The Professional Regulatory Board of Accountancy (BOA), Philippines Institute of Certified Public Accountants (PICPA), and CPA Australia are collaborating to advance the interests of Philippines-based accountants. Here, TOA Global Senior Director of Finance, Ma. Coreen Laureano Atencio, explains why she applied for CPA Australia Associate membership and the career benefits it can offer all Filipino accountants.

As a finance professional with more than 10 years’ work experience and more than five years in a senior role, CPA Australia first gained Ma. Coreen Laureano Atencio’s (Coreen) attention during the November 2017 PICPA Annual National Convention in Manila.

“I was already in the last semester of a Master of Management degree at the University of the Philippines and after that planning to seek a certification that would help me to become globally recognised as a technical expert in my field and at the same time broaden my overall professional value,” Coreen says.

Fast forward to December 2018 and she applied for the CPA Program via PICPA Pathway 1 under the membership pathway agreement (MPA) and has already successfully completed one subject; Ethics and Governance.

“CPA Australia’s collaboration with PICPA was a big help,” she says. “It literally opened the CPA Australia door for me.”

From your own professional standpoint, what, to date, have been the most rewarding and career-wise, direct benefits of becoming an Associate member of CPA Australia?

“Being globally recognised has a lot of benefits,” Coreen notes. “Leading a team of high-performing finance professionals has a lot of responsibilities and to me, one of them is to consistently motivate each member of my team to aim for continuous learning and development. Being an Associate member of CPA Australia is proof that I’m all for continuous improvement and aligned with dreaming big and achieving more. The most rewarding part is to see each member of my team consistently improve and unleash their inner desire to continuously learn as well.

“Career-wise, I am probably looking at a minimum of two more decades, and after I finish [the CPA Program] I see it is a passport that, in the longer term, is going to be very rewarding.”

Given you already hold a senior finance position, where do you see the benefits of the CPA designation taking you in the future?

“Because the Philippines has blossomed to be a top shared service, offshore business process outsourcing [BPO] solutions provider, global exposure and [relevant] expertise has become essential for Filipino accountants to be on top of the game. After completing the CPA Program, I envisage myself being ready for new opportunities in my profession that will continue to grow as more foreign and global companies do business in the country.

“I look at it as a great way to cement my career further, possibly to the point of achieving a CFO designation. For example, at TOA Global, my current role requires someone who is what they call ‘glocal’ – a globally recognised professional but one who is also a local expert. I believe the CPA designation is going to really help me to climb the corporate ladder as a globally recognised accounting professional.”

Why would you recommend CPA Australia to other Filipinos?

“Now is the best time for every Filipino accountant to become globally recognised. As more global companies do business in the country, there are a lot more opportunities, not just in metropolitan Manila but in nearby provinces and in the countryside as well. Becoming globally recognised helps you stay a few steps ahead of the competition.”

Be this as it may, Coreen says there are still too few local accountants with global designations.

“Not a lot of Filipinos are aware that they could, for example, access CPA Australia without having to go through Singapore or Australia,” she says.

However, given CPA Australia’s online learning platform, which provides ready access to learning materials and technical expertise, this certainly need not be the case.

“This is my first course via an online learning platform, and CPA Australia’s has definitely been adequate in helping me to pass each exam subject,” Coreen says. “Everything you need is there.”

In other words, the door to the CPA Australia designation is well and truly open to all Filipino accountants. Find out more