Welcome to the ISCA Budget Update Seminar. This seminar is the first instalment of ISCA’s four-part Singapore Accountancy and Audit Conference (in short, SAAC series).
Finance Minister Heng Swee Keat has called Budget 2019 “a strategic plan to build a strong, united Singapore”. He emphasised the need for Singapore to continue to transform our economy, to foster a vibrant and innovative economy “that provides opportunities for people to release their potential”. The government has also reiterated Singapore’s commitment to ensure that the overall tax system remains fair, progressive, and pro-growth. It recognises that a competitive tax regime is a key anchor to our economic growth. This helps to retain investments and talent, which will in turn translate to bringing in good jobs for Singaporeans.
With SMEs employing 65 percent of Singapore’s working population, their success is critical to the health of the economy. The Government has announced that it will continue to expand a current initiative to help SMEs transform digitally to stay in business amid technological disruption. Specifically, SMEs can continue to look forward to cost subsidies of up to 70 per cent for investment in tools such as cyber security and artificial intelligence.
As the national accountancy body, ISCA has also been exploring ways to help Small and Medium Practices (or SMPs) improve their productivity and regionalise. We will be ramping up efforts to curate ready solutions to be adopted by local SMPs, under the national SME Go Digital programme. We are also working closely with the Info-communications Media Development Authority and the Singapore Accountancy Commission to develop the Accountancy Industry Digital Plan (or IDP), which will be launched this year. The IDP will help SMPs assess their digital readiness in different stages and support them in their digitalisation journey. This will enable SMPs to digitalise their work processes, making them more productive and competitive by enhancing their service offerings.
In his Budget Speech, the Finance Minister also mentioned the need for professional bodies to spearhead the reskilling and upskilling of workers. ISCA’s collaboration with the Singapore University of Social Sciences (SUSS) to develop the ISCA-SUSS Business Analytics Certification programme was cited as an example of this. The programme equips accountancy professionals with practical skills in data analytics, which is growing in importance as the accountancy sector continues to transform.
Another specialisation pathway we have developed is the ISCA Financial Forensic Accounting qualification, which enables accountancy professionals to deepen their expertise in financial forensics. Launched in March last year, the programme is the first applied learning financial forensic qualification developed by a professional body in the region. More specialisation pathways will be rolled out, and in the areas of Project Financing and Cybersecurity in the near future.
The shift to Industry 4.0 is well underway. A new era calls for new skills, new knowledge and a new mindset of continuous learning. Besides developing specialisation pathways in high-growth practice areas, we continue to keep our members updated via our events and plethora of resource materials.
Besides today’s Budget Update Seminar, we have lined up a series of conferences that keep you up to date and help you navigate the complexities of today’s world. Hence, do keep a lookout for other conferences in our SAAC series.
Today, we aim to keep you updated on the tax and economic implications of Budget 2019, areas which have direct relevance to your work. I believe that our presenters, as well as our panel of industry experts today will have insightful views to share with you. May you have a fruitful and enjoyable session today.
Budget 2019: Tax system to be made more progressive and resilient, Channel NewsAsia, 19 Feb 2019