THE Singapore Accountancy Council (SAC) has asked for comments on a proposed Singapore- branded qualification programme for professional accountants to be launched next year.
The Singapore Qualification Programme (SQP) will set out the pathway for those who intend to become professional accountants.
The objective is to position the Republic as a global centre for professional accountancy development, said the Accounting and Corporate Regulatory Authority (Acra) in a press release yesterday.
The move would also help to expand the talent base for the sector because the SQP would be open to non-accounting graduates and other applicants from the region, Acra noted.
The SQP should incorporate robust admission criteria, mandatory structured practical experience and exams, it said.
In addition, the qualification should allow degree holders from non-accounting disciplines to enter the profession, and former professional accountants to re-enter.
'Professionals from other industries who undertake the SQP and become accountants will bring with them skills from other disciplines such as engineering and law to the industry. This wider array of skills will be vital as the business landscape becomes increasingly complex and globalised,' said Mr Tham Sai Choy, a managing partner at KPMG in Singapore.
Acra said the SQP is expected to be launched in June next year and that the pro-tem SAC would release more details about syllabi and other issues in the coming months.
The SQP was welcomed by accounting bodies and firms, who said it would boost the global standing of local accountants.
'A globally recognised and sought-after Singapore-branded professional accountancy qualification will... (also) widen and deepen the talent pool, build the talent pipeline for the profession and give CPAs in Singapore access to job opportunities not just here but in key capital markets worldwide,' said Dr Ernest Kan, the president of the Institute of Certified Public Accountants of Singapore.
'As one of the world's leading financial markets, Singapore will need such a high-quality programme to develop our aspiring accounting professionals and to lead them towards meeting international standards.'
Mr Yeoh Oon Jin, an assurance leader and a partner at accounting firm PricewaterhouseCoopers Singapore, noted that the Republic was among the few countries in the world that did not already require people to sit professional exams before they could become practising accountants.
He said the SQP would put Singapore in the 'right category', more on a par with 'leading jurisdictions such as Australia, the United Kingdom and Hong Kong'.
In addition, he felt the SQP should incorporate an Asian aspect that would make it 'unique to Singapore'.
Such a focus would attract graduates from around the region to take the SQP exam, and also help to develop Singapore as a regional and global accounting hub, Mr Yeoh said.