Ready, Able and Equipped
Ready, Able And Equipped
Cutting through the waves
We equip members with relevant skills and updates to support them in their work. Where there are major developments, we raise awareness of such developments in advance and where relevant, engage members to obtain their feedback. Through workshops, seminars and talks, we share with members the implications of regulatory and other changes, and the steps to take for smooth implementation. There were several developments of note last year, and we used various platforms to help our members navigate the unfamiliar waters.
Improving quality, raising standards
- Changes to the auditor’s report is a key development impacting the auditing profession. We had engaged our members early, and will continue to help them in compliance and implementation. In July 2015, we issued the Singapore new and revised auditor reporting standards to facilitate timely implementation. Key stakeholder groups were engaged in constructive feedback sessions as part of the due process to ensure robustness and relevance of the standards. Since 2012, we have spearheaded outreach initiatives to raise the awareness level of this major development. In 2015, through numerous platforms such as forums and breakfast talks, we continued to engage the different stakeholders including auditors, directors, CFOs and investors on the changes, and to guide the profession in its implementation.
- At our second Quality Assurance Seminar, members learnt from ACRA about the key areas of audit quality concerns arising from the findings of the Practice Monitoring Programme. We also kept members in the know by exploring emerging issues such as the expanded auditor’s report, and the application challenges of anti-money laundering (AML) and countering the financing of terrorism (CFT) requirements and guidelines.
- In our transformation to become a globally recognised professional accountancy body, our standards are aligned to international requirements and benchmarks and maintained at the highest levels. We set standards and guidance relating to professional ethics, which are issued as Ethics Pronouncements (EPs). In November, we issued EP 100 Code of Professional Conduct and Ethics. In addition, we issued EP 100 Implementation Guidance 1 in December to provide guidance to the auditing profession, in the area of management responsibility when providing non-assurance services to audit or assurance clients.
- In an agreement on due process with the Ethics Sub-Committee of ACRA’s Public Accountants Oversight Committee, we can now adopt and customise pronouncements issued by IESBA in a timely manner to benchmark to international best practices.
At the same time, the due process allows further customisation to supplement the requirements, with due consideration to take into account the impact of the IESBA pronouncements on Singapore’s regulatory and business environment. Thus, the due process lays the groundwork for a more robust and credible ethics standards-setting process; this will in turn enhance public confidence.
- We developed and launched the first set of Illustrative Financial Statements (IFS) for Private Entities to help the profession enhance the quality of financial reporting in Singapore. The IFS serves to provide illustration of annual financial statements of companies whose activities include manufacturing and trading. The disclosures contained in the IFS are based on disclosures required by the Singapore Financial Reporting Standards.
A beacon of light
- We revised and issued the Singapore Standard on Assurance Engagements (SSAE) 3000 (Revised) Assurance Engagements Other than Audits or Reviews of Historical Financial Information. The standard was revised largely to improve the clarity of existing requirements in light of experiences with the extant SSAE 3000, and the growing use of the standard internationally. For example, the revised standard provided greater clarity on the characteristics and responsibilities of engagement partners for the overall quality of assurance engagements.
- The Companies (Amendment) Act 2014 was passed by the Singapore Parliament in October 2014, and included the introduction of new criteria for qualification as a “small company” for audit exemption. Together with ACRA, we published a series of articles in the IS Chartered Accountant journal to illustrate the application of the new “small company” and “small group” concepts through the use of case studies. These articles aimed to raise awareness and enhance the understanding of the profession on this key change which seeks to reduce regulatory burden on companies and provide greater business flexibility.
- The new revenue standard, FRS 115 Revenue from Contracts with Customers, which is effective from 1 January 2018, was issued in 2014.
Revenue is a crucial number to users of financial statements in assessing a company’s performance, and the new revenue recognition model is also significant to the entire financial reporting ecosystem. ISCA, through its Financial Reporting Committee (FRC), formed a Revenue Working Group to solicit, analyse and address the FRS 115 implementation issues for industries most impacted by it.
- ISCA issued a practical guidance titled “Application of FRS 110 Consolidated Financial Statements: Consolidation of Real Estate Investment Trusts (REITs) Managers by Sponsors”.
This practical guidance addresses an application issue faced by the REIT Sponsors in the marketplace – whether a REIT Sponsor still has control over its wholly-owned REIT Manager after relinquishing its right as the sole shareholder of the REIT Manager to appoint and remove the board of the REIT Manager. The purpose of this practical guidance is to ensure consistency in practice.
- ISCA’s FRC approved the due process framework for the Technical Bite Size Initiative. This initiative is intended to provide technical guidance in a more understandable and easy-to-read manner for prevalent accounting issues faced by the accounting profession.
This effectively paves the way for us to be the voice and key opinion leader on the application and interpretation of accounting standards in Singapore.
Anti-money laundering and countering the financing of terrorism
- We play a leading role in guiding the accountancy profession to contribute to Singapore’s standing as a trusted financial and business hub. We continued to raise awareness of the importance of a robust AML and CFT infrastructure through various platforms and initiatives. These included ISCA-led focus group discussions, workshops, seminars, publications and surveys, as well as collaborative efforts with stakeholders such as ACRA, Monetary Authority of Singapore and Singapore Police Force.
- We have developed and issued two implementation guides and rolled out an e-learning course to support members in the implementation of AML and CFT requirements. We will continue to seek feedback from members on implementation challenges and provide useful tools to support the profession.
Continuing Professional Education
- Continuing Professional Education (CPE) continues to provide continuing education programmes to meet members’ needs for knowledge improvement, skills upgrading and professional development. Members have a choice of 800 continuing education programmes ranging from accounting and audit to risk management, finance, tax, insolvency and restructuring work.
- Members also accessed the library for e-learning which offers 400 courses in finance and business skills. The web-based modules are available to members round the clock, and on their preferred electronic devices – regardless of where they may be.
- The WDA training grant can be used to pay for up to 90% of course fees for eligible courses. From January 2016, members can also tap on their SkillsFuture Credit to defray the fees for approved courses. We are looking into courses that qualify for such schemes so that members can optimise their resources and learning opportunities.
The IS Chartered Accountant journal has gone digital for members’ convenience. Members can stay updated on the latest accountancy news and views by downloading the journal app from the Apple App Store or Google play store. Going digital provides users with 24/7 access and extra features including bookmarking, searching, sharing and saving of articles. We are also doing our part for the environment by reducing our carbon footprint.