An Overview of Macro-Level Opportunities in Accountancy in Singapore

Financial District Singaproe


If you are embarking on a course on accounting, whether it’s Principles of Accounts (POA) or at tertiary level, here’s some good news for you. Singapore aspires to be a leading global accountancy hub for Asia-Pacific which is the fastest-growing region in accountancy services, forecasted to reach US$ 38.3 billion by 2013. Singapore contributed 2.8% to the Asia-Pacific market and its US$ 862.4 million formed 0.47% of its GDP, signalling great potential to grow. 1

In order to be on par with developed countries such as the United Kingdom and Australia, Singapore aims to double the sector’s existing GDP contribution (from 0.4% to about 1%) and its contribution from services export (from 22% to 50%) over the next decade. 1

This is exciting times for those seeking employment opportunities in Singapore.

Moreover, 29 of the biggest 30 international accountancy network firms have established a presence in Singapore. Deloitte & Touche, Ernst & Young, KPMG and PricewaterhouseCoopers (the “Big-4”) are part of the international accountancy networks and service a large portion (74%) of Singapore’s listed entities. The medium-sized public accountancy entities comprise those that audit 10 or more Public Interest Entities.

Together they account for 24% of the market share for audit services provided to listed companies. 1

Chic Princples of Accounts SingaporeA world-recognised professional accountancy qualification is key to transforming Singapore’s accountancy sector. Singapore will be the regional hub where international professional bodies offer other accountancy qualifications, and where global accountancy entities operate for Asia-Pacific. The corporate entities and government agencies also offer “on-the-job” training opportunities for accountants in commerce and government service. In terms of employment, the sector directly generates about 12,000 jobs. 1

The ACCA and Robert Half Women in Accounting and Finance Survey showed that the three main industries their respondents worked at were Accounting and Audit, Manufacturing, and Banking and Finance respectively.2



According to the 2008 survey conducted by the Institute of Certified Public Accountants Singapore (ICPAS),3 only 1 out of 10 accountants are working for an accountancy firm while the majority are working for corporations. Long working hours was found to be the main reason deterring them from working in the accountancy firms. A recent survey by top recruitment company Robert Half also revealed that at least 98 percent of finance or accounting employees in Singapore work longer than what was stipulated in their contract.4 In a separate survey on female accounting and financial consultants in Singapore, it was found that the average working week is 46.1 hours.2

Number of Graduates with Degrees in Accountancy (2011/2012)



Number of Graduates

Nanyang Technological University (NTU)

Bachelor of Accountancy


(M: 297; F: 331) 5

MBA (Accountancy)


(M: 3; F: 1) 6

National University of Singapore (NUS)

BBA (with Accountancy)


(M: 53; F: 86) 7

Singapore Management University (SMU) 8

Bachelor of Accountancy


Master of Professional Accounting


M – Male ; F – Female

Total number of members in Asia Pacific (2011/2012) for ACCA is 43,704 ; Total number of students is 113,623 (no stand-alone figures for Singapore found). 9

The ICPAS currently has about 21,000 members, of which about 15,000 hold the title of “CPA Singapore” .1

Median Monthly Basic and Gross Wages of Accounting-Related Occupations in All Industries, June 201110

Median Basic Wage ($)

Median Gross Wage ($)



(M: 4,266; F: 4,300)


(M: 4,310; F: 4,350)

Auditor (Accounting)


(F: 4,095)


(F: 4,130)

Accounting Associate Professional


(M: 3,000; F: 2,950)


(M: 3,000; F: 3,000)

M – Male ; F – Female












2012 GCE O’ Level Principles of Accounts (POA) Suggested Solutions!

After hearing that Miss Loi’s Joss Sticks website crashed even before E MathsPaper 2 solutions were out,

I wondered if we had to do backups to avoid the same fate… except that I’m reminded that POA is taken by only approximately 20% of the cohort. 😉

So I have 1/5 the same risk. 😉

The weekend was abuzz with activity at YMCA, where we had the largest party turnout for the annual crash course over two days.

Predicted topics include doubtful debts, liquidity, profitability, partnership, control accounts, bank recon, amalgamation, control accounts, correction of errors and incomplete records.

75% of the Sample Paper 1 & 2 collectively came out in this year’s paper. Much to our delight. 🙂

And without further ado…. we present,

RE-UPed Version 2 with contributions from commentators.

7092/01 GCE O’ Level Principles of Accounts 2012 Paper 1 Suggested Solutions

7092/02 GCE O’ Level Principles of Accounts 2012 Paper 2 Suggested Solutions

Right Click on Each Link And “SAVE AS.” File size may be quite big, so be patient.



Caleb’s Comments


Paper 1  – 17 marks

Paper 2  – 16marks.

Total        33 marks.

This is fairly consistent with 2011 paper (32-34 marks, depends on which question you chose for Section B for Paper 2).

Student’s ability to make comparison on performance and liquidity of business (consisting 15 marks of 33) should excel in this year’s papers.


Paper 1

Students complain the paper was too easy.

Working capital was a generous 5 marks. Complacency might have killed those who failed to show workings. The instruction was extremely clear. I hope you caught that and did accordingly.

Paper 2


This year’s Paper 2 had some notably challenging questions. I am happy that challenging questions which require understanding and application came out so that deserving students can get a decent shot of doing well.

P2 Q1 NP figure is $28,250. Balance Sheet $83,320.

Student’s ability to account for Decrease in Doubtful Debts, Bank Charges (Dr Bank Charges and Cr Bank) and setting Surjit’s $150 dr balance as negative in the balance sheet were perceived to be differentiators of those who do well and those who will excel.

P2 Q4 Tests the student’s ability to calculate depreciation using NBV figures of fixed assets.

P2 Q5 Bad Debts Recovery T-account was asked for the first time. Dates and remembering to transfer it to Profit and Loss are the two major landmines to watch out.

P2 Q5 Capital Account – Students must know to put the right details in the Capital account for additional capital contributed and Drawings made.

Discussing Answers Online. 

Constructive comparison to achieve understanding is fine.

However, I’m no genie. This remains as Suggested Solutions.

I’ll be happy to stand corrected and update the document from your contributions. 🙂

Please don’t ask me if this or that mistake will cost me 1 or 2 marks. Your guess is as good as mine.

Errors can be carried forward and will not be marked down twice, provided you showed workings for the remaining figures. It amazes me constantly that students take workings, dates and details for granted.

Concluding Thoughts

Of course I’ll say I wish you guys, especially my students, the very best grades and may getting your As and Bs help you advance in your academic journey towards the next step. Suffice to say, I’ll end by sharing with you a note by Tong Yee, director of The Thought Collective, for his batch of General Paper students.

“My Last Lesson to You: For the Batch of 2012” (FaceBook note)

It deeply resonates with my heartbeat as an accounting educator. My wish is that the accounting knowledge you learn in POA help you understand and appreciate in future the volatile financial landscape we are in and develop skills to cope with challenges and overcome them with good, critical thinking.

With that, all the best for your remaining papers!


Methods & Suitability of Depreciation Calculations

Several depreciation methods have been coming out for the O Level examinations such as the Revaluation and Units of Production method. We will discuss the two main methods commonly used – the Straight Line Method (SLM) and the Reducing Balance Method (RBM). 


1. Straight Line Method

Calculation of Depreciation:

Depreciation can be calculated if the following items of information are available:

  • Cost of the asset includes all expenses incurred for freight, carriage, and installation costs.
  • Scrap or residual value of the asset. I call it the garang-guni value – that amount we estimate the trash collection uncle will take when he collects from your place.
  • Useful life (not the physical life) of asset.

2. Reducing (Diminishing) Balance Method

Calculation of Depreciation:

Depreciation = Rate x Net Book Value (NBV)


NBV = Cost* – Provision for (Accumulated) Depreciation

In Year 2,

Depreciation expense using RBM = 10% x (10,000 – 1,000)



Using two different methods, a $10,000 asset with no scrap value at a depreciation rate of 10% will result in a different depreciation expense and net book value of the asset from Year 2 onwards.

· Straight Line = 10% X $10,000 = $1,000 per year

· Reducing Balance = 10% x Net Book Value Asset at the end of the previous period

Often, the depreciation rate used in RBM is usually between two and three times greater than under the SLM. Besides the depreciation charges, there are also the maintenance and repairs costs element and these running costs usually increases with age.

In Reducing Balance Method,

Suitability of Methods

How suitable the depreciation method is on an asset depends on how well it reflects the benefits the business derives from the used of assets.

Straight line method is more suitable for fixed assets that generates a more constant benefits such as Furniture and Fittings. it is fairer and more realistic.

Reducing balance method is used for fixed assets which depreciate more in the early years and in later years due to the efficiency of the fixed asset is higher in the early year. Therefore, reducing balance method used for assets such as motor vehicle and computers.

Revaluation Method (for loose tools and cutlery) – see notes below on Materiality Concept

Other Methods of Providing Depreciation:

Machine Hour Rate Method, Sum of Year’s Digit Method, Production unit method or Depletion method etc.

Why Different Methods?

To adhere to the Matching principle, because the revenue earned must be matched with the expenses incurred (depreciation) from the fixed asset that was used to generate that income within the same accounting period.

Prudence/Conservatism principle is adhered because the fixed asset is valued based on their net book value after accumulated depreciation so that assets and profits will not be overstated.

Materiality Concept is applied when the amount is insignificant. Loose tools which are immaterial in dollar amount may be written off as expense in one period, even though it may have a useful life of more than an accounting period.



2012 GCE N Levels Principles of Accounts (POA) Suggested Solutions!

Suggested Solution

It’s 8 days since your last paper.

Hope you guys are having a great time with your holidays!

This year’s suggested solutions came in a little late as the O’ levelers are ramping up their revision. 😉

Anyhow, it’s here now!

Tell me what you think.

Right click and choose “Save As” to download:

Paper 1 7092/02 GCE N’ Level Principles of Accounts 2012 Paper 1 Suggested Solutions

Paper 2: 7092/02 GCE N’ Level Principles of Accounts 2012 Paper 2 Suggested Solutions

Thanks guys!


POA Crash Course 2011 Registration is Open

5 Seats Remain. Click Here to find out more!

2011 GCE N’ Level Principles of Accounts (POA) Paper 2 Suggested Solutions!

The GCE N’ Levels Principles of Accounts was over yesterday!

Good news for our friends who are not taking O Level Emaths & D&T – happy holidays!
It was an intensive weekend for my students and I as we racked our brains over the POA crash course from Friday to Sunday.

We identified several questions that came out during yesterday’s paper, including:
1. Source documents
2. Capital & Current Accounts
3. Different treatment for carriages
4. Cash book
5. Partnerships
6. Methods of depreciation and its appropriateness for various assets.

Well, I could go on, except that I’m still in the midst of getting the Paper 1 for analysis/autopsy. 🙂

So, the BIG question is, was the Profit and Loss a Net Profit or Loss in Paper 2?

Check out what most of my students got:

2011 GCE N’ Level Principles Of Accounts Paper 2 Suggested Solutions


1. Clicking on it will take forever to load.

2. For faster results, right click and choose “Save Link/Target As”

Look forward to discussions with you on the comments below!



Suggested Solutions for 2010 GCE ‘O’ Level Principles of Accounts



7092/01 GCE O’ Level Principles of Accounts 2010 Paper 1 Suggested Solutions

7092/02 GCE O’ Level Principles of Accounts 2010 Paper 2 Suggested Solutions


Previous Post

The rough working for this afternoon’s GCE O’ Level Principles of Accounts Paper 2 Trading, Profit and Loss is out. Please click here download the pdf file.

Goodness, and you are almost all done for the exams! Freedom is Near. Hang On!

Crash Course students, look out for the remaining answers in Paper 1 and 2 your email soon. Will be uploading it to this website in 3 days!

4 Notable Quotes On the Value of Accounting Knowledge from the World’s Richest and Influential People












Image by Mark Hirschey (Work of Mark Hirschey) [CC-BY-SA-2.0], via Wikimedia Commons

“You have to understand accounting and you have to understand the nuances of accounting. It’s the language of business and it’s an imperfect language, but unless you are willing to put in the effort to learn accounting – how to read and interpret financial statements – you really shouldn’t select stocks yourself”Warren Buffett

Warren Edward Buffett (born August 30, 1930) is an American investor, industrialist and philanthropist. He is widely regarded as one of the most successful investors in the world. Often called the “legendary investor Warren Buffett” he is the primary shareholder, chairman and CEO of Berkshire Hathaway. He is consistently ranked among the world’s wealthiest people, he was ranked as the world’s second wealthiest person in 2009 and is currently the third wealthiest person in the world as of 2010.

charlie munger on accounting

Image by Nick J Webb

“You have to know accounting. It’s the language of practical business life. It was a very useful thing to deliver to civilization. I’ve heard it came to civilization through Venice which of course was once the great commercial power in the Mediterranean. However, double entry bookkeeping was a hell of an invention.” Charlie Munger

Charles Thomas Munger (born January 1, 1924 in Omaha, Nebraska) is an investment manager and philanthropist. He is Vice-Chairman of Berkshire Hathaway Corporation, the diversified investment corporation chaired by Warren Buffett. Munger is also the chairman of Wesco Financial Corporation, based in Pasadena, California. (Source: Wikipedia)

Alan_Greenspan_on accounting

Image: Alan Greenspan Source: Bureau of Engraving and Imprinting.

“It has been my experience that competency in mathematics, both in numerical manipulations and in understanding its conceptual foundations (accounting), enhances a person’s ability to handle the more ambiguous and qualitative relationships that dominate our day-to-day financial decision-making” Alan Greenspan (parenthesis mine)

Alan Greenspan (born March 6, 1926) is an American economist who served as Chairman of the Federal Reserve of the United States from 1987 to 2006. He currently works as a private advisor and provides consulting for firms through his company, Greenspan Associates LLC. First appointed Federal Reserve chairman by President Ronald Reagan in August 1987, he was reappointed at successive four-year intervals until retiring on January 31, 2006 after the second-longest tenure in the position. (Source: Wikipedia)


“The only way to get out of the “Rat Race” is to prove your proficiency at both accounting and investing, arguably two of the most difficult subjects to master.”

“I have mentioned before that financial intelligence is a synergy of accounting, investing, marketing and law. Combine those four technical skills and making money with money is easier.” Robert Kiyosaki

Robert Toru Kiyosaki (born April 8, 1947) is an American investor, businessman, self-help author and motivational speaker. Kiyosaki is best known for his Rich Dad Poor Dad series of motivational books and other material published under the Rich Dad brand. He has written 15 books which have combined sales of over 26 million copies. Three of his books, Rich Dad Poor Dad, Rich Dad’s CASHFLOW Quadrant, and Rich Dad’s Guide to Investing, have been on the top 10 best-seller lists simultaneously on The Wall Street Journal, USA Today and the New York Times. Rich Kid Smart Kid was published in 2001, with the intent to help parents teach their children financial concepts. He has created three “Cashflow” board and software games for adults and children and has a series of “Rich Dad” audio cassettes and disks. (Source: Wikipedia)


5 Reasons Why Principles Of Accounts

Really Useful Schooling by Adrian Tan, Author of The Teenage Textbook

Suggested Solutions & Answers to Oct 2010 GCE ‘N’ Level Principles of Accounts

The rough solutions and answers for this morning’s GCE N’ Level Principles of Accounts (Syllabus 7091/02) is out. Please click here to download the pdf file.

All the best, students! POA is the last paper for most of you. O’ Level Students, you’re next. =)

12 Uber-Cool Vintage Accounting & Business Documents

Think accounting records are boring? Written diligently, these 12 uber-cool accounting/business documents provides rich insights to the bookkeeper/accountant’s era.

From an elegantly drawn chicken to a receipt for buying 57 leeches, accounting records contains rich history found nowhere else. There could be fun doing accounting, conservatively speaking. 😉

Title-less book by Thomas Tye (1712-1783)

Thomas Tye's Account book starts in 1737

Thomas Tye (1712-1783) came to London from Derbyshire in 1738 to “seek his fortune”.He was in business, mostly in the City of London and he recorded all expenditure with great care. He also recorded tit bits of news and information. Some of this is fascinating.

His nephew’s wife blogs about this find here.

Donald Paterson’s Journal, January 1835

Donald Peterson 1821 24

Wonderful handwriting! This document appears to be business ledgers and accounts for a firm in London, England but there is nothing to identify the business or the owner. Within these ledgers are workbooks dating from 1821-24 on business, mathematics, etc. and the name Donald Paterson is doodled on these quite a bit.

Larger image here

Source: snap-happy1

Bookkeeper and Accountant Advertisement 1954

Advertisement for Accountant

From Popular Mechanics magazine, October 1954

Source: jackieinmi

George Watt Store Mann Street Gosford, 1885

George Watt Store Mann Street Gosford 1885

The only known surviving photograph from a series taken by Charles Bayliss in 1884/85. The series was commissioned by Boyd and King, for their Gosford Model Farms subdivision prospectus. Fortunately many photographs were reproduced in the prospectus in the form of lithographs, and these survive today. This is a close-up of a larger image. It is one of the earliest surviving images of life in Gosford NSW.

Gosford Coupons

Gosford coupons

Gosford Coupon

Gosford Coupons from a full, unredeemed booklet found in the former Martin family house at Matcham, NSW.

Source: gostalgia

Cash Cheque 1972

cheque 1972

This would be the 1972 equivalent of getting 20 from the ATM. The check was cashed at Studewood Grocery Store which is now part of the Fiesta chain.   Here’s where the bank was located. There is a Chase bank there now, but it’s not the same building.
Source: pmcd9

Unusual Invoice Selling ‘57 Choice Leeches’

1870 57 choice leeches

An unusual Victorian illustrated invoice from Fitch & Nottingham, 16 & 17 St. Peter Street, Hackney Road, London NE. ’57 Choice Leeches’ sold to Swindon businessman Mr John Green, May 12th 1870.

Source: Swindon Collection, Central Library : Scan of original invoice from their ephemera collection. Date: 12/5/1870. Repository: Swindon Collection, Central Library.

Canning & Co’s General Journal, 1928

Canning and Company itemised account Gosford 1928

Canning & Co. Receipt

Canning and Company receipt

Murphy’s Holiday Cottages Receipt, 1939

Murphy holiday cottages receipt 1939

Image a week’s stay at a hotel for just $5.10! See what inflation has done to us!

Source: gostalgia

Motimers Pte Ltd – Store Interior

Mortimers store

Motimers’ Receipt

Mortimers store docket

1918 Liberty Weekly Income Record and Income Tax Record

1918 Liberty Weekly Income Record and Income Tax Record 02

1918 Liberty Weekly Income Record and Income Tax Record ~ ‘The Proper Book of Records of Your Business’. The book’s titled page is dated 1918 & pages follow bookkeeping records from January 1918 through May 1923.

The handwriting is in blue, black & red fountain pen & is clear & neat with very few mark-outs. Some ink-ie splotches where the fountain pen blooped but, all in all, a very neat Bookkeeper of Record.

Source: Le Petit Poulailler

Vintage Ledger Paper

vintage ledger paper

A simple, high resolution artwork from autumnsensation. Free for download and use. See source.

Source: autumnsensation

Counting Chickens

Self-expression of a bored accountant? This artwork done with spray paint/ gouache on antique ledger page (about chickens)

Source: Amy Rice