Singapore accounting firms cautious but positive about business growth: Census

Generic picture of audit service firm, KPMG, taken on Sept 4, 2014.
Generic picture of audit service firm, KPMG, taken on Sept 4, 2014. PHOTO: ST FILE

SINGAPORE - An inaugural census of accounting entities in Singapore has found that most such firms are cautious but remain positive about growth ahead.

The census, conducted by the Singapore Accountancy Commission (SAC), found that most of the accounting entities here are moderately cautious in their growth expectations for the next 12 months, with the majority anticipating 1 to 5 per cent in growth.

Despite the economic uncertainty ahead, nearly three in four accounting entities among the 265 polled are expecting growth in their domestic revenue, particularly the bigger ones.

In comparison, only 62 per cent of micro accounting entities, those with fewer than 10 employees, are positive, with 14 per cent indicating negative growth.

More than a quarter of all accounting entities - 28 per cent - indicated that they expect positive revenue growth from work performed outside Singapore in the next 12 months.

Such positive expectations appear to be more pronounced among larger accounting firms.

The census also found that the accounting market is dominated by the "Big Four" accounting firms, which have 67 per cent of the market share. They are KPMG, PwC, EY and Deloitte.

The remaining 33 per cent of the market is shared between 697 smaller accounting firms.

Larger accounting firms, particularly the Big Four, were found to have achieved higher levels of productivity as compared to those with fewer headcount, the census found.

The Big Four also reported the highest average revenue earned per employee of $142,000, more than double that of micro accounting entities, those with fewer than 10 employees, where the average revenue per staff was $68,000.

This suggests that higher efficiency can be achieved via economies of scale, said the SAC.