7 Skills to Prioritise When Hiring an Accountant in Singapore


Are you a business owner in Singapore looking to hire an accountant?

According to Singapore Accounting Commission, there are more than 55,000 accountancy professionals in Singapore, with approximately 18,000 working across 689 accounting firms.

With such huge numbers, it can be a daunting task for you to choose the crème de la crème of existing accountants in the city-state. Also, Singapore is emerging stronger from the COVID-19 pandemic, which could lead to a higher headcount for accountants in the near future.

If you want to hire an accountant who is well polished upstairs and has an impressive work ethic, this article will equip you with the skills and knowledge that you need to prioritise before putting pen on paper on their contract.

1.    Knowledge of Accounting Standards

The Singapore Financial Reporting Standards (SFRS) are the accounting standards that every company must comply with because they are based on the International Financial Reporting Standards (IFRS). All accountants are required to have knowledge about the principles of SFRS at their fingertips. These principles play key role in standardising various accounting practices in various industries across Singapore.

After pinpointing a few potential candidates, it is important to gauge them further on their knowledge of the regulatory standards related to public and corporate finances. This not only ensures that they will adhere to the requirements for financial reporting, but also that their accounting practices with uphold the integrity of your company. Accrual-based accounting stands out as one of the key principles of accounting standards on the city-state.

2.    Proficiency in Using Accounting Software

Gone are the days when business owners had to rely on bulky paperwork to maintain their books. In this day and age, the bulk of accounting procedures can be effortlessly done using accounting software, which accurately records and reports financial transactions. Every accountant should be adept in using different types of software for financial reporting, database reporting, financial statements analysis, project management, and tax compliance.

If you are looking to hire a top-level accountant or financial analyst, you need to gauge them on their ability to use Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) software. Accountant in Singapore who can use ERP software stand out because they can easily crunch complex numbers on the everyday business activities. With such knowledge, they can convert raw data into meaningful information that facilitate informed business decisions.

3.    Verbal and Written Communication Skills

Many entry-level accountants can look good on paper, but when you gauge their communication skills i.e. how they express themselves in a one-on-one conversation or how they compose emails, you might be disappointed. Both verbal and written communication play a key role in interacting with co-workers, clients, investors, and other industry professionals. An accountant must have the knack to write reports, conduct briefings, and work collaborate with various team members to unravel complex numbers into laymen’s terms.

If you are about to hire an accountant who ticks all the prerequisite boxes, but even composing well-crafted emails is not his strong suit, consider getting him through some training on verbal and written communication. Communicating effectively goes a long way in ensuring that the accountant does not lag behind in delivering projects promptly and accurately as per expectations.


4.    Time Consciousness

“How do you manage your time?” You should pose this question to an accountant that you are interested in hiring. You can provide them with a hypothetical scenario related to a challenge that your business is currently facing. For example, its end month and you have 11 employees to complete their payroll before close of business in 2 hours. You also have only 4 hours to file corporate taxes with IRAS. How do you avoid such a dilemma in future?

You should asses the accountant’s response using the notion that a stitch in time saves nine. In short, he needs to come up with a schedule that will allow him to prioritise tasks efficiently and complete them on time. Accountants must be time conscious and the only way to do so is by scheduling their tasks in such a way that they can efficiently manage their workload within a stipulated period.

5.    Ethical Conduct

Since accountants are bound by a strict code of conduct, they should have the ability to identify problems and provide viable solutions within ethical standards. Ethical conduct calls for top-notch honesty and emphasises integrity. In Singapore, accountants’ ethical conduct is guided by ACRA, which is mandated to reassure the public that accountants carry out their duties with integrity, competence, and objectivity, and ensure apt professional conduct.

All accountants in Singapore irrespective of their level of expertise of experience are required to maintain high standards of confidentiality, due diligence and objectivity with the aim of protecting employers and clients. Ensure the accountant you hire is familiar with these ethical standards since they go a long way in demonstrating his commitment to accepted accounting principles.

6.    Leadership Skills

An accountant who acts as a leader can be a treasured asset in your business. With their leadership skill, you will not be worries about missed deadlines, losing clients, legal disputes, or even hiring a new accountant in the near future because of incompetence. Accountants who have leadership skills can think strategically, plan ahead, adjust accordingly, and take away the entire load of managing your books off you.

The accountant can even shadow your role as the business owner and act as the key financial advisor to other departments when possible. An accountant with leadership skills demonstrates the ability to lead with confidence and provides innovative suggestions to existing issues.

7.    Customer Service

To develop and maintain long-term relationships with your clients, accountants play a key role in helping you understand their needs and providing prompt solutions to their problems. This requires remarkable customer services skills, which entail the need to communicate with clients courteously, and interact with them in a profession manner. As such, you need to hire an accountant who will actively listen to their concerns and make them feel more valued.

Key Takeaways
  • There are more than 55,000 accountancy professionals in Singapore
  • Accountants should be well-versed with the Singapore Financial Reporting Standards.
  • Accountants should be adept in using different types of software for financial reporting.
  • Accountants’ ethical conduct calls for top-notch honesty and integrity.
  • Accountants can manage their workload by scheduling their tasks within a specified period.
  • Accountants help you understand customer needs and provide prompt solutions.

Looking for a dedicated accounting firm for your start-up or SME in Singapore? Choose Tianlong Services. Our expert accountants can provide you with the best service possible, while minimizing your accounting problems and maximizing your profits.

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