Employing offshore Filipino accountants

7 Jan 2016

With clients demanding ever more for less, it can often be uneconomical to have your accountants performing lower-level data entry work such as posting entries and record keeping. It can, however, be a bit tricky performing these tasks without an Accounting background and with the required qualifications.

So what is the solution?

One answer lies in the use of offshore Filipino accountants.

Tell me about Filipino Accountants

There are a large number of Universities and Colleges across the Philippines that offer accounting degrees. Of course, the quality of both the courses and consequentially the graduates varies dramatically between universities/colleges. Collectively, more than 16,000 students graduate each year from accountancy degrees within the Philippines.

Accountancy in the Philippines

The Bachelor of Science in Accountancy (BSA) program is composed of subjects in accounting, audit, administration, business laws, and taxation. Its primary focus is not limited to business subjects, but also includes banking and finance, government, social services, education, and more. The program also teaches students to integrate information technology concepts into business systems in order to create a more systematic and organized way of storing business-related data.

In the Philippines, a graduate of Accountancy who passed the board exam is called a CPA (Certified Public Accountant) or in short an accountant. An accountant’s job includes the performance of financial functions related to the collection, accuracy, recording, analysis and presentation of an organization’s financial operations. The accountant also usually has a variety of other administrative functions in the company.

The standards of admission to the BSA program are rigorous and demanding, including selective admission policy requirements such as:

  • Must be a high school graduate
  • Must have a college entrance examination of above average or depending on the specified rating set by the university
  • Must pass a separate aptitude test specific for Accountancy
  • Must pass the interview conducted by the college admission officer
  • Some schools require a high school GPA of 85% and above with no grade less than 80% in all subjects
  • Must have at least an 85% or higher average rating in the National Secondary Assessment Test (NSAT)
  • Must pass the required English Proficiency examination during the entrance exam

The Board Exam

An accountancy graduate needs to take the Certified Public Accountant’s Licensure Examination before they can practice as an Accountant. The examination is conducted by the Board of Accountancy under the supervision of the Professional Regulation Commission (PRC). It is scheduled twice a year in the months of May and October.

All board subjects are given 2 units with a minimum of 3 exam hours per subject. Since there are 7 board exam subjects, there is a total of 14 units and 21 hours. A candidate for the examination should obtain a general weighted average of 75% with no rating belong 60% in all 7 subjects.

English communication skills and quality of work

English is taught as a second language in the Philippines and in some areas, it is the primary language. Across the whole of the Philippines, more than 94% of the population overall speak English. It is not difficult to find accounting graduates who have a high level of both spoken and written English proficiency.

As is the case anywhere, the quality of the work performed by a particular person will depend upon their level of training, experience, and ability. With the right education, attitude, and training, Filipino accountants are of course quite capable of performing high-quality work.

How much do they cost?

A new graduate who not passed/sat the board exam is likely to earn in the range of $500 to $750 per month.

A Certified Public Accountant will typically be paid between $850 and $1,300 per month, with the final figure depending on their actual skill set and previous work experience in the industry. More senior Accountants with five or more years’ experience typically are paid between $2,000 and $2,750 per month.