Who runs the world? Apparently, some really cool ACCA-holders.
Short for the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants, an ACCA qualification can lead you to a myriad of opportunities — and not just the financial kind. These successful and famous ACCA-qualified professionals prove that this qualification doesn’t just limit you to accounting firms. In fact, it can open some really cool doors!
#1. Tony Fernandes
What does an auditor who propelled his way up the music industry do when he wants to quit the entertainment business? Buy a struggling airline for RM1 and turn it around in less than two years!
Tan Sri Dr. Tony Fernandes is best known for leading AirAsia to become the largest low-cost airline in Asia. But a peek into his illustrious career will showcase a dazzling range of companies and ventures under his belt, including music record labels, hotels, Formula 1 racing and even Premier League football.
A graduate in accounting from the prestigious London School of Economics (LSE), he was also an Associate Member of ACCA, proving that a strong background in accounting and finance can help you build a successful career.
#2. Datuk Mohd Nasir Ahmad
The Chairman of CIMB Group Holdings, Datuk Mohd Nasir Ahmad holds the prestigious status of an ACCA Fellow and is also a member of the Malaysian Institute of Accountants (MIA).
He first began his career in finance as a trainee accountant with Tenaga Nasional Berhad (TNB). This was only the start of his noteworthy career. Today, Datuk Nasir has helmed many companies including Perbadanan Usahawan Nasional Berhad and Sharikat Permodalan Kebangsaan Berhad.
Most interestingly, his first stint as a CEO was when he convinced the chairman of Malaysia Transformer Manufacturing (a subsidiary of TNB) that he was the right person for the job, despite the fact that it was an engineering manufacturing company and he was an accountant by training.
“If you have financial background, you have the advantage, unless you tell me the objective is not to make money. I feel that it is mandatory if you want to manage a business.”
#3. Jeffrey Chew
At just 41 years old, Jeffery Chew became one of the youngest CEOs in Malaysia as the head of OCBC Bank Malaysia in 2008. Of course, this was just the beginning. After growing OCBC significantly during his six-year helm, he then left the banking industry to join Paramount Corporation Berhad, which operates one of the leading property developers in Malaysia.
As an ACCA-holder, he has contributed to ACCA in various capacities over the years, citing his ACCA qualification as the helping hand that has enabled him to achieve the success that he enjoys today.
“Once I got the qualification, I knew it would create a pathway of opportunities both locally as well as internationally,” he said.
#4. Datuk Wan Selamah Wan Sulaiman
As a fellow of ACCA, member of the Public Sector Accounting Committee and member of the Malaysian Institute of Accountants (MIA), Datuk Wan Selamah was primed for a career in private finance. However, this was not the case.
Upon graduation, she started her career as Treasury Accountant with the Ministry of Education in 1979. In 1982, she served as the Ministry of Defence before joining the Accountant-General’s Department, Ministry of Finance in 1984. Since then, she has held various leadership positions, the recent one being an Independent Non-Executive Director of Sime Darby Berhad.
#5. Chermaine Poo
The personification of beauty and brains, Chermaine Poo is the 2nd runner-up of Miss Universe Malaysia 2005 and holds not one, not two, but three accountancy qualifications — a BA (Hons) in Accounting and Finance, a member of the Malaysian Institute of Accountants as well as a member of ACCA.
She started her career as a chartered accountant, working in the largest investment bank in Malaysia and one of the Big Four accounting firms, before diving into the media industry as an actress (her filmography includes a film by Ang Lee), emcee and TV host.
If all that doesn’t impress you, she is also the owner of a production company and credits her business acumen to her professional accounting background.
#6. Aiman Hakim Ridza
That’s right — there’s more than meets the eye with everyone’s favourite heartthrob.
Best known for his leading role in Vanila Coklat, Aiman Hakim Ridza had a short stint as a footballer (he actually played with famed footballers Bunyamin Omar and Asrarudin Putra Omar) before embarking on a career in showbiz due to a leg injury.
Unknown by many, he also pursued ACCA while modelling and acting in commercials, professing a love for numbers. He left all of that when he went into the entertainment industry but we can’t help but wonder what other interesting facts we may have missed about him.
#7. Datuk Zaiton Mohd Hassan
Datuk Zaiton Mohd Hassan is a Fellow and council member of ACCA as well as a member of the International Federation of Accountants (IFAC), Malaysian Institute of Accountants (MIA) and the Malaysian Institute of Certified Public Accountants (MICPA).
Her qualifications and certifications have launched her to an illuminating career in the banking and accounting profession. On top of her many accolades, she is currently an independent non-executive chairman of the Bank Pembangunan Malaysia Bhd (BPMB), making her BPMB’s 11th chairman since its establishment 45 years ago.
All geared up to study ACCA? Here’s what you need to know.
Have these successful powerhouses inspired you to pursue a professional accounting qualification? You’ll want to get a good start at Taylor’s College. Their next ACCA intakes are July and January, and it’s a speedy 3-year programme so that you’re soon on your way to accounting stardom (check out the full pathway here).
If you’re an SPM leaver without a pre-university or foundation qualification, fret not. Taylor’s College’s 1.5-year CAT programme is the ideal stepping stone to ACCA. Upcoming intakes are July followed by March, so be sure to check them out.