The accountancy sector has been seeing healthy growth in recent years, critical for the growth of the Singapore economy as the sector provides professional services and talent essential for business success. Building on this position of strength, SAC developed new growth strategies and roadmaps based on the recommendations of the Committee on the Future Economy’s (CFE) Working Group for Legal and Accounting Services.
We took a strategic review of our work with the vision to develop Singapore into a leading global accountancy hub. We arrived on three strategic thrusts to drive our efforts. These include enhancing skills and nurturing talent through professional development qualifications and specialisation pathways; developing the industry by helping to build business capabilities to capture growth opportunities; and creating a hub and exchange by building Singapore into a centre for thought leadership. This lays the groundwork for the sector to develop further to ride on new growth opportunities in Singapore and new markets in the region.
Enhancing Skills and Nurturing Talent
With a broad base of accountancy talent with deep and multidisciplinary skills, Singapore is poised to be a key provider of value-added accountancy services in Singapore and to the region. As such, SAC is working on developing Singapore into an accountancy centre of regional appeal, complete with a talent pool coming from a variety of backgrounds yet equipped with deep specialist knowledge and an international outlook; and where a multitude of professional bodies can work together with institutes of higher learning to deepen capabilities.
Our professionals must have the right skills for the demands of new markets and future challenges. Accountancy professionals are expected to be enterprising and trusted business advisors who can shape good business strategies. In short, they would be business leaders in demand anywhere in the world.
The Singapore Chartered Accountant (CA) Qualification was designed to develop these future business leaders. It is Singapore’s national professional accountancy qualification, developed by SAC to be globally recognised and internationally portable, with an Asian perspective. The professional qualification is administered by our national professional accountancy body, the Institute of Singapore Chartered Accountants (ISCA).
On the international front, the Singapore CA Qualification is quickly gaining recognition and greater portability. In 2017, ISCA signed Reciprocal Membership Agreements (RMA) with international professional bodies - the Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales (ICAEW), the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Scotland (ICAS) and Chartered Accountants Ireland (CAI) - making the Singapore Chartered Accountant designation mutually recognised with the world's most renowned qualifications offered in England, Wales, Scotland and Ireland.
With business valuation gaining prominence due to Singapore’s growth as a centre for litigation proceedings and arbitration, coupled with the rise in merger and acquisition activities, SAC’s Institute of Appraisers and Valuers, Singapore (IVAS) launched Asia’s first Chartered Valuer and Appraiser (CVA) programme in April 2016 together with Nanyang Technological University. This is Asia’s first dedicated business valuation certification programme with a curriculum based on standards advocated by the International Valuation Standards Council (IVSC), the global standard setter for valuation. We also created the CVA designation, a benchmark for professional excellence.
Developing the Industry
One of SAC’s key focus areas is to develop an industry that is equipped with specialist expertise in high growth areas, adopts technology, and provides high value services to new regional markets.
To raise the level of expertise of the accountancy sector, the Skills Framework was launched to help employers, employees and trainers to be future-ready. This guide provides key information on employment, career pathways, occupations, job roles, existing and emerging skills, salaries and training programmes.
Creating a Hub and Exchange
Developing Singapore into a centre for high value adding accountancy services puts us in a good position to become a thought leadership hub and exchange – one where accountancy talent and firms congregate for global accountancy conferences and conventions, standards and research.
SAC organises a range of fora including conferences, symposiums, peer sharing sessions and roundtables for audiences including Chief Financial Officers, Internal Audit leaders and accountancy educators. We also conduct national surveys on accountancy such as the AEcensus which surveys accounting firms on their business activity.
Through close collaboration with key government agencies, professional bodies, and Institutes of Higher Learning, I am confident that we will realise our vision of developing Singapore into a leading global accountancy hub.