The Financial Services Institute (FSI) at the H. Lavity Stoutt Community College is now accredited by the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants (ACCA), the world’s leading body for professional accountants.
The institute was last week awarded Silver Approved Learning Partner Status by the ACCA. The newly approved accreditation means that residents of the British Virgin Islands can now receive quality training in accountancy and pursue the professional ACCA qualification through the FSI.
The accreditation also underpins moves to strengthen the human resource capacity for the financial services industry in the British Virgin Islands (BVI) and better position the institute as a major player in accountancy training and qualifications in the Caribbean.
Manager of Operations at FSI, Dr. Derry Hodge welcomed the ACCA accreditation and the greater convenience it provides for students in the BVI. “For many years persons in the BVI and Eastern Caribbean would typically travel to Barbados or Trinidad in order to receive quality face-to-face tutoring in preparation for ACCA exams, especially for the higher level papers. However, the FSI’s award of ACCA Silver Approved Learning Partner status means students can save travel and accommodation costs and have the assurance of world-class ACCA tutoring right here in the BVI.”
The ACCA accreditation followed an application submitted by the FSI which was bolstered by the recent recruitment of a professional tutor from the United Kingdom, Ms. Davinia McGann, who has over eight years of experience in delivering professional qualifications programmes and who is an expert in the delivery of ACCA papers. Ms. McGann will be working to support the FSI to expand its offering of professional courses in 2017.
Although the ACCA accreditation is an initiative of the FSI, it fits into the broader BVI Forward campaign to reposition and strengthen the financial services industry which has as one of its priority initiatives, strengthening BVIslander capability.
President of the BVI Association of Professional Accountants, Mr. Ryan Geluk describes the accreditation as a welcomed development for his membership and the wider financial services industry. He is keen to see a rise in the number of accountants who obtain their qualifications locally.
“Quality education and support for students wishing to take their ACCA qualifications will raise the profile of the accounting profession as a whole and the ability to achieve this in the BVI will ensure that we can retain the best and brightest here and making the qualification more affordable for all local persons. With more qualified accountants now working outside of public practice worldwide, the addition of this accreditation will help strengthen not only the capacity of the local accounting firms, but also the BVI business sector as a whole. Building capacity is a critical element of BVI Forward’s campaign and we are very excited at the possibilities that this brings.”
The FSI started offering the Foundations in Accountancy courses just over a year ago with more than 10 students enrolled in the first of two courses in the module, each of which lasts for about six months and is followed by an exam which then allows students to move on to the next level. Students who successfully complete all three levels will earn the Diploma in Accounting and Business, and they can continue on to the ACCA professional courses or pursue additional courses that would lead to them becoming Certified Accounting Technicians.
The institute plans to begin offering the professional levels ACCA courses in January 2017 as well as begin a second cohort of foundation courses. The availability of the courses and ACCA qualification will help to provide a core group of certified accountants on whom the industry can rely for commitment to best practices and ethical standards.
The FSI will be eligible to apply for ACCA Gold Learning Partner Status before its current silver status expires in March 2018. Gold status means that the institute will have been assessed against ACCA’s widely recognised and highly-regarded global best practice benchmark and will gain access to a range of development opportunities and tools provided by ACCA to further support local capability building.
The ACCA is the global body for professional accountants with 188,000 members and 480,000 students in 178 countries, helping them to develop successful careers in accounting and business, with the skills required by employers. Through its public interest remit, ACCA promotes appropriate regulation of accounting and conducts relevant research to ensure accountancy continues to grow in reputation and influence.
In addition to the newly acquired ACCA accreditation, the FSI has been previously approved to offer courses by the Institute of Chartered Secretaries and Administrators (ICSA), the International Compliance Association (ICA) and the Society of Trust and Estate Practitioners (STEP).