INTERNATIONAL FINANCIAL REPORTING STANDARDS (IFRS) CAREER

Why IFRS Professionals

The IFRS has become the global accounting icon and almost all career avenues related to finance & accounting are affected by these accounting reforms. The accounting standards are the principle and practices which lay down a framework on which financial statements of an enterprise are prepared. These international standards have become obligatory for the corporate who want to exploit global financial markets by making a listing of their company on international stock exchanges, by way of joint ventures or by any other mode.

The finance and accounting profession is emerging as a fast growing profession. In this globalized era, national General Accepted Accounting Principles (GAAP) is becoming rare and IFRSs are gaining momentum across the world. These are accepted as a single accounting language for the preparation of financial statements. This universal recognition of IFRSs has established a common platform for this profession in the whole world and created a need for finance and accounting professionals to gain knowledge and experience on these standards.

The worldwide acceptance of these international standards has created a potential demand for the IFRS professionals. The companies prefer to recruit those candidates who are having an expertise in these international standards apart from their normal specialisation in finance and accounting. The importance of this profession becomes more relevant when there is a lack of experts in this area and one can also go for consultancy and advisory service to the companies which are in process of adoption of these standards. In this accounting era, there is a huge demand for IFRS professionals. The youngsters planning a career in finance and accounting may have a bright future by having a specialisation in these standards.

The implementation of IFRSs as an essential norm for doing business in global markets has turned it into a mandatory requirement for the companies. The companies are seeking this expertise as eligibility for the accounting professionals. Moreover, the companies are also facilitating the existing employees in this area to learn these standards. The proficiency in these international standards is highly recommended for Chief Accountant, Chief Financial Officer, Finance Managers, Bank Managers, Financial Controllers, Accountants, Financial Analyst, Auditors and Portfolio Managers.

India has also adopted these standards and converged the existing accounting standards with IFRSs. The converged IFRS are named as Indian Accounting Standards (IND-AS). These standards are implemented in India in a phased manner from April 1, 2011 in companies other than banking, insurance & non banking financial companies (NBFC) upto a specified limit, from April 1, 2012 in insurance companies upto a specified limit and from April 1, 2013 in banking and NBFC upto a specified limit. The IFRS professionals are in great demand in many Indian companies in different industries which are converting their financial statements as per these international standards.

The below mentioned reasons explain the significance of IFRS professionals:

  • There is a lack of accounting professionals in India with expertise and practical knowledge of these international standards.
  • A phased implementation approach of IFRSs in India will multiply the demand of IFRS professionals in coming three to four years.
  • The first phase covers all the companies which are part of NSE-NIFTY 50, BSE-SENSEX 50 ,companies whose shares or other securities are listed on stock exchanges outside India and companies whether listed or not, which have a net worth in excess of Rs. 1000 crores. The approximate total of these companies is 200-300. The number of companies will increase in second and third phase as banking, insurance and NBFC will also adopt these standards.
  • The practical knowledge of these universal standards will open doors across the globe as more than 100 countries have given green signal in their accounting boundaries.
  • The application of these standards is very complex and time consuming which underlines the significance of IFRS professionals.
  • The continuous amendments in these standards by the regulators are also creating need for IFRS professionals.

Who can be IFRS Professional

The persons who are already pursuing or passed courses like MBA with specialization in finance & accounting, Chartered Accountancy (CA), Cost & Works Accountant, Company Secretary (CS), Certified Financial Planner (CFP), Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA) and any other relevant course in the area of finance and accounting may further enhance their knowledge by doing specialised courses and training programmes in international standards and can become IFRS professionals. These professionals can exploit numerous opportunities coming in India as well as in other countries.

Job Prospects & Career Options

The role and responsibilities of IFRS professionals have created a number of employment avenues for these personals which are given below:

  • The companies in India which are covered in the Ist phase require a large number of IFRS professio-nals for efficiently implemen-ting these standards.
  • The audit firms are also having need of IFRS professionals as these firms support companies in successful implementation of international standards.
  • The professional advisory companies need the professionals who are well versed with these standards to provide excellent consultancy services to other firms in finance and accounting.
  • The banking industry in India which is most affected by the implementation of IFRSs also require these professionals as this industry will have to prepare its financial statements as per the new standards from April 1, 2013.
  • Likewise, Insurance industry is also moving towards the adoption of international standards in 2012, so, IFRS professionals will also have demand in this sector.
  • Self-employment is also a good option for IFRS professionals as they can start their own advisory and consultancy services.
  • The persons with expertise in international accounting standards will also have an edge over others in educational institutes which are running certificate diplomas and training programmes in this area.

Professional Courses & Programmes Available in IFRSs
The courses which are relevant for getting practical knowledge of these complicated international accounting standards are mentioned below:

S.                               
No
Name of the ProgrammeEligibilityDuration      Institute
1.Certificate Course on International Financial Reporting StandardsCA MembersHundred HoursThe Institute of Chartered Accountants of India, ICAI Bhawan, A-29 ,Sector 62, Noida -201 309 ,Uttar Pradesh
2Certificate Course on International Financial Reporting Standards
(IFRS) Convergence
i.    Members of ICWAI, ICAI, ICSI,

ii.  Senior and Middle Level Executives of various public and private sector organisations, Banks, Financial Institutions, Government Bodies, Autonomous Bodies, Statutory Bodies, Multinationals etc.,

iii. Practicing Cost Accountants, Company Secretaries, Chartered Accountants,

iv.    Faculty of Universities, Autonomous Professional Institutions, Management Institutions.

v.    Students pursuing professional courses.

vi.   Any other person related with IFRS Process.

Two MonthsThe Institute of Cost and Works Accountant of  India, ICWAI Bhawan, 3, Institutional Area, Lodhi Road, New Delhi-110003
3Diploma in International Financial Reporting (Dip IFR) accredited by ACCAi.      Professional accountants and auditors, working in practice and industry, who are qualified in accordance with national accounting standards, are eligible to take the qualification. Official documentation is required.

ii.     Practitioners who may not yet be qualified, but who can verify the following, are also eligible:

  •  A relevant degree plus two years’ work experience
  • Three years’ work experience
  • ACCA affiliate status

iii.    ACCA Certificate in International Financial Reporting plus two years’ work experience.

Three to Six Months
4Advanced Certificate Program On IFRS     KPMG Indiai.      Working Professionals with minimum 2 years of experience

ii.       Experience requirement is waived off for CA, CS, CWA’s, MBA (Finance) and for corporate nominations.

Six Weeks
5Diploma in International Financial Reporting  by ACCAi.      Any accounting practitioner or auditor, qualified in accordance with national accounting standards.

ii.     A Post Graduate in commerce with 2 year’s experience in finance and accounting department

iii.  A graduate in any stream with 3 years experience in finance and accounting department.

Three to Six Months
6IFRS/ IND AS Certification ProgrammesProfessionals and students focusing on exams like ACCA HoursForty Hours

The above courses are available in some private institutes.
The author- Anu Munjal  is a Lecturer in Management Deptt., UPVU, Dr. Shakuntala Misra Vishvavidyalaya, Lucknow -226017, e-mail: annumunjal@gmail.com.

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