Business

Acra may get power to check on audit firms and issue sanctions for lapses

The Ministry of Finance is looking into empowering the Accounting and Corporate Regulatory Authority (Acra) to inspect audit firms' quality controls and policies and, where necessary, mete out sanctions for lapses as part of a review of the Accountants Act, Senior Minister of State for Law and Finance Indranee Rajah said yesterday.

The move would bring Singapore in line with the United States, United Kingdom and Australia, she told the gathering at the Singapore Accountancy and Audit Convention 2017.

She said more details will be released in due course.

She also said Singapore must continue its efforts to raise the bar for audit quality, but added that regulatory changes per se are insufficient for Singapore to be a global accountancy hub and the profession must be ready for the technology revolution.

The transformation of the accountancy sector will bring about many new job opportunities. By 2020, accounting firms are expected to employ about 21,000 accountancy professionals.

In line with this, Ms Indranee announced two initiatives to support the sector's growth.

One initiative, the Skills Framework for Accountancy, allows individuals to explore career advancement opportunities along or across six identified tracks within the sector, which cover 25 job roles. These tracks include assurance, financial accounting, management accounting, internal audit, business valuation and tax.

The second initiative, dubbed Sapphire, helps accounting firms to adopt the Skills Framework and integrate technology at the workplace.

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FinanceMINISTRY OF FINANCE (MOF)ACCOUNTING AND CORPORATE REGULATORY AUTHORITY (ACRA)