Accountancy in Singapore
An accountant is a practitioner of accountancy, which is the measurement, disclosure or provision of assurance about financial information that helps managers, investors, tax authorities and other decision makers make resource allocation decisions. Accountants are vital business assets. They play a key role in commerce, industry and organizations large and small.
Accountants often carry fancy acronyms in their name cards such as CPA, FCPA, ACA and FCA. These letters describe individuals belonging to various professional accounting bodies. Certified Public Accountants (CPA) are typically members of local professional accounting bodies. In Singapore, the key accounting body governing accounting practice is the Insitute of Certified Public Accountant.
A Certified Public Accountant Singapore (CPA Singapore) is a professionally qualified, experienced and competent individual bound by a strict code of professional conduct and ethical standards, and backed by a strong professional body.
A sound knowledge of all aspects of business, constant reappraisal of technical advances and options, together with a trained ability to analyze with accuracy, enable the accountants to play a crucial part in many areas of opportunity. Aspiring accountants should be familiar with Singapore’s business and taxation laws and continually upgrade themselves throughout their career.
Many accountants, however, choose to specialize in a particular field of expertise – financial accounting, management accounting, auditing, financial management, taxation, company secretarial, insolvency, management consultancy and information technology.
Why Become An Accountant?
An accounting career offers you a wide selection of learning and development programmes to help you develop strong leadership and analytical skills necessary to excel in the marketplace. Accountants are always among the top earning professionals in Singapore. According to Salary.sg, the top 8 accountants takes home a median pay of $4.0 million in YA2007 and $3.7 million the year before. In the private sector, they are the mainstays and in many cases, the accountant becomes the head of a financial department – General Manager, Chief Executive – the accountant’s training and experience can lead right to the top
A young accounting graduate usually begins his career as an auditor in the “Big Four” accountancy firms. In Singapore they are PriceWaterhouseCoopers, Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu, Ernst & Young and KPMG. Generally, the junior associate progress from associate to manager/staff accountant, director to partner. Most of the Big Four companies service some of the most prestigious clients; working with them allows one to witness their progress and acquire valuable technical skills and experience in the process.
- In the private sector an accounting degree opens doors to banking and merchant banking, management consulting and stock-broking and top positions within multinational companies and government offices.
Job Opportunities and Security
There is a huge demand for accountants who understand the specific needs of businesses, because the most common problem plaguing business owners was their inability to understand their finances. Every business, regardless of size has three basic tasks: sales/marketing, manufacturing, and accounting. Few careers are as in demand as accountants and bookkeepers are. Often, they are one of the first to be hired when a company is set up and the last to go when the business folds.
In 2007, The Straits Times reported that the Big Four were facing a serious staff shortage with many accountancy graduates going straight to banking or company finance departments. Despite the recent economic downturn, many accounting firms/departments are still hiring, albeit more judiciously and selective.