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Dynamic role played by CA Sri Lanka Training Partners in producing Chartered Accountants comes into focus

The important and dynamic role played by training partners of the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Sri Lanka (CA Sri Lanka) in guiding and producing proficient chartered accountants to the constantly evolving and complex business world was highlighted at the inaugural CA Sri Lanka Forum held recently.

Addressing training partners, CA Sri Lanka President, Mr. Arjuna Herath underscored that building competent professionals are very critical and so CA Sri Lanka has taken steps in the new syllabus where renewed focus has been given to train and built well versed chartered accountants who will help spearhead businesses.

“There is a big role that supervising members (training partners) have to play in this task. In terms of technical ability, chartered accountants are extremely skillful, but we found that even though they have good technical skills, they are not holistic, and their contribution to organizations can improve. Our research also showed that their communication and interpersonal skills improvement, which is what the new syllabus aims to address,” he said.

Mr. Herath noted that training partners can continue to play a pivotal role in producing holistic chartered accountants, by closely interacting with the trainees who train under them.

“We have an obligation to produce very competent professionals, to ensure that the next generation of chartered accountants will carry forward the profession and the institute,” Mr. Herath noted.

He emphasized that it was the three-year long practical training that makes the distinction of a chartered accountant. “And, we are very committed and dedicated to carry this forward and produce chartered accountants of preeminence and excellence,” he told the forum.

Prof. Vasanthi Srinivasan, Associate Professor in Organizational Behavior and Human Resource Management who was the guest speaker at the forum highlighted that given the talent base Sri Lanka has, and if the talent base is harnessed more powerfully, Sri Lanka has the capacity to be an important hub mainly due to the professional expertise and understanding the country commands.

Speaking on the important role played by a supervisor, Prof. Srinivasan who is also the Chairperson of the Centre for Corporate Governance and Citizenship at the Indian Institute of Management, Bangalore said that the quality of a trainee signals the reputation of a supervisor.

She also noted that integrity, wisdom, innovation and service cannot be taught, but it can only be learnt.
“…Your own thinking can structure professional development for the benefit of each of these trainees,” she told the supervisors, while pointing out that no one size fits everybody, indicating the importance to tailor make training programmes depending on the individual needs of a trainee.

Prof. Srinivasan also emphasized that it was important for supervisors to introduce difficult problems to the trainees and ask them how to solve the issue. She noted that such activities also enhances the competency of a professional.

She also added that professionals can acquire skills, by reflection, emulation and observation. “There is no other way to share tacit, implicit part of knowledge,” Prof. Srinivasan added.

Mr. Manil Jayesinghe, Chairman of the Education and Curriculum Development Committee of CA Sri Lanka highlighted that the value and the recognition of the chartered accountant qualification is enlightened through the professional competencies developed during the practical training period.

“With this objective in mind the new syllabus has also incorporated several new additions including a review to ascertain whether the training objectives are being met by training partners, among several other changes,” he said.

He also noted that the new syllabus has incorporated a six monthly review in addition to the quarterly review.

“The supervising members are required to review and evaluate achievement of learning outcomes of the trainees at the end of every six months through one-to-one interviews. This review should be done in addition to the quarterly review,” he told the forum.

Mr. Jayesinghe added that the supervising member should also fill the Skills Assessment Report which demonstrates the learning outcomes achieved by the trainee during the previous six months period while indicating the expected outcomes within next six months.

The three-year long practical training is a distinct feature of the chartered accountancy qualification and is a mandatory requirement if a student is to obtain the chartered accountant qualification. During the course of programme, students are required to complete three years of on the job training which imparts students with the vital depth of technical related work experience.

CA Sri Lanka currently boasts of a large and impressive training organisations partnership amounting to over 600 organisations from the audit and non–audit (commercial) sectors, including top practicing firms and reputed companies island-wide.