Irwan Djaja

Pak Irwan Djaja is the first successful candidate of the CIMA-IAI CFO Programme in Indonesia. He shares some tips on how to pass the Strategic Case Study exam, as well as the value of the CGMA designation.

Full Name: Pak Irwan Djaja

Occupation: Deputy CEO and President 

Organisation: First Media Group, Indonesia

CIMA Entry Route: CIMA-IAI CFO Programme

CIMA Level/Award achieved so far: ACMA, CGMA

The First Media Group engages in a wide range of technology, media and telecommunication businesses. Within the First Media Group, Pak Irwan has worked in various departments and currently, he is the President Director of Big TV, a pay TV Company. He sits on the board of commissioners in a few subsidiaries engaged in the data centre, broadband wireless, and content businesses. Pak Irwan has spent most of his career in accounting firms. Prior to working in the industry, he worked as an auditor and business analyst at Arthur Andersen and as a corporate finance director at KPMG.

What do you think of the management accounting environment in Indonesia?

  • In my view, the roles of management accountants in Indonesia are still much focused on recording and reporting of financial statements, cost control, budgeting, financial analysis, and to some extent, financing activities. Data and information collection for decision-making by management dominates the function of management accounting. Other than multinational or large local corporations, the roles of management accountants are very limited.  Management accounting is perceived as an administrative support function, which is pretty similar to other supporting functions such as human resources, legal, procurement, etc.
  • Similar to most emerging countries, Indonesian firms have been experiencing significant changes in their business environment - a highly competitive environment due to the advances in technology, and dynamic changes in customer behaviours, demand and regulations. In order to promote the management accounting profession, I see the immediate needs for Indonesian management accountants to enhance their skills and capabilities to give a better contribution to their organisations.  Management accountants in Indonesia should not only deal  with  data recording  but should  take part in giving strategic advice to the key management. They need to foster change and take on broader responsibilities and become a more integral part of top management. In terms of technical skills, I have no doubt of the capabilities of Indonesian management accountants. With complexities of the Indonesian business environment, Indonesian management accountants are well trained to handle technicality of recording and reporting. However, in today’s dynamic business environment, those skills are not enough. Management accountants also need to improve their analytical, communication, managerial and strategic skills.  These skills are important to allow management accountants to have a more diversified and comprehensive knowledge of business and give concrete contributions and impact on their companies.

Why did you apply for the CIMA-IAI CFO Programme?  

By joining CIMA-IAI CFO programme, I can tap into a wide range of resources and knowledge from CIMA and IAI. At the same time, I can learn and enhance my skills through a systematic training programme designed by CIMA. The CIMA programme provides the key skills, knowledge, tools and strategies, needed for senior executives. In addition, the CGMA and ACMA designations provide international acknowledgement of my management accounting expertise.

How did you prepare for the exam?

The key to being successful in the CIMA exams is to be well prepared. I set my study goals and create a flexible study plan prior to the exam. I outline to myself what I need to do to make the preparation better. Based on the pre-reading document provided, I made a summary of the key contexts of the case. During the exam, there will not be much time to find information and think about the solution. When we walk into the exam room, we should already have some ideas and pre-prepared answers of each of the potential questions that could be asked. 

What are your tips in passing the exams?

There are a few tips for passing the exam:

Attend the training sessions conducted by CIMA registered trainers. 
Learn and practise from previous exam examples
Try to connect the case with the daily work you do in the office
Make a summary of the strategic tools used in the analysis and tried to apply in the case provided
Read and make a summary about the industry that has been selected for the case  study exam• Practise again and again. Practise on mock-ups and take the feedback provided by the reviewers
Monitor the time used in completing the exams. Discipline is a key to exam success. It is important that you construct a timetable and keep to it. Calculate the time you should devote to each question based on the total length of the exam and the marks allocated to each question. 
Plan your answer. Try drawing a spider diagram to remind yourself of important interconnections between aspects of your answer and to remind you where case study material or examples are relevant..

What’s your feeling when you received the news that you were admitted as an ACMA, CGMA?

I feel extremely excited to be admitted as an ACMA and CGMA and can become part of CIMA family. This achievement has certainly enhanced my confidence.

How will being an ACMA, CGMA support/ help you in your current job?

Being an ACMA and CGMA certainly gives me many benefits. It adds a great credential to my CV. In my current job, I deal a lot with foreign investors and analysts in the capital markets. Being an ACMA and CGMA gives me reputational benefit. Investors or people in the business know the quality and high standard of ACMA and CGMA.  When they see me, as the key management of the company, who have earned the ACMA and CGMA designations, they have better confidence in dealing with our company. They are likely to believe that the company is managed by professionals who have the competence, capability, dedication and ethical and analytical skills necessary to enable the company to perform well.

Any advice for potential CFO programme candidates?

Since you have chosen to join the CFO programme, you have to be persistent and complete the journey that you have started. You must follow diligently on all the preparation paths that have been designed for you. With a little bit of focus and hard work, any experienced CFO will certainly pass. I believe once you have passed and are admitted as an ACMA and CGMA, you will be rewarded accordingly, both in reputation and financially.  

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