Practical Experience

As members of the International Federation of Accountants (IFAC), MICPA have adopted the IFAC framework for the Practical Experience component of the MICPA-CAANZ Programme, which prescribes the practical experience that candidates of member bodies need to complete before they qualify as accountants.

According to IFAC, practical experience provides a professional environment in which aspiring professional accountants develop competence by:

  • Becoming aware of the environment in which services are provided;
  • Enhancing their understanding of organisations, how business works and professional relationships;
  • Being able to relate accounting work to other business functions and activities;
  • Developing the appropriate professional values, ethics and attitudes in practical real-life situations; and
  • Having an opportunity to develop at progressive levels of responsibility while under appropriate levels of supervision.
Approved Practical Experience

Work experience forms an integral part of the MICPA-CAANZ Programme process. However, there is no standard model for the work experience to be given to every student. It varies from student to student and from office to office.

Sufficient practical experience has a blend of depth and breadth, knowledge and application and, where appropriate, integration of material from different areas applied to a range of situations and contexts. The breadth of practical experience is affected by factors such as: nature of role; level of proficiency; national or local laws; requirements of regulatory authorities; and the public’s expectation for professional competence. The depth of practical experience is affected by factors such as the variety and complexity of tasks as well as the level of supervisory and monitoring support.

Combining formal accounting education with practical experience produces competent
CPAs with appropriate values, ethics and attitudes, who are capable of making a positive contribution to the profession and society.

There are two routes of training under Approved Training Employers (ATEs) leading to the CPA qualification:

Stream I

Stream I is the traditional route of training where you will work in the office of a CPA in public practice under a training contract. You will gain experience in a wide range of services, exposing you to a great variety of clients. Your service will be highly valued by all types of organisations.

 
Stream II

Stream II is where candidates may undertake the MICPA-CAANZ Programme whilst employed outside public practice, by an Approved Training Organisation (ATO) under the supervision of a member of MICPA or recognised professional body. Candidates are not required to enter into a training contract but must maintain a training log book as a record of their practical experience.

 

As a general guide, the following categories of experience are held to be fundamental to the work of professional accountants.

Financial Accounting Financial Management
Auditing Insolvency
General Practice Treasury
Management Accounting Information Systems Consultancy
Taxation Comparable Sub-divisions of Accounting

All potential CPAs under the MICPA-CAANZ Programme are required to obtain not less than 3 years of approved mentored practical experience.

List of ATEs

Transfer of Stream

The candidate must inform the Institute promptly of any transfer of training supervisor or Approved Training Employer (ATE).
Please contact the Institute’s Student Affairs Department for information on registration as a student and transfer in streams of training.

Competencies

The areas of workplace competency expected of a Certified Public Accountant at the point of admission to membership are outlined below and categorised according to technical and non- technical areas and their level of complexity.

You are expected to develop competency in at least two technical areas and all of the non-technical areas over your three years of qualifying practical experience.

Technical competencies

  • Accounting information systems
  • Auditing
  • External reporting
  • Financial management
  • Insolvency and reconstructions
  • Management accounting
  • Taxation
  • Financial advice

Non-technical competencies

  • Teamwork
  • Organisational skills
  • Research and evaluation
  • Decision making
  • Exercising ethical and professional behaviour
  • Communication and interpersonal skills
Training Contract / Log Book
Stream I

Candidates under Stream I are required to enter into a 3-year tri-partite Training Contract between themselves, the Institute and the ATE (represented by their mentor). The 3-years’ practical experience is calculated from the date the Training Contract is signed.

A Stream I student must enter into a 3-year training contract with a principal who is a member of MICPA or member bodies in the Global Accounting Alliance in practice in Malaysia. Under the training contract:

  • Candidate’s registration fee and annual fees are paid by the principal
  • The principal shall allow the student reasonable study leave
  • Candidate is allowed to access to resources such as a technical library, the internet, professional journals etc

If a candidate resigns from the principal’s firm before completing his training contract, his registration as a candidate of the Institute will be deemed as terminated on that date unless a transfer of principal or stream has been executed.

Training Contract template
Stream II

A Stream II candidate must work with an Approved Training Organisation (ATO) of the Institute. The candidate is not required to enter into a training contract but must maintain a log book detailing the experience they have gained throughout the 3 years.

The ATO:

  • Monitors and supervises the candidate’s work experience by a member of recognised accountancy bodies
  • Provides reasonable days of study leave to students
  • Allows students to access to resources such as a technical library, the internet, professional journals etc.
Log Book template
Roles & Responsibilities

There are three parties involved in the Practical Experience component – candidates, mentors and Approved Training Employers (ATE). The responsibilities of each party are set out below:

CANDIDATE MENTOR ATE
Obtaining employment with an ATE and assigned a mentor Registering as the candidate’s mentor by signing the Training Contract Applying for ATE status before the candidate’s commencement of the period of practical experience
Keeping a record of the experience they have gained Acting as a guide, coach and role model for the candidate Providing a range and depth of practical experience
Developing a training plan in conjunction with their mentor Developing a training plan in conjunction with the candidate
Ensuring records of experience are signed off Meeting regularly with the candidate to review experience gained and set objectives for the next period Providing an appropriate environment to support the candidate through the MICPA-CAANZ Programme
Completing the required period of practical experience Helping transfer information to a new mentor, if required Running a formal performance appraisal process to monitor and review the candidate’s progress
Advising the Institute of any change in their situation (for example, change of mentor or employer). Confirming and signing off on training records for the candidate should there be any changes to mentor and/or employer
Enrolling into Programme modules on time Supporting the candidate to prepare for the Program modules Allowing time for candidates to participate in the Programme learning and assessment activities
Successfully completing all modules Supporting the candidate through the Program and, on the completion of their practical experience, confirmation that the candidate is fit and proper in their application for membership Motivating and supporting candidates as they prepare for the Programme
Recognition of Work Experience
  • Work experience gained prior to registering as a MICPA-CAANZ Programme candidate is not recognized.
  • The 3-year practical experience is clocked from the date the Training Contract is signed (Stream I) or the date of registration as a candidate of the Programme (Stream II).
  • Work experience with an ATE is recognized in periods of 1 year or more. Should a candidate be employed for less than 1 year at a particular ATE before joining a new one, that work experience is not recognized and will not count towards the 3-year requirement.
  • Candidates must keep the Institute informed of any changes in employment in order to ensure that differences do not arise in the computation of practical experience duration that could potentially affect their membership application in the future. If unsure at any point, please consult with the Student Affairs Department.
  • Candidates cannot have more than 1 year’s gap between recognized practical experience, in order for all work experience to be counted towards the 3-year requirement.