2020 - February
ISCA’s Response To Singapore Budget 2020
18 Feb 2020 Category: Media Releases
18 February 2020 – The Institute of Singapore Chartered Accountants (ISCA) supports the key initiatives in the 2020 Singapore Budget, as mentioned in the Budget Statement, delivered in Parliament by Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Finance Heng Swee Keat, on 18 February 2020.
ISCA lauds the government for the comprehensive measures in Singapore Budget 2020, which address short-term challenges as well as push ahead with strategic transformation and growth plans in the long term. The short-term measures set out in the $4 billion Stabilisation and Support Package provide much-needed relief via financial assistance and tax rebates to support enterprises affected by uncertainties in the global geopolitical environment, as well as the five sectors affected by the COVID-19 situation. The measures are also geared towards retaining jobs and sustaining wages in this period of a potential economic downturn. Additionally, Budget 2020 reinforces Singapore’s long-term commitment to driving industry transformation. This enables the country to press ahead with the digitalisation of enterprises and investing in training the workforce.
This year’s Budget is aligned with the views of business and industry leaders from some trade associations and chambers (TACs) and the business community. The feedback was gathered at the ISCA Pre-Budget Focus Group and the ISCA Pre-Budget Roundtable (the Roundtable), held last year in July and in January this year, respectively. ISCA has since shared the feedback with the government for its consideration.
For example, a new platform, GoBusiness, has been launched to streamline license applications for businesses. This is in line with feedback from business and industry leaders to build on existing efforts to facilitate transactions with the government via digital channels. Also, to help more enterprises internationalise, government grants will be expanded to cover Free Trade Agreements (FTAs) consultancy costs. This is consistent with feedback at the Roundtable where panellists shared that enterprises needed support with understanding FTAs. Budget 2020 also addressed calls at the Roundtable to encourage enterprises to invest in training workers. An example is the announcement of the new SkillsFuture Enterprise Credit to defray training and job redesign costs.
As the national accountancy body, ISCA is committed to supporting the development of the accountancy sector, particularly in industry transformation. We are heartened that several of our initiatives are aligned with the key thrusts to deepen industry-wide capabilities and develop the workforce, as set out in Budget 2020. ISCA encourages accountancy professionals and firms to utilise the incentives and initiatives laid out in the Budget 2020 package.
1. Deepening Enterprise Capabilities
In conjunction with the Accountancy Industry Digital Plan launched in August 2019, ISCA set up a virtual Small and Medium-sized Practices (SMP) Centre. This is a one-stop online portal to support small and medium sized accounting firms, also known as SMPs, in harnessing technology for greater productivity, growth and competitiveness. Besides providing information on pre-approved digital solutions, associated grants for adoption and curated training courses, the virtual SMP Centre also houses resources such as an online self-assessment tool on digital readiness and an enquiry helpdesk.
Since its launch, the virtual SMP Centre has received approximately 50 enquiries from SMPs and digital solution providers.
ISCA’s Collaboration with Singapore Polytechnic – Capability Building Initiatives for SMPs
To support SMPs in business transformation, ISCA has partnered with the Singapore Polytechnic (SP) to work with SMPs in adopting audit software and Robotic Process Automation (RPA). Audit software enables SMPs to automate and streamline their audit workflows while RPA can help SMPs raise productivity and drive cost reduction.
Accountancy students from SP are assigned to help SMPs in onboarding audit software and streamline audit workflows. The first phase of the collaboration commenced last year, with more than a hundred SP students working on projects for SMPs.
ISCA is also offering an RPA for Auditors training course, delivered by SP lecturers, to upskill employees of SMPs. These employees will be trained to write simple but useful RPA scripts to automate audit processes. They can then immediately utilise RPA solutions at their workplaces.
Accountancy Mentorship Programmes
ISCA is also committed to sharing accountancy, finance and business expertise with the business community in Singapore and contribute to Singapore’s start-up eco-system.
ISCA supports the Institution of Engineers Singapore (IES) in its IES-Incubator and Accelerator (IES-INCA) Programme by connecting senior and experienced accountancy professionals who are ISCA members with IES-INCA’s start-up incubatees. The incubatees will be mentored in areas such as formation of a company and related accounting and financial matters like financial forecasting, and business valuation. The IES-INCA programme is focused on incubating new technology companies that are in the process of scaling up, to harness and incentivise engineering talent towards creating strategic technology products.
2. Developing our people
Job Redesign Study
Digitalisation will disrupt job functions. There is a need to study how job roles can be redesigned to optimise collaboration between man and machine, to reap the benefits of technology adoption.
In partnership with the Lee Kuan Yew Centre for Innovative Cities at the Singapore University of Technology and Design, ISCA is conducting a research study to understand the impact of technology adoption on finance functions across business sectors. The study seeks to identify how critical work functions in finance teams will be impacted by technology, and how job roles in finance functions across industries can be redesigned. This will enable education providers and employers to identify skill gaps as well as develop training programmes to help workers adapt quickly to changing job requirements.
ISCA Certifications and Qualifications
Amid the Fourth Industrial Revolution, accountancy professionals must continuously update their technical knowledge and deepen their skillsets.
In October 2019, ISCA launched the Professional Business Accountant (PBA) Programme, a six-month programme that is administered through an e-learning platform. The PBA programme is also a pathway to the ISCA membership. The programme content is aligned to the ISCA Professional Accountants in Business (PAIB) Framework, based on the five DNAs of Future Finance, Business Acumen, Professional Values & Ethics, Technical Excellence as well as Leadership & Personal Empowerment. A professional certificate and the ISCA PBA designation will be conferred on participants who have completed all modules and assessments.
In addition, ISCA offers specialisation pathways that enable accountancy professionals to deepen their expertise and gain professional recognition in high-growth areas. In July 2019, ISCA launched the Infrastructure & Project Finance Qualification (IPFQ) to meet the sector’s demand for infrastructure and project finance professionals. The IPFQ was developed in anticipation of the strong increase in demand for urban infrastructure and services in Asia.
With more businesses adopting technologies, rising cybercrime and tightened regulatory controls by authorities, the demand for compliance professionals in organisations is also on the rise. ISCA is developing a series of compliance certifications targeted at those involved in or interested to move into compliance-related roles. The certification courses will allow participants to acquire and deepen skillsets in areas such as Digital Risk Management and Compliance, Privacy and Data Protection Act (PDPA) Compliance, and the Anti-Money Laundering (AML) and Countering the Financing of Terrorism (CFT) Compliance.
Please attribute quotes to MR Lee Fook Chiew, Chief Executive Officer, Institute of Singapore Chartered Accountants.
For media queries, please contact:
Betsy Tan, Senior Communications Manager,
Tel: 6597 5608/ 9641 6920
About the Institute of Singapore Chartered Accountants
The Institute of Singapore Chartered Accountants (ISCA) is the national accountancy body of Singapore. ISCA’s vision is to be a globally recognised professional accountancy body, bringing value to our members, the profession and wider community. There are over 32,000 ISCA members making their stride in businesses across industries in Singapore and around the world.
Established in 1963, ISCA is an advocate of the interests of the profession. Possessing a Global Mindset, with Asian Insights, ISCA leverages its regional expertise, knowledge, and networks with diverse stakeholders to contribute towards Singapore’s transformation into a global accountancy hub. ISCA is the Designated Entity to confer the Chartered Accountant of Singapore – CA (Singapore) - designation. ISCA is a member of Chartered Accountants Worldwide, a global family that brings together the members of leading institutes to create a community of over 1.8 million Chartered Accountants and students in more than 190 countries.
For more information, visit www.isca.org.sg.