By MIA Small and Medium Practices Department
Interested in applying to become an approved auditor under the Companies Act 2016 but concerned about not being able to pass the audit license interview? Then this article is for you.
Subsections (1) and (2) of Section 263 of the Companies Act 2016 state that “any person may apply to the Minister charged with the responsibility for finance to be approved as a company auditor for the purpose of this Act” and “the Minister may, if he is satisfied that the applicant is of good character and competent to perform the duties of an auditor under this Act, upon payment of the prescribed fee, approve the applicant as a company auditor.”
As most aspiring auditors are aware, the application process to be an approved company auditor is not merely a registration process involving the filling up of application forms but entails undergoing an interview session with the Committee for the Approval of Company Auditor established by the Accountant General (AG), who has received delegated power by the Ministry of Finance (MoF) to approve the application of company auditors. Some pertinent information on the Committee for the Approval of Company Auditor is as follows:
○ Composition of the Committee:
- Accountant General (AG) or AG’s representative (Chairman)
- Representative from Suruhanjaya Syarikat Malaysia (SSM)
- Representative from Malaysian Institute of Accountants (MIA)
- Representative from Securities Commission (SC)
- Representative from Bank Negara Malaysia (BNM)
○ Secretariat of the Committee is Unit Kawal Selia Juruaudit Syarikat dan Penyelesai, Bahagian Pembangunan Perakaunan dan Pengurusan (BPPP) from AG’s office.
○ Scope of the Committee is:
- To ensure applicants fulfil the criteria of good character and are competent before approval as company auditors and
- To assess and decide on the fitness of the applicants through panel interview sessions.
Submitting your application
Should you be keen to apply to become an approved company auditor, the first step is to check and ensure that you have met all qualification requirements outlined by the AG (which are accessible at AG and MIA websites). The application form comes next, but before submitting your application through the Business Licensing Electronic and Support System (BLESS), you should assess your readiness to sit for the interview in the event that you are called to attend an interview as soon as several days after the submission of your application.
It is a misconception that you will not be called for the interview within a certain period of time after the submission of your application. The AG’s Secretariat may have allocated interview sessions one year in advance, but there is no specific timeline of when an applicant will be scheduled for an interview. Hence, it is crucial to ensure that you have prepared thoroughly for the interview at the time of your application.
It should be made clear that there is no preset level of difficulty for each interview session regardless of an applicant’s auditing experience, as the interviewers are guided by the scope of the interview when they ask questions during the interview. However, by attending the interview unprepared, you may have inadvertently subjected yourself to unnecessary difficulty when attempting the interview.
Hence, regardless of whether it is the first interview or a subsequent attempt, it is worthwhile to consider the following information and tips in preparing yourself for the interview:
Before the interview
- Browse through the regulators’ websites for latest developments. It is expected of auditors to always keep abreast of recent updates and developments concerning the profession. This would also help you in anticipating questions that may be asked during the interview.
- Scope of the interview. Each agency has a set scope of interview which basically covers major crucial and significant laws and regulations concerning the auditing profession. Knowing the scope would greatly facilitate your preparation. For the latest scope of the interview, please attend the Webinar/Seminar for Approved Company Auditors.
- Take leave to study thoroughly, cover the entire interview scope and update your knowledge on practical issues. Avoid last minute preparation as you may be overwhelmed by the areas to be covered and the time and effort needed which may cause unnecessary nervousness during the interview itself. Furthermore, you could take this time to catch up with the latest accounting and auditing standards and relevant regulations relating to the profession.
- Attend the Webinar/Seminar for Approved Company Auditors. Applicants are strongly encouraged to attend this seminar/webinar as representatives from AG, MIA, SSM, SC and BNM will be talking about the conduct of the interview, scope of the interview and tips on answering the interview questions. During the seminar, successful applicants are invited to share their experience and tips in passing the interview. To register for the seminar, please regularly check the MIA Professional Development micro website for details of the upcoming seminar.
- Mock interview session. Seek assistance from a partner of the audit firm at which you work, your colleague, friend, or family member to conduct a mock interview session with you. Besides assessing your level of preparedness, this exercise could boost your confidence and subsequently reduce your nervousness.
- Plan for the interview day. Once a date has been assigned, do keep in mind or plan for the interview by considering leave application, when to go to the interview location and what to wear. Such matters may appear trivial but sometimes even minor things can distract your focus before the interview itself.
During the interview
Now that you are ready to attempt the interview, here are several tips that you may apply during the interview:
After the interview
A letter containing the results will be sent to you after the interview. Successful candidates will be given information on how to apply for the audit licence certificate, while unsuccessful candidates will be informed of the waiting period that will apply to them.
Passing Marks and Waiting Period for Subsequent Interviews
A candidate must pass all modules (i.e., MIA, SSM, SC and BNM) to obtain an overall pass to become an approved auditor. The passing mark is 60% for each module. Candidates would have to go through the entire application process again and be interviewed by the same panel consisting of MIA, SSM, SC and BNM, regardless of how many modules he or she failed.
However, for a candidate who failed marginally (50%-59%) in only one module, the candidate is allowed to re-attempt the failed module only, within three months from the date of the letter of results. Should the candidate fail the interview again, such a candidate will have to undergo a new interview process if he or she is determined to become an approved auditor.
Effective from January 2021, the waiting periods have been revised as follows:
At the end of the day, although it would be great if you pass the interview at first attempt, if it does not turn out in your favour, do not give up. Keep up the effort to pass in the next attempt.
If you have further queries or feedback with regards to your application or interview session, you may drop an email to: