Wednesday, 30 September 2015

3 is not a crowd!

Since there are only 3 of us, we shall offer F7, F8, F9, P1, P2, P3, P4 and P7, altogether 8 papers in ACCA. We unanimously agreed that we shall only offer papers where we have very strong lecturers. Any new member joining us must be from students’ recommendation and we do not want any student to be disappointed with any under-performing lecturers.

I told everyone that we are willing to wait for the right candidate. Let’s not rush it! Let’s get it right!

Sivasathish voiced his concern that some students may want to opt for a different combination of Option papers as some might prefer P6 instead of his paper, P7. Since students may prefer more technical papers like P4, P5 and P6 instead of purely discursive paper such as P7. He suggested including Sivanair in our team.

I too have long heard of Sivanair’s reputation for Taxation and Advanced Taxation. My students just loved him.

With his trademark humorous expression, he can explain taxation very well like in a layman’s language and yet without losing touch of the complexity issue. I would definitely welcome him to our team. Anyway, we need a fatherly figure in our team too.

Initially, he can’t join us because he has just renewed his contract with another prominent college. His timetable is already packed. All three of us were utterly disappointed!

But it seems that heaven is on our side, the said college decided to stop offering the programme unexpectedly, freeing Sivanair with extra spare time now.

Finally, he joyfully accepts Sivasathish’s offer.

Now, we have added another 2 papers, making our total papers offered 10.

Yup, you can say the Perfect 10 to start with…

F6 Sivanair
F7 Joe Fang
F8 Sivasathish
F9 Oviyan
P1 Sivasathish
P2 Joe Fang
P3 Sivasathish
P4 Oviyan
P6 Sivanair
P7 Sivasathish

We are hoping that more lecturers would be willing to join us for other ACCA papers to complete our ACCA Lecturing team.

Yes, the college is within walking distance from LRT! (Part 3)

Some few months back, I join a dinner meeting with my Brother and another college owner. It was out of pure coincidence that my Brother asked me to join them for dinner; just right after my class as the college is also around the proximity.

During the meeting, I understand that the college owner is keen to offer CPA Australia courses as he has good connection in Australia. He is looking for lecturers and if possible a good team to run the show. At that time, I thought it might be a good idea too. After all, I can handle one of the papers, Financial Reporting, which is the toughest of all 6 papers in CPA. I said I will take it up.

I have totally no idea what this leads to but with some foresight now,

I have found… a COLLEGE.

Thinking to myself, things are beginning to become clearer now.

A good team of lecturers, ALL in ONE COLLEGE!

Isn’t that what all students are looking for? No more timetable clashes! No more having to skip some classes to attend another! No more premium pricing or price fixing! No need to sign up with different colleges for different papers! No need to pay additional registration fees! Don’t have to battle the rush hour traffic running from one college to another!

Now you have everything right under ONE roof.

Just ONE college; The ideal college; The perfect location;

A college for the STUDENTS.

Where we gather all the great lecturers under one roof.

In that moment, analyzing all of the separate and seemingly unrelated events that took place,

Taking cue from Steve Jobs famous quote,

“All the dots just CONNECT!”

Without wasting time, I arranged to meet him, the college owner again. Strange as it was, I should have just asked if he is interested to run ACCA on the phone, rather than arranging a meeting, right?!

I thought so too but anyway, we met at Starbucks. I sold him my vision of gathering all of our team members to conduct ACCA. We will run CPA later too.

He agrees immediately.

And, I what’s app my team members and they too agree on the spot.

So, that was how we started…

Well, some of you may be guessing the location. Unfortunately for now, we can only tell you that…


Taking education to the future (Part 2)

Few months passed, everyone has been busy lecturing.

My former lecturer, now Associate Professor Say Sok Kwan and also the Dean of Faculty at Tunku Abdul Rahman University College (TARUC) proposed that I contribute video lectures to the university’s e-learning platform.

I would be delighted and I came up with a proposal. Tried to gather a few lecturers who would be interested to contribute and finally only managed to get two; one of them is Oviyan and the other is my former student, Gan. Well, sad to say, the project didn’t materialize.

Anyway, that didn’t matter. What really matter is that at least we tried. Most lecturers are not ready for video production yet. I believe e-learning is the way to go in the future!

My acquaintance with Oviyan goes way back to Dec 2013. We also have common students, my P2 and his P4. One day, one of them shared Oviyan’s Youtube videos on my fb wall. I find the videos awesome and at least we have lecturers moving into video production kind of thing. I didn’t know, I thought he was a lecturer elsewhere, probably in UK but it is not as it seems. He has been lecturing in Malaysia and some neighbouring Asean countries for some years; over a decade at least.

We chat over fb messenger and were sharing ideas on e-learning capabilities, video recordings, and many other online facilities available to lecturers. It turned out that he also provides video lectures to his students. His friend is helping him to administer the password access.

At one time, our students even thought I was the friend helping him on the video password access. Honestly, we still think that there is further room for improvement where e-learning is concerned. Nonetheless, the existing platform is considered good enough, only that it takes too much precious time administrating the password access and most lecturers can’t spare their time.

Let’s fast track to sometime during mid-May 2015, Oviyan sent me greetings of “Happy Teacher’s Day.”

Very thoughtful, I thought. We receive plenty of Teacher’s day greetings from students but not many of us send such greetings to our colleagues.

Wait a minute! I suddenly think of him as my colleague when we have never even lectured in the same college before. That set me thinking and I suddenly have a glimpse of the future.

How it all began (Part 1)

The day was January 2015. As the new semester unfolds, my ACCA classes have just started. Everything was just the usual, nothing new, and classes were like normal. It is always that when things look like the usual that a change is already coming, waiting to reveal itself…

I received a WeChat message from Sivasathish asking for my timetable at Malvern College as we often share common students taking both our papers. Little did I know that at one time my P2 students were also in his P1 and P3 classes and because our revision classes were conducted on the same days, he has to conduct 2 separate revision classes. He is so kind as to suggest that he will accommodate my time despite having such hectic schedule himself.

I felt that I should be the one accommodating him instead but many times and in fact all the time, I just have to accept the timetable handed to me by the college. As often as it has been, our timetable always clashes.

But unfortunately, my revision class and next semester’s timetable is not out yet. To make him feel better, I also told him that I am recording my live classes and have made available the recordings to all my students in the event that our classes clashes. But then again, we know for a fact that students prefer the live classes than recordings.

Right then, I can only hope for the best…

There wasn’t much we can do or perhaps,

just perhaps,

maybe there is something we could do. But somehow, we never thought of it then.

Friday, 23 January 2015

So, who are we?

ACCA Asia-Pacific Lecturers Development Programme in Singapore

I have just come back from the seminar. It was really a tiring and long full day; the entire day was filled with talks after talks and food & drinks that got me so full after each meal. I was finding it difficult to keep awake and attentive. Caffeine failed to fuel my brain. I wonder if that is what my students felt each time they attend my lectures :)

Tuition providers and lecturers, mostly, lecturers are coming from Malaysia, China, Australia (Hmm, I thought they already have CPA Australia and ICAA) and also not forgetting our neighbour, Singapore, the host for this event.

There was an announcement made on the recent collaboration between ACCA and UOL (University of London) for the MSc. I tried to get some details from ACCA but every part of the MSc remains confidential, confidential and confidential. I suppose it will be run just like the OBU Degree where students need to submit an assignment of the sort. However, I did feedback to them to watch the cost as ACCA students are very price sensitive.

One of the speaker Chun Wee for Integrated Reporting <IR> steals the show with excellent depiction of the 2009 movie “Avatar”; a fiction that mimics the reality of threats faced by an indigenous community and further associated it with the importance of <IR> for public acceptance of company activities.

Anyway, <IR> shall be examined throughout all the ACCA papers. I heard from a lecturer that <IR> was pilot-tested in P1 just last sitting (Dec 2014). Hey, watch out for P2 next!

<Well, the original paragraphs have been edited as it reveals some confidential questions being posed during the conference. Anyway, it got me thinking after the conference on the core competences of a good Accountant. Somehow, I am of the opinion that ACCA needs to stick to its core competences or perhaps reinvent itself to be relevant in the industry>

<Most lecturers would agree with me that the introduction of Option papers seemed to take away some of the core competences from ACCA students. Bearing in mind that nowadays, most ACCA students got full exemption from all the 9 Foundation papers. Exempted Degree holders are only left with 3 core papers (P1, P2 and P3; with P2 being the only technical accounting paper) and a choice of 2 out of 4 options eg. P4 (Finance), P5 (Performance Management), P6 (Tax) and P7 (Audit). This leaves plenty of rooms for dropping any of the 2 competences, possibly Audit and Tax>

I remember the time when ACCA introduced Option papers and some lecturers just left the lecturing industry as the numbers fell to almost one third. This drop was somehow due to the low passing rate of their option papers and students being students go for ones with higher passing. <This paragraph has been edited too>

It also struck me recently that ACCA has been moving away from its core competences of Financial Accounting Professionals. Supposing if P2 suddenly becomes an option paper, just like the rest of the other technical papers. Then, the core papers are probably only P1 Corporate Governance and P3 Business Analysis making ACCA no different from any Management Degree with major in selected fields of specialization. I see this as being rather like an IDENTITY CRISIS that ACCA students will face in the future. Are ACCA graduates Accounting or Management grad?!!!

I remember few years ago, I met an employer and he hired an ACCA grad later to find out that not all ACCA grads know tax planning. Worse, he found out later those core competences of Accountants such as Tax, Audit, Performance Management and Finance have been made option papers and the staff he hired did not opt for P6 Advanced Taxation.

Unlike during my time where all ACCA grads know Audit, Tax, Performance Management and Finance, fyi, we didn’t have Option papers back then. To us, ACCA represents the Financial Accounting professionals while CIMA represents the Management Accounting professionals and CFA represents the Finance professionals. Presently, employers won’t even know the specialization of the ACCA grad until they look at the result slips.

Well, I just hope the ACCA team and ACCA students alike get to read this and possibly ponder on these 2 short questions I have:

“When you shop for a smartphone, do you go for one with more features or minimal features or worse, try your luck on the kind of features you’ll get?”
“When you hire an Accountant, do you go for one with more specializations or minimal specializations or worse, ask the candidate for an interview to find out his/her specializations cos you won’t know what you’ll get?”
To me, as with all employers, I expect a more versatile Accountant.

Wednesday, 1 October 2014

What I asked at the GST Expo & Conference 2014

The GST Expo kicked off today 1st October 2014 and it was rather crowded considering it being a working day. My interest was centered on finding good GST compliant accounting software but only managed to ask 3 vendors: SQL, QnE & Wavelet due to my time rush.

Hopefully, this feedback could prove useful to you all. Please do leave a comment if you have anything to add on…

I don’t claim to be an expert in GST or Tax and only took about a day to pick up some pointers here and there from Google and my student, Helen Phang to help clarify some technical terms. So, do help to correct me for any unintended mistakes and inaccuracy if any.

I got requests from some students regarding which accounting software is good and GST compliant. Thus, I have listed some questions which you may be asking when shopping for GST compliant accounting software (You need some basic knowledge of GST to understand the software system requirements):

1.     Auto calculate GST for Sales amount and/or auto include GST within the Sales figure function

Most software will auto calculate the 6% GST based on the sales amount but some software may be less flexible when you want to absorb the GST for your customer. For example, Selling price is $100 and GST should be $6 (6% X $100) but if you absorb the GST then the customer only pays you $100 but you still need to allocate for 6% of GST. Thus, the system should be able to auto INCLUDE GST (Sales $94.34 and 6% GST $5.66). SQL and MYOB have such feature. Also check other software as I didn’t managed to ask them.

2.     Most GST compliant software can autofill all your data for the GST 3 Form to be submitted to Customs every quarterly?

Companies are required to submit quarterly GST 3 Summary Report to Customs and each GST transaction needs to be grouped into specific categories in accordance with their standardized form. If the software doesn’t have this feature then the poor Accounts Assistant has to manually categorize and fill in the forms every 3 months, a very daunting task indeed. SQL, MYOB and Tally.ERP9 have such features and perhaps some others also have.

3.     GST kept for at least 7 years?

GST records should be kept for a minimum of 7 years and Customs may request you to provide a detailed listing of all this transactions. Check that your remote server or cloud computing allows your records to be stored for such long period, taking into consideration the volume of your transactions, storage space, storage costs, etc.

4.     GST Audit File (GAF) format for tax audit by Customs

Customs may request you to provide a detailed listing of all transactions via a fixed formatted text file GST Audit File (GAF) that can be submitted online via customs GST portal to assist their audit. This file is automatically generated.

5.     Which server; either Microsoft SQL or Firefox or ‘whatever’?

Your data would be stored in their servers and they could be running on Microsoft SQL or Firefox or something. Check how much do the vendors charge annually for data storage. You should also check the processing capacity of the servers and I heard that Microsoft SQL handles large data well. Not too sure about others. Not much of an IT geek, can someone please comment further, thanks.

6.     Keeping track of the 21 Days rule

Tax Invoice must be issued within 21 days after the D.O. or services performed. Most system can’t keep track of the 21 days and send a reminder for you to track and prevent any late issue of invoice. QnE can track the 21 days. Others probably can too.

7.     Bad Debt relief adjustment

You have included GST for Tax Invoice but that customer failed to pay you and became a bad debt but you have already paid the GST portion on his behalf. The software should allow you to list out such GST amount for you to get a refund.

If later on after 180 days, the same customer pays you back the amount, then, you need to be able to track back the bad debts and pay back again that portion of GST to Customs.

8.     Generate Notification letter for Bad debts relief

When you claim back the GST for Bad debts, the system should be able to generate out a Notification letter for Bad debts relief to be sent to your customer. QnE can print out such Letter. I am not sure but I think others may not.

9.     The system should already have all the 23 Tax Codes and most have more (up to 30 Tax Codes) to allow for different circumstances e.g. purchase for own use

There is a total of 23 Tax Codes eg. Purchases exempted from GST, Purchases (GST not claimable), Sales (GST not claimable), etc. and you should be able to set for each customer regarding their GST status, the same applies to suppliers as some input tax may not be claimable while others are claimable. The big problem with this is that the same supplier may sell you goods which are GST claimable and also other goods which are not GST claimable. Your system should be able to handle the different combination well for different customers, suppliers and also GST claimable and not claimable goods. If you are selling to a Labuan customer, then, you can’t charge the customer GST at all.

10.            The system should automatically enter the double entry for Input tax, Output tax, Payable tax, etc.

Another issue is that sometimes goods are purchased for own use, then, you can’t claim the GST but have to charge it as part of your expenses or capitalized within asset purchased. The system should be able to handle the journal entries. Claimable GST (Input tax) should be capitalized as an asset while Payable GST (Output tax) is recognised as liability (not tax expense). However, GST paid to supplier that is not claimable is recognised as expense. I know this gets very confusing so get some help if you don’t get this…

11.            Convert from DO to invoice or POS to invoice? Which is better?

I heard that some system can do automated data entry from the point of sales. Meaning to say, there is no need to key in the data for sales. I don’t how it works as the technical guy was busy showing others and I didn’t get a chance to see how. Furthermore, it handles Point of Sales from many branches and allow for group reporting of GST. Wavelet has that function and uses cloud computing.

12.            E-voucher claim

Make sure you claim RM1,000 when you purchase the GST compliant accounting software. Ask the vendor how to claim otherwise you might end up paying the full price of the software.

13.            iPad, Android access

Most systems runs on multiple devices such as iPad or iPhone, Android devices as well as Window based computers. Better check with the vendors and test where possible. One freelancer I met that day told me his client complained about the font size of the reports which is too small for his eyes and that is why he used QnE as there is a magnifying function. However, the client still complained about it every now and then. Using other touch screen devices may help to magnify the figures in the reports.

14.            Free training 6 months to one year

Also check out the free training offered by vendors; which ranges from 6 months to one year. Mostly they limit to one or two staff and will charge for any additional staff. This has always been a problem because staff turnover is very high for companies. I know that UBS becomes popular as the training is widely available in Malaysia. Better to go for one where training is solid and well supported. But I was surprised that UBS and Sage were not represented in the Expo.

Hope the above information helps. Happy software hunting!

Wednesday, 21 May 2014

Exam Guide June 2014 (P2 Corporate Reporting) by Joe Fang

Question 1
(a)   Consolidated Financial Statements (Do not Spot!)
-          Group cash flows
-          Vertical/Mixed group
-          Foreign operation (Closing Rate method)
-          Piecemeal acquisition
-          Disposal

Accounting standards integrated in Consolidated Financial Statements (At least 3 from below):
-          IAS 16 Property, Plant and Equipment
-          IAS 38 Intangible Assets
-          IAS 19 Employee Benefit
-          IAS 21 The Effects of Changes in Foreign Exchange Rates
-          IAS 28 Investments in Associates and Joint Ventures
-          IAS 37 Provisions, Contingent Liabilities and Assets
-          IFRS 9 Financial Instruments
-          IFRS 2 Share Based Payments

(b)   Theoretical element on group context
-          IFRS 8 Operating Segment
-          IFRS 9 Financial Instruments
-          IFRS 3 Business Combinations
-          IFRS 11 Joint Venture Arrangement
-          IFRS 10 Consolidated Financial Statements
-          IFRS 13 Fair Value Measurement

(c)    Ethics
-          Explain the difference between being ethical and mere compliance of the Accounting Standards
-          The case mentioned contains element of “Creative accounting” to mislead financial user
-          Student need to address the unethical behavior or accounting treatment proposed by the Director
-          Recommend a proposed solution

Question 2
(1 or 2 Accounting standard(s) )

At least 6 of the followings:
-          IAS 10 Post Reporting Events
-          IAS 12 Taxation
-          IAS 16 Property, Plant and Equipment
-          IAS 17 Lease
-          IAS 18 Revenue
-          IAS 19 Employee Benefit
-          IAS 24 Related Party Transactions
-          IAS 36 Impairment of Assets
-          IAS 37 Provisions, Contingent Liabilities and Assets
-          IAS 38 Intangible Assets
-          IFRS 9 Financial Instruments
-          IFRS 11 Joint Venture Arrangement
-          IFRS 10 Consolidated Financial Statements
-          IFRS 3 Business Combination
Question 3
(At lease 4 Accounting Standards)
Question 4
-          IFRS 9 – Draft Chapter 6 Hedge Accounting
-          ED Revenue from contracts with customers
-          ED Investment Entities
-          ED Financial Instruments: Amortised Cost and Impairment (inc
-          expected loss approach)
-          ED Improvements to IFRSs