In 2015, we expanded the pathways to recognition, propelling members’ career trajectory and easing their passage to places beyond Singapore.
Passport to excel
We partnered SAC to explore reciprocal memberships with other global accountancy bodies. EOIs were signed with CAI and SAICA. These arrangements paved the way for enhanced collaboration, opening up new possibilities for career mobility and advancement.
Collaborating with CIMA, we established the ISCA-CIMA Pathway for Singapore accounting professionals. This partnership enables qualified ISCA members to hop on a speedboat to attain the globally-recognised CGMA designation. The CGMA qualification enhances the employability of ISCA members overseas, and the management accounting knowledge helps them weather the increasingly volatile business climate.
We were admitted as the first Associate member of Chartered Accountants Worldwide, joining founding members Chartered Accountants Australia and New Zealand, CAI, ICAEW, Institute of Chartered Accountants of Scotland, and SAICA. This membership potentially gives ISCA members an open visa to discover new worlds in their professional pursuits.
ISCA inked a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with ICAEW to deepen our collaboration in research and technical updates. The two Institutes will combine our respective strengths to conduct research and technical explorations that will support the accountancy sector in Singapore and the ASEAN region. This joint effort is designed to provide insights and help solve many of the pressing issues faced by accountancy firms, companies and regulators locally and regionally.
The agreement sets a framework for cooperation on technical and professional matters relevant to Singapore and ASEAN, at both national and international levels. It will be valid for three years, during which the Institutes will explore collaborations on mutually beneficial projects.
This is the second MOU signed between the two accountancy bodies. In January 2014, ISCA and ICAEW signed an MOU to establish the ICAEW-ISCA Pathways to membership scheme, enabling eligible ISCA members to become ICAEW Chartered Accountants. The scheme ended its run in December 2015.
Widening accountancy talent pipeline with more pathways
To further strengthen the profession, we have created more pathways for individuals to enter the accountancy profession. This is in line with the SkillsFuture national movement to provide Singaporeans with the opportunities to develop to their fullest potential throughout life, regardless of their starting points.
In 2016, we will have an Affiliate membership class that enables non-graduates to be ISCA members, providing them with professional support and recognition. The Affiliate membership is for accounting technicians who are able to perform a wide variety of accounting and financial roles, including accounts preparation, budgeting, payroll administration and tax returns. With this new membership class, we aim to professionalise the accounting technician segment, and provide them with support in continuing professional development.
To address the skills shortage and increasing demand for entry to mid-level accounting professionals, we have signed an MOU with the Association of Accounting Technicians in the UK to offer the ISCA AAT Diploma. The ISCA AAT Diploma is a flexible, skills-based programme for accounting technicians and is designed to meet the demands of the workplace. Upon completion of the programme as well as one year’s relevant work experience, the ISCA AAT students will attain the Accredited Accounting Technician (Singapore) designation and be eligible for Affiliate ISCA membership.
In November 2015, the Association of Accounting Technicians also held its inaugural Roundtable discussion in Singapore. It was attended by representatives of professional accountancy bodies from around the globe, including ISCA CEO Lee Fook Chiew. The participants had a lively discussion about the role of accounting technicians and their professional development needs in light of the changing business landscape.
Expanded membership criteria for Associate membership, to include foreign graduates
We will add to the diversity as well as breadth of our talent pool by allowing accountancy graduates of foreign universities to become Associate members. Previously, only graduates of local universities, those who have completed the ISCA Professional Examination, or those with recognised accounting qualifications were eligible for Associate membership.
Nurturing symbiotic relationships
As we cruise into 2016 and further, we have onboard an efficient crew of diverse abilities. The accountancy profession, too, requires people of different skill sets to support various functions in its ecosystem. Creating more pathways contribute towards building a sustainable talent pipeline while simultaneously adding vibrancy to the profession.
ISCA and the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants (ACCA) entered into a collaboration to encourage individuals from diverse backgrounds to embark on an enriching accountancy journey. ISCA and ACCA collaborate on the Fundamentals level of the ACCA Qualification where ISCA will contribute its local expertise to the Singapore law and tax papers, and work with ACCA on joint initiatives to boost student support and employability.
The Singapore QP, launched in 2013 to provide a pathway to be a CA (Singapore), continues to be much sought after by aspiring accountants. 2015 marked the fourth and fifth intakes for the Singapore QP, whereby 335 and 408 examination enrolments were recorded.
We continue to work with SAC to support Accredited Training Organisations (ATOs) and Candidates in their Singapore QP journey. As at December 2015, more than 250 employers have signed up as ATOs, providing support to Candidates in training, mentoring and practical experience.