Singapore to have own accountancy qualification. Why?

who says accountants are boring?

What will be happening in 2011?

Singapore will soon have its own post-university professional accountancy qualification.

The Pro-Tem Singapore Accountancy Council is currently developing the programme with the Institute of Certified Public Accountants of Singapore (ICPAS) in consultation with accounting bodies in the UK, Australia and the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants.

Why is described as “post-university… qualification”?

The certification process will be open to GRADUATES from non-accountancy backgrounds and foreign students. Theoretically a history graduate could go through a “bar exam” before being officially conferred the title of being a “qualified accountant”. [ACCA has done that for me and probably for majority of the accountants in Singapore ie. allows an Economics graduate to become a trained accountant which is internationally recognised.]

Why are we doing this?

Firstly, this is supposed to help Singapore to achieve a leading global accountancy hub status in Asia Pacific by 2020.

In the words of Second Finance Minister Lim Hwee Hua, she said accountancy professionals here and in the region will have an avenue to develop their careers by obtaining credentials that are globally recognised. [Singapore should become the top of mind place to get an accounting qualification that would be recognised by countries in the region.]

She said: “The objective is to develop accounting professionals who are not just deep problem solvers in the core area of accountancy. We also want our accountancy professionals to be equipped with the skills to interact with other specialists and understand technical issues from a wide range of disciplines and functional areas.”

Secondly, the Pro-Tem Singapore Accountancy Council is also looking into alternative niche areas for accountants here to specialise in instead of just focusing on the traditional areas of auditing, accounting and tax.

“We’ve already formed a committee to look at the different specialisation pathways in terms of risk management, for instance, development of CFOs (Chief Financial Officers), internal audit, valuation, taxation. These will be the specialisation, so called qualifications, that we can look at,” said Bobby Chin, chairman of Pro-Tem Singapore Accountancy Council.

Other areas of specialisation such as management accounting or forensic accounting may be introduced later.

Singapore wants to achieve the status of being a talent hub where “travellers from universe can land in Singapore and seek the necessary talents to perform whatever tasks needed”. Remember Han Solo in Star Wars? So if you are looking for a pilot to fly a interglactic spaceship or people to value a tree or to perform due diligence on a nuclear plant acquisition, we should have them here.

Source – / Jonathan Peeris

ACRA – Changes to note

my lunch place in Jakarta

Dear friends,

The Accounting and Corporate Regulatory Authority (ACRA) has announced that it will be implementing several initiatives as an impetus for locally incorporated companies to comply with corporate regulatory requirements as well as to acknowledge companies who have made the effort to comply.

For a start, ACRA will focus on the preparation of the annual financial statements, the holding of Annual General Meeting (AGM) and the filing of the Annual Returns (AR). The initiatives are as follows:-

a) Launch of “Colour-coded Compliance rating”. This is a rating system that recognises companies with a good record for holding its AGM on time, tabling and filing up-to-date financial statements and Annual Returns for the year in question with a positive compliance rating (in the form of a green tick) which makes them eligible for a Certificate of Compliance; while those which were non-compliant in their filing would be given a negative rating (in the form of a red cross). The compliance rating record and other relevant information for all locally incorporated companies will be reflected on ACRA’s free online Directory of Registered Entities for inspection by the public.

b) Issuance of “End of Financial Year Reminder” to provide an earlier alert to companies of the requirement to table up-to-date financial statements and to hold AGM timely with our new End of Financial Year (FY) Reminder, and

c) “Shortening of the Extension of Time” which will reduce the maximum allowable period for extension of time to hold AGM from 3 months to 2 months.

My comments

  • The rating system (just like for the hawker stalls) – What are the purposes? Firstly, of course to encourage compliance. Secondly, could the rating be used to guide your corporate customers’ and suppliers’ decision as to whether to deal with your company? For hawker stalls, would a C-rating discourages people from patronising your stall? We will wait and see the effect of this.

  • The reminder system to comply – In my opinion, this is the most useful aspect if implemented properly. ACRA should introduce even easier ways for companies to comply by simplifying further the filing processes.

I am looking forward to that.

(Announcement copied from ICPAS’s email to members for your information.)