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).
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.
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.