Why the CA designation is your best bet to a great career
In the mid-1800s when Queen Victoria bestowed the Royal Charter upon deserving accountants, the twin-lettered Chartered Accountant (CA) designation was born.
In the later years, other qualifications began to make their way into the scene, among them a three-letter designation. With an equally illustrious history that also goes back to 1900, the MBA is now arguably the most popular postgraduate degree, having adapted to the changing needs of organisations and earning the widespread acceptance of employers.
The CA designation, on the other hand, worked quietly in the background, holding steady in a world where every business and organisation needs an accountant.
CAs are traditionally trained in numbers, with a discerning eye for numerical errors. They ensure efficiency and financial integrity, identifying opportunities for growth and adding strategic value to the organisation.
CAs are also highly sought after for their integrity, skill sets and sound judgement. In a time and age where financial fraud and corporate scandals can topple big corporations and shake the faith of the accountancy profession, exemplary corporate governance is highly valued. CAs are second to none in setting robust processes and internal controls to balance the interests of stakeholders.
With all these positive attributes, CAs are well placed to contribute significantly to the organisation in the boardroom and in senior management. The transferable skills also mean that CAs have plenty of career options within each specialisation, in various industries and across borders.
In keeping up with the evolving regulatory business landscape, the CA designation, like other qualifications, needs to attune its syllabus and programme to reflect what’s current. The emphasis on governance in organisations around the world also highlights the need to embrace the broader aspects of vision and leadership. And then there is the soft skills element, so crucial for success in today’s corporate world.
Recognising the need to stay relevant, professional Chartered Accountancy programmes around the world are reinventing their syllabus and mode of teaching to be more innovative, all-encompassing and applicable to the real world.
Grooming business leaders …
The Singapore CA Qualification (formerly known as Singapore QP), the pathway towards attaining the CA (Singapore) designation, is heeding that advice. The Singapore Accountancy Commission, the statutory body in charge of designing its curriculum, is shaping it to become a platform to nurture well-rounded professionals with an affinity for numbers as well as a natural flair for leadership.
This is done through equal part practical experience and professional programme. In the Singapore CA Qualification, Candidates hone their soft skills such as communication, problem solving and critical thinking skills through case study presentations at the Professional Development Workshops. Extra credit goes to Candidates who critique constructively, speak up more or simply ask more questions.
With this workshop format, the CAs of today must now be able to give quality insight and analysis. They have to read more widely, offer various views and make a compelling case on how accounting and auditing best practices can help make good strategic decisions.
The workshops are held concurrently with the practical experience component where Candidates are required to apply what they have learnt and fulfil nine elements of generic competences at the workplace, including personal effectiveness and ethics and professionalism.
…with a heart
Doing right and doing good go hand in hand. The Singapore CA Qualification mandates 40 hours of pro bono work - a first in any professional accountancy programme, not just the Chartered Accountancy programmes. Taking inspiration from the law profession, Candidates are given the opportunity to use their skills to give back to charities and underprivileged groups who may not have the financial means for financial audits and governance checks.
The Singapore CA Qualification has all the fundamentals of a winning combination – practical experience in an accredited training organisation alongside the Professional Development Workshops for four technical modules and a capstone Integrative Business module, plus a pro bono element. All these provide the training and competencies expected of a global leader in accountancy, business and finance. This prepares the CA (Singapore) for leadership roles such as CFOs, CEOs and Directors.
Road to international recognition
Although the CA (Singapore) designation is the youngest CA designation in the world, it is also the fastest professional accountancy designation to be inducted into an international fraternity.
In June 2015, barely two years after its establishment, Chartered Accountants Worldwide welcomed the Institute of Singapore Chartered Accountants (ISCA), the administrator for the Singapore CA Qualification, as its first Associate Member.
The original members of Chartered Accountants Worldwide hail from the five prestigious Chartered Accountancy professional bodies of the world – Scotland, England and Wales, Australia and New Zealand, South Africa, and Ireland. Singapore is the sole representative from Asia. The move to include Singapore is testament to the high regard that the Chartered Accountancy community has for the CA (Singapore) designation.
The significance of the CA (Singapore) professional designation will come to fruition in 2016. Come 14 February, we will welcome the first batch of CAs (Singapore) via the Singapore CA Qualification, each one a competent, poised and well-rounded individual ready to rise to any challenge and take on the world.
The world will then truly believe that only two letters matter.
Take the first step towards becoming a CA (Singapore), by enrolling in the Singapore CA Qualification.
To find out more about the Singapore CA Qualification, please download the Singapore CA Qualification brochure.
What’s in a logo?
The infinity symbol embodies the unlimited aspirations of Chartered Accountants of Singapore. It represents the boundless opportunities that CAs (Singapore) are privy to when they go regional or international; across industries or sectors and across different languages and cultures.
Purple stands for nobility, luxury, royalty and power, even a touch of mystique. Although several brands such as Cadbury and Yahoo! have adopted it as their official colour, purple is a rare colour in the accountancy circles – only Grant Thornton International comes to mind.
That little sharp edge
To the untrained eye, the logo is just a round infinity. Not entirely. If you pan out, it spells C.A., with the ‘a’ having a sharp edge at its end. The edge acts as an arrow pointing to the word ‘Singapore’, demonstrating the professional designation’s Asian market value factor.