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Demand for accountants is growing, but interest in the profession is diminishing: report

By 2025, the demand for accounting jobs is expected to reach up to 7,000.

Interest in accounting jobs is waning in Singapore despite the growing demand for the profession, PERSOLKELLY revealed.

Over the past five years, there has been a 10% decrease in accounting degree students at universities in Singapore. On the other hand, demand for accounting jobs is expected to reach up to 7,000 by 2025.

“There is also a declining number of graduates who go on to become accountants or auditors, compounding the problem of a talent shortage,” PERSOLKELLY said.

Given the dwindling pool of candidates, smaller and medium-sized accounting practices face stiff competition from the Big Four firms.

“A continued shortage of fresh accounting graduates may lead to consolidation in Singapore's accounting market,” PERSOLKELLY warned.

To address manpower challenges faced by the accounting industry, the government has formed a task force to enhance the profession's attractiveness.

The Institute of Singapore Chartered Accountants (ISCA) also launched a $1m programme to raise awareness of the accounting profession. 

The private sector is also playing its part in boosting the local accountancy industry. Deloitte, for example, plans to hire 3,000 more in Singapore in the next five years.

A third of the new hires will support the firm's regulatory services, such as audit and tax. KMPG, for its part, vowed to commit $50m over the next five years to bolster its financial services, innovation and inception and environment, social and corporate governance (ESG) capabilities.

“As the momentum in corporate sustainability grows, new and emerging roles may also dispel notions that the accountancy profession is boring,” PERSOLKELLY said.

“Accountants can be well positioned for the relatively uncommon role of Chief Finance and Sustainability Office, which is present in organisations with well-developed sustainability initiatives and commitments,” PERSOLKELLY said.

Salaries

In Singapore, the salary range for accountants and assistant accountants with one to three years of experience is $3,500 to $5,500 per month. 

Meanwhile, salaries of auditors with three to six years of experience range from $5,300-$7,500 per month. For Tax Associates with four to eight years of experience, salary could range from $5,000 -$6,500 per month,

Those working in treasury, like a treasury coordinator with one to three years of experience, can get a salary of $2,900 to $3,500 per month.

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