- Overseas-trained accountants need membership of a recognised Australian professional body
- Australian employers prefer accountants who have achieved local qualifications
- International Pathway Program assessors want to see the prospective employee as a future manager
There was no question about it for Izhar Nabi Khan CA. If he wanted a good management-level job in Australia, he needed Chartered Accountants Australia and New Zealand (CA ANZ) membership.
"If you don't have a local qualification and membership of a professional body, it's difficult to find a very good management job in Australia," he says. So, doing the International Pathway Program (IPP) was a no-brainer. The program is offered to qualified candidates in Sri Lanka, India, Pakistan and Nepal.
Izhar was born in Pakistan and gained his accounting qualifications through the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Pakistan in 2001. He then worked in the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, Saudi Arabia and Switzerland. But even with all that experience, he knew he needed more when he came to Australia as a skilled migrant in 2015 to land a high-level job.
"In the Middle East, qualifications from Pakistan are highly regarded," Izhar says. "But in Australia, you need membership of a recognised professional body. Employers want you to have local qualifications and to know how things work in this country."
"The IPP is a great initiative that gives a fantastic opportunity to professionals moving to Australia."
He was in the first intake of candidates for the IPP, conducted in May-June 2018. At the time, he was working for Klöckner Pentaplast, an international packaging company. Having succeeded in the program, he was then granted membership of CA ANZ. Izhar has since been appointed head of financial operations at Stanley Black & Decker, a multinational tools and storage company.
"Professionally, the decision to do the program was big but an obvious one. Having a local qualification gives you an edge in the market," Izhar says. "The preparation is time-consuming, especially as you're still working at your job while you're doing it. I did it in Sydney while continuing to work in Melbourne."
In the first stage, candidates work alone for six weeks to research six case studies. Then they participate in a two-day workshop in which they are continually assessed.
"You have to get the details right at a micro level. In some parts of the program, you cannot respond unless you know the detail," Izhar says. "You learn how to plan, to concentrate. Everyone is required to share their views."
"The assessors want to see how you perform; to see you as a future manager. You will be exposed very fast if you don't know what you're talking about. It's a fantastic program."
"Doing the IPP and gaining membership of CA ANZ gives you entry into the market. Your credentials are recognised."
His ideal employer is one that invests in the professional development of its staff – companies such Stanley Black & Decker, or 3M where he worked earlier.
Izhar advises those thinking of doing the IPP course to concentrate on presentation, communication and management skills rather than technical aspects.
Since gaining CA ANZ membership, Izhar has appreciated the access to regular conferences and seminars, the professionalism of the organisation and the networking opportunities.
"The IPP is a great initiative that gives a fantastic opportunity to professionals moving to Australia," he says.
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