Stricter requirements to qualify as Singapore public accountants

Public accountants in Singapore will now need to meet more stringent registration requirements, the Accounting and Corporate Regulatory Authority (Acra) announced on Friday. -- PHOTO: ST FILE
Public accountants in Singapore will now need to meet more stringent registration requirements, the Accounting and Corporate Regulatory Authority (Acra) announced on Friday. -- PHOTO: ST FILE

SINGAPORE - Public accountants in Singapore will now need to meet more stringent registration requirements, the Accounting and Corporate Regulatory Authority (Acra) announced on Friday.

The changes, which include acquiring longer work experience as well as audit management experience in specific functions, will take effect from Feb 1 next year.

To qualify as a public accountant under the revised rules, applicants must have gained 2,500 hours of experience in audit management - the equivalent of about two years - after completing their professional accountancy training.

Applicants must also have "independently and competently performed certain key audit functions involving planning and leading an audit, and forming and reporting on the audit's conclusions", Acra said in a statement.

The move will help ensure that public accountants have sufficient practical experience to conduct high-quality audits of financial statements, the regulatory agency added.

In Singapore, only a public accountant or an Acra-approved accounting entity is allowed to provide an audit opinion on financial statements.

The revised requirements were decided on in consultation with professional accountancy bodies and representatives from large and small audit firms, Acra said.

They also follow a public consultation in 2012 that showed broad support for the proposals.

"We must ensure that audits in Singapore remain of the highest quality," said Acra chief executive Kenneth Yap in announcing the changes on Friday.

"Audit opinions rest on sound judgement and healthy scepticism, the application of which can only be gained through adequate and relevant experience," Mr Yap added during his keynote address at the Auditing and Assurance Conference organised by the ISCA.

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