Improving Accounting Education in Singapore

The enrollment rate in accounting courses in Singapore is an interesting case to say the least. Despite the rising number institutions offering accounting courses and diploma and the increasing demand for accounting professionals in Asia, there noticeably decreasing number of enrollees in many accounting courses in Singapore. This has led to various speculations that many accounting courses in the country may not be meeting the demands and expectations of modern industry and have not become attractive enough for many aspiring accountants even those who want to take advantage of current frenzy of hiring accounting professionals.

One trend is further worth noting. As multinational companies begin to take minor operations offshore and shift to shared accounting arrangements overseas, particularly in Asia, there is a growing demand for accounting professionals. However, along with this growing demand is the growing expectation. As these multinational companies aim to further cut costs, which is the primary reason they started moving overseas in the first place, they have also set higher requirements for potential employees.

In other words, these multinational companies are hiring more accounting professionals but at the same time providing them provide them with extended or expanded roles and functions in company operations. As such, the criteria for hiring accounting professionals now go beyond simple technical expertise in the field but include a host of other requirements including strong interpersonal skills, creative thinking, managerial and other soft skills and over-all productivity potential. Even technological proficiency have become a major criteria and simply put, accounting degrees and courses no longer suffice in securing employment opportunities and a career direction the field.

Despite the proliferation of institutions offering basic and advanced degrees and other diploma courses in accounting in Singapore, there is generally low enrollment in these accounting courses particularly in basic accounting courses.  It is reasonable to believe that many aspiring professionals do not seem to believe that formal accounting courses in Singapore or at least very few educational institutions can provide education and training that could meet the new demand for a new breed of holistic employees equipped technical, or at least basic accounting know-hows along with communication, interpersonal, analytical, managerial skills, and creativity to assume multiple office functions.

As such, many institutions offering baccalaureate, graduate, basic and advanced and special diploma accounting courses in Singapore are currently exerting efforts to review its current curriculum and teaching methods with a new emphasis on honing new skills that are important in the changing landscape of industry operations. These skills include professional skills like analytical/critical thinking, written communication, oral communication, and decision-making and a host of technological competency like spreadsheet software, Windows, and word-processing software management.

Many seasoned accounting professionals have already started working with many institutions in assuring professional adequacy of graduates and ensuring that even basic accounting courses in Singapore can equip graduates with the necessary skills to add value to any business or industry. Other higher education institutions offering formal accounting degrees have also strengthened core and basic accounting subjects with an emphasis on fundamental skills rather than the technical orientation featured in many programs.