The Institute of Certified Public Accountants of Singapore (ICPAS) has launched a programme to raise the audit quality of small and medium accounting firms through a Quality Assurance Review (QAR).

The programme aims to improve the standard of public accountants by reviewing their audit processes and "providing technical advice, training, counselling" and recognising and sharing best practices.

ICPAS said the accounting firms targeted mainly serve SMEs in Singapore, and it hopes by improving their quality it can help support the country’s economy. To this end it will be working with stakeholders including the Accounting and Corporate Regulatory Authority (ACRA) to provide support and assistance.

The scheme, which is voluntary, will involve an ICPAS quality assurance team, supported by a Senior Quality Assurance Advisory Panel, reviewing an accountant’s audit procedures for compliance with Singapore Standards on Auditing.

The review process will take two to three weeks and will be followed by a report detailing the team’s findings and recommendations. The advisory panel will comprise of more than 10 members with an average of more than 20 years experience in public accounting.

The programme, which was launched on a trial basis in October 2012, saw the first two reviews garner positive feedback. The institute has since fine tuned it and will roll it out in full, with more than 30 accounting firms already expressing an interest.

ACRA assistant accountancy chief executive Julia Tay called the programme a "worthy initiative to help public accountants boost audit quality" and supports "public confidence in the whole profession".

Tay added it would "complement ACRA’s continuing efforts to provide a secure and trusted business environment in Singapore".

Related links

Institute of Certified Public Accountants of Singapore

Accounting and Corporate Regulatory Authority