The accounting profession’s future earning potential lies in
investment advisory, according to new South Asian Federation of
Accountants president Syed Mohammad Shabbar Zaidi. The
PricewaterhouseCoopers Pakistan partner has questioned the future
of audit (see A time for
and said investment advisory is the only area in
which “we have got an edge”.

Zaidi told TA that investment advisory business should
belong to the accounting profession rather than investment bankers.
“It is our business, because we know the business, we have done the
business. We have learnt the law and the tax. So the lead should be
coming from our side and they should help us, but unfortunately the
lead is coming from their side and we are helping them,” he

Professional edge

The accounting profession’s edge comes from practical business
experience, Zaidi said: “I believe the people who are business
school graduates lack the basic accounting understanding. The
difference between us and them is that none of these schools have
got practical training, so I call them a doctor but not a surgeon,
while we are also surgeons. When we do the three-year training in
auditing, [we come to] understand the actual business environment,
how the information flows, while their understanding is more based
on classroom training.”

Zaidi, a member of the Institute of Chartered Accountants of
Pakistan (ICAP) council, added that the chartered accountant’s
knowledge of areas such as accounting, corporate finance, tax and
corporate law exceeds that of the ordinary business graduate.

He added: “Investment advisory has to be linked and co-ordinated
with the economics – knowledge of basic economics in any society.
The type of economics we need is the pure economics. Accountancy
[institutes] have to add something on the economics as one of the
core subjects if they want to be really good in the investment
advisory and corporate finance in the long run.”

ICAP is redesigning its syllabus to work towards that

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