SINGAPORE — The Accounting and Corporate Regulatory Authority (ACRA) will introduce two training programmes by June to help firm directors improve their regulatory compliance and financial reporting skills.
This was announced by Deputy Prime Minister Tharman Shanmugaratnam at ACRA’s 10th anniversary dinner yesterday. “First, in partnership with the Singapore Institute of Directors, ACRA will be providing training in financial reporting aimed at helping the directors of both listed and large non-listed companies fulfil their duty of ensuring the accuracy of financial statements,” he said.
The first course will begin next month, with the aim of training 3,000 directors by March 2016.
From June, ACRA will also launch a Director’s Compliance Programme (DCP) to train 10,000 first-time offending directors who have failed to file annual returns, Mr Tharman said.
About 10,000 summons are meted out annually to errant directors who have failed to comply with annual return filing requirements under the Companies Act, said ACRA. It also said the DCP will be offered to first-time errant directors in lieu of prosecution.
“Regulation is most effective when it’s understood,” Mr Tharman said. “Therefore, we have to actively complement enforcement actions with regular outreach efforts.”
The programmes are part of ACRA’s efforts to maintain a robust corporate and accountancy ecosystem, amid evolving regulatory priorities for the agency.
ACRA is in the process of relaxing requirements to reduce compliance costs for small companies, while tightening rules to address emerging risks.
A slew of amendments to the Companies Act were announced last year, including raising the threshold for statutory audits from S$5 million in annual revenue to S$10 million. This will cut compliance costs for about 25,000 small companies.