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Saturday, February 4, 2023
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MAN SAYS THAT ACCOUNTANTS ARE UNDERPAID & LONG HOURS, NO ONE WANTS TO JOIN

I recently went to a Focus Group Discussion on the Accountancy Workforce.

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We were informed that there had been a decline in students joining Accountancy Degree and that the supply would not be able to meet the growing demand in accountants.

Things that were discussed include:

1. Skills and coverage of our local tertiary institutions for high-growth accounting jobs

2. What are your perceptions on SCAQ?

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3. Where do you envisage yourself to be in the next 3 to 5 years?

4. Would you be interested to pursue emerging job roles with some relevance to accountancy (e.g. IT audit, sustainability reporting), or would you prefer to deepen your expertise and stay in roles that relies heavily on accounting skills?

5. What do you think can be done to make the Accountancy profession more attractive?

The first 4 points were rather mute and normal. The interesting part only came in when we discussed point 5 and the negative side of accounting as a profession. My group (which consisted of all auditors) mentioned the low starting pay and working hours which we believe were common points that everyone in accounting industry say. However, the facilitator from SAC started to say that the pay would grow in the future and that recently there had been an increase in starting pay. She even joked that when she discussed it with the Employers one of them said “no choice need to increase since one of the firmed bumped up the price”. This gave the impression that the employers themselves reluctantly increased the starting pay as they started to feel the sting from people leaving the profession and no one wants to join.

Then the part that made me sick was when we discussed the long working hours and no work life balance. The SAC facilitator said that it is normal everywhere to have long working hours and even she worked long hours. Another person from MOF even chimed in saying that even when his wife was giving birth, he still had to work in the hospital on 2am when his boss assigned him something then submitted it at 5am. He even bragged and laughed about it as if this is an achievement. The glorification of overwork and OT is disgusting.

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Coming back to issues with accounting as a profession, we had stated the obvious answers and they just want to gaslight us saying it’s normal and everywhere is also the same. Really gave a sense of hopelessness and it seems like they do not want to change anything. Keeping the status quo.

“What do you think can be done to make the Accountancy profession more attractive?” they said, the answer is right in front and yet they want to be oblivious to it. All this are for show.

What do you guys think?”

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