APEC Economy: Singapore

General situation and specific services that require registration/licensing

In Singapore, the provision of general accountancy services is essentially open. The following specific services, as included in the definition of accountancy services under the APEC Accounting Services Initiative, requires registration with/licensing from a regulatory body.

A person must register with the Accounting and Corporate Regulatory Authority (ACRA) as a Public Accountant, and an entity must seek approval as an Accounting Corporation, LLP or Firm, under the Accountants Act to provide “Audit and reporting on financial statements and the doing of such other acts that are required by any written law to be done by a public accountant”.

A person nominated to be a Judicial Manager of a Singapore Company must be a Public Accountant, however, a Judicial Manager appointed by the Court or nominated by the Minister need not be a Public Accountant

Liquidators of Singapore Companies must apply to be approved liquidators under the Companies Act, except with leave of court and certain exceptions set out in s11(2) of the Companies Act pertaining to voluntary winding up by members or creditors.

Financial Advisers are regulated by the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS).
The types of financial advisory services regulated under the Financial Advisors Act are as follows:
a) advising others concerning any investment product;
b) issuing or promulgating analyses or reports concerning any investment product;
c) marketing of any collective investment scheme including unit trusts; and
d) arranging of any contract of insurance in respect of life policies.
The regulated activities are defined in the FAA available on MAS’ website.

Except for those who are specifically exempted, any corporation which carries on the business of providing any of the financial advisory services under the FAA is required to obtain a financial adviser (FA) licence. Any individual who provides financial advisory services on behalf of a licensed FA or exempt FA under section 23(1)(a) to (e) must be appointed as its appointed or provisional representative, unless otherwise exempted. For information on exemptions/exclusions from licensing, please refer to the FAA, Financial Advisers Regulations and the FAQs.

Current registration/licensing requirements

Refer to actual legislation for more complete context.

Requirements for approval of Public Accountants
The applicant must:

Requirements for approval of Accounting Corporations, Accounting Firms, and Accounting LLPs

Additionally, Accounting Corporations must meet these requirements:

(A) if the company or proposed company has only one director, that that director shall be a public accountant; or
(B) if the company or proposed company has only 2 directors, that one of those directors shall be a public accountant;

Additionally, Accounting LLPs must meet the requirement below:

Requirements for Liquidators
For applicants who are public accountants (i.e. registered under the Accountants Act):

For applicants who are not public accountants:

i)   Qualification: The applicant must have passed the final examination in accountancy of the following courses or its recognised equivalent that are listed in paragraph 2(b) of the second schedule of the Accountants (Public Accountants) Rules
ii)  Fit and proper: The Registrar may refuse to register any applicant whom in her opinion is not of good reputation or character; and
iii)  Reports from two referees: Applicants must obtain a report from two referees (an applicant’s client or family member cannot be the referee), one of whom must be an approved liquidator who has supervised the applicant's work. These reports should comment on the applicant's character, his ability to perform liquidation work, his role in specific liquidation jobs (where applicable) and other relevant experience which the referee deems applicable.

Requirements for Financial Advisers

In assessing an application for a financial adviser's licence, MAS takes into consideration, inter alia, the following factors:
a) the track record, management expertise and financial soundness of the applicant and its parent company or major shareholders;
b) ability to meet the minimum financial requirements and professional indemnity insurance requirements prescribed under the Financial Advisers Act;
c) strength of internal compliance systems;
d) business plans and projections; and
e) fitness and propriety

In respect of factor (e) above, the applicant shall satisfy MAS that:
i) it is a fit and proper person to be licensed;
ii) all of its directors and chief executive officer are fit and proper persons to hold the office; and
iii) all of its substantial shareholders and representatives are fit and proper persons.

See the following references for further information:

Professional Accountancy Body

A separate license is not required from the local professional body in order to provide professional accountancy services in this jurisdiction. However, public accountants registered with ACRA at present must be a member of the Institute of Certified Public Accountants of Singapore (ICPAS).

Organisation:

Institute of Certified Public Accountants of Singapore

Contact Name:

Dr Tham Kah Poh, CEO

Address:

20 Aljunied Road, #06-02 CPA House

City/Town:

Singapore

ZIP/ Postcode:

389805

Email address:

cpasingapore@icpas.org.sg

Phone number:

+(65) 6749 8060

Website:

http://corp.icpas.org.sg/

Levels of membership:

  •  Provisional Member
  • Non- Practising Member
  • Practising Member
  • Honorary Member

Eligibility to other bodies in the APEC economies

CPA Australia

Alliance & MOUs

MRA with CPA Australia

Treatment of foreign nationals

Foreign nationals are free to apply for registration as a Public Accountant, and the registration requirements apply equally to all, regardless of nationality.  As it can be observed in the registration requirements, provisions are made for foreign qualifications and experience to be recognised.

Temporary practice arrangements and limited license

Apart from the specific services mentioned above that are regulated, accountancy services in general are not regulated. For the regulated services, the concepts of temporary practice arrangements and limited license do not apply. For the provision of the unregulated services, the foreign national must have the relevant visa and work passes, which are under the purview of the Ministry of Manpower (www.mom.gov.sg). There are also registration requirements for any person carrying on business in Singapore.
For foreign companies, see s368 (read with s366) Companies Act Cap. 50; and
For other persons, see s5 Business Registration Act Cap. 32.

Rules on firms/commercial associations

In this economy:

Other regulations

On advertising, as specified in paragraph 250 of the fourth schedule in the Accountants (Public Accountants) Rules, the public accountant should not:

On use of names,

There is also a prohibition against use of names that are identical to existing accounting corporations, LLPs or Firms.

Contacts Details

Accounting and Corporate Regulatory Authority (ACRA)
10 Anson Road #05-01/15, International Plaza
Singapore 079903
Email address: david_turner@acra.gov.sg
Website: http://www.acra.gov.sg/

Monetary Authority of Singapore
10 Shenton Way, MAS Building
Singapore 079117
Email address: webmaster@mas.gov.sg
Phone number: (65)-6225-5577
Website: http://www.mas.gov.sg