30 January 2015
With effect from 1 February 2015, persons wishing to register as public accountants will need to have at least 2,500 hours of Qualifying Audit Experience (QAE). This refers to practical experience acquired in carrying out an audit management role in performing key audit functions, audit quality review role or audit technical role. For details of the new practical experience requirements, please click here.
The new requirements ensure closer alignment of the practical experience requirements with a public accountant’s core responsibility of ensuring high quality audits of financial statements, which the public relies on.
Procedures to apply for Registration as a Public Accountant on or after 1 February 2015
The two-step procedure to apply for registration as a public accountant remains unchanged. Applicants will first need to file an application online via BizFile and second, submit the relevant supporting documents set out in the " Addendum to Application to be Registered as a Public Accountant " via email to email@example.com within 5 working days from the date of the online application.
BizFile is currently configured for existing requirements pre-1 February 2015. The new requirements will be progressively incorporated into subsequent enhancements of BizFile. In the interim, applicants are to take note of the following administrative steps when filing an application online via BizFile:
- Under the "Type of Practical Experience" in the online application form, applicants will continue to see dropdown options including "PAO (Structured)" and "PAO (Unstructured)". However, the terminologies of "structured practical experience", "unstructured practical experience" and "structured practical experience log book" are no longer applicable. Hence, applicants may choose either dropdown option i.e. "PAO (Structured)" or "PAO (Unstructured)" to describe their practical experience acquired in a public accountant’s office.
- During the application process, an auto-generated message (which reads "You may not meet the registration requirements pertaining to Practical Experience under the Accountants Act and its subsidiary legislation.") may appear informing the applicant that he or she does not meet the practical experience requirement. Applicants submitting applications under the new requirements are to ignore the message and proceed to submit the application.
- Applicants must now also submit a declaration form to be signed off by the applicant and a declaration form from his or her AP(s) in connection with the QAE acquired in Singapore as referred to in paragraph 5 of the " Addendum to Application to be Registered as a Public Accountant " (PDF, 182KB). The template declaration forms required to be submitted are as follows:
- If the applicant’s QAE is gained under the supervision of more than one AP within a firm, the application should also be supported by a firm’s testimonial consolidating the QAE gained by the applicant within each firm (the sample testimonial is included in the declaration form).
- Please refer to the following link (PDF, 384KB) for an illustrative example on how the declaration form for an AP should be completed.
- Applicants are advised to keep a record of the QAE hours acquired in relation to the audit engagements worked on, the roles performed and the APs or public accountants providing direct supervision to their work. A specimen template for use by the applicant and AP to record and track the QAE hours acquired by the applicant is available at the following link (PDF, 36KB)
This specimen template is not a mandatory document for submission as part of the applicant's application to be registered as a public accountant. An applicant and his or her APs may record and track the QAE hours acquired in such other manner as deemed appropriate and fit that allows for the QAE to be verified by ACRA where such need arises.