58 Bruneians join first SPIN accountancy programme

The government sponsored SPIN will see 20 enrolling for ACCA, with two other groups of 19 participating in CAT and FIA

SPIN Accountancy
PMO Minister, MOFE Minister II and MPEC Chairman YB Dato Amin (L) presenting a certificate of enrollment to a recipient of the SPIN in Accountancy programme.

Fifty eight Bruneian youths will be undertaking fully sponsored professional accountancy courses under the first batch of the Study in Professional Institutions (SPIN) initiative under the Manpower Planning and Employment Council (MPEC).

Twenty of the youths will be enrolling for The Association of Chartered Certified Accountants’ (ACCA) Certified Chartered Accountant, the most complex of the three SPIN in Accountancy courses.

Nineteen will be undertaking the Certified Accounting Technician (CAT) – which is a precursor to Foundation in Accounting (FIA), which another 19 are taking.

All three courses will be taught by the Brunei Darussalam Institute of Certified Public Accountants (BICPA) FTMS Accountancy Academy, who have also connected participants with 25 leading accounting professionals in Brunei as part of the courses’ required mentorship.

Minister at the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) and Second Minister of Finance and Economy YB Dato Seri Setia Dr Awang Hj Mohd Amin Liew said that although accountancy in Brunei is well-established – with advocacy and regulatory organisations including the Brunei Darussalam Accounting Standards Council and the Public Accountants Oversight Committee – the profession still needs wider recognition for its role in helping the private sector sustain and grow.

“As a profession that can offer a exciting, rewarding and meaningful career with great opportunities for growth as it serves the world of business, and the world of business is becoming increasingly complex,” said the minister, who is also MPEC Chairman, at SPIN’s official launch at the PMO banquet hall earlier today.

“Therefore it is critical that we build on talent. With the consent of His Majesty, the SPIN in Accountancy is introduced with the objectives to develop the talent pool in this sector. This programme aims to provide our locals opportunities to further develop their potential, regardless of their starting points, to pursue a rewarding career.”

As an initiative under MPEC’s Learn and Grow programme, SPIN is also being targeted to be expanded to other sought-after sectors and professional jobs.

This is in line with MPEC’s wider efforts to increase the numbers of highly skilled amongst the local labour force, which currently stands at 45.8%, against a target of 40%.

Professional certification enabling inclusivity in accounting field

The SPIN accountancy courses are open to Bruneians or Bruneian International Certificate of Identity (ICI) holders between 18 to 45-years-old.

MPEC is targeting two cohorts for the three courses annually, with each course cohort made up of 20 trainees.

The academic requirement ranges from as low as 4 O-Levels – with at least two credits in Maths and English – up to a degree in finance and accounting. Those with relevant work experience may also be considered.

Under BICPA’s ACCA certification pathway, those with O-Levels and A-Levels would sign up for the FIA or CAT course, which upon completion, would enable them to enroll for ACCA fundamentals, which is equivalent to a degree.

Those enrolling into ACCA with degrees in finance and accounting have the advantage of jumpstarting to the more advanced component of ACCA under its strategic professional level – which is equivalent to a Master’s degree.

The 58 participants were selected from a pool of 165 applicants. 28 of the participants are jobseekers, with 26 from the private sector and another four i-Ready apprentices. Classes are typically in the evening to enable those with full-time employment to attend.

25-year-old Nur Sa’adatul Nadiah Hj Awg Abdullah, a sales and accounts administrator at food delivery startup GoMamam, is undertaking the CAT course to expand her competency having already graduated with a degree in Business Administration from the Universiti of Brunei Darussalam last year.

“I am still trying to improve (despite having a job and a degree). Accounting is also one of my passions, so by taking CAT I can pursue this field and open up more opportunities for myself,” said Nadiah.

“I also have another colleague who is applying. It’s (GoMamam) a fairly new company – a year plus – so what I learn from this programme I can use to help them out in any way that I can.”

For 24-year-old Muhd Syukri Hamdan, enrolling for the ACCA will complete his transition into accounting having taken CAT after A-Levels in 2016.

“It’s (CAT) challenging at first, especially when you don’t have a background in finance or accounting; you have a lot of catching up to do, but it is doable and is very informative and useful,” said Syukri, who studied Maths, Usuluddin and Syariah in Maktab Duli Pengiran Muda Al-Muhtadee Billah.

“After certification, I hope to get a full-time job. As the first batch (of SPIN) we need to prove that the government’s investment in us is beneficial.”

All SPIN trainees will receive a monthly transportation allowance of $58; with jobseekers and the unemployed receiving an additional monthly subsistence allowance of $300.

The allowance, along with the full course fees, will be borne by the government. The ACCA certification fees are an estimated $22,000 while course fees for CAT – which takes up to two years – and FIA – which takes a year – are $9,000 and $7,000 respectively.

SPIN is funded by the eleventh National Development Plan under its Human Resources Development category. Applications for SPIN are being facilitated by the Lifelong Learning Centre (L3C) of the Ministry of Education.