Accountancy firms can expand services to seize on growth opportunities: DPM Tharman

SINGAPORE: Small and medium-sized accountancy firms in Singapore can seize on growth opportunities in the region by moving beyond audit services, according to Singapore Deputy Prime Minister and Finance Minister Tharman Shanmugaratnam.
Some of these services, he said, could include risk management and valuation.
Mr Tharman was speaking at an industry convention organised by the Institute of Singapore Chartered Accountants which has changed its name from the Institute of Certified Public Accountants of Singapore.
One issue raised was the need for small and medium-sized accountancy firms to expand their services to include risk management, business valuation and international tax.
Ernest Kan, President of Institute of Singapore Chartered Accountants, said: "In Singapore, there is that opportunity. As the economy grows, more and more of the global investors see Singapore as a good hub to put their headquarters in. The next thing they need to think about is how to put together a good tax structure."
Mr Tharman added that accountancy firms can also provide services to support the overseas expansion of small and medium enterprises. With over 26,000 members, chartered accountants make up the largest professional body in Singapore.
Meanwhile, a new national accountancy qualification programme, known as the Singapore Qualification Programme (QP), has already received over 300 applications in less than a month.
Graduates of the Singapore QP will have a new Chartered Accountant of Singapore title which will replace the Certified Public Accountants designation.
About a tenth of applicants came from a non-accountancy background and Mr Tharman said the accountancy sector can look into recruiting more of such graduates.
"The profession at the same time faces a tight labour market, with many competing career choices for Singaporeans. We therefore cannot plan to expand the pipeline of young Singaporeans pursuing accountancy training in our tertiary institutions, or to boost the accountancy profession's share of the local talent pool. Instead, we should focus on broadening the pathways into the profession, including allowing for less conventional routes of entry."
- CNA/fa