Over 800 leaders from Singapore’s public accountancy community met recently to discuss key challenges related to the public accountancy profession at the Accounting and Corporate Regulatory Authority’s (ACRA) seventh annual Public Accountants Conference. Singapore Company Registration specialist Rikvin is optimistic that event, which was held under the theme “Enhancing Productivity and Quality in the Accounting Profession,” provided industry leaders and practitioners a platform to address and propose solutions to key challenges that will go towards making Singapore a leading global accountancy hub in Asia Pacific by 2020. To that end, two reports were released at the conference – a Survey on Talent Attraction and Retention in Singapore audit firms, and ACRA’s Sixth Practice Monitoring Program (PMP) Public Report. Both reports identified the need to re-engineer audit processes as well as to attract and retain talent to sustain practices, as the key challenges faced by the city-state’s public accountancy sector. According to an ACRA-commissioned survey conducted by Association of Chartered Certified Accountants (ACCA), only 38% of audit personnel were satisfied with their career in auditing and would like to see fundamental changes made to make the workload more rewarding. 65% of respondents went further to express their plans for departure within 3 years of tenure with existing companies. The PMP report, on the other hand, revealed that low quality audits could have been prevented if proper training, partner involvement and effective internal quality review were in place at the very beginning of the auditing process. Some of the suggested plans of action for audit firms that came up during deliberations include the following: 1) reviewing the international mobility policy, 2) create a transparent platform for employee grievances, 3) enhance clarity over partner admission criteria, 4) clarify and create a more level playing field for women to aim for partnership and 5) introduce company-level quality controls to address perceived deficiencies such as the lack of comprehensive structured training. Rikvin is optimistic that the suggested action plan for firms will set the public accountancy industry on a path towards achieving its goals. Commenting further, Mr. Satish Bakhda, Head of Operations at Rikvin, said, “As with any industry, the issue of attracting and retaining talent is a growing concern for many employers. On a national level, Singapore has many features which make it a desirable place to work and live for many professionals in the Asia Pacific region and beyond. This is part of the reason why the singapore work visa is so coveted.” “Nonetheless, on a microscopic level, every Singapore company involved in auditing needs to promote efficiency, clarity and rewards at every stage so that a career in auditing becomes more worthwhile and meaningful. We are confident that the proposed solutions, when applied in every firm, will create greater satisfaction for all parties – client, employee and organization,” he added.
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