2012 - March
Giving SMEs and SMPs a leg up
20 Mar 2012 Category: Media Releases
ICPAS organises forum to help small business owners address challenges in talent management, technology, productivity, and sustained growth
Singapore, 20 March 2012 – Some 300 small and medium-sized entreprises (SMEs), including small and medium-sized accountancy practices (SMPs), attended the ICPAS SME-SMP Forum 2012 today to exchange and gather insights on issues critical to the sustained growth of their business. The event, organised by the Institute of Certified Public Accountants of Singapore (ICPAS), the national accountancy body, was attended by Mr Teo Ser Luck, Minister of State for Trade and Industry and ICPAS Adviser.
The forum was a timely one following the focus on the need for our SMEs to enhance their productivity and upgrade their capabilities after the recent Budget 2012 announcement. In addition to ICPAS, other industry associations such as SBF and ASME, government agencies such as SPRING and IE Singapore as well as the universities such as SMU participated with speakers at the event.
The forum brought the SMEs and SMPs together to help address issues such as how to better manage their business, the need to upgrade their skills and leverage on technology to raise their productivity, how to internationalise their companies, and what are the various government schemes they can tap on to do so. In addition, the forum provided a valuable platform for the SMEs and SMPs to network and to explore further collaboration.
The Institute also introduced the new Quality Assurance Framework at the forum. This is an integral programme aimed at raising the quality of our SMPs in their auditing work. The framework provides a holistic, structured and member-oriented approach by providing support to our SMPs in technical advice, training, counselling, mentoring as well as recognition of best practices.
This rigorous infrastructure achieves for the SMP community the highest profile standard for all accounting and auditing work emanating from Singapore. At the same time, it strengthens Singapore’s position as a reputable and trusted business and financial centre.
The forum comes on the back of a survey conducted by ICPAS on our SMEs and SMPs. The survey findings re-affirm the prevailing issues of rising business costs and staff recruitment as some of the tops concerns amongst our SMEs and SMPs.
The survey also highlighted interesting new findings. For example, more than 70 per cent of the SMEs and SMPs rely on in-house training for their staff. This suggests that the enhancement of the Productivity and Incentive (PIC) scheme in the recent Budget to also cover in-house training is both timely and useful for our SMEs and SMPs.
Another interesting finding is that less than 50 per cent of SMEs as well as SMPs were satisfied with technology adoption or found technology adoption cost-effective. This could discourage greater or more widespread adoption of technology amongst the SMEs and SMPs, and may not be helpful in our Government’s efforts to restructure the economy and move towards productivity rather than labour-driven growth.
The next two findings suggest that there could be potential for our SMPs to further collaborate with our SMEs. In particular, the SMPs can serve as a multiplier in the Government’s effort to help SMEs enhance productivity and restructure the economy.
The survey revealed that there is a significantly low awareness amongst our SMEs of the various government assistance programmes. Some 64 per cent of SMEs were not aware of any government assistance schemes and 78 per cent of SMEs did not apply for any such initiatives. On the other hand, the SMPs were generally much more aware of these programmes.
The survey also found an apparent mismatch between the services most needed by SMEs and the services that SMPs would like to provide. SMEs rank taxation, audit and corporate advisory services, in descending order, as their greatest needs and which they are willing to pay a premium for, while SMPs are most keen to provide audit, compilation and accounting services, and taxation in descending order.
The low awareness of the government assistance programmes amongst our SMEs, unlike the SMPs, and the greater need for taxation service by our SMEs compared to the focus on audit work by our SMPs, suggest that our SMPs can help raise awareness of government initiatives amongst our SMEs and also help them leverage upon these schemes by advising them in the area of taxation.
Dr Ernest Kan, ICPAS President says, “There is a knowledge gap amongst the SME community in terms of grants available that our small and medium sized accounting firms can fill. Additionally, there is a range of expertise possessed by our local accounting businesses that can help SMEs go global that has yet to be tapped on. This is one of the reasons why ICPAS has chosen to launch the ICPS SME-SMP Forum. We aim to bridge both communities and cultivate a mutually advantageous partnership where both groups play an integral role in ensuring their success.”
The ICPAS SME-SMP Forum 2012 was held at the Grand Hyatt Singapore and follows the successful conclusion of the IFAC SMP Forum 2012 of which ICPAS was a co-organiser.
For media enquiries:
Institute of Certified Public Accountants of Singapore (ICPAS)
Betsy Tan, Communications Manager
Tel: 6597 5608 / 9641 6920
Low Xiaojing, Communications Executive
Tel: 6597 5609/ 9171 8852
Note to editors:
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 distinguished by their technical expertise, integrity and professionalism, in addition to a recognised accountancy qualification and relevant work experience. 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 close to 25,000 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 International Innovation Network (IIN).
For more information, please visit www.icpas.org.sg