Aug 2016

One Change You Must Know As An Aspiring Accountant In Singapore

Change is the only constant.

You would have thought that this business mantra does not apply to the accountancy world which is traditionally stable. It can't be further from the truth, because accountancy is up for a major change. Lets hope that this change is for the better.

This article explores the changes you must be aware of as a budding accountant in Singapore.

In preparation of becoming an accounting hub in 2020, Singapore Accountancy Commission (SAC) was formed in 2013. Several new measures were implemented, for one, CPAs are now called CAs (Chartered Account of Singapore).

CPA title is the hallmark of a qualified accountant, which is common among english-speaking countries. With the change of name to CAs, we now have something uniquely-Singapore for the accountants.

Before you heave a sigh of relief, thinking that the change is a matter of adding an alphabet, read on students.

A new programme,'' Singapore QP'' has been launched. It is a mandatory rite-of-passage for anyone who wants to land the much-coveted CA title in Singapore. This has serious implications.


Prior to this, an accounting student would just have to take a professional qualification such as ACCA, accumulate sufficient work experience and undergo a 5-days pre-admission course to gain eligibility in becoming a CPA. Work experience counts as long as your 3-years practice involves accountancy.


Usually, the state of the ''after'' is better than that of the ''before'', but in this case....... I will let you draw your own conclusions.

First, let us take a look at the Singapore QP framework.


Accountancy programme students are no strangers to modules like financial reporting and Ethics.

What is new is on the right side of the pathway. Aspiring Chartered accountants are to clock 40 hours of pro bono work. It gives us an idea of Singapore's aspirations to develop well-rounded individuals who have a heart. For those who have been kicking rats on the streets, its not too late to turn over a new leaf and learn to be a good citizen now.

Apart from that, the 3 years of working experience cannot be fulfilled at any place. It has to be done at an ATO (Accredited training organization). There are 200 odd of them, with good portion being government linked organizations or MNCs.

Wait a minute, your CA title is not a guarantee after 3 grueling years. Your fate is predicated on another factor, or rather a person. That is the ''Training principal'' or a mentor who will assess your work and confirm with SAC whether you make the cut. You better pray that you get a super nice training principal.

How about the left side of the chart?

Back to taking exams! If it’s any consolation, none of the accounting modules are year-long. An institution like LSBF provides tuition class for each module which includes 8 classes of 3 hours each on weekends.

Singapore QP professional exams cost $5100. To prevent yourself from having to retake the exams, you can have tuition with a provider such as LSBF. With that, one can be assured of learning from creditable lecturers with experience spanning decades. Mock papers, reviews are part of the provision. Check it out here

What does the future hold for accounting students ?

With things being tougher, it sure look like future is looming with dark clouds.

Like everything else, there are always two sides to the same coin.

With more stringent requirements, less people will make the mark. It translates to fewer competitors fighting for the same job with you. Add that to the fact that Singapore is becoming an accountancy hub by 2020;there will be an increased demand for accountants and a reduced supply. The future is unimaginably bright for accountants. Accountants will be laughing their way to the bank, counting their own money !

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