ACCA (Association of Chartered Certified Accountants) hosted today a roundtable discussion entitled “Shaping the future - The SMP’s changing role in providing business support services to SMEs”.
Mr Darryl Wee, country head of ACCA Singapore, says: “SMPs in Singapore and many other countries are facing considerable difficulties in attracting and retaining experienced employees to join their firms. Amidst this talent crunch, more countries are now considering implementing or raising exemption thresholds for statutory audits. In Singapore, the Committee to Develop the Accountancy Sector (CDAS) has recommended to the government to consider reviewing the threshold. SMPs in Singapore and in many other countries are therefore now facing a challenging environment, with their very viability being questioned. Nevertheless, there are silver linings emerging out of the woodwork.”
A recent paper by the International Federation of Accountants (IFAC) shows that the needs of small and medium enterprises (SMEs) are shifting from using small and medium (accountancy) practices (SMPs) primarily for statutory audits to a much wider spectrum of business advisory services, such as assisting in the development of the business plans and financial forecasts as well as advising client SMEs in a number of jurisdictions on other statutory requirement.
SMPs must evolve to meet growing needs. To prepare SMPs for an expanded role, CDAS has made recommendations to the government to facilitate the consolidation of smaller SMPs into larger units through a targeted two year programme and to liberalise regulatory ownership rules to enhance and facilitate the growth of multi-disciplinary professional practices.
“Today’s roundtable is timely as many SMPs are on the crossroads. With competitive pressures building up and the talent crunch within the industry, SMPs must begin to seriously examine their business models. The discussion today generated ideas, insights and viewpoints that will provide inputs for SMPS on what is feasible and what is not.” added Mr Darryl Wee, country head, ACCA Singapore.
Professor Robin Jarvis, head of small business, ACCA (accaglobal.com), moderated the roundtable. He is also a professor of Accounting and Finance at Brunel University and has published extensively in academic and professional journals.
Speaking about the Roundtable, Professor Jarvis said: “This was an excellent opportunity to share best practice and think about plans for the future. It must be remembered that SMPs provide a valuable service to small businesses, supporting them not just on financial issues, but related staffing issues as well.”