Singapore Seeks Feedback on Proposed Public Practice Programme for Public Accountants

The Public Accountants Oversight Committee (PAOC) of the Accounting and Corporate Regulatory Authority (ACRA), and the Institute of Certified Public Accountants of Singapore (ICPAS) are seeking the views of interested parties on the introduction of a proposed three-day Public Practice Programme (PPP) on professional practice and ethics. The programme from ICPAS is specially designed for CPAs in Singapore who aspire to become a public accountant and enter public practice in Singapore.

 

Under the Accountants (Public Accountants) Rules of the Accountants Act, every applicant for registration as a public accountant must complete a course on ethics and professional practice subjects as may be determined by the PAOC. Currently, for this purpose the PAOC prescribes  CPAS' 5-day Pre-admission Course (PAC) which must be undertaken by all accountants who want to be ICPAS members regardless of whether they want to enter public practice. ACRA and ICPAS have carried out a review of the suitability of the PAC in meeting the course requirement of the AA Rules. Arising from the review, ICPAS has developed the proposed PPP, which is tailored specifically to better meet the needs of the requirements under the rules in relation to prospective public accountants.  A tailored PPP will help to ensure that all new public accountants are sufficiently prepared for the important responsibilities of their role, particularly in the role of statutory auditor, when they enter into public practice.

 

The proposed PPP will form an important step in the pathway of an accounting professional to becoming a public accountant in Singapore.  The PPP’s objective is to provide practical insights on public practice, to better equip entrants to the public accountancy profession in important areas, including: 

 

-reinforcing professional ethics and the public interest  element of public practice, 
-dealing with the commercial realities of running a public accountancy practice, and 
-putting in place the right processes and procedures to efficiently manage resources and ensure compliance with the high standards required of a public accountant and his or her firm.
 
With this focus, the PPP is aimed at helping prospective public accountants to plan a successful, efficient and compliant practice in delivering quality services.
 
Public accountants perform a vital public interest role and operate within a regulated environment that requires adherence to high standards. As such, the PPP will place particular emphasis on the public interest aspect of public practice. The programme will cover the principal laws and regulations that are relevant to the public accountancy profession.
 
ICPAS developed the PPP jointly with the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Scotland (ICAS), the oldest accounting body in the world. Established in 1854, ICAS is a founding member of the  International Innovation Network, a collaboration of eighteen accounting bodies around the world, including ICPAS, which focuses on the sharing of information and knowledge in the areas of membership communication and delivery of products and services for members.
 
ICPAS is targeting to offer the PPP from August 2010 and, subject to comments on the transitional arrangements from stakeholders, it is envisaged that the PPP will become a compulsory requirement for registration as a public accountant with ACRA in August 2010.
 
The comment period ends on the 17th of May 2010. Full details of the PPP’s objectives, content and delivery, and the questions on which feedback is sought, can be found in the Public Practice Programme Consultation Paper. The consultation paper is available for download from ICPAS’ website and from ACRA’s website.  
 
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