The Accountancy program in our curriculum includes a National Institute of Accounting Technicians (NIAT) Certificate in Bookkeeping, as stated in our college catalogue. However, surprise met me eye to eye when I was informed by my classmate that upon his inquiry to the Accountancy OIC and the Management Accounting Chairperson, they answered that we are not required but encouraged. At that instance, though surprised, I was not regretful of paying the examination fees of Php 2,500.00 (discounted price for students) since my payment will be refunded by Menzi Trust Fund Inc., my ever benevolent grantor.
One has to pass the Certified Accounting Technician (Level 1) Exam to become a member of the Institute of Certified Bookkeepers, thereby having the right to use the MICB suffix. In the Philippines, such certification is not much recognized by hiring professionals but in the United Kingdom, it is highly acknowledged; that is, if one intends to work as a bookkeeper. For further information about how this certification and other certifications (i.e. CAT Level 2 Exam- Registered Cost Accountant, CAT Level 3 Exam- Certified Accounting Technician) can boost your CV, please visit niat.edu.ph.
Earlier, I took the exam for which I have prepared for seven days. The test officially started at 8:30 AM and ended at 12:30 PM. We were given four hours to read, analyze, and comprehend the problem and to write the requirements. Yes, you were right at reading it: problem—without an “s,” indicating singularity. Last year, the exam was a mixture of problem-solving and essay-type questions. In fact, two BS Accountancy graduates from our school, University of St. La Salle, got a 100% rating. But after having answered the exam administered to us earlier, I can say that I can’t get a perfect score. I studied about internal controls, special journals, single-entry bookkeeping, cash to accrual basis of accounting, correction of errors, ratio analysis, and the voucher system, among others but none of these came out in the exam. The CAT Level 1 Exam has four modules:
Module 1: Review of Bookkeeping Skills
Module 2: Completing the Accounting Cycle
Module 3: Constructive Accounting
Module 4: Special Journals
None about Modules 3 and 4 came out in the exam; by none is meant 0/100. Seems easy, eh? Yeah, it wasn’t hard but it was tiring—tiring to the extent that your weariness impedes your ability to analyze and your knowledge reservoir has turned into a pitcher with few mL of liquid that you need to turn upside down for that little knowledge to drop. Simply, tedious.
Our review focused on challenging topics especially in constructive accounting. One of our reviewers even said, “It’s close to impossible that they will let you create a worksheet for that will consume a large amount of your time.”
As soon as we received our final papers (questionnaire and answer sheet), we began to answer. It is important for one to write his e-mail address correctly because results shall be sent there. The exam was simple. There is not much detail to analyze or confusing information, except for one which, I believe, made me the only one to have erred—foolishly. The problem used up about 3 and a half pages; the rest of the pages are for the answers. We were asked to do the steps in the accounting cycle:
- Journalize the transactions without minding the posting references and explanations (31 points).
- Post them to the ledger accounts and create an unadjusted trial balance. Create a 10-column worksheet (8 points)
- Make the adjusting entries and post the adjustments to ledger. Complete the worksheet (24? points).
- Prepare a Statement of Financial Condition.
- Prepare a Statement of Changes in Equity.
- Prepare a Statement of Comprehensive Income.
- Journalize the closing entries (4 points).
- Make a post-closing trial balance (6? points).
- Journalize the reversing entries (5 points).
I cannot remember the distribution of points to every requirement but the total number of points is one hundred (100). Finally, the exam, which was good for four hours, is done. Now, I have to extend my waiting, no agony involved since I’m not overly concerned, to 2-3 months. Still, I pray for favorable results.
By the way, agony will be involved again upon release of exam results for both parties. For examinees who failed, agony will be present for an obvious reason. For the qualifiers, why? It’s because the annual membership dues are close to a hundred bucks.