New initiatives: Launch of S$2.4 million Digital Transformation for Accountancy Programme to help firms adopt technology, and the Professional Conversion Programme (PCP) for Financial Forensic Professionals
Singapore, 1 June 2018 – Ms Indranee Rajah, Minister, Prime Minister’s Office, and Second Minister for Law, Finance and Education, shared the accountancy roadmap and new initiatives to develop the sector to be future-ready, at the Practitioners Conference 2018, organised by the Institute of Singapore Chartered Accountants (ISCA).
2. The roadmap charts the direction for the sector over the next 5 to 10 years to develop Singapore into a leading global accountancy hub. It targets an annual growth of 5.6% to reach S$2.03 billion in nominal value-add and to create 2000 new PMET jobs by 2020. It was developed by the Singapore Accountancy Commission (SAC) together with other government agencies including the Economic Development Board (EDB), Enterprise Singapore (ESG) and Workforce Singapore (WSG). (See Annex 1 for the Roadmap)
3. Accountancy is one of five key sub-sectors of the Professional Services Industry Transformation Map (ITM) launched in January this year to develop Singapore into a globally-leading Professional Services Industry driven by innovation and partnerships. The other four key subs-sectors are advertising, architecture and engineering, consulting, and legal. The ITM, an inter-agency effort led by the Singapore Economic Development Board, targets an annual growth rate of 4.6% to reach $31 billion in value-add by 2020, and to create 5,500 new PMET jobs per year.
4. The accountancy roadmap comprises four pillars: Productivity; Re-skilling and Upskilling; Innovation; and Internationalisation. Together, they help accounting entities and individuals capture opportunities in the high-growth practice areas as cited by the Committee for the Future Economy’s Working Group for Legal and Accounting Services. These are Business Valuation, Debt Restructuring and Insolvency, Finance, Internal Audit, and Risk Management & Corporate Governance.
5. “The Roadmap will position Singapore well to lead in providing high value specialist services and will require close collaboration among all industry players to realise our shared vision of developing Singapore into a leading global hub,” said Mr Evan Law, Chief Executive, Singapore Accountancy Commission.
PRODUCTIVITY - Streamline work processes and leverage on technology
6. AEcensus 2016/17, Singapore’s national accountancy census conducted by SAC, showed that Accounting Entities (AEs) which adopted technology indicated significant improvements with time savings of around 28%, cost savings of 14% and 8% increase in revenue.
7. The census also revealed that the Big 4 AEs, and Large AEs spent the most on technology adoption in 2016 (an average of $8.5 million and $0.2million respectively) and reported higher productivity gains at 6% and 1% respectively. Conversely, Medium and Micro AEs spent less on technology (average of $50,000 and $3,000, respectively) and reported negative productivity levels (-8% and -9% respectively). Perceived high cost and lack of knowledge to choose appropriate software were cited as reasons for not adopting technology.
8. Through the roadmap, initiatives will be put in place to help firms adopt technology to spur growth and productivity.
Digital Transformation for Accountancy [DTACT] programme
9. A total of $2.4 million has been allocated to the DTACT Programme to help Small and Medium Practices (SMPs) adopt baseline technologies. The programme will open for applications in the third quarter of 2018. SMPs will be able to get funding support of up to 70% for the first year of adoption of solutions in each of the following software: Practice Management System; Tax; and Internal Audit. The total grant amount is capped at $30,000.
10. “Enterprise Singapore partnered Singapore Accountancy Commission on the DTACT Programme to help more accounting entities improve their productivity with technology. It is about using technology to help the accounting fraternity be more rigorous and freeing them to do higher value-add work. This programme hopefully will enable these companies to sharpen their competitive edge as they look to capture more opportunities both locally and globally,” said Mr Satvinder Singh, Assistant Chief Executive Officer, Enterprise Singapore.
11. The programme is funded by Enterprise Singapore and will be administered by SAC, with assistance from the Infocomm Media Development Authority (IMDA) to pre-approve and curate digital solutions. (Please refer to Annex 2 for more details)
IMDA e-invoicing Framework
12. To ensure seamless transactions between businesses, SAC is working with IMDA on the nationwide e-invoicing framework which will utilise the international Pan-European Public Procurement On-Line (PEPPOL) standard. E-invoicing is expected to bring about significant efficiency gains and cost savings to businesses in Singapore. Accounting professionals can expect improved productivity from the automation of invoice generation and processing. It could also potentially offer improved cross-border e-invoicing with overseas businesses which are also on the same e-invoice standard.
RE-SKILL & UPSKILL – Develop Future-Ready Professionals
13. Professionals need the right skills for the demands of new markets and future challenges. As such, future-ready professionals need to be developed with multi-disciplinary skill sets and deep technical expertise in high growth areas. The roadmap plans to attract and train PMETs to move into new accountancy jobs in high growth areas; upskill workers in jobs affected by the digital disruption; and strengthen AEs’ Human Resource capabilities. Programmes that are currently in place to develop future-ready professionals include the Skills Framework for Accountancy, launched in October 2017 to map competency development for high-growth areas; the Chartered Valuer & Appraiser Programme to develop business valuation professionals; Professional Conversion Programme (PCP) for Internal Auditors; and SAPPHIRE for Accountancy. (Please see Annex 3 for more information on these programmes.)
New Professional Conversion Programme for Financial Forensic Professionals launched
14. There is a greater need for qualified and skilled financial forensic professionals today as white-collar crimes are increasing and becoming more complex. To meet this rise in manpower demand, SAC, ISCA and Workforce Singapore (WSG) announced today the new Professional Conversion Programme for Financial Forensic Professionals (PCP-FFP). As part of the Adapt and Grow initiative, this new PCP targets and helps mid-career PMETs to re-skill and embark on a new career in Financial Forensic. Individuals with background in law enforcement, information system, accounting and finance will be preferred.
15. PCP-FFP is a place-and-train programme that comprises on-the-job training and completion of the ISCA Financial Forensic Accounting (FFA) Qualification. Trainees will be able to complete the programme in 10 months or longer, with salary support available for up to 6 months. The ISCA Financial Forensic Accounting (FFA) Qualification is the first applied learning financial forensic qualification developed by a professional body in the region. (See Annex 4 for more information.)
INNOVATE - Diversify into high value accounting services through business model and technology innovation
16. Firms can increase their provision of multi-disciplinary services through business model and technology innovation. To facilitate this, the roadmap plans for more Centres of Excellence to drive new capabilities in emerging high value services and new innovation labs to promote technology collaborations within the industry. International accounting technology players will also be courted to set up their regional R&D centres in Singapore.
17. Nexia TS is an established mid-tier local accounting firm that has diversified into different advisory fields. In 2017, they strengthened their capabilities and offerings of technology advisory solutions in cybersecurity, data protection and technology forensics to include data analytics by acquiring a majority stake in Attain Analytics Group Pte Ltd. This enables the firm to help their SME clients implement business intelligence and performance management solutions which allow their customers to gain insights into their business operations and customer profiles to better respond to the increasingly complex business environment. Nexia TS also launched the Ascend platform in 2017 to provide integrated cloud-based accounting, business automation and A.I. analytics solutions to clients. They expect the new capabilities to generate growth in the new advisory businesses, as well as improve audit efficiency by at least 10% and cost savings of at least 20%.
New Initiative: Singapore’s first Hackathon
18. Singapore’s first accounting Hackathon will be launched tomorrow (2nd June 2018) to drive business and technology innovation within the accountancy sector. Called the Accounting Innovation Challenge (2 – 22 June 2018), participants will work with mentors from the accountancy firms to co-create new business ideas and innovative solutions to solve problems from the industry.
(See Annex 5 for more information)
INTERNATIONALISATION – Develop in-roads into overseas markets to capture demand in high growth practice areas and develop Singapore into a thought-leadership hub
19. To position Singapore well to be a market leader in high-value specialist services, initiatives will be launched to capture international demand in high growth areas; and promote Singapore as a leading exchange for accountancy, and thought-leadership. Enterprise Singapore, together with other Government agencies, will strengthen efforts to assist AEs to leverage on trade missions, and business and networking platforms to build inroads into overseas markets.
20. A platform that profiles deep expertise is the annual IVAS-IVSC Business Valuation Conference. Research surveys such as the AEcensus, also help to position Singapore well for thought leadership.
For the AECensus 2016/17, log on to bit.ly/AEcensus2017
For more information, please contact:
Head, Corporate Communications
Singapore Accountancy Commission
DID: 6325 0521; HP: 9698 3843
Manager, Corporate & Marketing Communications Division
HP: 9188 8251
About Singapore Accountancy Commission
The Singapore Accountancy Commission (SAC) spearheads the development of the Singapore accountancy sector with the vision of developing Singapore into a leading global accountancy hub. SAC is working to achieve this by deepening the skills of the accountancy talent pool; developing the industry to capture growth opportunities; and creating a hub and exchange by building Singapore into a centre for thought leadership. SAC is a statutory body under the Ministry of Finance.
For more information, please visit www.sac.gov.sg
Please refer to the following for more information:
Accountancy Roadmap - Press Release - Annex 1
Accountancy Roadmap - Press Release - Annex 2
Accountancy Roadmap - Press Release - Annex 3
Accountancy Roadmap - Press Release - Annex 4
Accountancy Roadmap - Press Release - Annex 5