Thursday, 29 August 2013 00:01
The Institute of Certified Management Accountants of Sri Lanka, the national professional management
accounting body, has granted 100 full scholarships to AAT Sri Lanka students on the occasion of the silver jubilee celebrations of AAT.
It was on 21 October 1987 that the Founder President of AAT Sri Lanka Prof. Lakshman R. Watawala signed the historic document for the formation of AAT Sri Lanka who was then the President of the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Sri Lanka and currently the President of CMA Sri Lanka.
The main objective was to set up a body to produce accounting technicians to meet the shortage of middle level accountants estimated at that time to be 2,000 accounting technicians as per the Asian Development Bank Study Report. Also the ADB study had estimated that such a body would need Rs. 800 million to be set up.
AAT Sri Lanka, which was formed, did not receive any initial capital from the Institute of Chartered Accountants but threw the challenge to Prof. Watawala to take AAT Sri Lanka so that there will be no links with ICASL now CASL which was formed and that no finance, office space or any other facility was provided by the Institute due to protests from the then Auditor General who was also a member of the Institute Council. However, this was not a matter for the founders to drop the idea of AATSL but a greater determination to make it a success.
At this stage M. Manoharan, a Senior Chartered Accountant who was a Past President of the OPA, had set up a body to promote the export of services of professionals of which body Prof. Watawala was also a Board Member. Manoharan graciously offered a room in their Albert Crescent office to start AAT Sri Lanka. This was the beginning of AAT Sri Lanka.
Then of course they had to find the funding and sought the assistance of some business organisations, State corporations and educational institutes to assist them and were able to get their ready funding.
Late Dr. A.W. Ariyadasa who was the Vice President was given in charge of the educational function and with the assistance of the other council members put together the syllabus of AAT Sri Lanka. The examinations were conducted in association with the Department of Exams. ICA Sri Lanka had also recognised the qualification for entry to Chartered exams which was a decision taken during the tenure of Prof. Watawala. With the setting up of CMA AAT students were granted exemptions for the CMA exams.
The inauguration and the launch of AAT Sri Lanka was done at the Auditorium of the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Sri Lanka and the Chief Guest was the Minister of Education at that time Ranil Wickremesinghe. The Guest of Honour was John Amaratunga, who was Deputy Minister of Finance.
This was the start of a professional body which has today grown and disseminated throughout the country and is an education project which has enabled the rural youth to become Chartered and Management Accountants.
The achievement of AAT Sri Lanka has surpassed those of the professional accountancy bodies justifying the setting up of an accounting body at middle or Technician Level as each professional accountant needs a minimum of 10 accounting technicians.
Registered Students – 37,000
Stage (1) Foundation – 88,969
Stage (2) Intermediate – 64,240
Stage (3) Final – 24,024
Therefore it is a fitting occasion to pay tribute to the activities of AATSL during the last 25 years and for the Founder President Prof. Watawala with the support of CMA to honour the students of AATSL by granting 100 full scholarships. The initiative of founder President Watawala brings together the two institutes CMA and AATSL, both national accounting bodies, to disseminate accountancy education throughout the country.
This will enable AAT students an opportunity to become professional management accountants and provide good job prospects in the private and public sectors. The cost of the CMA program is one-tenth of the cost of similar foreign programs offered in Sri Lanka and have provided opportunities for Sri Lankans to become management accountants at an affordable cost.
Many students who were earlier shut out of the system have now been given entry into a very important segment, the management accounting profession, dominated by foreign accounting bodies, which will bring immense benefits to the public and private sector where cost accounting, strategic management and financial accounting could be used for managing and improving the efficiency and performance of organisations.
All AAT students could now apply for the 100 scholarships program on or before 15 September 2013 and could contact the CMA office on 0714705537 or 2506391.