31 Mar 2017

AEcensus2016, conducted by the Singapore Accountancy Commission, revealed growth in performance, productivity, diversity of services, regionalisation and development of deeper skills.


Singapore, 31 March 2017 – Against the backdrop of Singapore’s slower than expected growth in the business environment in recent years, the Accounting Entities (AE) segment saw healthy growth in revenue, productivity, job creation, employment outlook, professionally qualified workforce, diversity of services and volume of work performed overseas. This is according to the AEcensus2016, a national census conducted by the Singapore Accountancy Commission (SAC) for Accounting Entities (AEs) which comprise accounting firms, accounting partnerships and accounting corporations.


Market Revenue

2. In 2015, the AE segment’s total market revenue surpassed $2 billion for the first time, an increase of 9% over 2014. Estimated total market revenue stood at $2.062 billion in 2015, an increase of $169 million over 2014. The Big 4 AEs generated 66% of the revenue at $1.367 billion with the remaining 685 AEs generating an estimated $695 million in 2015.



Diversity of Services


3. Audit and assurance services continued to be the primary sources of revenue with 51% of the estimated total market revenue being generated from these services. However, the Big 4 AEs’ businesses were more diversified than others with business advisory and tax related services contributing 52% of their revenue while audit and assurance revenues made up 47%. The other AEs are also developing their capability for new services to move away from relying on audit as their main revenue driver. In 2015, 62% of AEs rely on audit and assurance services compared with 65% in 2014.





4. There is also growth in the sector’s regionalisation efforts with respondents reporting a 4% increase over 2014 in revenue coming from work performed outside Singapore. This regional work comprises 12% of total revenue.



Job Creation and Productivity


5. The sector employed a workforce of more than 17,800 in 2015, a 2.4% increase over 2014. More than 400 jobs were created amidst the challenging business and employment conditions. Productivity had also increased with average revenue per employee increasing by 2.5% over 2014. A noteworthy observation is that the larger AEs saw higher levels of productivity possibly due to the increased use of technology and the provision of higher value accounting services. 64% of AEs expect positive growth in their headcount in 2017.



Better Skilled Workforce


6. The accounting workforce also became better skilled with 43% having professional qualifications, a 6% increase over 2014. Although more than 80% of the workforce are graduates, career pathways into the accounting entities are diverse as accounting entities are open to hiring nongraduates with diplomas and accountancy related qualifications.



From the Chief Executive, SAC


7. “AEcensus2016 has revealed heartening findings on how the sector is progressively renewing itself to develop new growth opportunities. More AEs are delivering a wider diversity of services, looking beyond Singapore shores for work, embracing technology and developing their workforce with deeper

skills - initiatives that reflect the recommendations of the Committee of the Future Economy. The Singapore Accountancy Commission will use the findings to develop new growth strategies and roadmaps, and work closely with our stakeholders to develop Singapore into a leading global accountancy hub,” said Mr Evan Law, Chief Executive, Singapore Accountancy Commission.



About the Census


8. SAC launched the AEcensus in 2015 to have an in-depth view of the accountancy sector as it plays an important role in the growth of the Singapore economy with its large workforce generating high total revenues and its high growth rate. AEcensus2015 showed that the accountancy sector grew

significantly over the years with total receipts and total employment increasing about 60% and 45% respectively since 2008. The information helps SAC and the industry to refine strategies that will enable AEs to innovate and grow


9. AEcensus2016 was conducted from 15th June to 15th July 2016 involving a sample size of 400 AEs. 170 AEs responded including a 100% response rate from the Big 4 AEs.


10. The census categorises AEs into five major groups based on the number of employees to have a good insight of each category. These are:

                   Big 4 AEs: Headcount of at least 1000 employees

                   Large AEs: Headcount of between 101 to 999 employees

                   Medium AEs: Headcount of between 31 to 100 employees

                   Small AEs: Headcount of between 10 to 30 employees

                   Micro AEs: Headcount of less than 10 employees


11. AEcensus2016 is supported by the Accounting and Corporate Regulatory Authority, the Ministry of Manpower and Workforce Singapore.


12. The summary of findings can be found in Annex 1. The full AEcensus2016 report can be viewed here.




About Singapore Accountancy Commission

Established in April 2013 as a statutory body of the Singapore Government, the Singapore Accountancy Commission (SAC) is the lead agency in spearheading the development of the accountancy sector in Singapore.

The SAC’s Vision is for Singapore to be the Leading Global Accountancy Hub. This will be achieved through developing for Singapore a vibrant accountancy sector that enables the economy to grow, businesses to thrive and talent to flourish. In fulfilling this mission, the SAC seeks to uphold the values of being relevant, insightful, collaborative and advocative.
For more information, please visit www.sac.gov.sg

For more information, please contact:

Lin Shuzhen

Assistant Head, Corporate Communications, Singapore Accountancy Commission

DID: 6325 0514 Email: lin_shuzhen@sac.gov.sg


Yvette Thomasz

Head, Corporate Communications, Singapore Accountancy Commission

DID: 6325 0521 Email: yvette_thomasz@sac.gov.sg