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May 27, 2015

ICAEW qualification still lagging in Singapore and Hong Kong

By Isabella Grotto

Despite recent moves to expand its remit, recent recruitment figures show the qualification of the Institute of Chartered Accountants of England and Wales (ICAEW) remains a less popular option among accountants training in Singapore and Hong Kong.

According to recruitment platform eFinancial Careers data, gathered from its CV database of applicants holding what it describes as "a mainstream accounting qualification" in Singapore and Hong Kong, the ICAEW’s ACA qualification was among the two least favourite in both markets.In Singapore, 4.8% was the proportion of trainees awarded the ACA certification by the ICAEW.

At the opposite end of the spectrum, over 44% of applicants were found to hold an international CPA qualification and 36% had trained through the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants (ACCA).

An unnamed Singapore-based recruiter is quoted by eFinancial Careers as saying: "In Asia [ACA] is not seen as so international as the ACCA and is mainly held by people who studied in the UK."

Their comments come a year after the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between the Singapore Accountancy Commission (SAC) and the ICAEW in March 2014, aimed at ensuring mutual credit recognition between the bodies.

The only qualification less popular than ACA among those CV surveyed proved to be that of the Chartered Institute of Management Accountants at 4.2%.

In Hong Kong, trainees showed less of a preference for international qualifications, with over 37% choosing to train with the local Hong Kong Institute of Certified Public Accountants (HKICPA).

Despite the establishment of an ICAEW chapter in Hong Kong in May last year, ACA qualifications remained the least popular at 4% of all relevant CVs.

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