Firms in the industry
Besides the Big Four, corporations such as Grant Thornton Singapore, RSM Singapore and BDO LLP are popular choices among accounting graduates and jobseekers looking to pursue a career in accountancy and financial management.
While joining a bigger institute generally translates to specialisation at an earlier stage and exposure to high-profile clients, experiences gained in smaller enterprises largely depend on the scope of offerings and clientele.
Smaller companies also expect employees to be more generalist, though there are more opportunities to be involved in business development and securing and maintaining client relationships. On the other hand, large multinational corporations have the resources to invest in employee education, and can provide more attractive training packages – including overseas travel. However, many large institutes require employees to be bonded for a period of time.
If you choose to pursue a position in the public sector, you’ll come across a vastly different scope of duties, work environment and exposure.
The accountancy and financial management field is constantly growing, and offers a wide range of career paths. Here are some roles you can consider:
- Assurance consultant
- Commercial finance manager
- Corporate finance advisor
- Corporate recovery specialist
- Corporate treasurer
- Finance director
- Finance controller
- Forensic accountant
- Internal auditor
- Management accountant
- Risk assessment officer
- Tax adviser
The ideal candidate
Enthusiasm and excellent interpersonal skills are necessary, and will come in handy when communicating with clients and liaising with colleagues. It’s also important to have acute commercial awareness of current issues in the industry, as well as the ability to simplify and explain complex information to people unfamiliar with accountancy and finance.
Good numeracy and analytical skills are also undoubtedly essential, as are problem-solving, multitasking and time management skills to face challenges and meet tight deadlines.
Certifications from professional bodies such as ISCA and ACCA Singapore are important for a career in accountancy, and it’s vital to secure these qualifications early in your career. If you’re looking to enter the arena, it’s imperative that you are not only self-motivated, but also committed to working and studying concurrently when required.
Working in the industry
Professionals have the opportunity to gain a unique insider’s perspective on how different businesses are run, which will later help you move up the corporate ladder or start your own enterprise. Another perk is having the chance to attain an internationally recognised professional qualification – often funded by the company.
In recent years, digital technology has started to revolutionise the financial sector, and the accountancy and financial management scene has not been spared; firms and organisations are now using cloud accounting, software and applications to streamline processes and increase productivity.
Although the career paths in this area are widely known to be recession-proof, continuous training is necessary to keep up with change and enhance job prospects. Hours may occasionally be long, especially for auditors and tax advisors as their peak period generally falls in between January and April. Otherwise, those in this field generally enjoy a healthy work-life balance. Be aware, though, that overseas travel may be involved, depending on where clients are based.