5 Reasons Why Principles of Accounts

this is the closest Creative Commons Licensed Picture I could find! You just finished your final year examinations and are considering your options. The familiar arts (history, literature or geography) and science  (biology, physics and chemistry)

Principles of Accounts (POA) sounds so foreign and you’ have heard from friends that it is boring. But there’s more to debits and credits in POA.


“’Double-entry bookkeeping’ is one of the great discoveries of European civilisation, but five centuries later most people are still muddled about assets and liabilities. Without such knowledge, technical terms like ‘balance-sheet recession’ and ‘rebuilding balance sheet’ are meaningless.” – Robert Skidelsky, member of British House of Lords and Professor Emeritus of political economy at Warwick University* 

Here’s 5 Reasons Why You Should Pick Up POA:

1. Importance of Accounting
2. Valuable Skill for Daily Life
3. Accounting as a Career
4. Dollars and Sense
5. Taking it further – Upward Mobility

1. Importance of Accounting

Accountants are responsible for providing information that is used to determine the present and future economic stability of the organisation. Bosses depend on them to make business more profitable, investors make decisions using accounting information, government tax on the profits and employees read them to find out if they get their bonuses.

2. Valuable Skill for Daily Life

While subjects like geography are interesting, there may be very little opportunities for you to be able to differentiate one rock from another. signContract

Accounting, however, is different. It is a lifeskill;

Whether in budgeting for the groceries, writing cheques, running a blogshop, understanding contracts or with knowing your bank /CPF statements, the ability to read numbers and make a story out of them makes accounting skills something very valuable.

Principles of Accounts in Personal Finance & Investment

Accounting skills becomes essential if you want to be on your way to a stable and growing level of wealth. You will be able track your net worth, manage household expenses, budget for holidays, set up a home-based business and follow on investments (e.g reading company annual reports).  Accounting can also be used to assess interest rates on house mortgages and car payments.

3. Accounting as a Career

Accounting is the language of business. Today, more CEOs are armed with accounting degrees than any other area of study.  Career opportunities associated with a degree in accounting are practically endless due to how broad the subject is.  Jobs where accounting skills are valued include:

Brokerage Clerks
Budget Analysts
Claims Adjusters, Appraisers, Examiners, and Investigators
Certified Public Accountants
Credit Analysis
Debt Counselors
Financial Analysts
Financial Managers
Financial Services Sales Agents
Insurance Sales Agents
Insurance / Reinsurance Underwriters
Loan Officers
Personal Financial Advisors
Securities and Commodities Sales Agents
Tax Inspectors, Collectors and Revenue Agents

The “Iron Rice Bowl”

Another reason college students should consider studying accounting is the condition of the economy.  Whether the economy grows or weakens, businesses always need for someone to calculate the profits or the losses. In economic downturns, businesses need to cut down on costs to make their business more profitable.  Businesses also need a strict set of internal controls to make their business more efficient.  The only way to ensure that both of these can happen is through stringent accounting.

4. Dollars and Sense

Job opportunities are not the only reason that university students should consider accounting.  The job can be financially rewarding.  The starting salary of a local accounting graduate averages S$2,600. Good performers can expect an average of S$450 increment in his salary every year.

A partner of a large accounting firm can expect to receive an annual salary of slightly less than S$1 million. This salary, of course, can change based on company, location and industry.

According to Ambition’s 2009 Market Trends and Salaries Report, the Heads of Accounting departments take home salaries in the range of $100,000 – $500,000, excluding performance bonuses, stock option and other allowances.

Accountant Salary Table

5. Taking it further – Upward Mobility

An accounting degree course uses the very same principles you learn in your GCE O/N’ levels POA. It is also not an exaggeration to say you can work as a bookkeeper after your O’/N’ level exams. An accounting degree, however, means you’ll have access to better jobs and more opportunities to advance your career than someone who’s trying to make it in the field without one. With proper training, you can find a worthy entry-level position and step up to greater positions in the future. A skilled accountant is valued in large organisations. Many influential individuals in large organisations are qualified accountants and contribute positively to their communities.

We love to hear from you!

Share your experience and thoughts with us!  Your sharing will allow readers to benefit.  Questions on accounting education? Contact me here. I do my best to help.


*quoted from “The Price of Clarity,” published 24 May 2010 by The Straits Times, Singapore.


Read More:

7 Reasons For Becoming An Accountant And Not A Fashion Designer – by Herald de Paris et Cie

Image Credits

5 reasons why accountancy—1953

Accountants In Love



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

Recognised Accounting Degrees for Practicing as a CPA in Singapore


photo: CarbonNYC

The Accounting and Corporate Regulatory Authority (ACRA) lists the recognised professional qualifications for registration as a public accountant.

To be practicing Certified Public Accountant (CPA) in Singapore, an applicant must at the time of his application for registration

(a) have passed the final examination in accountancy of one of the following:

(i) the Singapore Polytechnic for the professional diploma and for the degree course in accountancy for the years 1961 to 1969;
(ii) the University of Singapore for the degree of Bachelor of Accountancy;
(iii) the Nanyang University of Singapore for the degree of Bachelor of Commerce (Accountancy) or Bachelor of Accountancy;
(iv) the National University of Singapore for the degree of Bachelor of Accountancy;
(v) the Nanyang Technological Institute for the degree of Bachelor of Accountancy;
(vi) the Institute of Certified Public Accountants of Singapore (formerly known as the Singapore Society of Accountants) Association of Chartered Certified Accountants of the United Kingdom Joint Scheme;
(vii) the Nanyang Technological University for the degree of Bachelor of Accountancy or Master of Business Administration (Accountancy);
(viii) the Institute of Certified Public Accountants of Singapore Professional Examination; or
(ix) the Singapore Management University for the degree of Bachelor of Accountancy or Master of Professional Accounting; or

(b) have passed the final examination in accountancy of one of the following or its recognised equivalent:
(i) the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Scotland (ICAS);
(ii) the Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales (ICAEW);
(iii) the Institute of Chartered Accountants in Ireland (ICAI);
(iv) the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants (ACCA) (formerly known as the Chartered Association of Certified Accountants);
(v) the Institute of Chartered Accountants in Australia (ICAA);
(vi) CPA Australia (formerly known as the Australian Society of Certified Practising Accountants);
(vii) New Zealand Institute of Chartered Accountants (NZICA) (formerly known as the Institute of Chartered Accountants of New Zealand);
(viii) the Canadian Institute of Chartered Accountants (CICA);
(ix) the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA); or
(x) the Chartered Institute of Management Accountants of the United Kingdom (CIMA), except that CIMA members shall have passed the following subjects:

(A) Financial Reporting Environment;

(B) Accounting and Audit Practice;

(C) Advanced Taxation; and

(D) Company Law and Corporate Governance,

and shall have also passed such other examination and have fulfilled such other requirements as may be determined by the Oversight Committee.

Difference between Accountants and Auditors

pencil-and-paper Accounting is a process of using a set of concepts and techniques to measure and report financial information about a business.  The business is generally considered to be a separate and distinct legal entity.  The information is potentially reported to a variety of different types of interested parties.  These include business managers, owners, investors, creditors, government regulators, financial analysts and even employees.

Auditing is a process involving the evaluating, scrutinizing  and the examination of transactions and systems that underlie an organization’s financial reports, with the ultimate goal of providing an independent report on the appropriateness of financial statements.

In other words, accountants are in charged of the day-to-day duties of maintaing the accounts, implementing the board financial strategy, if any. At the end of the period, accountant would produce Financial Statement, a summary report of the financial performance throughout the period. Whereas, auditor conduct a check on the accuracy of the financial statements, to ensure that there is no material misstatement of the financial statement prepared.

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Downturn Demand Makes Big 4 Hire More

Big 4 still hiring

picture by Matthew Dutile


Accountants gear up to manage risk and restructuring, keep an eye on fraud

Business Times – 29 Jan 2009

(SINGAPORE) Bad times in the corporate world translate to even busier times for accountants. No wonder the big boys are hiring.

As the downturn throws up more distressed companies, there is now greater demand for restructuring and risk management advisory. Incidents of possible fraud will call for more forensic investigations.

The Big Four audit firms say they are still recruiting at both the entry-level and for senior positions.

Ernst & Young says it expects to hire over 250 new staffers in Singapore this year. Over the past six months, it has recruited over 20 partners in the Far East Area, of which some are in Singapore.

‘Certain parts of our business – for example, restructuring and advisory in helping our clients manage the financial volatility – are more active and we will deploy resources to meet such increased activity,’ said Steven Phan, country managing partner at Ernst & Young Solutions LLP.

The recent pay cuts thrust upon KPMG’s middle to top management had stoked speculation that its peers could follow suit. The other three audit firms said, however, that they had not cut salaries.

Ernst & Young and PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP (Singapore) said they would manage their staff costs through a flexible wage system.

PwC’s human capital partner Deborah Ong told BT that the firm has no plans to slow down recruitment or retrench staff, and is on the lookout for senior talent.

As demand for its transactions advisory eases, PwC is deploying staff to areas of growing demand such as distress M&A deals, business recovery work, risk and governance compliance, she added. PwC is the appointed receiver for the Lehman Minibonds series that have defaulted.

Audit firms say they are also hoping to tap the new pool of senior talent from the once-sizzling financial industry that is now downsizing. During the boom years, financial institutions are often a more attractive choice for job seekers.

Chaly Mah, CEO of Deloitte Asia Pacific, told BT his firm has not been able to hire enough, and is now taking the opportunity to consolidate resources and make strategic hires. The audit firm is scaling back its recruitment of new graduates from 200 to 160 this year but is looking to step up its recruitment of more experienced hires.

‘The past few years have been a difficult market for employers, especially the accounting profession. This is why many companies are likely to take this opportunity to take stock,’ Mr Mah said.

Meanwhile, as fraud cases creep into view, there are growing murmurs that they should be detected by external auditors. Audit firms could find themselves busier than ever if they are to fulfil these expectations.

A recent scandal involving Indian IT giant Satyam Computers faking accounts has led the public to question why its auditor PwC did not discover the false inflation of profits for years.

But the Big Four stressed that the key objective of external auditing is not to sniff out fraud, but to present ‘a true and fair view’ of the financial statements.

While external auditors need to assess internal controls to make sure financial statements prepared by management are fairly presented, it is not the same thing as sniffing out and nailing fraud from the outset, said Danny Teoh, managing partner at KPMG LLP.

‘Uncovering fraud is the purview of forensic specialists,’ Mr Teoh said. ‘The objectives are very specific and different from that of an auditor reporting on financial statements.’

To integrate the two roles would be an overkill, he added. ‘The best approach therefore is to prevent fraud in the first place, by implementing a robust risk management programme within an organisation.’

KPMG is the special auditor for Advance Modules, and its stunning report last November showed the company faking sales records to meet an internal profit target for fiscal 2005 and undertaking a series of complex actions to cover up. This saga implicated another listed firm, NEL Group.

Mr Mah, who is also president of CPA Australia (Singapore division), noted that since the Enron days and the collapse of Arthur Andersen, the audit profession has stepped up to pay attention to potential fraud in the course of its work.

‘In an economic downturn, there is probably going to be an increased possibility of fraud,’ he said. ‘We have to do the right thing to satisfy ourselves that this is not happening by probing further, not believing in some of the things that we are told but to independently verify the matter.’