CAPTION: FIA President Cama Raimuria, who is Financial Controller of Digicel Limited seen with Guest speaker, Renu Chand, Chair of the FIA Education, Membership and Admissions Committee, KMPG Partner, and USP Alumnus. Photo: USP.
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USP’s School of Accounting and Finance and the Fiji Institute of Accountants (FIA) held their first networking cocktail on 2 May, 2013 at the Oceania Centre for Arts, Culture and Pacific Studies.
The purpose of the function was to help graduating and postgraduate students understand and manage the process of obtaining full membership with FIA.
FIA President Cama Raimuria, who is Financial Controller of Digicel Limited and also a USP Alumnus, thanked the School of Accounting and Finance for helping organise and host the function.
“The Fiji Institute of Accountants’ engagement with academia is paramount in “paving the path” towards the future development of the accounting profession,” MrRaimuria said.
He said the FIA has become recognised as a premier accounting body not only in Fiji but also in the region, for its contribution towards education, professional development and the maintenance of high standards in accounting, auditing and governance.
He acknowledged the role of the University of the South Pacific in contributing significantly to the pool of accountants, and said the support and cooperation from academia was significant.
“It is my sincere hope that the USP will be a “catalyst” in leading the participants of this School to successful careers in the accounting profession. The desire to experience lifelong learning while remaining competitive and disciplined will indeed be key components that will be required of you in this volatile and constantly changing market landscape,” MrRaimuria said.
“I believe that the USP – School of Accounting and Finance will surely inspire qualities of leadership and simultaneously equip accounting graduates with a holistic perspective in appreciating the complexities of the global economy in the future,” he added.
“Being an accountant is more than a job; it is a responsibility that you will have to undertake in guarding the people’s interest. Accountants are in a position to influence organisations to make decisions towards sustainable business practices,” he said
He said this was a reason for all accountants to work together to achieve a common goal of improving the accounting profession in Fiji.
Guest speaker, Renu Chand, Chair of the FIA Education, Membership and Admissions Committee, KMPG Partner, and USP Alumnus, shed light on the FIA’s mentoring programme and the benefits of becoming an FIA member.
There was a question and answer session following her speech, where Ms Chand answered questions from aspiring accountants on various issues, ranging from FIA membership to balancing education with other extra-curricular activities.
She also advised how students could kick-start their careers, beginning with excellence in their job applications.
Reflecting on her observations of graduate interviews in previous years, she outlined areas which students should focus on when applying for employment opportunities and attending job interviews.
“I think one of the weaknesses of students during interviews, is written communication, for example their CVs. Most of the larger firms would like you to say something about yourself,” she said.
“When you apply, the way you structure your letter tells us about your interest, and your urgency and drive,” she added.
She told the students to prepare well for interviews by researching prospective employers: “When we ask students if they would like to ask us something, they say no”. Ms Chand also advised current students to balance studies and leisure activities.
Nacanieli Rika, representing the School of Accounting of Finance, said the School encourages accounting students to aspire to professional career paths and become members of the FIA.
“In this regard, it is important for them to access relevant information and meet potential mentors and role models. We hope this evenings’ function will facilitate networking between the profession and future graduates who are also potential employees,” he said.
Mr Rika said the School’s post-graduate accounting programme continues to grow and is also required for full membership of the FIA. “We hope this function will help our students as they decide on areas of specialization within the programme and the profession,” he added.
The FIA is the statutory body established in 1972, under the Fiji Institute of Accountants Act, (Cap 259) for members of the accounting profession in Fiji, and has a vision that highlights its commitment towards upholding the public interest.
More than 60 senior FIA members attended the event including former FIA Presidents Jenny Seeto, Pradeep Patel and Deepak Rathod as well as current President of CPA Australia, Fiji branch, RavendraAchari. Other notable members of the accounting profession in attendance were NouzabFareed, Chief Executive Officer of Fijian Holdings Limited, AlipateNaiorosui, Chief Executive Officer of Housing Authority, Gardiner Whiteside of G.H.Whiteside and Company and Kaushick Chandra, Partner with Price Waterhouse Coopers.
The Dean of the Faculty of Business & Economics, Dr. KesaiaSeniloli together with the Head of the School of Accounting and Finance, Professor Arvind Patel, other senior USP executives, staff and 200 students from the School of Accounting and Finance also attended the event.
FIA members from the accounting firms, the private sector, government and non-governmental organistions were also present.