ACRA Accountants Act: Regulatory Reforms 2022

The ACRA Accountants Act 2022 is the primary legislation governing the accountancy profession in Singapore. It establishes the regulatory framework for the profession and sets out the accountants’ duties, responsibilities, and qualifications. The Accountants Act and its subsidiary legislations govern the registration and oversight of Public Accounting Entities (PAEs) and Public Accountants (PAs). 

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The Parliament passed the Accountants (Amendment) Act 2022 on 3rd October 2022, which the President approved on 25th October 2022. The amendments to the Accountants Act are made to improve the audit regulatory regime. It will also help introduce ways for better compliance with professional requirements and standards for PAEs and PAs. 

Key ACRA Requirements Under the Accountants (Amendment) Act, Singapore

Effective from 1st July 2023, ACRA will implement the new requirements under the Accountants (Amendment) Act passed by the Parliament last year. The requirements or changes under the Act are as follows:

1. Quality Control Inspections on PAEs:

The amendment allows ACRA to conduct statutory QC inspections on PAEs to ensure compliance with professional standards and legal and regulatory requirements. Furthermore, it will help mandate the remediation of lapses and impose sanctions on PAEs for non-compliance discovered during inspections. 

2. AML/CFT Inspections on PAEs and PAs:

The amendment gives ACRA powers to conduct Anti-Money Laundering/ Countering the Financing of Terrorism (AML/CFT) inspections to impose sanctions on PAEs and PAs if they fail to comply with the requirements. 

3. Introduction of a tiered assessment framework:

It includes a tiered assessment framework (satisfactory, satisfactory but with findings, partially satisfactory, and not satisfactory) for the Practice Monitoring Programme and QC inspections. This helps improve PAEs’ and PAs’ compliance with professional standards.    

4. Disclosure of audit inspection findings:

The Accountants (Amendment) Act allows ACRA to compel a PA who received a “Not satisfactory” inspection to disclose their audit inspection findings to the audited entity. This offers greater transparency of the PA’s inspection findings and improves the audit committee’s ability to evaluate the effectiveness of their auditor.  

Bottom Line – ACRA Accountants (Amendment) Act 2022

The Accountants Act was enacted to ensure the accounting profession’s quality and integrity and protect the public interest. Keeping this in mind, the amendments in the Act seek to improve ACRA’s audit regulatory regime and ensure that public accounting entities and public accountants meet high-quality standards. 

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