Profile of the Country

1. Information of the Country

An island nation located in the heart of Asia, Singapore is a vibrant cosmopolitan city with abundant lush green gardens and tall skyscrapers. Singapore’s multi-ethnic culture is a blend of tradition and customs from the Malays, Indians, Chinese and Eurasians.

With 710 square kilometers of land, Singapore’s strategic location has facilitated our role as a trade and transport hub, connecting the world on both sides – east and west. Singapore has implemented 22 Free Trade Agreements with 32 trading partners[1]. Its robust economy, business-friendly rules and regulatory environment offer companies the ideal landscape for investment.

2. Law and Regulations of Singapore’s Accountancy Profession 

The law governing the public accountancy profession in Singapore is the Accountants Act 2004[1] (which came into effect on 1 April 2004 and revised in 2005). This Act consists of two other rules:

- The Accountants (Public Accountants) Rules[2] dated 1 April 2004 and,

- The Accountants (Accounting Corporations, Accounting Firms and Accounting LLPs) Rules[3] dated 6 October 2006

For more information on the full act and rules, please refer to the Singapore Statutes Online website: https://sso.agc.gov.sg/Act/AA2004#legis

3. National Accountancy Body

The Institute of Singapore Chartered Accountants (ISCA) is the national accountancy body of Singapore. ISCA’s vision is to be a globally recognised professional accountancy body, bringing value to our members, the profession and wider community. There are over 32,000 ISCA members making their stride in businesses across industries in Singapore and around the world.

Established in 1963, ISCA is an advocate of the interests of the profession. Possessing a Global Mindset, with Asian Insights, ISCA leverages its regional expertise, knowledge, and networks with diverse stakeholders to strengthen the profession and contribute towards the development of strong economies. ISCA is also a member of Chartered Accountants Worldwide and ASEAN Federation of Accountants. ISCA is the Administrator of the Singapore CA Qualification and the Designated Entity to confer the Chartered Accountant of Singapore - CA (Singapore) - designation.

3.1 Membership with ISCA

There are four types of Membership available with ISCA:

-   Affiliate (ISCA) or Accredited Accounting Technician (Singapore)

-   Associate (ISCA)

-   Chartered Accountant of Singapore (“CA (Singapore)”)

-   Fellow Chartered Accountant of Singapore (“FCA (Singapore)”)

All ISCA members are expected to uphold and maintain their professional and ethical standing within the accountancy profession by abiding to the ISCA Code of Professional Conduct and Ethics and the ISCA Constitution & Rules.

For more information on the ISCA Member Obligations, please refer to the ISCA website: https://isca.org.sg/member-services/members-obligations/

3.1.1 Affiliate (ISCA) or Accredited Accounting Technician (Singapore) [1]

Affiliates (ISCA) are qualified accounting technicians who perform a variety of accounting and financial roles. The official designation of Affiliate (ISCA) members is "Accredited Accounting Technician (Singapore)" or "AAT (Singapore)".

Accounting technicians can join ISCA as an Affiliate (ISCA) and get the professional recognition, support and resources for career development. Find out more here: https://isca.org.sg/become-a-member/pathways/affiliate-pathway/

3.1.2 Associate (ISCA) [2]

Associates (ISCA) are professionals with an accounting degree or an equivalent accounting qualification, working in the accountancy profession across diverse sectors and industries. The official designation of Associate is "Associate (ISCA)".

Accounting graduates can join ISCA as an Associate (ISCA) and be recognised as a highly skilled and knowledgeable accounting professional possessing a grasp of real-world business issues. Find out more here: https://isca.org.sg/become-a-member/pathways/associate-pathway/

3.1.3 Chartered Accountant of Singapore (“CA (Singapore)”) [3]

Chartered Accountants are qualified accounting professionals equipped with financial expertise and business acumen. They are valued by employers and recognised as holding the highest standards in ethical and professional conduct. The CA (Singapore) designation remains the highest form of professional designation conferred by ISCA, with its stringent eligibility criteria unchanged.  

The Chartered Accountant of Singapore or CA (Singapore) professional designation will be conferred to candidates who have completed the Singapore CA Qualification.

Entry Routes to be a CA (Singapore):

-  Complete the Singapore CA Qualification; or

-  Apply for CA (Singapore) through the Reciprocal Membership Agreement (RMA) route

Find out more here: https://isca.org.sg/become-a-member/pathways/chartered-accountant-pathway/

3.1.4 Fellow Chartered Accountant of Singapore (“FCA (Singapore)”)[4]

Fellow membership is a recognition accorded to long-standing senior CA (Singapore) members. The official designation of Fellow Member is "Fellow Chartered Accountant of Singapore" or "FCA (Singapore)".

A CA (Singapore) who has been a member of ISCA for 10 years or more and has no less than 5 years at senior management level or has been in full-time practice as a public accountant is eligible to be advanced to the status of Fellow of the Institute. A Fellow of the Institute shall use the designation “Fellow Chartered Accountant of Singapore” or the designatory letters “FCA (Singapore)”. Find out more here: https://isca.org.sg/become-a-member/membership-types/fellow-member/

4. Qualifying as a Public Accountant

Under the Accountants Act, anyone who wishes to practice public accountancy must register as a public accountant (PA) with ACRA, the national regulator of business entities and public accountants in Singapore.

A public accountant can provide public accountancy services such as audit and reporting on financial statements, and such other activities (e.g. judicial management) as required by law. Persons who intend to provide only bookkeeping, accounting, taxation or consultancy services i.e. non-audit services do not need to be registered as public accountants.

For more information on the prescribed professional requirements for registration as a Public Accountant, please refer to the Singapore’s Accounting and Corporate Regulatory Authority (ACRA) website: https://www.acra.gov.sg/how-to-guides/professional-requirements-for-registration-as-public-accountants

5. Setting up an Accountancy Practice

Under the Accountants Act, all entities that provide public accountancy services must register with ACRA.

Public accountancy services refer to the audit and reporting on financial statements and the doing of such acts that are required by any written law to be done by a public accountant.  There is no need to register a public accounting entity with ACRA if the purpose is to provide non-public accountancy services such as accounting or tax services.

To find out how to set up a public accounting firm to provide public accountancy services, please refer to the Singapore’s Accounting and Corporate Regulatory Authority (ACRA) website: https://www.acra.gov.sg/how-to-guides/setting-up-a-public-accounting-firm

6. Monitoring Committee

Under the ASEAN Mutual Recognition Arrangement on Accountancy Services (MRAA), the Singapore Monitoring Committee (SMC) was set up to :

-  Develop and maintain a process of submitting ASEAN CPA applications to the ASEAN Chartered Professional Accountant Co-ordinating Committee (ACPACC) for approval; and

-  Assess and certify the qualification and experience of the ASEAN CPA applicants.

6.1. List of SMC members

Singapore Monitoring Committee (2019/ 2020)

1 Chairman Mr Kon Yin Tong, ISCA President
2 Deputy Chairman Mr Lee Fook Chiew, ISCA CEO
3 Member Prof Chan Yoke Kai, ISCA Council Member & ASEAN Federation of Accountants (AFA) Treasurer

 6.2. Assesment Statements

 

[1] Source: https://www.enterprisesg.gov.sg/industries/type/wholesale-trade/go-global?gclid=CjwKCAjw7MzkBRAGEiwAkOXexP6VYkMlKOpxIb8xL7XfsFOSZ_tXj8LTdRqG-f-12Ymh8RAsHRtUABoCyuEQAvD_BwE

[2] Source: https://sso.agc.gov.sg/Act/AA2004#legis

[3] Source: https://sso.agc.gov.sg/SL/AA2004-R1

[4] Source: https://sso.agc.gov.sg/SL/AA2004-R5?DocDate=20171130

[5] Source: https://isca.org.sg/the-institute/about-isca/ & IFAC Dashboard Review

[6] Source: https://isca.org.sg/become-a-member/pathways/affiliate-pathway/

[7] Source: https://isca.org.sg/become-a-member/pathways/associate-pathway/https://isca.org.sg/media/2237985/associate-brochure_online-viewing.pdf

[8] Source: https://isca.org.sg/become-a-member/pathways/chartered-accountant-pathway/

[9] Source: https://isca.org.sg/become-a-member/membership-types/fellow-member/

[10] Source: https://www.acra.gov.sg/how-to-guides/registering-guide/requirement-for-registration

[11] Source: https://stagingenv.isca.org.sg/member-services/pathways-to-other-professional-qualifications/acpa/roles-and-responsibilities-of-monitoring-committee/