Mr Edwin Tong, Minister for Culture, Community and Youth and Second Minister for Law,
Dr Ang Hak Seng, Deputy Secretary, Ministry of Culture, Community and Youth,
Mr Teo Ser Luck, ISCA Advisor,
Ladies and Gentlemen,
Welcome to the signing ceremony of the Memorandum of Understanding between the Institute of Singapore Chartered Accountants and the Ministry of Culture, Community and Youth – Singapore Cares Office.
With the MOU today, ISCA will collaborate with SG Cares Office to grow skills-based volunteerism in the accountancy profession. With their breadth and depth of skills and expertise, our members who are professional accountants are well equipped to make a difference by using their professional expertise in service to the community.
ISCA - National-level intermediary for the Accountancy Profession
We are pleased to be recognised by SG Cares as the national-level intermediary for the accountancy profession.
ISCA looks forward to working with SG Cares Office to raise awareness of the SG Cares movement and inculcate values of care, consideration, and contribution in our accountancy professionals. In the following months, ISCA will work closely with SG Cares Volunteer Centres across Singapore to identify the needs on the ground. We will also encourage our members who have the skill sets to step forward, and deploy our volunteers based on the skills required.
Importance of skills-based volunteerism
Skills-based volunteerism enables Social Service Agencies, or SSAs in short, to benefit from the skills and expertise of qualified professionals on a pro-bono basis.
SSAs and charities rely largely on the generosity of individuals and businesses for donations and sponsorships, and grants from government entities and other organisations to conduct their activities.
Generally, SSAs and charities desire to channel more resources to support their causes and beneficiaries. Yet, stakeholders expect them to be accountable and transparent in the way they utilise resources allocated to them. Often, this calls for professional help which can be costly and would strain SSAs’ finite resources. This is where ISCA members who are professional accountants, can help to fill the gap and volunteer their knowledge and skills.
Contributions by ISCA members
I would like to share how accountants can leverage their professional skills and knowledge to support SSAs and charities; there are many of you here today.
In 2020, Singaporeans donated record sums to charities despite the country experiencing its worst recession since independence. Giving.sg, an online donation portal, received $93.4 million in donations. This is more than twice the sum collected in 2019. A lot of money is involved. Therefore, donors and the public would have a keen interest to know that their donations are well accounted for and applied towards their intended purposes.
Accountants can be good stewards of the donations received by strengthening internal controls and ensuring the funds are used for their intended purpose. This will not only improve governance and promote compliance by charities, but it also enhances the accountability of charities to donors, beneficiaries and the general public. When charities do well, it would encourage more inflow of donations for them to do even better, to do more for their beneficiaries. Through this example, you can see how the accountancy profession is serving the public interest, which is one of the hallmarks of our profession.
This is just one area in which accountants can value add and contribute their knowledge. ISCA members possess the breadth of skills and wealth of expertise in many areas such as accounting, finance, corporate treasury, risk management, internal audit, forensic accounting, and corporate governance which would all be useful for SSAs and charities to run effectively.
ISCA Cares – Charity Arm of ISCA
The culture of volunteerism is in fact not foreign to our members. Our charity arm, ISCA Cares, provides a platform for the accountancy profession and our members to give back to the society and help those in need.
Launched in 2017, the ISCA Cares Mentoring Programme is a year-long programme designed to provide young accountancy students from financially vulnerable families, with access to mentorship from experienced accountants. Over one-on-one mentoring sessions, the young mentees gain valuable advice about their personal and professional development as well as future career options. To date, 80 ISCA members have volunteered for this programme, benefitting 125 students and beneficiaries. One of them is here today.
Some of the ISCA mentors are present here today with us. I would like to take this opportunity to thank you for your kind generosity in contributing your time in nurturing our future generation of accountants.
Today’s MOU is a testament to the commitment of ISCA and SG Cares in building Singapore as a more caring nation and an inclusive home for all.
We encourage all our members who have the skill sets and time to step forward and contact ISCA. We look forward to having more ISCA members sign up as a volunteer. For those who are still hesitant to take the first step in volunteering, I would say let us start small.
Over time, you will have a better sense of what is the right mix of professional work and volunteer commitments. This is important to give you the confidence that you can balance both sides and have the best of both worlds. It is not the amount of volunteer work that matters. What matters is that everyone chips in where they can. As the saying goes, “Alone we can do so little; together we can do much more.”
Thank you and have a good day.