In order for Singapore to become a global
accountancy hub by 2020 training budgets need to increase and
talent management has to improve, according to a study conducted by
the Institute of Certified Public Accountants of Singapore

ICPAS’s survey of 900 accounting professionals
found strong support for the government’s vision to develop
Singapore into global accountancy hub over the next ten years.

Despite strong support, 95% of respondents
indicated that more government funding and support is needed to
help Singapore realize its vision.

This includes training subsidies and grants as
well as tax incentives and reliefs for CPA firms to offset staff
training expenses. Respondents suggested making it mandatory
for companies to send their accounting and finance staff for
training and development.

Half of the respondents from the corporate
sector said their companies did not allocate a training budget and
a similar proportion of middle management and mid-level executive
said they do not receive enough training.

“Besides bonus payouts, employees also value
training opportunities, job rotation and work-life balance
initiatives such as flexible work hours. In a profession where the
war for talent is poised to intensify, companies should pay more
attention to these talent retention schemes,” ICPAS president
Ernest Kan said.

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An issue indentified by the institute was that
over half of the respondents were not aware that their companies
can claim up to a 400% tax deduction under the Productivity and
Innovation Credit (PIC) scheme for training expenses. 72% were
positive that their companies would sponsor their CPE training if
they were aware that the expense qualifies for PIC deduction.

Kan said more needs to be done to raise
awareness on how businesses can leverage on the PIC “to grow and
upgrade their skills and operations as well as invest in
productivity and innovation”.

Kan said the survey strongly suggests the
profession has bought into the plan to transform Singapore into a
global accountancy hub.