SINGAPORE: The demand for accountants is on the rise, with projections hinting at a need for up to 7,000 professionals in the field by 2025. However, an alarming trend reveals a drop in interest among Singaporeans pursuing accounting careers, according to PERSOLKELLY as reported by Singapore Business Review.
Singapore has witnessed a 10% decline in students pursuing accounting degrees over the past five years. This starkly contrasts the escalating demand for accounting jobs, creating a potential talent shortage in the near future.
PERSOLKELLY noted this trend: “There is also a declining number of graduates who go on to become accountants or auditors, compounding the problem of a talent shortage.” This has left smaller and medium-sized accounting practices grappling with intensified competition from industry giants, the Big Four firms.
PERSOLKELLY warns of possible consequences: “A continued shortage of fresh accounting graduates may lead to consolidation in Singapore’s accounting market.” This raises concerns about the sustainability and diversity of the accounting industry, with potential impacts on its overall vibrancy.
Recognizing the gravity of the situation, the Singaporean government has taken steps to address the manpower challenges the accounting sector faces. A dedicated task force has been formed to enhance the profession’s attractiveness, acknowledging the need for strategic intervention.
In tandem with governmental efforts, the Institute of Singapore Chartered Accountants (ISCA) has launched a proactive $1 million program to raise awareness about the accounting profession. This initiative seeks to inspire renewed interest in the field with the hope of cultivating the next generation of accounting professionals.
The private sector is also stepping up to the plate, supporting the local accountancy industry. Deloitte, a global leader in professional services, has announced plans to hire an additional 3,000 professionals in Singapore over the next five years. Notably, a third of these new hires will contribute to the firm’s regulatory services, including audit and tax, addressing critical needs within the sector.
KMPG, another major player in the industry, is committing $50 million over the next five years to bolster its financial services, innovation, and environmental, social, and corporate governance (ESG) capabilities. This proactive approach is seen as a necessary response to the evolving landscape of the accounting profession.
“As the momentum in corporate sustainability grows, new and emerging roles may also dispel notions that the accountancy profession is boring. Accountants can be well positioned for the relatively uncommon role of Chief Finance and Sustainability Officer, present in organizations with well-developed sustainability initiatives and commitments,” remarked PERSOLKELLY.
Salary considerations remain an integral part of the equation. In Singapore, accountants and assistant accountants with experience ranging from one to three years fall between S$3,500 and S$5,500 per month. Auditors with three to six years of experience can expect salaries ranging from S$5,300 to S$7,500 per month, while Tax Associates with four to eight years of experience could command salaries ranging from S$5,000 to S$6,500 per month.
For those in treasury roles, such as a treasury coordinator with one to three years of experience, the salary typically ranges from S$2,900 to S$3,500 per month.
In the face of a changing professional landscape, concerted efforts from both the public and private sectors are essential to revitalizing interest in the accounting profession. /TISG