It is an honour to address you as the new President of the Malaysian Institute of Accountants (MIA), taking over from my predecessor Datuk Bazlan Osman.
Under the leadership of Datuk Bazlan and the MIA Council, and backed by your support and engagement, MIA has moved forward in forging a future-fit profession.
Taking stock of 2023, MIA emphasised its regulatory and development activities in accordance with the Accountants Act 1967. Among our 2023 highlights, we prioritised the environmental, social and governance (ESG) agenda to enhance the future relevance of the profession and support sustainable nation building. We delivered an extensive range of professional development programmes to enhance competency and meet market needs, and focused on member growth, retention and development of young talents to strengthen the accountancy talent pipeline. We sought to strengthen ethics by issuing updates to the MIA By-Laws (on Professional Ethics, Conduct and Practice) that are aligned with the latest standards issued by the International Ethics Standards Board for Accountants. To elevate Malaysia’s visibility in Islamic finance, we launched the Syariah Audit White Paper, published additional articles on Islamic finance and the UNSDGs in collaboration with the International Federation of Accountants (IFAC) and held a collaborative roundtable on Islamic finance and sustainable development with IFAC and the World Bank.
For the year ahead, the Institute will continue to focus on our members and strengthening the future relevance of the profession. This will be achieved as always by leveraging on our strategic collaboration and partnerships with diverse stakeholders in Government, the public sector and the private sector. Globally, we will strive for further acknowledgement as the voice of the profession through our involvement and thought leadership at IFAC and the ASEAN Federation of Accountants (AFA), media engagements and platforms such as the MIA International Accountants Conference 2023 which drew close to 3,500 accountants, 71 expert speakers and included a special address by IFAC President Asmaa Resmouki.
Advocacy on sustainability and the future relevance of the profession will headline MIA’s agenda for 2024. The messages of the recently concluded COP28 included a call for a transition away from fossil fuels and greater emphasis on finance and policy to achieve climate goals. Therefore, we expect organisations to turn increasingly to accountancy professionals to help adapt and manage climate and ESG risks, in particular by utilising their expertise in finance and reporting. To prepare, the MIA is developing the MIA Sustainability Blueprint for the Accountancy Profession and the MIA Sustainability Framework and Targets for the Institute. Sustainability will also be at the heart of the MIA International Accountants Conference 2024 which will be held on 11-12 June with the theme of “Navigating New Frontiers, Embracing Sustainability”. Do mark your calendars for the Conference.
Equally important in 2024 is our continuing collaboration with regulators and professional bodies to improve compliance, enforcement and good governance in the public interest. This includes working with MICPA on implementing the International Standard on Quality Management (ISQM) 1, MACC on anti-corruption and BNM on AMLA. Do take note that the revised definition of Public Interest Entities (PIEs) is set to come into effect on 15 December 2024, which will hold audit firms to higher ethical and independence standards.
Information is the lifeblood of accountants. As such, MIA continually updates members on our efforts to attain future relevance of the profession, and we welcome your feedback. While transformation is daunting, MIA is committed to developing future fit accountancy professionals. This is especially pertinent in 2024, which is forecast to be a challenging year as we navigate geopolitical conflicts, climate risks, and economic and social turbulence.
Nevertheless, on the positive side, economists are predicting that Malaysia’s economic momentum is expected to steadily improve heading into 2024 given the resilient domestic demand, supported by benign inflation and interest rates would also propel the growth momentum.
On that note, we thank you once again for your contributions and support of the profession and wish you all the best for 2024.
Dato’ Seri Dr Mohamad Zabidi Ahmad
Malaysian Institute of Accountants