As one of the most developed markets in Asia Pacific, Malaysia is a natural choice for many international and regional companies looking to expand their business. Besides its strategic location and thriving business environment, companies can also tap into the wide local talent pool to remain competitive. When companies set up shop in Malaysia, they will need to hire accounting and finance professional to ensure a strong financial foundation and identify growth opportunities in this booming market.

here are five of the most in-demand accounting and finance jobs in Malaysia

1. head of finance shared services

Malaysia has seen an influx of MNCs setting up their shared services centres in the market in recent years. Strong government support, a skilled talent pool, first world infrastructure, and strategic location have been key factors that have been driving the influx of these organisations. The role of finance shared service professional set-up the back office department for these large MNCs in Malaysia.

A finance shared service professional will assess trends and best practices and proactively implement solutions to drive business success. Growing numbers of organisations in Malaysia are predominantly implementing finance shared services, to consolidate all accounting functions into a one-stop centre, making it a centre of excellence (COE) which is made up of finance functions and roles to increase efficiencies to promote cost savings and optimise profits.

what employers are looking for

  • Experience with R2R, P2P, O2C
  • Chartered accountants preferable
  • Preferably from SSC experience
  • Big 4 will be considered

what you can earn

MYR 240,000 - MYR 300,000 per annum, excluding bonuses

2. chief finance officer

A Chief Finance Officer (CFO) is the senior executive in charge of the financial activities of an organisation, providing high quality strategic and technical advice. Their responsibilities comprise all finance-related decisions within the organisation; including investment, tax planning, financing and dividend policy.

The CFO of an organization is intimately involved with treasury operations, tax planning, financial control, management reporting and oversee the overall development of a finance team. Traditionally, the CFO role was involved in recording and reporting, but now the CFO is expected to contribute to the strategic assessment of the company, initiate corporate strategies and in some cases, to lead those strategic efforts.

Malaysia has seen an increasing trend of international players looking towards acquisitions as a possible option to accompany their expansion and acquisition activities. With the surge in transition and mergers, companies need capable CFOs to take on and refurbish the finance department and rebuild the finance team. Companies face a lot of challenges in times of financial crisis and merges. These challenges require companies to focus on cost, risk and cash-flow management — three areas that fall squarely within the CFO’s skill-set.

what employers are looking for

  • Corporate Finance
  • Financial reporting skills
  • System implementations
  • Commercial business acumen
  • IPO experience (for public listed companies)

what you can earn

CFOs - MYR 360, 000 - MYR 480, 000 per annum, excluding bonuses

Group CFOs - MYR 600,000 - MYR 840, 000 per annum, excluding bonuses

3. financial controller

Financial controllers are responsible for the monthly, quarterly and annual management of financial accounts. They look after the financial reporting for the business and tend to be the CFO’s second-in-command. Their role is to manage the company’s transactions, such as accounts payable, receivable, payroll, control accounts and general operational finance.

While CFOs are regarded as the strategists that help with decision-making, financial controllers are considered to be the deliverers of those strategies. Their key roles include managing and maintaining day-to-day cash flow and accounting practices, managing accounting department and implementing and understanding accounting software.

It is necessary to recognize the difference between a controller and an accountant. A controller is supplementary to an accountant, and they can supervise your accountants and their work as well as help managing your accounting or finance department much more fluidly.

As more companies seek to integrate the finance function as a strategic part of their plans for growth, there is more demand for those who can effectively fill this role. It is not simply that financial controller jobs are becoming more prevalent, either. They are also attracting more remuneration, more responsibility and a higher calibre of applicant.

A lot of companies are setting up shared services business models to reduce costs and to promote efficiencies in an organization. Financial controllers are needed to implement new systems and SOPs to get things in order. Other than implementing new procedures and policies, financial controllers also manage and comply with local, state, and federal government reporting requirements and tax filings.

what employers are looking for

  • Full set of accounts
  • Systems savvy (SAP, Oracle, US
  • Gap, ERP, Microsoft Dynamics

what you can earn

MYR 216,000 - MYR 300,000 per annum, excluding bonuses.

4. finance managers

Managing finances is the root of all major business decisions and the role of a finance manager is pivotal to the success of any organisation. A finance manager is responsible for delivering financial guidance and support to clients and colleagues so they can make sturdy business decisions.

Finance Managers typically report to Finance Controllers. Their responsibilities revolve around running the accounts department and financial reporting. Finance managers are responsible for the financial health of an organization. They are required to produce financial reports, direct investment activities, and develop strategies and execute the long-term financial goals of their organization. Malaysia is currently undergoing a period of economic uncertainty and companies are undergoing corporate restructuring to revitalise struggling operations. During this restructuring period, companies need skilled Chartered Accountants to help grow the finance team.

key skills needed

  • Financial modelling
  • Budgeting, forecasting, reporting
  • IFRS (for preferable for MNCs) and MFRS

what you can earn

MYR 120,000 - MYR 180,000 per annum, excluding bonuses

5. tax managers

A Tax Manager will usually be found in larger organisations and their role is to answer all issues relating to tax rules and legislations and what effects they will have on their business. They take a proactive approach - looking to the future of the business to see where they can save the business tax dollars. Their typical profile includes experience from Big 4 or larger 2nd tier firms and have fully up to date tax and regulations expertise.

A Tax Manager is responsible for going through company financials and tax documents to work out the company’s tax obligations. Their role involves a lot of compliance related work, which will predominantly include company tax, FBT and GST.

With growing numbers of businesses going global, more firms are seeking for tax professionals with international tax backgrounds. The demand for tax accountants is not predicted to slump anytime soon due to companies that are largely dealing with necessary government tax documents, ensuring these are completely accurate, and providing solutions to any tax-related issues that arise.

key skills needed

  • Transfer Pricing
  • Big 4 preferable
  • Regional exposure

what you can earn

Managers - MYR 120,000 - MYR 180,000 per annum, excluding bonuses

Senior Managers - MYR 180,000 - MYR 216,000 per annum, excluding bonuses.

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