Responses to ACRA Review

Mr Simon Ng Yap Peng and Mr Mickey Chiang, both representing their self and Ms Janet Tan, the executive director of ICPAS sent in their respective suggestions to BT / ST on Aug 2, 2007.

Firstly, Mr Simon Ng suggested:-

  1. Let minority shareholders elect their independent representatives to sit in the audit committee of listed companies.
  2. External auditors should set up a feedback box in their client’s premises for their employees to “whistle blow” any irregularities.
  3. External auditors should do surprise check on their clients.
  4. Our accounting students should do case studies on recent scandals such as NKF, China Aviation Oil, Citiraya etc etc. [Edgar is doing it now thru’ his blogs as he tries to inject realism into classroom learning.]
  5. Encourage availability of post graduate courses for grads of other disciplines to learn about accounting matters.

Mickey Chiang questioned the following:-

  • He understands that the ACRA review programmes were devised accountants from the Big 4. So are these programmes relevant to smaller/small audit firms?
  • How many of those auditors who “failed” the review were from the Big 4?

Ms Janet Tan of ICPAS suggested the following:-

  • To make available more training opportunities to upgrade knowledge and skills. [Yes, if the ACRA Review has highlighted that its members are caught in a time warp and self-contentment that they are good enough to keep making the monies without the need to keep up with time. But I don’t think this is the main issue. Our members are failing at basic stuff ie. things like not doing stock checks and insufficient/no documentation.]
  • Provision of a panel of “hot reviewers” for members whose work are now required to be reviewed by another suitably qualified person ie. “hot reviewer”. [Yes, this will help an important concern raised by ACRA in the interim.]

Edgar says,

  • I agree with Ms Tan that the review should be taken as a wake-up call to practitioners who think they can get away with shoddy work.
  • But I am sure ICPAS will look for root causes that have contributed to the poor state. With the information procured during ICPAS’s own check on its members over the years plus ACRA report, it should be able to present a more comprehensive remedial measures.
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