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Working for the Big 4 accounting firms in Singapore

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TheCanadianExpat
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Working for the Big 4 accounting firms in Singapore

Postby TheCanadianExpat » Thu, 09 Apr 2009 10:11 am

I am interested in working for the Big 4 accounting firms Singapore in audit, but I'm not too sure what it would take to get in. While there aren't any job postings available right now, I'm quite sure they'll be looking for more people for the busy season in 2010. Since it's a leap across the world, I'd like to get a head start on the recruiting process to make preparations.

I'm actually currently halfway through the Canadian Chartered Accountancy program. Will my Canadian training and experience be considered an asset over and above say, the training that my Singaporean counterparts will have? Can anybody connect me to someone working for the Big 4, who would be interested in talking to me about this?

Thanks!

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Postby sundaymorningstaple » Thu, 09 Apr 2009 1:19 pm

Without experience? Honestly, I'd have to say it would be a hindrance rather than an asset. Think about it for a moment. About the only hiring that the big four are doing over here at the moment is new grads at salaries that you would not be able to work for (2500-2800/mo). Don't forget, the cost of living here is rather high. A new local graduate can work for those salaries because they are normally still living at home till there are 35 so their living costs decrease dramatically.

Most new grads are worked to death by the big four but they gain real world experience and then leave for better positions (meaning room for advancement). Most of what they indicated last month they were hiring for would probably be newbies and very few if any mid-level accountants. You best bet would be to gain a couple of years experience so you actually have something to sell. Or join one of the big 4 located in Canada and then request a transfer if it is just that you want to work in Singapore. But I'm afraid, as a new grad, you don't have much if any chance at all. Why hire someone that they will have to familiarize (read teach) with local law/practices.

Sorry I can't give you a more positive outlook but them's the facts.

sms

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US CPA to re-certify in Singapore?

Postby shakanr » Wed, 29 Apr 2009 8:34 pm

Hello, My wife works for one of the Big 4 in the US. She has been with them for three years and is a CPA. Would she have to take the local CPA exams again in order to be able to work for an audit firm in Singapore? Thanks.

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Postby louy » Mon, 04 May 2009 1:40 pm

If I am not mistaken, the majority of accountants in Singapore are either CPA of Singapore or ACCA.

Shakanr - I think the CPA of Singapore has a number of mutual agreements in place so it does recognise other accounting bodies. Experience counts for quite a bit, especially with Big 4 experience. So conversion may not be required, although this depends on where one specialises. Local Taxation and local law may would be idea of practicing accounts. The best thing to do is to speak to the local HR in US. They is often a lot of opportunities to transfer / second internationally within the Big 4.

TheCanadianExpat - I myself and my peers are probably in a similar boat to you. In experienced and seeking to enter the Big 4. I have spoken to some people within the big 4 here in Singapore and understand that there is still a head count freeze. As well as the economic downturn, it should be remembered that they have just finished their peak season so unlikely to be recruiting right now.
There may be a recruitment drive towards September time as they gear up for the next peak, but this also coincides with the local university graduation, so expect heavy competition then

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Postby shakanr » Fri, 22 May 2009 5:39 am

Thanks louy. Will look into it.

yiru1985
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Postby yiru1985 » Tue, 11 Aug 2009 4:01 pm

Why do people only want to join the big 4 companies?
Aren't there others? Even though the other companies in singapore might be small. There are still many experienced CPA out there. Do not restrict yourself.

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Postby Nath21 » Wed, 12 Aug 2009 8:26 am

yiru1985 wrote:Why do people only want to join the big 4 companies?
Aren't there others? Even though the other companies in singapore might be small. There are still many experienced CPA out there. Do not restrict yourself.


Why?
Better training, structured career advancement, better pay, ability to work anywhere in the world, best support services, most optioned career alternatives, more respected and networked clients to move to.

I would have thought coming to a small market like Singapore and going to a small firm was restrciting yourself? In a larger market I would agree but not in singapore.

I have talked to two Big 4 firms in Singapore and they are hiring just not new grads. If you have 4+ years you can still walk in. Your best option without a local contact is your local HR if your in Big 4. If you dont have that you need to try a make a connection on an individual basis (partner, senior manager) and your last choice is direct local HR which you have to realise will be how everyone else contacts these firms so you lose any competitive advantage you have and have to go on the strength of you cv which wont vary much from local candidates. Also pay here for Big 4 is a lot lower and the junior levels than other countries such as OZ, US, UK and Canada so keep that in mind. SMS stated S$2500-2800 a month. I know grads (no experience) that walk into Oz for S$5,000 a month.

If you think thats a good deal think again. I left KPMG in OZ at Manager level once I worked out I could earn more working at McDonalds. :roll:

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Postby nana77 » Thu, 13 Aug 2009 3:51 pm

underpaid & overworked. that's what i heard from people i know working in the Big 4 or rather, it should be Big 3 now?

they do mass recruitment through local universities usually.

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Postby ilovesushi » Tue, 18 Aug 2009 6:02 pm

louy wrote:If I am not mistaken, the majority of accountants in Singapore are either CPA of Singapore or ACCA.


i have just started my search for a job here in Singapore and met up with a recruitment consultant yesterday who informed me that ACCA is not considered an accountancy qualification here but on the same level as a degree and this is how it is in Singapore, does anyone have any advice if this is her view or if this is really true generally here. thanks

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Postby jpatokal » Tue, 18 Aug 2009 8:34 pm

ilovesushi wrote:i have just started my search for a job here in Singapore and met up with a recruitment consultant yesterday who informed me that ACCA is not considered an accountancy qualification here but on the same level as a degree and this is how it is in Singapore, does anyone have any advice if this is her view or if this is really true generally here. thanks

Check with the association:

http://www.accountants.org.sg/
Vaguely heretical thoughts on travel technology at Gyrovague

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Postby Nath21 » Wed, 19 Aug 2009 9:25 am

ilovesushi wrote:
louy wrote:If I am not mistaken, the majority of accountants in Singapore are either CPA of Singapore or ACCA.


i have just started my search for a job here in Singapore and met up with a recruitment consultant yesterday who informed me that ACCA is not considered an accountancy qualification here but on the same level as a degree and this is how it is in Singapore, does anyone have any advice if this is her view or if this is really true generally here. thanks


I would say she is saying that for either two reasons, she knows nothing or she has only placed CPA's here because the majority of people in Singapore do CPA course. But from her response regarding ACCA not being considered an accounting qualification I would ere to the side she knows nothing. You got to remember BIG 4 do mainly the ACCA course and CPA is just a multiple choice test whereas ACCA is a example bassed test with real life situatons, has the requirement to prepare and present material in front of your class mates. You actually have to think outside of the box to provide solutions whilst the CPA you just have to memorise facts. You can actually do the CPA within one semester if you want so they put into it a requirement to have 3 years working experience to be fully qualified whilst the ACCA course takes three years to complete. To do the ACCA or CPA course you need to fulfill the right requirements of completing post tertiary education. In most cases thats a Bachelors degree of business or commerce majoring in at least accounting or law.
From what I have read on this site and my short work experince here CPA would suit more people in Singapore which is probably why more people do it here as it does not require you to apply lateral thinking and problem solving ability or enable you to practice your business presentation skills. But as I stated before the main difference as an employer im looking for is experience, qualifications get you in the door, experience and presentation get you the job. When I get a CPA come through the door vs an ACCA my perspective is I need to clarify those abilities I think the CPA does not have compared to an ACCA and this is provided through questions and then evidence in the interview of the persons work experience.

Even the most basic accounting say a bank reconciliation needs this ability, to follow up on transactions that dont make sense, to questions people anwsers if they dont sound right etc. When I walked into my business less than 6 months ago the first thing I looked at was bank reconciliations and they were so riddled with mistakes and unreconciled differences the company had to take a write off (quite large). It didnt surprise me that that the people completing these were CPA locally qualified.


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