It just keeps on growing.
With Singapore’s economy continuing to experience solid growth, the potential for new opportunities for accountancy firms are growing further still. The fact that many multi-national and transnational companies have off chore global or regional functions based in Singapore offers fresh opportunities and possibilities for professional accountancy services.
On the level of education and training, Singapore’s tertiary academic system now produces 1,000 accountancy graduates every year, 60% of whom join one of the Big Four firms while the rest join finance institutions and other corporations. As a career path, accountants are also among the most highly paid of professionals. This has led to the growing number educational institutions that are offering college degree, short courses, vocational and diploma in accounting courses. As it is, there are at least 630 entities that offer accounting courses in Singapore. Strangely though, the attrition rates across the profession remain fairly high. This suggests the need to enrich accounting training across institutions to broaden the talent pool and enhance career prospects.
In this context, it is important to understand that the rising demand for accounting professionals also causes rising competition and therefore expectations. Accountancy professionals in Singapore have a range of certification programmes to choose from. As it is, there are various quality standards instruments to assure the good quality of accounting graduates in the City-State. Among the professional bodies that offer accounting programmes in Singapore, there are around 28,000 members who are ISCA accredited, another 7,000 are CPA Australia recognized and, 10,000 more ACCA Singapore affiliated. Yet, there is a glaring lack of professional qualification standards in post-graduate accountancy programmes that can be offer better global and international mobility and therefore advantage.
For one, as more and more multi and transnational companies hire more accounting professionals, they also want them to assume extended or expanded roles or functions. As such, it is no longer enough to have solid technical accounting proficiency. It has become similarly important to be well-rounded and have strong interpersonal skills in creative thinking, communication, interpersonal, analytical, managerial skills, and creativity to assume multiple office functions. Accounting courses in Singapore have therefore started putting premium on over-all productivity and developing more holistic accounting professionals. In other words, accounting courses in Singapore no longer aspire to produce merely accountants but productive employees and industry leaders.
Many Singapore education and training institutions offering accounting courses have therefore streamlined their curricula which used to contain a convoluted amount of basic concepts like double entry, debits, credits, business structures to more technical and advanced topics like ratio analysis, concepts and operations of profitability, liquidity, capital structure, efficiency ratio, strategies in payroll accounting using the double entry, understanding employee benefits and compensation vis-à-vis relevant taxes, computing income tax adjustments for businesses, loans and hire purchases. Newer Singapore accounting course curricula instead focus on introductory financial and managerial accounting, financial statement analysis, forensic accounting, and accounting research. Accounting courses in Singapore has also shifted to developing hands-on competencies like general ledger or journal keeping, organized bookkeeping methodology, preparing basic statements of financial position, trial balance and income statements while also emphasizing social, managerial and leadership skills.