An agreement signed by the Ministry of Finance and the British Association of Chartered Certified Accountants on Tuesday will establish an auditing and accounting training program that will make Cambodian professionals internationally competitive, economic experts said this week.
“Our accountants and auditors will reach the same standards as many other professional accountants and auditors in 160 countries around the world,” said Finance Ministry Undersecretary of State Ngy Tayi.
ACCA, a global accountancy body whose credentials are internationally recognized, established training programs in early May with the Kampuchea Institute for Certified Public Accountant and Auditors, Ngy Tayi said. The courses, designed by the local training and research institute CamEd, will prepare 100 Cambodian accountants and auditors to pass ACCA’s rigorous test on international accounting and auditing standards, Ngy Tayi said.
The government’s March passage of a law on the auditing and accounting of corporate accounts drew Cambodia closer to meeting standards recognized by the international community. Now the test lies in the development of Cambodia’s human resources, which ACCA will help to do, said ACCA Chief Executive Anthea Rose.
“I don’t think [development] will be particularly fast here because of the cultural difference. People have to understand that English is the international language. And they need to understand the exam is damn hard,” Rose said.
The exam is also expensive. The cost of an ACCA test can be up to $3,000, Rose said, a price out of reach for most Cambodians. Until Cambodia’s colleges become endowed enough to relieve students of the cost burden, firms like PricewaterhouseCoopers will bear the burden, she said.
“When these colleges get really operational, that’s where the market will be created because people will want to do [the test],” Rose said.
And people will have to do it, said PricewaterhouseCoopers’ senior country director, Senaka Fernando.
“All professional staff are put through the [ACCA] course. There is no choice,” Fernando said. PricewaterhouseCoopers employs Cambodia’s first and only accountant to receive ACCA certification, he said. Forty other Cambodian staff members soon will be enrolled in an ACCA training course, he said.