2011 - May
ICPAS’ Research Shows Strong Support for Vision to Transform Singapore into a Global Accountancy Hub
25 May 2011 Category: Media Releases
Singapore, [25 May, 2011] – Research by the Institute of Certified Public Accountants of Singapore (ICPAS) shows strong support for the Government’s vision for Singapore to develop into a global accountancy hub by 2020, and the recommendations set out by the Committee to Develop the Accountancy Sector (CDAS) to achieve this vision.
In a survey on this, 91% of respondents indicated they believed that professional development avenues such as a post-graduate, structured professional accountancy qualification will help strengthen and broaden the accountancy talent pool, and 89% firmly believe that the qualification will help Singapore develop into a global accountancy hub. In addition, 95% indicated that the professional development of Chief Financial Officers and development of specialisation pathways in internal audit, risk management, business valuation and international tax will enhance the sector’s capabilities.
ICPAS conducted the survey as part of its research on talent management trends within the accountancy sector. In all, the Institute conducted four surveys and polls on the subject this year. Talent management is vital to the Singapore Government’s vision to transform the country into a leading global accountancy hub for the Asia-Pacific region by 2020. The Pro-Tem Singapore Accountancy Council is driving initiatives to achieve this, based on the CDAS recommendations.
ICPAS President Dr Ernest Kan said: “The survey results suggest strong support for the CDAS recommendations and in general the profession has bought into the vision to transform Singapore into a global accountancy hub by 2020.”
Although results indicate that the profession in general strongly supports and believes in the Government’s vision for the accountancy sector, 95% of respondents indicated that more government funding and support are needed to transform Singapore into a global accountancy hub. These include training subsidies and grants as well as tax incentives and reliefs for CPA firms to offset staff training expenses. Respondents suggested making it mandatory for companies to send their accounting and finance staff for training and development.
One in Two Commercial Accountants Not Allocated Training Budget
In the survey on training budgets, one in every two commercial accountants (51%) indicated they were not allocated an annual training budget. In particular, 46% of executives and 51% of middle management from commercial entities responded they were not allocated training budgets. In contrast, 93% of public accountants reported the existence of a training budget.
The research results also indicated that a factor could be low awareness levels for government assistance schemes. Half of the respondents (51%) surveyed reported they were not aware that their companies can claim up to 400% tax deduction under the Productivity and Innovation Credit (PIC) scheme for training expenses incurred. Seventy-two percent were positive that their companies would sponsor their CPE training, if they were aware that the expense qualifies for PIC deduction.
Dr Kan said: “More needs to be done in terms of raising awareness on how businesses can leverage on the PIC to grow and upgrade their skills and operations as well as invest in productivity and innovation.”
Research also showed a lack of talent management initiatives. In the survey on salary increments, while most respondents (92%) were optimistic about their pay increases, about half (51%) replied that they were not aware of any talent management initiatives in their company. Among the 49% who indicated that their company had such schemes, bonus or incentive payouts (41%) appeared to be the most popular measure to retain staff.
“Besides bonus payouts, employees also value training opportunities, job rotation and work-life balance initiatives such as flexible work hours. In a profession where the war for talent is poised to intensify, companies should pay more attention to these talent retention schemes,” Dr Kan added.
Audit and Banking Continue to Garner Strong Interest
To understand the career aspirations of Gen Y, ICPAS also conducted a survey with final year accountancy students. The survey found that external audit (42%) and banking (30%) continued to be popular career choices with respondents. Fifty-eight percent of respondents cited “personal interest” as the main factor in determining their career choice while 54% cited “diversity of career opportunities”. Eighty percent of those surveyed indicated a desire to work overseas. Eighty-five percent indicated a Certified Public Accountant (CPA) or Chartered Accountant (CA) qualification will help them achieve their career goals and indicated the desire to obtain the designation.
Dr Kan said: “Given Singapore’s status as a global financial hub, it is not surprising that many chose to go into external audit and banking, as there is healthy demand for these positions. And with the majority of Gen Y respondents indicating a strong desire to work overseas, the development of the post-university qualification programme is vital. The programme is designed to be internationally portable and recognised in key capital markets.”
In total, the research studies received over 900 responses, with respondents comprising accounting professionals from commercial entities, CPA firms and final year accountancy undergraduates from three major local universities.
Click here to view the report
About the Institute of Certified Public Accountants of Singapore
Established in 1963, Institute of Certified Public Accountants of Singapore (ICPAS) is the national accountancy body that develops, supports and enhances the integrity, status and interests of the profession.
The Certified Public Accountant Singapore (CPA Singapore) is a professional in accountancy, finance and business who has the relevant work experience in addition to a recognised accountancy qualification. CPAs Singapore serve every corner of the world in every industry. Many of them helm some of the most prominent local and international corporations.
ICPAS accords the CPA Singapore designation. Working closely alongside businesses, ICPAS connects its membership to an unmatched range of information resources, events, professional development and networking opportunities. Presently, there are more than 23,000 members making their strides in businesses across all industries in Singapore and around the world.
ICPAS’ international outlook and connections are reflected in its membership of regional and international professional organisations like the ASEAN Federation of Accountants (AFA), the Asia-Oceania Tax Consultants’ Association (AOTCA), the International Federation of Accountants (IFAC) and the International Innovation Network (IIN).
For more information, please visit www.icpas.org.sg
For media enquiries, please contact:
Ms Betsy Tan
Institute of Certified Public Accountants of Singapore
DID: 6597 5608
Ms Orange Tan
Institute of Certified Public Accountants of Singapore
DID: 6597 5613
 The 4 surveys/polls are
• Transforming Singapore into a Global Accountancy Hub Poll
• Salary Increment Poll
• Generation Y Ideal Career Survey
• Training Budget Poll