As new scientific discovery and travel behaviours continued to shape aviation technology, the industry continues to raise benchmarks for quality, efficiency and safety.
Just like the aviation industry, the accountancy profession has evolved in a significant way, and the role of the accounting professional has expanded to meet the challenges and demands of today.
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ISCA collaborated with global software provider CaseWare International to develop “Audit Singapore”, an audit software customised for Singapore’s SMPs. The software aims to help SMPs in Singapore automate and streamline their audit work flow. The typical audit process entails a series of manual audit procedures aimed at addressing the relevant audit risks in order to form an audit opinion.
With the audit software, steps such as input of trial balances, creation of work papers and computing of financial ratios can be automated. There will also be a dashboard to provide an overall monitoring on the progress of engagements.
“Audit Singapore” helps SMPs minimise human errors, improve service quality and save up to 20-30% of processing time during audit engagements, compared to current paper-based approaches. The audit software is customised according to the ISCA Audit Manual for Standalone Entities (AMSE), an improved risk-based audit methodology suitable for SMPs. Hence, audit processes can be standardised across accounting firms that adopted this software.
AMSE AND ILLUSTRATIVE QUALITY CONTROL MANUAL (IQCM) UPDATES
As an ongoing process, ISCA continues to update the AMSE and Illustrative Quality Control Manual (IQCM). The AMSE was first issued on 28 October 2016 to help audit professionals understand and apply the Singapore Standards on Auditing (SSAs) during the audit process. The update aligns it to the revised Ethics Pronouncement 200 (EP 200) Implementation Guidance 2 auditing standard, and improves the usability of some of the working paper templates. ISCA also launched an enhanced IQCM (first issued in January 2016) for SMPs, with guidance for implementing policies, procedures and controls to prevent activities related to money laundering and the financing of terrorism, in accordance with EP 200.
SUPPORTING THE PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMENT OF PUBLIC ACCOUNTANTS
Our ISCA Quality Assurance Review (QAR) Programme helps SMPs improve the quality of their practices and audit engagements by reviewing their signed-off audit engagement files and/or firm-level quality control systems which need to comply with the Singapore Standard on Quality Control (SSQC) 1, EP 200 and SSAs. The programme also offers public accountants recommendations on areas for improvement.
Since 2016, ISCA has provided customised training to meet the specific learning needs of SMPs. Training materials are tailored to the needs of different firms. The objective of the training is to bridge the knowledge gap and help employees relate what they have learnt to their work. The scope of the training has been expanded to include EP 200, ISCA ASME and other audit-related topics.
ISCA also holds Technical Clinics on a regular basis for public accountants to discuss audit-related issues in a focus group setting, facilitated by a fellow public accountant.
PRACTICAL AUDIT WORKSHOP
The Practical Audit Workshop (PAW) programme was developed in 2013, following feedback from members about the need for practical audit training for staff of SMPs. The programme, supported by SAC and ACRA, continues to draw positive feedback from participants. As PAW is a certifiable skills training course supported by SkillsFuture Singapore and Workforce Singapore, SMPs can utilise government training grants to defray the cost of sending their staff for the course.
With the rise of automation, digitalisation, and the gig economy reshaping the global economic landscape, accounting professionals must have versatility, adaptability, strong communication and critical thinking skills to be ready for the future economy. To that end, ISCA continuously provides avenues for our members to learn new skills that are relevant in the future workplace.
New CPE courses in emerging areas such as data analytics, cybersecurity, basic coding and blockchain have been introduced. The Institute has also expanded its library of online courses to cater to the growing demand for on-demand and remote learning programmes. The courses, which come in bite-sized modules, focus on subjects including accounting, internal audit, Big Data and Sustainability Reporting.
The Institute has also developed online courses on business valuation and internal audit, which are among the high-growth practice areas for the region that can help drive the demand for legal and accounting services in Singapore. Launched in December 2017, the courses focus on the common valuation issues in financial reporting and help internal auditors expand their skill set with audit analytics.
IDENTIFYING FUTURE LEARNING NEEDS
A CPE Committee was set up in May 2017 to provide strategic direction and guidance on the value and relevance of ISCA’s CPE programmes. The Committee focuses on identifying the training needs and the skills gap for various job roles, as well as evaluates the relevance and adequacy of CPE courses. The Committee currently has 11 members, including public accountants, chief financial officers from the private and public sectors, and academics.
RISK MANAGEMENT PROGRAMME
ISCA launched its Professional Risk Management Programme in December 2017 to build the capability of finance professionals and risk owners. The programme, which comprises online and campus-based modules, focuses on Enterprise Risk Management (ERM) and financial risk management to equip professionals with the skills to navigate a complex business environment full of unprecedented risks and impending challenges.
TALKS, FORUMS AND SPECIALISED COURSES
In addition to CPE courses, ISCA also organises specialised courses as well as talks and forums to enhance our members’ professional development.
The monthly ISCA Breakfast Talks provided members with a broad coverage of topics that are relevant to finance and accounting professionals. The series, which enables members to network over breakfast and learn more about key topics from subject matter experts, draws more than 80 members each time. Topics range from more technical issues, such as managing income tax, GST compliance, and the new leases standard, to business issues such as crisis management, integrated business planning, and cloud computing.
In May 2017, a half-day forum focusing on technological disruptors was attended by more than 140 participants. Various subject matter experts touched on topics such as the current and future states of digital disruption, the impact of digital disruption on the economy, and the applications of advanced analytics and blockchain technology.
We also organised the second run of our popular Career Pathways talk in September 2017, featuring experienced professionals from various fields sharing their career journeys and insights they had learned along the way. Recruitment professionals from Robert Half were also invited to provide insight into industry hiring trends and give their perspectives on what employers are looking for in prospective employees.
SUPPORTING ASPIRING CFOs
For the third time, ISCA ran its mentorship programme for CFO aspirants in collaboration with SAC. The programme was extended to nine months and included regular milestones and progress updates. Participants learned from experienced mentors from the accounting and finance professions, and interacted with other CFOs and CFO aspirants during the programme.
EXCHANGING KNOWLEDGE AT ONE YOUNG WORLD SUMMIT
PwC Singapore assistant manager Muhammad Ashiq Chu represented ISCA to attend the One Young World (OYW) Summit, held in Bogotá, Colombia in 2017. He joined young talent from around the world to formulate, share and debate innovative solutions for pressing global issues. Each year, ISCA selects a member below 30 years old to be part of the Chartered Accountants Worldwide delegation at the summit.
IS CHARTERED ACCOUNTANT JOURNAL WINS AWARD
For the second year running, the IS Chartered Accountant journal clinched the Publication Award of Excellence at the APEX Award 2017. The international win is a testament to the publication’s exceptional editorial and design capabilities, and its success in achieving overall communications excellence and effectiveness. The award signifies the Institute’s unwavering dedication to producing relevant and high-quality resources that add value to our members’ work. Winning this award further cemented the important role our publication plays in elevating ISCA’s global standing.
In 2017, the Institute embarked on its first interactive campaign site ‘Think Green, Live Green’ to raise awareness of the journal mobile app and encourage readers to care for the environment by reading the journal online. Through the campaign, readers had a hand in growing their digital apple tree while enjoying the extensive selection of articles.
In April 2017, ISCA announced its partnership with SPRING to help SMPs enhance their capabilities and improve productivity through the LEAD programme.
Under this programme, ISCA will support SMPs through projects that provide guidance for practitioners to engage in strategic planning and expand into high-growth practice areas. SMPs will also be encouraged to embrace technology by automating their work processes. There will also be initiatives that support SMPs’ internationalisation efforts by encouraging them to establish partnerships and alliances in overseas markets, as well as learn best practices from overseas counterparts.
To help SMPs establish overseas partnerships, ISCA organised the SMP Business Study Mission to Bangkok from 19 to 21 July 2017. During the trip, local practitioners engaged their counterparts in one-on-one discussions. The practitioners also learned about the Thai government’s key development plans.
The Institute organised a second overseas business mission trip to Sydney in October 2017. As part of the trip, the practitioners visited the Accountancy Technology Showcase Australia (ATSA), the office of Chartered Accountants Australia and New Zealand (CAANZ) as well as technology providers and progressive accounting firms in Australia. The visit exposed practitioners to new technologies, processes and ideas that they could apply in their practices to improve productivity and their service offerings.
The 6th ISCA SMP Dialogue held on 20 April 2017 was a sold-out event. The event centred on EP 200, which formed the basis of a new inspection regime for non-Public Interest Entities (non-PIE) that came into effect on 1 January 2017. ACRA representatives walked practitioners through the flow of a typical EP 200 inspection as well as highlighted some of ACRA’s expectations for EP 200. ACRA’s Chief Inspector addressed questions from practitioners at the end of the session.
We recognise that personal well-being is the foundation of professional success. To support members holistically in their development, we also hold events that encourage work-life balance, physical activity and community bonding.
The ISCA Run is a popular annual event that brings different segments of the profession together. The 2017 ISCA Run took place on 27 May at the OCBC Square, drawing a total of 1,300 runners. The event attracted participants from all over the globe including Australia, China, Germany, Kenya, Morocco and New Zealand. The run attracted participants from all ages, ranging from five-year-olds running in the Kids’ Dash to an 81-year-old running the five-kilometre route.
Close to 300 teams participated in 28 different games in the ISCA Games 2017. This year, a total of 15 accounting firms took part in the Games. In particular, there were 18 teams from the Commerce category, which was a 40% increase in participation from the previous year.
Each year, the Inter-Professional Games (IPG) draws many participants from members of the professional bodies – ISCA, Institute of Engineers Singapore, Singapore Institute of Architects, Singapore Medical Association, Singapore Institute of Surveyors and Valuers and The Law Society of Singapore. The games promote wellness and work-life balance and encourage networking among members of the different professions. In 2017, ISCA placed 2nd overall in the IPG, winning the top spot for table tennis and floorball, and placing second for tennis, badminton, basketball and squash.
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