrial training overseas, more co-hosted seminars as well as joint certification courses to help both aspiring students and experienced professionals.
“It would be great for budding professionals if they could have an opportunity that would allow them to get experience working in different countries for a better understanding of international standards,” Heer says.
*Note: Any members who embark on the MRA route wishing to undertake any Public Accounting Services must obtain certification/licenses and/or meet legislative requirements as may be in force in the relevant country and requirements that may be imposed for granting a certificate of practice.