In this modern day where technology has taken over virtually all that we do, no business venture can breakeven without fully embracing technology, and this change has introduced significant risk in the whole stages of business processes.
If you have taken any accounting course in recent time, you would have noticed that greater emphasis has been placed on risk assessment and compliance. ACCA for example dedicates one of its professional level compulsory exams to Risk, Governance and Compliance (P1).
Yes, we are happy that this positive step is taken but, I still have my reservations because this one paper (P1) is not enough to equip a modern day accountant, and that is where CISA certification plays important role.
While CISA still remains a highly sought after certification in IT/IS auditing, CISA certification has become a de-facto business advisor certification and therefore must be given serious consideration by anyone looking to attain managerial position in business.
Certifications that specialise on risk management continuously prove invaluable as far as playing active role in shaping the fortune of a business is concerned. I recently won a client that would ordinarily be outside my reach simply because I delivered more than pure accounting service to one of my clients that he has to go out of his comfort zone to recommend me to his larger business associates and partners.
CISA certification gave me insight into what I call ‘finance-tech business continuity spectrum’. Before I became CISA certified, I tend to view investment appraisal mostly from financial perspective but now, I incorporate other metrics when advising my clients on whether to invest in new technology or not.
What you gain from having CISA after your name
• Added credibility: Clients’ perception about my ability and the value I can bring to their establishment changed overnight. The first thing I did after certification was to re-contact those that had previously turned down my proposal clearly indicating that I am a CISA. Within 5 days of sending out 70 proposals to potential clients, I received 28 positive feedbacks. This in marketing term represents 40% conversion rate. Compare this to just 3 responses that I got the first time I sent out same number of proposals.
• Respect amongst your peers: I always feel special whenever my fellow independent consultants consult with me just to double check there stance. I understand it is best practice to peer-review your work but you don’t just go to anyone for review; you go to those that can add value to your work. CISA certification is a huge differentiating factor.
• CISA certification makes you conversant with regulatory compliance and technological advancement: If you are an accountant or a business consultant and you don’t update your knowledgebase as it relates to regulatory compliance and business related technology then, be rest assured that you are courting disaster.
ISACA membership has given me more than I needed to be effective in my consulting business. Through various free webinars, deliverables and access to the e-library for example, I have learnt so much about PCI DSS, FISMA, HIPPA and many other cool compliance stuff.
• Increased confidence: the synergistic benefits that you get from having both accounting and CISA qualification will among other things increase your confidence level.
The good things in life go to those that have the ability of spotting out trends at the early stage, tap into it and then grow along. Business owners are now looking for those with perfect blend of accounting and IT skill.
CISA certification no doubt increases your value as an accountant especially in this ever changing, complex and competitive business environment. This is a wakeup call to all accountants before you become irrelevant.