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CMA

Gain and maintain the CMA Credential

By Rebecca Langdon

You have decided you want a career in management accounting, and perhaps you have already decided upon the CMA program. You may have even completed one or more of the prerequisites to pass the program and gain the accreditation. As a quick reminder, these are the prerequisites:

  • Maintain membership in IMA.
  • Entrance into the CMA program.
  • Hold a bachelor’s degree from an accredited college/university or a related professional certification.
  • Two continuous years of professional experience in management accounting or financial management.
  • Complete and pass Parts 1 and 2 of the CMA exam.
  • Abide by The IMA’s Statement of Ethical Professional Practice.

Assuming you already have a degree, the main effort required will be to pass your exams and also ensure you have two continuous years of experience. Once you are fully qualified, to maintain the accreditation you will need to:

  • Maintain your membership
  • Continue to abide by The IMA’s Statement of Ethical Professional Practice
  • Undertake 30 hours (including two in ethics training) of CPE credits annually

Perhaps you already have a job you are happy in, or you are seeking your first Accounting role, or maybe you are looking to move to a new organisation. At Morgan International we are first and foremost a training institute and we offer candidates the opportunity to undertake the CMA program. However, we also proudly offer Morgan Connect which is an excellent online platform which brings together qualified candidates with potential employers. It is free of charge for Morgan alumni who have passed their exams, and it can be used to search for new roles and interact with a wealth of globally reputed employers.

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Top 7 Reasons to Sit for the CPA exam before April 2017

 

By Rebecca Langdon

As you may or may not know, the format of the CPA exam is going to change from April 2017. There are a number of reasons why it would be beneficial to sit before the format changes. These are the top 6 reasons:

  • The new exam is expected to be harder

 

The current exam tests two core skill sets; knowledge and understanding, and application. However the new format will test four core skill sets; remembering and understanding, application, analysis, and evaluation. The additional testing of analysis and evaluation will increase the difficulty of the exam as these are considered to be higher cognitive skills.

  • Task-based simulations are increasing

 

The AICPA will increase task-based simulations from 40% to 50% on the FAR, AUD and REG exams. They will introduce task-based simulations to the BEC exam.

  • Multiple choice questions will decrease

 

The number of multiple choice questions will reduce to make way for task-based simulations which encourage critical thinking.

  • You will have to wait longer for your results

 

The AICPA has indicated a 10 week delay after the initial testing window when the new exam is released. This means you will have a gruelling wait to know if you have passed or now.

  • The testing time will increase from 14 to 16 hours

 

This is to make way for the reduction in multiple choice questions, and the increase in simulations.

  • The exam will be more expensive

 

As the testing time is increasing, the exams will be more expensive.

  • Get your career started!

 

The sooner you pass the CPA, the sooner you can receive your accreditation and kick start your career.

Plan to Pass before April 2017

You may be reading this and have passed none of the exams yet, or perhaps you are part way through. The good news is that if you are ready to sit your exams and want to finish before the new exam format is introduced, it is entirely possible. As an example you could sit the exams as follows:

  • First section: beginning of September
  • Second section: end of October
  • Third section: beginning of November
  • Fourth section: end of January

This timetable provides a break in December, but also leaves some time in case of any retakes. This timetable may seem compact, but it is entirely possible, particularly with the support of Morgan. We offer a range of study options and can help you to fast track your learning with the aim of passing all of your exams before the format changes.

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What Are Your Job Options as a CMA?

By Rebecca Langdon

Accredited management accountants hold various roles within organisations. It is not the case that a CMA will always be a Management Accountant for life. The combination of skills including accounting, finance, and management, opens up a wide range of career opportunities. Within this article we look at the top 6 career choices for CMA’s.

  1. Management Accountant

The most obvious starting position is that of a Management Accountant. This may include reporting, analysis, forecasting, and budgeting. You may also get involved with project level accounting.

  1. Management Consultant

The skill set of a CMA lends itself very well to the role of a Management Consultant. In this role you will be often get to meet a variety of different clients, and you may even travel internationally.

  1. Financial trader

Many ‘Bankers’ and financial traders have an accounting qualification such as the CMA. Having a strong grasp of maths is essential to being a successful trader.

  1. Business strategist

The CMA equips candidates with the skill set they need to produce and test the feasibility of organizational strategies.

  1. Auditor

Many accountants become auditors. This may be an internal auditor or it would be working for an audit practice who are responsible for auditing the financial statements of their clients.

  1. Longer term call – CEO, Managing Director or Executive Board Member

Did you know that around 25% of FTSE 100 CEO’s are qualified accountants? Qualified accountants make for very successful leaders.

In Summary

It is a really exciting time to be an accountant, particularly one that is CMA accredited. There are a whole host of exciting professions that are calling out for qualified professionals. If you would like to undertake the CMA, or just know more, please take a look at our website where you will find lots of useful information.

Accountant

5 Reasons Accountants Make Successful Entrepreneurs

By Erika Murigi

 

Heard the term accountpreneur? Today, more and more accountants are becoming

entrepreneurs in their own right. Applying the skills and attributes developed in their

training and practice has seen many an accountant become successful business owners

and here’s why:

 

Accountants are trained to have the ideal skill set 

In today’s economic climate, becoming a successful business owner requires more than

a creative idea and go-getting spirit. Many of the practical skills required to be a

business owner today are already embedded in accountancy training and practice.

Communication skills, teamwork, time management and being able to work in a logical

manner are all examples of accountancy skills that transfer well to running a business.

Furthermore, accountancy training and professional development adapts to new and

emerging business trends such as risk and compliance management, new IT systems or

even technology and social media.

 

Every business needs an accountant 

As a non-accountant business owner it’s easy to get caught up in the idea of the

business, take uninformed financial risks and overlook the importance of tax regulations.

Accountancy skills and financial knowledge are incredibly valuable to an entrepreneur

because you have the expertise to grow a profitable, lawful enterprise. Furthermore, as

an accountant you understand the difference between profit and cash flow and even

those areas of accountancy that aren’t your specialism. The foundation provided by your

accountancy training will keep you in good stead as a business owner.

 

Accountants understand the mechanics of business

Because they are required to know the ins and outs of a business, accountants are in

the rare position of having comprehensive insight into how a company functions. From

this position they are able to help make business decisions. They know when to

encourage a calculated risk, maximise a business return or suggest taking a more

prudent approach in order to keep business stable. Possessing such expertise as an

entrepreneur can make all the difference in seeing a business soar to success or fail

miserably.

 

Accountants know how to maximise resources

Accountants are used to being told to find a way for the company to do more, with less.

Unless you’re starting out with a huge amount of capital, entrepreneurs often have to get

their enterprise off the ground with insufficient resources. Entrepreneurs with a

background in accountancy can balance budgets, assess risk and plan an accurate

financial strategy much better than someone lacking in such expertise. This means

much more freedom as a business owner as your innate financial knowledge means you

can spend more energy on other aspects of running a business.

 

Accountants are trusted 

Need investors? Tell any potential funder that you have a background in accountancy

and they’ll feel more comfortable knowing that you have the expertise in looking after

finances. They’ll have more confidence in your ability to maximise on their investment

and expect that any risks you take will be calculated and in the best interests of the

business.

 

Accountancy training offers many of the skills required to be a successful entrepreneur.

Furthermore, having an accountancy background means you will always have a

profession to fall back on to self-fund your enterprise or make additional income.

Learn more about the Certified Public Accountant (CPA) credential.

 

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5 Sure Signs a Career in Accountancy is for You

 

By Erika Murigi

 

Accountancy is a profession in high demand. Every business and organisation, large

and small, requires an accountant at some point, if not all the time. Furthermore, it’s a

career that offers opportunities around the world, a healthy salary and life-long career

progression. But is it for you? Here are 5 sure signs you should be an accountant:

 

You’re a maths wizard

Being an accountant doesn’t mean having to do trigonometry or algebra equations in

your head but you do need to have a better than average understanding of maths to get

to grips with the technical aspects of accountancy. While nowadays you’re more likely to

be using a calculator and spreadsheets to do your number crunching, you can’t always

rely on technology and you still need to be efficient with numbers to ensure accuracy.

 

Details are your friend 

Whether you work in-house, as a consultant or at an accountancy firm with multiple

clients, being able to analyse and provide a detailed balance sheet, a cash flow

breakdown or an explanation of a federal tax process will have to be second nature. If

you are conscientious, focused on accuracy and meticulous about details, whether it’s

the bottom line of a budget or the intricacies of tax regulation, then it’s likely you’ll excel

in accountancy.

 

You enjoy structure and deadlines 

As an accountant being able to work to a deadline is a particularly important skill. A huge

part of the job is deadline driven. Month-end management accounts, annual accounts,

tax returns, are all examples of when work has to be completed by a set date, no

excuses. Conversely, the day-to- day aspect of the job is often highly structured.

Processes are run daily, quarterly, annually; the same operational procedures take place

over and over again within set timeframes. But, if you’re a result driven person who

derives satisfaction from completing time-sensitive projects, under pressure then a

career in accountancy might just be for you.

 

You don’t mind being the go-to person 

Finance is one of the most important aspects of business with accountancy providing its

language. When management wants to know, or explain, why something went wrong,

why an acquisition should move forward or why redundancies have to happen to pull a

business out of the red, they turn to their accountants. Everything in business comes

down to the numbers, which means that accountants are often in the hot seat to present

the details behind decisions in an understandable fashion to non-accounting

professionals, which means being a good communicator will also take you far!

 

You believe in following the rules

Accountants are required to follow the rules. Tax codes, regulations, processes – it’s a

career that doesn’t reward creative rule breaking and with good reason. Accountants

bear the responsibility of a company’s financial health and ensuring its financial records

are accurate and honest. The job requires being able to sticking to the rules, working

with integrity and to a highly ethical code of practice.

 

Are you considering becoming a professional accountant? We offer several accountancy qualifications

to help take your career to the next level. Find out more.

 

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Depreciation and Impairment of Property, Plant and Equipment

 

By Rebecca Langdon

 

In this article we are going to take a look at depreciation and impairment of property, plant and

equipment under IFRS. Specifically, we are interested in how assets are recognized and accounted

for. Property, plant and equipment (PPE) are tangible assets held by an entity for their own use or

for rental to others. They are also expected to be held by the entity for more than one period.

 

Depreciation under IFRS

The depreciable amount should be allocated on a systematic basis throughout the useful life of the

PPE asset. The useful life of an asset and the residual value should be reviewed periodically. Where

the result of the review differs from the estimate, the change should be accounted for under IAS 8.

 

Depreciation starts from when the asset is enabled for the use intended by the company.

 

Depreciation will cease at the earlier of its derecognition or it being reclassified as being held for

sale. Derecognition refers to the asset being sold or scrapped. In the event of the PPE asset being

temporarily idle, that does not result in depreciation ceasing, as it is recognized that the asset may

hold future economic benefit for the organization.

 

Impairment under IFRS

Just a quick recap then on what an impairment is; it is an amount by which the carrying amount of

the PPE asset exceeds its recoverable amount. The carrying amount is the recognised value of the

asset on the balance sheet after accumulated depreciation and accumulated impairment losses are

recognised. Impairment is accounted for according to the principles set out in IAS 36. IAS 36 seeks to

ensure that an entity’s assets are not carried at more than the recoverable value. Under IAS 36

companies are required to carry out impairment tests where there is any indication of an impaired

asset.

 

We hope thishas served as a useful recap for those of you that are studying already, and for those of

you who may be interested in a certified finance or accounting qualification, we would welcome you

to take a look at the DipIFR and CPA course outlines.

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Understanding Investment Securities and How to Account for Them

 

By Rebecca Langdon

 

There are three different categories of investment securities that you need to be aware of if you are

going to be sitting your CFA, or CPA exam; or perhaps you are reading this article because you have a

general interest in the topic. We will also explain how to account for them.

 

1) Trading securities

These are securities that a company intends to buy and sell to achieve a short term profit. These

securities should be accounted for at their fair market value. Any gains and losses should be

included on the income statement and will be classified as unrealised holding gains or loses. In

terms of the balance sheet, the counter account will allow for the adjusted short term

investments.

 

2) Held to maturity

This class of securities is held by a company that intends to hold them until they mature. In

terms of accounting treatment, they should be accounted for at cost, which is the purchase

price plus communions and any other fees. Gains and losses are only accounted for upon sale of

the securities.

 

3) Available for sale

This category is similar to ‘trading securities’ and is generally a default category. The key

difference between available for sale and trading relates to how changes in value are

recognised. As we have already said, for trading securities, any changes in value will be recorded

in the income statement. Whereas for available for sale securities all changes in value are noted

in a special account called “unrealised gain/loss in other comprehensive income.” Therefore the

income statement itself is not affected.

 

We hope this has served as a useful recap for those of you that are studying already, and for those of

you who may be interested in a finance or accounting qualification, we would welcome you to take a

look at the CPA and CFA course outlines.

 

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Indirect vs. Direct Cash Flow Statements

 

By Rebecca Langdon

 

The cash flow statement is a fundamental part of the set of accounts. There are two methods of

producing cash flow statements; indirect, and direct. The purpose of this article is to differentiate

between the two, which will hopefully be a useful reminder for those currently studying for their CFA, CMA or

CPA. Before we get into the detail, I just thought to let you know that the majority of companies use the

indirect method.

 

The first section of the cash flow statement covers the operating activities of the company. In the

indirect method net income is shown as well as the adjustments required to convert the total net

income into the cash from operating activities. Under the direct method the cash flows from the

operating activities include amounts for lines including cash out to suppliers and cash in from customers.

The direct method provides a greater level of detail than the indirect method.

 

The debate

There is some debate over which method is better. Those in favor of direct argue that it better fulfills

clients’ needs for information because it breaks down the major categories of cash inflows and outflows.

They also argue that the format is easier to understand. Those in the indirect camp say that it helps

users determine why there is a difference between net income and cash receipts and payments. The

majority of companies use the indirect method as they argue it would be far too costly to use the direct

method, even though it would arguably result is more useful information.

 

In conclusion

It is useful to highlight that whilst the methods are different, the result and both methods always be the

same. However there is clear argument over which method is most useful.

We hope this has served as a useful recap for those of you that are studying or revising for exams. Or

perhaps you are not currently enrolled, but are interested in a certified finance or accounting

qualification. If that is the case, we would welcome you to take a look at the CMACPA and CFA course

outlines.

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Top soft skills Every Internal Auditor Should Possess

 

By Rebecca Langdon

 

Internal Auditors sometimes face a tough role as very often they are auditing the policies, processes,

and, work that other employees have undertaken. This can mean that people are wary of Internal

Auditors, and may be slightly resistant to the audit process. Soft skills are really important for

Internal Auditors if they are going to be successful. These are our top 5 soft skills for Internal

Auditors.

 

Being a team player

This is quite a generic soft skill that most professionals should have. In some cases Internal Auditors

will carry out the audit individually, however they most likely will be part of a wider team of Internal

Audit professionals. Being able to share experiences and information with the wider team is

important.

 

Accepting responsibility

Sometimes things don’t go to plan. From an Internal Audit perspective, it could be that something is

missed that should have been reported on. It is important to take responsibility and ownership when

things do go wrong. This will not only give you the respect of your team, and hopefully your

manager, but it will also help you to grow professionally.

 

Resilience

Internal Audit can be difficult, and some employees will be defensive about their area and work

being audited. Being resilient is a hugely important soft skill in this profession.

 

Research skills

Once the Internal Auditor is on an audit project, they will usually have a specification that they are

working to. For example they may be auditing the adherence to a certain policy by a particular

department. To get answers for the audit, the Internal Auditor will need to have strong research

skills.

 

Adaptability

The policies, processes, people, and procedures being audited will be changing regularly. An Internal

Auditor will need to be adaptable to each piece of work.

 

Soft skills are not something that can be taught particularly easily through formal education, in many

ways, soft skills are developed far more easily in the workplace. However, the personal growth

individuals learn during a soft skills workshops should stand them in good stead for developing them

further. If you are interested in developing your soft skills, take a look at our workshops.

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Do You Like Numbers and CSI? Why Forensic Accounting is for you!

 

By Aimee Mhaolcraoibhe

 

The area of accounting is well known but many people do not realise that all accounts could not

stand up as valid and correct in a court of law. In order to gain that level of acceptance the accounts

need to be reviewed and assessed by a forensic accountant.

 

What does a Forensic Accountant do?

Forensic actually means to be presentable to a court, so a forensic accountant is one which looks for

the truth in an account to offer as evidence in a court. This evidence could be either for or against

the information listed in the accounts; it is up to the forensic accountant to evaluate the information

and identify if it is factual or not. If a forensic accountant finds an error in an account a part of their

job is to re-evaluate the accounts overall to provide an accurate accounting.

 

Forensic accountants are called in to review accounts in cases of suspected tax fraud, money

laundering or securities fraud. They are also brought in at times of a company bankruptcy or

liquidation. A forensic accountant is not the accountant that would be tasked with putting together

the accounts in the first place – they are called in to assess the work of other accountants to

determine accuracy. The job consists of analysing, interpreting and evaluating the financial

information presented to them. They are also able to summarise and present their findings in a way

which is easy to understand by everyone. Forensic accountants have to be able to sift through large

volumes of paperwork and account journals in order to create an ultimate report and usually an

exhibition of their findings.

 

What does it take to become one?

In order to become a forensic accountant it is necessary to have the proper qualifications. Gaining a

degree such as the Certified Public Accountant (CPA) is the first step. Earning such a qualification

shows any potential employers that you have the necessary knowledge to analyse accounts and give

valuable insight in relation to those accounts. Studies covered in the CPA program gives the

accountant an understanding of the system that they will be working in as well as the skills needed

to successfully offer forensic accounting analysis.