2009 - November
Keynote Address By Mr Teo Ser Luck, Advisor To ICPAS, At ICPAS Dinner & Dialogue 2009
06 Nov 2009 Category: Speeches
Dr Ernest Kan,
President of ICPAS;
Ladies and Gentlemen
1 It is my pleasure to grace the inaugural ICPAS Dinner & Dialogue. My relationship with accountancy goes way back, when I first studied the subject in university. My training in accountancy has served me well, and taught me critical skills which I still apply in my current role.
2 I am gratified that today, I can contribute to the accounting fraternity as ICPAS advisor. Good accountancy professionals are crucial to business as they form the backbone of any company. As ICPAS advisor, I would like to assist the institute in generating interest in the profession among the younger generations. It is also my goal to help ICPAS widen its reach and heighten its stature through greater collaboration with key parties in business and the government. Having worked in both private and public sectors, I hope to share my experiences and provide fresh perspectives on ICPAS’ initiatives.
3 This year, ICPAS has made significant progress, becoming a member of the prestigious International Innovation Network. The fact that 17 national accountancy bodies voted unanimously for ICPAS to be the network’s 18th member is strong endorsement and recognition of the institute’s stature. ICPAS will be participating in the Network’s key international initiatives, enabling it to learn and adopt best practices from professional accountancy bodies around the world.
4 In line with its strategic aim of industry growth, ICPAS has been working closely with the Committee to Develop the Accountancy Sector (CDAS), set up by the government to undertake a fundamental review of the accountancy sector. The recommendations by CDAS is aimed at positioning Singapore as the leading centre in Asia for accountancy services and professionals, and will have significant impact on the business landscape in Singapore.
5 Another key development is the new accreditation institute set up by ICPAS for tax professionals in Singapore, expected to be launched in the first quarter of next year. With the new tax institute, ICPAS aims to raise the competency levels of tax practitioners and provide them with accreditation. The accreditation scheme will have robust criteria, requiring tax professionals to have completed accredited courses and attained requisite practical experience.
6 These are exciting times for ICPAS and the accountancy profession. To meet oncoming challenges, the institute will be taking on a broader role, undertaking research and development projects as well as working with the government and the industry to further its strategic aims of accountancy excellence, industry growth, and member and human capital development. As part of this, members can look forward to more thought leadership initiatives that provide innovative ideas and actionable insights. Today’s dialogue is an example of this, and a forerunner of more ICPAS signature events to come.
7 This evening’s dialogue topic is close to my heart. As the Senior Parliamentary Secretary of the Ministry of Community Development, Youth and Sports, I have had the opportunity to be involved with several youth-related initiatives and interact with Gen-Yers. At MCYS, our vision is to nurture inspired and committed youth who will make a positive difference to Singapore. This dovetails with today’s theme – Upping the Ante of Gen Y talent in Nation-building.
8 It is heartening that ICPAS, as the national accountancy body and Singapore’s largest professional body, is taking a leading role in addressing a salient issue facing the nation. According to a study conducted by the Singapore Human Resources Institute, Gen Y-ers represent about 20 per cent of the economically active population of Singapore. They also possess distinctive traits that can make them seem mystifying to older generations. According to the same survey, Gen Y-ers in Singapore are confident, tech-savvy and restless. Preferring an unconventional approach to life, Gen Yers are intrinsically motivated, working to fulfil goals which are aligned with their personal values. They are also more family-oriented, in contrast to Gen X, who are perceived to be more individualistic.
9 What this means is that there must be different modes of engagement for this different group. Employers need to think about retention strategies for this highly mobile group, as well as address generational diversity in today’s workplace and promoting work-life harmony. As a nation, we will need a variety of opportunities and platforms to meet the different participation needs of Gen Y-ers.
10 Take for example the Youth Network, which I chair. The Youth Network is targeted at adults in the 25 to 34 age group and focuses on the three main areas of Interest, Career and Family. Through the network, we aim to provide opportunities for young adults to participate in social and community programmes, and facilitate partnership among public, people and private sectors.
11 Similarly, at ICPAS, there is the Young Professionals Group Committee, for accountants in their 20s and 30s. The Committee was formed because ICPAS recognised that accountants in the early phases of their career have unique needs in areas of their career, learning and lifestyle. The Committee seeks to provide our younger members with greater opportunities for professional development, as well as sharpen their leadership skills.
12 Since the Young Professionals Group was formed in 2006, it has held several key events, including networking sessions with top industry leaders and programmes to develop members’ soft skills.
13 As a nation, we need inspired and committed young Singaporeans. We want to continue to build an environment where young adults will always feel a sense of ownership and responsibility for Singapore, know that they have a stake in the nation, and know that they have support for their goals and aspirations.
14 We are certainly seeing a greater level of civic participation. For example, at Reach portal, the number of unique visitors has increased threefold over the past year. More than 205,000 individuals logged on in the first nine months of the year, compared with 49,000 in the same period last year. This is welcome news and a step forward in promoting a more active citizenry engaged in nation building.
15 I see that among us tonight, we have a spectrum of generations, from the tertiary students and young working adults – our Gen Yers – to the more mature Gen X and Baby Boomers. I look forward to hearing your views later, and to a fruitful and engaging discussion tonight.
16 Thank you.