Tax Forum 2016 | Tax Professionals Qualifications and Requirements

Speaker: Mr. Casey Barnett, President, CamEd Business School

Mr. Casey Barnett began his presentation about professional tax qualifications and requirements by briefly going into detail about his own professional background. He mentioned he had become an advisor to the National Accounting Council since arriving in Cambodia and had worked as a consultant for the World Bank whilst living in Phnom Penh. He stated that he holds an MBA with a concentration in finance and economics from Columbia Business School, is a fellow member of the ACCA, and is a CFA charter holder too.

Mr. Barnett is currently the president and founder of CamEd Business School, which is the only institute in Cambodia that is accredited by the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants or the ACCA. CamEd provides training in areas related to tax to leading businesses within Cambodia. Currently, much of CamEd’s work is with the big four audit firms (KPMG, Ernst & Young, PWC and Deloitte).

After describing own professional background, Mr. Barnett stressed the importance of being proficient in issues related to tax. He stated that an in depth understanding of how to be tax compliant in Cambodia was now more important than ever. This brought him onto the main focus of his presentation, which was CamEd’s “Diploma in Cambodian Tax”. The tax diploma is an accreditation for those interested in becoming certified public accountants in Cambodia. The diploma, like CamEd, is accredited by the international Association of Certified Chartered Accountants (ACCA).

Mr. Barnett went into more detail about the diploma by discussing its curriculum in depth. He mentioned the fact that the syllabus for the diploma was drafted by DFDL and was approved by the National Accounting Council Review of Syllabus. He also stressed the fact that the syllabus was created after asking KICPAA firms for their input. This was done so that the private sector could give their opinions on what specific expertise they feel is most relevant for a certified public accountant in Cambodia. The syllabus was also reviewed by KPMG and approved by the ACCA.

After this, he discussed a range of topics related to the exam for the diploma. He mentioned that the exam is written by PWC and that Song Kosal, the former Ernst & Young Tax Director for Cambodia, wrote its marking guidelines. He also stated that the ACCA and its members were responsible for marking the exam.

Mr. Barnett stressed the fact that exam takers are expected to calculate tax obligations and advise on real life tax issues companies encounter. He also said that the exams take place each June and December and are in either English or Khmer. On top of this, he stated that the exam takes a total of 3 hours and 15 minutes to complete and that all exams are marked at least twice, anonymously. Historically the exam has had a pass rate range of 23% to 50% but currently the pass rate is 30% to 40%.

Prior to discussing the exam past rate and the logistics associated with sitting the exam, Mr. Barnett stated that VDB/ Loi writes the exam. He also revealed the lecturers for the diploma to be the following people: Eng Ratana (Director of Large Taxpayer Department, GDT), Song Kosal (former Ernst & Young Tax Director) and Sim Laysym (VDB Loi Partner).

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