UCCI accounting building bridges

UCCI’s accounting certificate program is working, enrolment is up, and there’s so much interest there’s a waiting list.

A recent meeting held between representatives of Cayman Islands Society of Professional Accountants and their educational counterparts at the University College of the Cayman Islands revealed the program’s first year to be a success.

‘Most of our students have been offered both full and part-time positions with the employers they’ve been placed with, which proves that what we’re trying to accomplish is working,’ said UCCI Director of Student Services Mary Ann Cannon.

She said that while a few students had dropped out, a new focus on reaching out to the accounting community has resulted in a surge of placements and overall student satisfaction.

The work/study program is open to all students interested in the profession and successful completion results in the awarding of the internationally-recognized CAT certification.

The training program can also be used as a first step toward acquiring the British Chartered Certified Accountant designation known as the ACCA.

The certificate is offered in two sections. CAT-1 is geared for college-age students with daytime classes, and CAT-2 is an evening program for mature students and people already working within the accounting sector.

After attending a first term of coursework, during the program’s second term, students attend classes for two or three days a week and work at an accounting firm for the rest.

The program concludes with a third work/study term, which can be tailored to fit the student’s academic needs and the desire to either enter the workforce, or to continue their academic studies toward a Bachelor’s degree and the ACCA designation.

CISPA members agreed that the Certified Accounting Technician program looks promising and will likely assist quite a number of young Caymanians in entering the local accounting field.

The program is also proving extremely popular with mid-career professionals looking to upgrade their skills and qualifications.

CISPA members did stress that changes to the programme should ensure CAT-1 students acquire basic business skills and accounting concepts before commencing the first work experience segment.

At present, students must take five core courses in the first term, moving to more specialized courses in the second term.

‘Even with a January start date, at a public accounting firm that is just entering busy season, it’s not an issue welcoming a student as long as they have the core competencies,’ said CISPA council representative Charles Bolland.

As one way to address this, the group hopes to arrange for a series of skills-building workshops during the program’s first term to build the student’s core business and accounting skills.

UCCI will also look into adding an accounting segment to the core business studies course.

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