Accountants’ Salary Guide 2010 by ICPAS & Partners Robert Half

ICPAS has partnered with Robert Half International to launch the 2009/2010 Global Financial Salary Guide.

[Download Here]

According to the Global Financial Salary Guide 2009/2010 and inaugural Asia Pacific Banking & Financial Services Salary Guide 2009/2010, salary levels of finance and accounting professionals are holding steady in 2009 and 2010 while demand for banking and finance talent remain strong in Asia Pacific despite ongoing economic challenges, Launched by Robert Half International (“Robert Half”), these salary guides offer interesting insights into the hiring environment and average salaries for finance professionals globally and in Singapore.

The Global Financial Salary Guide 2009/2010 provides data on starting salaries for finance and accounting professionals. Currently in its third year of publication, this guide is launched by Robert Half in partnership with the Institute of Certified Public Accountants of Singapore (“ICPAS”) for the second year running. According to the guide, average salaries for finance and accounting professionals in 2009/2010 remain comparable to that in 2008/2009, in spite of harsher economic conditions. This underscores the heightened importance of finance and accounting roles today, triggered by a renewed emphasis on financial management and cost control in light of the collapse of major financial systems, which led to the global economic meltdown over the past year.

In Singapore, certain accounting positions are seeing slight increases in salary levels, including the roles of Chief Accountant, Internal Auditor and Assistant Accountant with three to five years of industry experience. Increasingly stringent financial regulatory and compliance standards have given rise to the need for more rigorous audit and accounting practices. The trend towards standardised accounting and reporting systems has also led to a higher demand for audit and accounting professionals.

Said Dr Ernest Kan, President of Institute of Certified Public Accountants of Singapore (ICPAS), “We are happy to partner Robert Half again on the global salary guide, which serves as a fundamental guide for the recruitment of accountants in the current economy. With calls for greater accountability and transparency in financial reporting from authorities and stakeholders alike, companies are requiring more competent candidates to effectively manage their finances and business risks as well as optimise costs and processes. The guide serves to underscore the fact that demand for audit and accounting expertise, typically from qualified accountants like CPAs Singapore, is now greater than ever.”

Agreed Mr Tim Hird, Managing Director of Robert Half Singapore, “While it is interesting to note that salary levels of finance professionals are bucking the economic trend, this is in fact a simple function of market demand and supply. As organisations continue to grapple with the challenges of the downturn, the increasing need for highly skilled finance and accounting professionals have lent stability to salary levels for these roles. However, while demand for these talent remains strong, many employees are hesitant to leave their jobs in this current market, preferring to take a risk-averse approach to their job searches. This has created a distinct supply gap, even in these difficult times.”

These views resonate with the data from the inaugural Asia Pacific Banking & Financial Services Salary Guide 2009/2010, which provides insights into the recruitment competitive landscape and job prospects for banking and financial services professionals in the region.

In Asia Pacific, employers continue to be cautious about recruitment decisions. With decreased access to credit, businesses are focusing more on cost reduction and short term hiring measures. Project-based and temporary roles are gaining popularity as companies seek to ensure completion of work on lower budgets and without significant additions to permanent headcount. Contract staffing is particularly preferred for the flexibility it provides. The impact of hire and departure on staff morale is also lower compared to permanent job losses when the time comes for temporary staff to leave the company.

In Singapore, the key hiring trend is that of steady optimism. Financial services institutions are still hiring, albeit at slower rates than prior to the global economic downturn. Companies remain cautiously optimistic of their prospects, with a desire to gain a competitive advantage during these tougher times. In particular, small-medium enterprises are focused on growing by expanding their front office teams, accessing a pool of top finance talent previously inaccessible but now made available to them due to redundancies and prolonged hiring freezes at larger banks.

Back office functions are also in demand as larger multinational companies move their operations to Singapore from higher cost regions. With more bank mergers, opportunities for project-based integration work across finance, operations, risk and technology functions are on the rise.

Similar trends are present elsewhere in the region. In Australia, companies are seeing a talent shortage in finance and accounting due to lower hiring confidence levels and employees’ reluctance to change jobs. Hiring and job hunting in Hong Kong have also become more selective, even as firms become more upbeat about growth amid the downturn. The situation in Japan is slightly different: while layoffs in Japanese firms have remained low due to Japan’s corporate culture, there is greater emphasis on bottom-lines and employees are now more accountable for their contributions to corporate growth.

Companies typically go through four key employment stages when coping with a recession, observed Mr Hird. Firstly, non-critical contracting employees are released. Secondly, headcount for permanent and fulltime roles is frozen, followed by a reduction in existing headcount. Finally, contract workers are rehired when the economy recovers and business stabilises. This reflects the tremendous potential of temporary and contract positions as viable options for candidates in a tighter job market. For businesses, contract staffing brings about potential cost savings, new skills and abilities, greater flexibility in the workforce, and acts as a manpower supplement during peak periods.

Added Mr Hird, “As the both Salary Guides reveal, finance professionals with specialised skill-sets remain well sought-after by businesses, with particular hiring interests in the areas of internal audit, operational risk, credit risk, compliance and financial governance, and mainstream financial and management accounting.”

“We are heartened that employers recognise the necessity to retain their best talents, who will be instrumental in taking businesses to the next phase when the market turns. This also reflects that highly qualified talents with relevant skills will always be in demand, regardless of the economic and job market conditions. At the same time, it would serve finance and accounting job candidates well to fully utilise available market knowledge and resources, such as Robert Half’s salary guides, to remain updated about their options and make well-informed choices to thrive in the market”, Mr Hird concluded.

The third Robert Half Global Financial Salary Guide 2009/2010 provides comprehensive research data on average starting salaries for 16 key accounting and finance positions across 21 countries, spanning Singapore, Australia, Austria, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, Czech Republic, France, Germany, Hong Kong, Italy, Ireland, Japan, Luxembourg, Netherlands, New Zealand, Spain, Switzerland, United Arab Emirates (Dubai), United Kingdom and the United States. This annual guide aims to help both companies and employees make better employment and hiring strategies through a comparative salary guide across these countries in the country’s corresponding currency value. The information provided is based on extensive research from global job placements by Robert Half, ongoing surveys of senior executives, and the accumulated expertise of Robert Half’s staffing professionals worldwide.

The Accountant’s Story : Inside the Violent World of the Medellín Cartel

The Accountant's StoryCame across this audio book whilst in the National Library. Seems like a good read. Here’s what I read from the back of the CD cover:

Publisher’s Summary
“I have many scars. Some of them are physical, but many more are scars on my soul. A bomb sent to kill me while I was in a maximum security prison has made me blind, yet now I see the world more clearly than I have ever seen it before. I have lived an incredible adventure. I watched as my brother, Pablo Escobar, became the most successful criminal in history, but also a hero to many of the people of Colombia. My brother was loved and he was feared. Hundreds of thousands of people marched in his funeral procession, and certainly as many people celebrated his death.”
These are the words of Roberto Escobar-the top accountant for the notorious and deadly Medellín Cartel, and brother of Pablo Escobar, the most famous drug lord in history. At the height of his reign, Pablo’s multibillion-dollar operation smuggled tons of cocaine each week into countries all over the world. Roberto and his ten accountants kept track of all the money. Only Pablo and Roberto knew where it was stashed-and what it bought. 
And the amounts of money were simply staggering. According to Roberto, it cost $2,500 every month just to purchase the rubber bands needed to wrap the stacks of cash. The biggest problem was finding a place to store it: from secret compartments in walls and beneath swimming pools to banks and warehouses everywhere. There was so much money that Roberto would sometimes write off ten percent as “spoilage,” meaning either rats had chewed up the bills or dampness had ruined the cash. 
Roberto writes about the incredible violence of the cartel, but he also writes of the humanitarian side of his brother. Pablo built entire towns, gave away thousands of houses, paid people’s medical expenses, and built schools and hospitals. Yet he was responsible for the horrible deaths of thousands of people. 
In short, this is the story of a world of riches almost beyond mortal imagination, and in his own words, Roberto Escobar tells all: building a magnificent zoo at Pablo’s opulent home, the brothers’ many escapes into the jungles of Colombia, devising ingenious methods to smuggle tons of cocaine into the United States, bribing officials with literally millions of dollars-and building a personal army to protect the Escobar family against an array of enemies sworn to kill them. 
Few men in history have been more beloved-or despised-than Pablo Escobar. Now, for the first time, his story is told by the man who knew him best: his brother, Roberto. but also a hero to many of the people of Colombia. My brother was loved and he was feared. Hundreds of thousands of people marched in his funeral procession, and certainly as many people celebrated his death.”
These are the words of Roberto Escobar-the top accountant for the notorious and deadly Medellín Cartel, and brother of Pablo Escobar, the most famous drug lord in history. At the height of his reign, Pablo’s multibillion-dollar operation smuggled tons of cocaine each week into countries all over the world. Roberto and his ten accountants kept track of all the money. Only Pablo and Roberto knew where it was stashed-and what it bought. 
And the amounts of money were simply staggering. According to Roberto, it cost $2,500 every month just to purchase the rubber bands needed to wrap the stacks of cash. The biggest problem was finding a place to store it: from secret compartments in walls and beneath swimming pools to banks and warehouses everywhere. There was so much money that Roberto would sometimes write off ten percent as “spoilage,” meaning either rats had chewed up the bills or dampness had ruined the cash. 
Roberto writes about the incredible violence of the cartel, but he also writes of the humanitarian side of his brother. Pablo built entire towns, gave away thousands of houses, paid people’s medical expenses, and built schools and hospitals. Yet he was responsible for the horrible deaths of thousands of people. 
In short, this is the story of a world of riches almost beyond mortal imagination, and in his own words, Roberto Escobar tells all: building a magnificent zoo at Pablo’s opulent home, the brothers’ many escapes into the jungles of Colombia, devising ingenious methods to smuggle tons of cocaine into the United States, bribing officials with literally millions of dollars-and building a personal army to protect the Escobar family against an array of enemies sworn to kill them. 
Few men in history have been more beloved-or despised-than Pablo Escobar. Now, for the first time, his story is told by the man who knew him best: his brother, Roberto.

Explain the difference between gross profit and net proft

Profits going at the right direction

Gross Profit is calculated by deducting the cost of goods sold from the net sales figure. The calculation of the gross profit takes place in the trading account.

Net Profit – the excess of gross profit over expenditure. it is calculated in the profit and loss account by deducting all business expenditures from the gross profit.

What Is The Difference Between Accruals And Deferrals?

Accrual—accrual-basis recognition precedes (leads to) cash receipt/expenditure

Revenue—recognition of revenue earned, but not received

Expense—recognition of expense incurred, bill not paid

Deferral—cash receipt/expenditure precedes (leads to) accrual-basis recognition

Revenue—postponement of recognition of revenue; cash is received; but revenue is not earned

Expense—postponement of recognition of expense; cash is paid; but expense is not incurred

A deferral postpones recognition of revenue or expense by placing the amount in liability or asset accounts. Two methods are possible for deferring revenues and expenses depending on whether real or nominal accounts are originally used to record the cash transaction.

Revised ICPAS Code of Professional Conduct and Ethics

enron-code-of-ethics

The Irony of It All - Enron's* Code of Ethics

 

With effect from 1st August 2009, Singapore public accountants must adhere to an enhanced Code of Professional Conduct and Ethics. Following ICPAS Council’s approval on 19 May 2009 and in tandem with ACRA’s issuance of its enhanced code today for public accountants and effective from 1 August 2009, members of the Institute of Certified Public Accountants of Singapore (ICPAS) must adhere to a revised Code of Professional Conduct and Ethics (ICPAS Code). The ICPAS Code is modeled after the “Code of Ethics for Professional Accountants” published by the International Federation of Accountants (IFAC) in June 2005 (the IFAC Code) and is based on the ACRA Code of Professional Conduct and Ethics for Public Accountants and Accounting Entities.

The updated code provides more guidance to accountants on how to apply the principles and independence rules. ACRA said it also “places an expectation on public accountants to pro-actively identify and eliminate potential threats to their independence”. 

The enhanced code requires accountants to document their decisions on independence issues to show they have complied with the professional independence requirement. Major differences of the current and revised code are noted in the ICPAS website. For example, under the current Code, it indicates that a covered party shall not accept gifts exceeding $200 annually from an audit client.

The revised Code uses a conceptual framework approach, discourages the acceptance of gifts or hospitality from the audit client. However, unlike the current Code, there is no mention of an acceptable amount for accepting gifts and hospitality.

The Singapore code went through a public consultation process in 2007-08. 

Sources:

Channel News Asia, Business Times and ICPAS.

Difference Between Bank Loan and Bank Overdraft

Do you like Sing Dollar

Bank loan

Refers to capital borrowed from the bank. This tends to be more expensive than an overdraft. The difference between a bank loan and a bank overdraft is that a loan is granted for a specific period (say, two years), usually at a set rate of interest (that is, it doesn’t vary when bank base rates vary). A bank loan is shown on the balance sheet as a long-term liability.

Interest on the loan is recorded as an expense on the Profit and Loss Account. Any capital repayments will reduce the long-term liability on the balance sheet. Short term borrowing to help fund a temporary shortage of funds is more likely to involve a bank overdraft.

Bank overdraft

For the business, a bank overdraft is essentially short term borrowing, intended to tide the business over temporarily. Very often, the overdraft is not for a specific amount of money, but the business is given a maximum level of cash it may draw against the overdraft. A business should arrange overdraft facilities to ensure that the bank will honor cheques even though there are insufficient funds in the account to cover the value of cheques drawn.

The overdraft is repayable on demand, although it is usual to agree with the bank the period for which the overdraft is required. It has the advantage that interest accrues from day to day only on the balance outstanding and it follows the flat rate of interest. A bank overdraft is shown on the balance sheet as a short-term liability.


Have A Question?

I’ll be more than happy to help. Use the button below to reach me. While I can’t promise to answer every question, I’ll try to use your question in a future blog post or newsletter.  Thanks!  – Caleb

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Accountants In Love

 

LYRICS:

I’m feeling lonely, I know you are too
‘Cause every time that we’re apart my love it accrues
And it’s so taxin’ when you’re not around
I can’t defer my feelings, girl, I get so down

I can’t stop thinkin’ ’bout you, girl I’ve tried
But my opinion of you is unqualified
I like the way you make your assets move
You make me want to crunch some numbers with you

Accountants in love (love)
Accountants in love (love)

Now I’m side steppin’ so I’ll get to the point
If my name was Touche you would be my Deloitte
And I think that you really should know
How bad I, want to check your internal controls

Accountants in love (love) X 3

Girl I hate to be cliche
But you’re the one that I’ve been dreaming of
I could sit here and itemize
All the reasons that I fell in love.

Accountants in love (love) X 3

Who uses forensic accountants?

forensics-accounting
Forensic accounting financial investigative specialists work with financial information for the purpose of conveying complicated issues in a manner that others can easily understand.   While some forensic accountants and forensic accounting specialists are engaged in the public practice of forensic examination, others work in private industry for such entities as banks and insurance companies or governmental entities such as sheriff and police departments, the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), and the Internal Revenue Service (IRS).
The occupational fraud committed by employees usually involves the theft of assets.  Embezzlement has been the most often committed fraud for the last 30 years.  Employees may be involved in kickback schemes, identity theft, or conversion of corporate assets for personal use.  The forensic accountant couples observation of the suspected employees with physical examination of assets, invigilation, inspection of documents, and interviews of those involved.  Experience on these types of engagements enables the forensic accountant to offer suggestions as to internal controls that owners could implement to reduce the likelihood of fraud.
At times, the forensic accountant may be hired by attorneys to investigate the financial trail of persons suspected of engaging in criminal activity.  Information provided by the forensic accountant may be the most effective way of obtaining convictions.  The forensic accountant may also be engaged by bankruptcy court when submitted financial information is suspect or if employees (including managers) are suspected of taking assets.
Opportunities for qualified forensic accounting professionals abound in private companies.  CEOs must now certify that their financial statements are faithful representations of the financial position and results of operations of their companies and rely more heavily on internal controls to detect any misstatement that would otherwise be contained in these financials.
In addition to these activities, forensic accountants may be asked to determine the amount of the loss sustained by victims, testify in court as an expert witness and assist in the preparation of visual aids and written summaries for use in court.

Whose Line Is It Anyway? – The Accountant Song

Whose Line Is It Anyway? – Accountant Songs
DREW: Welcome back to “Whose Line is it Anyway?”, the show where everything
is made up and the points don’t matter. Uh, I don’t know how many points to
award because during the commercial I was taking off my pants. (Dances in
his seat. Colin gives him the thumbs-up.) That’s right. OK, now we go on to
a game called “Greatest Hits”. This is for Colin, Ryan, and Wayne, with the
help of Laura Hall on the keyboards. Laura Hall. We just found her outside
before the show. Can you believe it? Uh, Colin and Ryan are, uh, TV
voice-over people, and you’re gonna be talking about the latest compilation
album, and Wayne, you’re gonna sing snippets of the songs. What we need from
the audience is the, uh, a kind of profession you wouldn’t normally sing
songs about… Uh… Okay, I heard a lot of… I heard a lot of
“accounting”. Don’t know how you’re gonna do it, but good luck. Uh, the name
of your album is “Songs of Accounting”.
RYAN: Hi! Sorry to interrupt. We’ll be back to the 24-hour Drew Carey
Network in just a moment. But first we’ve got a special offer for you.
COLIN: You know, many people thing accountants are boring.
RYAN: Isn’t it?
COLIN: They are!
(Ryan realizes his mistake.)
COLIN: But out of great boredom comes great songs, and we’ve come up with a
twenty-five-thousand-hour CD filled with songs of accounting!
RYAN: That’s right, we have, Colin. Many different songs. Who for – could
forget that disco favorite, “D-I-V-O-R-C-E I-R-S”?
(Disco music plays. Wayne “spells” out the letters, a la “YMCA”.)
WAYNE: Get out! Get out!
Listen to me, here’s a fact you will believe!
You cheated on me, now I want your ass to leave!
That’s right, none of this is funny!
Just pack your bags, and give me all your money!
I said, D-I-V-O-R-C-E I-R-Ssss, yeah,
I said, D-I-V-O-R-C-E I-R-Ssss!
(Strikes Travolta pose, then blows on fingers like they’re smoking guns)
RYAN: For me, that brings back memories of big pants and shoes with fish in
the heels.
COLIN: Enough about yesterday! Every song a hit, every hit a smack! But you
know what? I even have a song on this album! Remember that?
RYAN: You do not!
COLIN: But we don’t have time to listen to it! What we do have time to
listen to is that great song from the swing era, “Your Love has Bankrupted
Me.”
(swing music plays. Wayne starts snapping his fingers)
WAYNE: Because I would bet seven,
Hoping that your love would take me all the way to Heaven.
But I guess when you gamble you’ve got no luck.
Your love has left me bankrupt.
Oh, chap-ter eleven’s of the hot what I got it’s hot,
Chap-ter eleven’s of the hot what I got.
Oh, you got you, I got me, ain’t got nobody, see,
‘Cause chapter eleven’s what I am.
Because your love has left me bankrupt!
Why dontcha get out of here? Oh yeah!
DREW: (applauding) Man!
RYAN: Hey, Colin!
COLIN: Yes, Ryan?
RYAN: How much would you pay for a 2-CD set like this?
COLIN: Oh, I don’t know… 39 dollars?
RYAN: Uh… Unfortunately, it’s $69.95!
COLIN: But, I was talking 39 dollars in a foreign currency which doesn’t…
quite…
RYAN & COLIN: Add up to more than that!
RYAN: All because the hits keep on coming! Who could ever forget that early
Rock and Roll favorite, “Deduct This”?
(Rock N’ Roll piano music. Wayne imitates Little Richard, mimes playing a
piano.)
WAYNE: Whoo!
Here’s something I know you see!
You better better save all your receipts!
Because you better save ’em,
Because you’ll do the best! Whoo!
Because if you don’t, you save your receipts,
An act they can’t deduct, you better believe me!
Because, IRS, deduct this! Whooo!
Deduct! You’re screwed! Don’t save ’em, now you’re sued!
Oh, yeah! Yeah, yeah, oh yeah! Whoo!
Baby, you better deduct this! Whooo-ooo!

Transcription credits: http://www.geocities.com/mstiescott/103.html

Oh don’t we all love accounting? That’s why we come to school!

"…We all love accounting – it’s the reason we come to school,
Dear old accounting, there’s nothing else quite as cool! "