Two more prominent commercial organisations have joined hands with Certified Management Accountants (CMA), Sri Lanka in its efforts to produce management accountants who are skilled and well trained in their valued profession.
One is the Ceylon Electricity Board (CEB), a long-standing, government-owned, largest electricity supplier in the country and the other, Fentons Limited, a renowned commercial entity that has a history that goes back to 1921 and is engaged in multiple and diverse businesses. Both organisations possess highly qualified staff strength.
Professor Lakshman Watawala signed the agreements on behalf of CMA and relevant officials of the two partners corroborated. Subsequently, the certificates of accreditation were presented to partners, in the presence of high-ranking staff of parties to agreements.
Why does CMA need training partners?
There is surely more than one reason. The most important among them is the compulsory practical training requirement for the CMA membership. CMA takes all measures to ensure its accountants/members are well versed in all aspects of management accounting by the time they enter the profession.
Therefore, three years of practical training in an accounting and financial environment is mandatory to obtain the CMA membership in addition to completing all examinations including the Integrative Case Study, successfully.
Mandatory training needs to be undergone in an institution or company that satisfy criteria stipulated by CMA, Sri Lanka. As employers of all students may not be of required standards, in order to overcome possible quality issues in practical training, CMA has initiated the TPA programme.
Training partnership agreement
Training partnership agreements (TPAs) are signed with commercial and other institutions of repute that have capacity for training and qualified staff that could provide proper guidance to trainees. Following the agreements, TPA partner companies inform the CMA, Sri Lanka whenever opportunities of training arise in their organisations.
CMA students, who have expressed their interest in finding training placements, will be directed to such opportunities by CMA, Sri Lanka. CMA is monitoring the progress made by the trainees by keeping constant touch with training partner companies and through record books maintained by the trainees.
Although the TPA programme was in operation for just over three years, the number of TPAs entered into reached 100 with the latest additions of the CEB and Fentons. Some of the other TPA partners are the John Keels group, Commercial Bank, National Development Bank, Sampath Bank, Bartleet, Arpico Finance, Richard Pieris, Delmege Forsyth, Commercial Credit, Browns Group, Fonterra, AMW, Citizen Development Bank, L B Finance, Ceylon Grain elevators, Maliban Biscuits, Lanka Puthra Development Bank and DIMO.
Demand for trainees
Responses from TPA partners indicate that they prefer to engage CMA trainees in their companies owing to the fact that CMA students possess broader knowledge in accounting instilled in them by well-qualified lecturers through internationally-accepted curriculum. Many instances where the companies have absorbed trainees into their permanent cadre before the end of the training period have been reported.
Entry to the job market
Lack of work experience is the main hurdle that stands between the youth and employment in the current job market context. Even university graduates are rejected by employers due to absence of job training to complement qualifications. So, even under circumstances where it is not compulsory, practical training could be the passport to employment. Through the TPA programme, CMA, Sri Lanka ensures that those who qualify with CMA will never lack hands-on experience on their profession.
The practical training would provide the good grounding on how to put theories learnt in classroom to best practice. In addition, training in a recognized company will expose students to formal work environment, give them personal confidence and credibility to their training. They will also have the opportunity to develop contacts that might prove useful in the future. Though these training opportunities are not necessarily expected to lead to permanent employment it would significantly improve the marketability in the job market.