CPA Australia: opening doors to international careers


Marilou Capistrano CPA (Aust.), Finance and Administration Manager at Gadaleta Steel Fabrication, based in South Australia, not only professionally benefited from the CPA program, it also inspired her children to strive for success.

With the help of the knowledge gained through the program, she went ahead and built her global career.

The reason Capistrano considered the CPA program in the first place was that after arriving in Australia it was difficult to find a job that matched his skills and experience. “I was refused a job because I did not have a CPA designation. This was my turning point and the reason I started the CPA program. I knew I had the skills, qualifications and experience, but I was missing that CPA designation, ”she says.

The Professional Accountancy Regulatory Council (BOA), The Philippine Institute of Chartered Accountants (PICPA) and CPA Australia have worked together to provide career and knowledge benefits to their members to help them develop international career opportunities.

Capistrano adds, “Participating in the CPA program may not guarantee you get a job overseas immediately, but it gives you a competitive advantage and can be a stepping stone to land your dream job in the future. Even if you are not physically in Australia, just completing this CPA program and earning the designation can help you work with an Australia-based employer.

The Australian-specific knowledge gained from following the program was also useful for Capistrano. “I had no Australian tax experience so the CPA program really helped me understand this area a lot. “

Broaden your horizons

If you have a passion for learning, the books from CPA Australia really contain a lot of information.

Capistrano says: “You can gain a broad understanding of what is going on outside of your own business as well as outside the industry. The CPA program further explores what we have already learned in our bachelor’s degrees and applies it to real-world scenarios.

As part of the CPA curriculum wrap-up topic, Global Strategy and Leadership, Capistrano was able to understand how to take a leadership role and learn new perspectives on global accounting issues.

“I was able to find topics covered in the program that touched on areas I miss. For example, I don’t have enough experience in management accounting. By following the CPA program, I was able to deepen my knowledge in this area and fill in my gaps.

While Capistrano was in the CPA program, she was trying to get a government grant for one of her company’s projects. The knowledge she gained from the subjects helped her take the most effective approach.

“I was able to apply the knowledge of strategic management to the government grant application, and we received this government grant of two million dollars. In doing so, I increased my value within the company.

Professionally, it was a good time to do this program for Capistrano as his company was working on new strategies after being hit by the pandemic.

“We thought we would branch out or consider other strategies to improve the business. So with this topic I was able to give some ideas and bring something to management on improving the strategy.

Learn at your own pace

Capistrano believes the CPA program is ideal for mid-career finance professionals in the Philippines.

“We have six years to complete the program, so there are a lot of options for us depending on whether we want to take multiple subjects in one semester or just one subject per semester.

Going through the CPA program while working full time and raising a family was very difficult for Capistrano. There was a lot of pressure for her to juggle everything at the same time.

“The CPA program is very manageable and it allows me to take the exams at my own pace. For those who work full time, this is a great option.

“I am just very lucky to have a supportive husband and my teenager is very understanding as well. I hope I was a good example for my son when he saw me studying.

“One of the motivations for continuing the program is that I want my children to be proud of me and see me as an inspiration to aim higher and dream bigger. I want them to realize that they are going to define their own future. If they want to achieve something, they have to go on and work hard for it, like I did.

Attend a Become a CPA information webinar to find out more or apply for associate members of CPA Australia via Member Course Agreement (MPA) with PICPA.


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