Singapore Government

Recommendation 6

Strategic Thrust 2: A Leading Centre for High Value-Adding Professional Accountancy Services.

To upgrade the capability of the Small and Medium-sized Practices (SMPs) segment of the public accountancy profession, by the levelling up of expertise and the facilitation of consolidation through a two-year targeted incentive programme.

A targeted S$2 million SMP Capabilities Development Fund (CDF) should be set up under the ASDF, under the oversight of the SAC.

Developmental Areas

Support in the form of grants and reimbursement should be given for the levelling up of expertise, growing of regional networks and consolidation of resources among the SMPs in the accountancy sector. This could be in the form of facilitating market-led formation of alliances or mergers in the SMP segment, and of facilitating the development of joint procurement, shared services and the creation of joint market access among the SMPs.

The support should also cover part of the post-merger or consolidation integration costs incurred to enhance the value-adding capabilities of the SMPs. The eligible costs could include:

(a) Technology and infrastructure - Expenditure in professional practice management system and relevant tools and methodologies;

(b) Expertise and human capital development – Manpower-related costs incurred to strengthen the talent flow into the SMPs. Talent development programmes should include staff exchange arrangement and overseas secondment to build up expertise among the SMPs; and

(c) Business collaboration – Costs incurred in establishing international alliances that lead to the strengthening of methodologies and capabilities.

Qualification Guidelines

Considerations for funding from the SMP CDF would include the following:

(a) Appropriate minimum and maximum size thresholds should be set to qualify public accountancy entities or practices that can receive the funding. For example, to achieve the objective of levelling up of skills and capability within the SMP segment, a minimum size threshold of five public accountants partners in the qualifying consolidated entity or practice should be set for the funding;

(b) Appropriate qualifying criteria should be developed to target parts of the funding towards enhancing the SMP’s internal quality control system. For example, consideration should be made in the design of the CDF to possibly subject the qualifying SMP to work towards meeting of the requirements under a quality controls certification programme (e.g. certification based on the Singapore Standards on Quality Controls – SSQC1) for public accountancy entities to be administered by ACRA;

(c) Funding should be on co-sharing basis and should lead to sustainable capability enhancements in the SMP;

(d) Funding could be in the areas of the development and the creation of markets and business opportunities;

(e) Funding could be in the areas of the development of human capital through co-sponsoring of the costs of professional employees taking up the CDAS’s proposed Qualification Programme.

Read CDAS’ 5th recommendation.
Read CDAS’ 7th recommendation.
Download the complete CDAS final report.

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