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ICAEW-CA Sri Lanka programme deemed ‘transformative’

Author: ICAEW Insights

Published: 24 Apr 2024

First student to complete the ICAEW-CA Sri Lanka Joint Student and Membership Scheme says it showcased her capabilities and helped her secure a role at one of the Big Four.

When an opportunity arises to progress your career simply because of where you live, that’s a chance you can’t pass up.

That was exactly the attitude of Kushmi Amarasinghe when she chose to complete the ICAEW-CA Sri Lanka Joint Student and Membership Scheme at the end of last year.

The scheme, introduced by ICAEW in partnership with The Institute of Chartered Accountants of Sri Lanka in 2020, offers a way for students to qualify with both accountancy bodies simultaneously. It streamlines qualification with both bodies after CA Sri Lanka exams were held to meet ICAEW standards.

“After realising the prestige of the ACA, and how well recognised the qualification is, I was motivated to pursue it alongside the CA Sri Lanka,” said Amarasinghe, a manager in tax and regulation at KPMG Sri Lanka.

The dual programme reduces the time to qualify with ICAEW by up to one year for students in Sri Lanka. Usually, students must first complete their local body exams, then claim 12 credits for prior learning before progressing to the final three ICAEW exams, which can take an additional 12 months.

It is also a quicker route to ICAEW ACA status than what is available to students in neighbouring countries such as India, Pakistan and Bangladesh.

Career boost

As the first student to complete this particular scheme, Amarasinghe says the ICAEW qualification is far more than a one-off recognition of her skills and has already benefited her career by consistently showcasing her capabilities and potential.

“It feels overwhelming to lead the way, especially as I’m now recognised and have secured a role at KPMG. Starting in 2019, I passed exams in strategic business management, corporate financial reporting, and the case study module which assesses your understanding of providing advice on complex business issues in the form of a written report.”

Amarasinghe also says guidance from the tutoring programme for the case study was invaluable. “I was promoted to assistant manager in 2022 and manager in 2024; the ICAEW title continues to boost my career.”

Global edge

For CA Sri Lanka, international links with other accountancy institutes including ICAEW give its students and members the best opportunity to gain global recognition. The ICAEW programme also gives CA Sri Lanka an edge when encouraging new students into the profession.

“Sri Lankan accountancy students should enrol in the ICAEW-CA Sri Lanka Joint Student and Membership Scheme as it offers a globally recognised qualification,” Amarasinghe urges. “Pursuing this career path will provide them with a distinct advantage in the job market, as individuals with dual qualifications are rare to find.” ICAEW has so far offered 30 scholarships for students in Sri Lanka through the ICAEW Foundation

Scheme eligibility

Students must complete the first two levels under the CA Sri Lanka syllabus (Business & Corporate Level), which is deemed equivalent to the first two levels of ICAEW’s syllabus (Certificate & Professional Level). On completion of CA Sri Lanka second level (Corporate Level), students are eligible to join the scheme.

Students then have a choice to either complete the final stage CA Sri Lanka exams or join the ICAEW-CA Sri Lanka Joint Student route and complete the final ICAEW stage. If students choose the second ICAEW option, ICAEW training and practical work experience requirements for qualification are satisfied through the student’s CA Sri Lanka training contract. Therefore, no additional ICAEW training or practical work experience is required.

Students must also complete the final three ICAEW exams (Advanced Level) plus the ICAEW ethics learning programme. Once all exams and training are completed students are invited to join ICAEW and CA Sri Lanka simultaneously.

Examination challenges

Amarasinghe admits that completing the exam online was a challenge. “In 2020, when I first sat for the ICAEW exam, it was online, with remote invigilation. It was a challenge to adapt to unfamiliar applications and the transition from hard copy materials to online resources.

“Unlike physical exams, online exams require speed and precise tagging of online materials. Adapting to the online format was crucial, especially in case study exams. The approach to exam preparation and the application of knowledge differed from what I was used to. Reviewing answer sheets and understanding examiner expectations was essential.”

The experience has highlighted the well-rounded nature of the ACA qualification. “Being an ACA isn’t just about technical expertise, it’s about professionalism and a holistic approach to work. Membership has given me a new perspective, enhancing my overall professional identity,” says Amarasinghe.

“The ACA title alongside the CA Sri Lanka qualification adds tremendous value and opens doors to new opportunities. It’s truly transformative.”

CA Sri Lanka students can contact the CA Sri Lanka Education team to find out if they’re eligible to join the programme.

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