ADDING VALUE TO MEMBERS
ISCA continues to make bold, deliberate moves in empowering members, nurturing young professionals and developing future leaders.
We constantly scan the environment and formulate initiatives to prepare the sector for the future of accountancy.
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We collaborated with SCFOI to offer a mentoring programme for aspiring CFOs. This provides CFO aspirants the opportunity to be mentored by experienced practitioners within the accounting and finance profession. The six-month programme started in May 2016 with 24 CFOs and senior finance professionals who took on the role of mentor to guide 36 CFO aspirants.
Together with the SCFOI, we also organised quarterly networking sessions for CFOs, providing a platform for CFOs to network, exchange ideas, gain industry insights and build a close-knit community.
Being responsible for upholding quality financial reporting, CFOs are expected to apply sound professional judgment to challenging and complex financial situations. Our Financial Statements Review Committee (FSRC), together with ACRA and SCFOI, organised two outreach forums targeted at CFOs and public accountants.
Together with ISCA’s Young Professionals Advisory Committee, we kicked off the first of our series on career pathways in July. The session featured three speakers from commercial accounting, consulting and executive search firms who shared their career trajectories. The session gave attendees greater insight into career options for accounting graduates.
ISCA ran a competition in search of the best and brightest young talent aged 30 years and under to represent ISCA at the 2016 One Young World (OYW) Summit. The annual summit brings together young people from around the world to debate, share their ideas and experiences, and work with peers to formulate and share innovative solutions to address urgent global issues. It provides young people who want and are committed to making a difference and a positive change to the world, an opportunity to do so.
The competition attracted entries, from across various industries and backgrounds, including auditors from the Big Four accounting firms, professional accountants in business and accounting undergraduates from local universities. Six finalists were eventually shortlisted by a panel of five judges comprising ISCA’s senior management and members of ISCA’s Young Professional Advisory Committee. The eventual winner of the competition, and ISCA’s representative at the OYW Summit in Ottawa, Canada, was Wesley Lye, an assistant manager with PwC Singapore.
Our Technical Clinics provide public accountants a platform to share and discuss issues related to auditing, helping them to improve their quality of work.
Similarly, our ISCA Quality Assurance Review Programme helps SMPs to improve by reviewing their signed-off audit engagement files and/or firm-level quality control system that need to comply with the Singapore Standard on Quality Control (SSQC) 1. This programme also offers recommendations on areas of improvement and shares good practices.
In 2016, we provided customised training for SMPs to meet their specific learning needs in their implementation of SSQC 1. Training materials were tailored to the different needs of different companies. The objective of the training is to bridge the learning gap and help employees relate what they have learnt to their daily work. We also launched the first edition of the Illustrative Quality Control Manual for SMPs based on the requirements of SSQC 1. At our SSQC 1 Workshop conducted in August, members learnt about using the recommended approaches when faced with real challenges in complying with SSQC 1. The workshop also touched on findings from reviews on company-level controls in compliance with SSQC 1.
We are pleased to have launched a new edition of the ISCA Audit Manual for Standalone Entities. Developed specifically for SMPs in Singapore, the publication offers guidance to help audit professionals to understand and apply the Singapore Standards on Auditing. In this new edition, readers can expect updated information on the auditing process, and a new audit methodology that enhances auditing programmes to improve efficiency and effectiveness of audits. The soft copy was made available to members on a complimentary basis.
In line with our goal to enhance financial reporting quality, the updated edition of Illustrative Financial Statements (IFS) for Private Entities was launched in 2016.
The guide contains illustrative examples of annual financial statements of companies involved in manufacturing and trading activities, and disclosures based on those required by the Singapore Financial Reporting Standards.
In February 2016, the SMP Bulletin, a bi-monthly electronic newsletter, was launched to provide a dedicated platform to enhance communication with SMPs and create a more vibrant community by keeping practitioners abreast of industry developments.
A dialogue for SMPs was held with Minister of State for Manpower, Mr Teo Ser Luck on 22 February 2016, where Mr Teo shared with practitioners about manpower policies and engaged in a lively exchange with the audience.
ISCA’s bi-annual SMP Dialogue has been a platform for SMP practitioners to network, discuss topical issues and share best practices with fellow peers. As an ongoing series, these dialogues are great avenues for practitioners to be kept informed of the Institutes’ continuous efforts to help SMPs transform and grow their practices, as well as address challenges brought about by the dynamic business environment.
With the support of SPRING Singapore, ISCA and ACCA organised a business study mission to Ho Chi Minh, Vietnam from 20-22 November 2016. The delegation comprising 17 participants from 15 SMPs aimed to help local firms seek opportunities overseas in areas such as partnerships, collaborations, setting up of networks and overseas offices. For the first time, one-on-one meetings were arranged for Singapore SMPs to engage in deeper conversations with their local counterparts. A lively exchange of accounting regulatory and industry landscape took place during the meeting with the Vietnamese Association of Certified Public Accountants (VACPA). With Vietnam market reforms allowing 100% foreign shareholding in most industries, there is much potential for Singapore SMEs to invest in Vietnam and for SMPs to acquire stakes in local SMPs.
As technology continues to progress and influence businesses and their many work processes, ISCA undertook a Technology Adoption Study to understand the rate of technology adoption, and productivity gains brought about by technology in both public accounting firms and accounting and finance functions in companies. With the findings from this study, ISCA would be able to better formulate initiatives and organise events to better prepare the sector for the future of accountancy.
To empower members to achieve their aspirations, we rolled out two ISCA certificate programmes: Advanced Certificate in Business Analytics and Reporting (BAR) and Certificate in SME Accounting: Fundamental Skills & Judgment in Applying FRSs. These structured certification programmes address a wide range of competencies and skill gaps that in turn empower accountants to deal with the ever-changing business landscape and the volatile economy. More certification programmes are on the way.
Five new webinars were developed as part of our suite of proprietary e-learning programmes. Launched in November, the webinars cover topics such as Accounting, Auditing, Ethics, Risk Management and Transfer Pricing. Our online programmes complement our seminars and training courses, which continue to be well-attended. An example is the ISCA Budget Seminar 2016, which drew more than 650 participants.
Throughout the year, we organised events that promote learning, create networking opportunities and foster camaraderie and bonding among the accounting community. Such activities also encourage work-life integration. Our annual ISCA Games and ISCA Run continue to draw strong support from all segments of the profession. In 2016, we continued to hold our regular ISCA Mingles and ISCA Breakfast Talks, featuring speakers on diverse topics such as Big Data, Fintech and Artificial Intelligence.
In the third quarter, we launched a series of videos that showcased the benefits a chartered accountant can bring to businesses. In these videos, six ISCA members offered great insights into the future of accountancy in risk management, data analytics, the new lease accounting standard, sustainability reporting, and mergers and acquisitions. We also produced an infographic video that contained key facts about the various roles of chartered accountants.
This series caught the attention of over one million viewers through digital and social media channels. It was also featured on outdoor screens of lift lobbies and office buildings that reached out to more than one million professionals, including employers and clients of chartered accountants daily, over the span of two months.
Our IS Chartered Accountant journal bagged the Award of Excellence at the Apex Award 2016 for Publication Excellence. This international award is awarded to publications with outstanding content, design and overall communications. Winning this award further cemented the important role our publication plays in elevating ISCA’s standing globally.
The online edition and mobile app of the journal were launched in August 2015. A Readership Survey was subsequently conducted to gather feedback from members. Based on the result, 78% of the respondents indicated that our journal was one of the major sources they rely heavily on for information and updates in areas of accounting and business.
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