The Asean Economic Community (AEC): Golden Opportunities for Indonesian Accountants

On 25 August 2008 in Singapore, the Asean Economic Ministers signed a Mutual Recognition Agreement (MRA) Framework on Accountancy Services. Through the agreement, the ASEAN countries have agreed on a free mobility of skilled labor for it guarantees ASEAN citizens enter and exit any ASEAN country without any barriers.

As of January 2015, there were 24,587 registered accountants in Indonesia. The number is lower than that of Singapore, with 28,891 accountants. Malaysia had 31,815 accountants, while Thailand had 62.739 accountants, including bookkeepers (Avianti, 2015). With a much bigger population, Indonesia should actually have more accountants than do Singapore and Thailand.

Lack in number is one thing. Another thing is, many of the existing accountants still need competencies that are globally recognized through certification by such national organizations as IAI and IAPI and international organizations such as ACCA and ICAEW. International professional certification is a proof that an accountant possesses internationally standardized competencies.

Failure to produce nationally an adequate number of professional accountants will result in a situation where such positions will be filled in by accountants from the neighboring countries. Singapore and Malaysia are among the ASEAN countries in which companies require their accountants to be certified by the ACCA (the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants).

ACCA is an official global organization that provides certification for professional accountants. The organization issues different certificates for professionals worldwide who are seeking careers in accountancy, finance, and management. ACCA have 188,000 members and 480,000 students from 178 countries. With the skills most sought after by corporations worldwide, they all are ready to help accountants develop successful careers in the areas of accountancy and business. Candidates who meet ACCA’s strict requirements will achieve international recognition in over 180 countries for their knowledge, skills, and competencies in such areas as Business Accounting, Accounting Management, Financial Accounting, Business Law, Business Management, Taxation, Financial Reporting, Auditing, and Financial Management.

In the future, only highly competent professionals who will be able to compete and survive in the AEC era. Competition will be more intense not only among Indonesian accountants, but also among all accountants from all ASEAN countries. In response to inevitable trend, the Harapan Bangsa Business School has signed a collaboration agreement on certification program with ACCA. Through this collaboration, Harapan Bangsa Accounting Program graduates will have the ACCA international qualification required to develop a professional career and thus bring positive changes in businesses in Indonesia or elsewhere around the globe.

Hanryono, S.E., M.Ak.

Chair, Accounting Study Program, Harapan Bangsa Business School, ITHB