By Koh Eng Min
- Relevance of a Singapore Degree vis-a-vis a Foreign Degree to the Accounting
She commented that the curriculum of the local degree course has changed over the
years and the subjects offered by NTU are now very relevant to the accounting profession.
In particular, she felt that subjects such as Organisational Behaviour are especially
important in enabling new graduates to better relate to and motivate their colleagues in
the working world.
In contrast, the Chartered Accountant (CA) programme offered by international accounting
firms adopt a different approach which is a self-study programme where students are
required to work and study at the same time. The approach tends towards problem solving.
On the question of a Singapore accounting degree compared to a foreign degree, she
believes that NTU does an excellent job preparing our students to be capable and
- Work Attitude of New Graduate Accountants
The first two or three years of a young professional's life are an extension of his or
her degree course. Hence, Mrs Fang felt that the young professionals should build up a
base level of work experience during this period which will stand them in good stead
throughout the rest of their working life. Generally, new graduates are quick to adapt and
they are motivated to expand their careers. They exercise initiative in tackling projects
that are completely new to them and are generally "earning their keep" within a
relatively short space of time.
- Marketability of our Graduates
Each year, there are about 700 accountancy graduates but the "Big 6" will
only absorb about 300 of these. This means 400 graduates will need to look for jobs in
smaller accounting firms, banks, other financial institutions and commercial concerns.
With graduates from the Business faculty in NTU and Business Administration faculty in
NUS, the average graduate may find it difficult to achieve their first choice.
New graduates must be flexible in their ambition and adaptable in their work environment.
Their degrees are an introduction to working life, and their experience will add to the
capability and marketability of each individual.
Compared to other NIEs, Singapore has the least number of graduates, about 8%. It is
inevitable that the Government will continue to strive to increase the number of new
graduates, and this competitive drive must be responded to by today's new graduates.
Singapore graduates can be proud of the fact that the Singapore degree is well respected
by potential employers, and those who seek an intial career outside the profession will
have little difficulty in obtaining a challenging position.
- Sexual Discrimination at Work
Looking at the ratio of male partners to female partners, one may be inclined to
believe that sexual discrimination is prevalent in the accounting profession; however, Mrs
Fang does not think so. Today's partner ratio is simply a reflection of the gender
distribution of accountancy students 10 to 15 years ago when there were many more male
students compared to female students. Given the high proportion of women who are presently
entering the profession, the ratio of female partners to male partner will surely equalise
over the years.
- Learn as much as fast as you can in the first few years.
- Build up your technical base. Do not hesitate to direct questions at your superior when
you are unclear about the requirements of a given job.
- Maximise the use of your information base and always be updated.
- Read widely and ask relevant or "intelligent" questions. Magazines such as
Asian Business, Business Times, Singapore Business, Far Eastern Economic Review,
International Business Week and industry magazines help keep you up to date.
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