Foreign investors who are interested in the business environment in Singapore should know that the local legislation stipulates that companies set up here are required to pass through an audit process, which is performed by registered accountants in Singapore. If you need to perform an audit for your company, our accounting firm in Singapore can provide you with assistance in this matter.
Our accountants in Singapore can offer a wide range of services, among which also audits for companies operating in the city-state.
You can rely on us if you need an audit in Singapore, no matter the type of company you own.
Audit legislation in Singapore
Singapore is one of the most important business hubs in the world, with a legal system favorable to foreign investors. Recently, Singapore enabled a new set of regulations, issued by the Institute of Singapore Chartered Accountants (ISCA); the new regulations promote a better environment for audit transparency.
The set of regulations imposed by ISCA will be enforced for financial statement audits carried out for periods ending on 15 December 2016 or after this date.
Under the new regulations, the auditors will have to specify the main audit issues on the audit of financial statements carried out for listed legal entities. Auditors will also be required to verify if the legal entity for which they have carried out the audit disclosed in their financial statements information for the company management’s judgment. We are an audit firm in Singapore and we can provide tailored assistance.
The Accounting and Corporate Regulatory Authority in Singapore is the national regulating agency working under the Ministry of Finance. It registers and monitors public accountants and uses the Accountants Act to regulate the process. Registered public accountants are required to adhere to the Code of Professional Conduct and Ethics and be subject to the ACRA practice monitoring program, as required for work inspection.
Interested individuals can reach out to our team members for more details on audit regulation in Singapore and the relevant governmental bodies.
Appointing auditors in a Singapore company
One of the mandatory requirements when starting a business in Singapore is to appoint auditors in order to meet the Company Law’s regulations. At least one auditor must be nominated by the directors of the company no later than 3 months after the company was incorporated. An important aspect to consider that only accounting firms in Singapore and public accounts that have been approved by the Accounting and Corporate Regulatory Authority (ACRA) can perform as auditors in companies. This is also the case of our accountants who can provide professional services in accordance with all the regulations imposed by the national legislation.
Our audit firm in Singapore is at your service with various types of audit services.
During the first year of the activity of a company, the auditor will hold this position until the first annual general meeting of the shareholders. Then, the company can reelect the same auditor or appoint a new one. In conclusion, the auditor will hold this position for a single year, following which the company’s directors will make a new appointment.
Our accounting firm in Singapore can act as an auditor in your business in the city-state. If you are wondering why you should go for an external auditor, our accountants can explain how we can help you.
An important aspect to consider when appointing an auditor or audit company in Singapore is that their role is not limited to performing audits, but they will also provide other services, among which:
- to report if the company’s financial statements fall within the lines of the financial reporting standards (local or international);
- to offer an accurate and true picture of the business’ financial performance;
- draw up the auditor report which must be attached to the financial statements presented to the shareholders during the annual general meeting.
It should be noted that the auditor report must provide the same information as the financial statements.
Auditors in Singapore have access to accounting records and other financial information which helps them provide true facts on the company’s financial situation. Moreover, auditors can request information from company officers during the audit.
You can rely on the expertise of the accountants in our audit firm in Singapore.
There are also several things to consider with respect to the payment of auditors in Singapore. The fees are established by the company directors and must be disclosed during the annual general meeting if a request is made in this sense.
You can rely on us for various audit services in Singapore, so do not hesitate to ask us if you have any questions about them.
Shareholders’ annual meeting and company audits
The annual meeting of the shareholders of a Singapore company is one of the most important requirements that need to be respected. The meeting must be held once a year in any part of the world, as the city-state’s Company Law is flexible in this sense.
During the meeting, the shareholders must review and approve (or not) the auditors’ report and appoint the auditors once more. However, new auditors can also be nominated.
For newly-incorporated companies, the auditors must be appointed no later than 3 months after the entity has received its Certificate of Registration. However, there are also a few exceptions from this rule. These refer to companies that have less than 20 shareholders who are all natural persons and if the businesses’ annual turnover is below 5 million SGD. All conditions must be met by these companies which can delay the appointment of auditors. Our accountants in Singapore can offer more information on these requirements.
You can read about how to perform an audit in Singapore in the infographic below:
Audit in Singapore
Our accountants in Singapore organize their activity in accordance with the local and international standards of auditing. As a general rule, the audit procedure focuses on the financial statements of a company; the accountants will analyze the key features of the statements, identifying possible financial risks, which is one of the main responsibilities of an auditor. Planning the audit is an important phase for company owners and it is the responsibility of the auditor to plan the audit of the financial statements. For companies that perform recurring audits, planning this step means having an audit strategy as well as assisting the auditor as needed. The list below includes some of the steps in which company owners in Singapore can participate:
- Problem-solving: the auditor can receive help for solving existing or potential problems in due time or in advance.
- Focus areas: the auditor can receive assistance or guidelines for focusing on important areas of the audit.
- Audit engagement: company representatives can help the auditor organize and manage the process, for the purpose of making it more efficient and effective.
- Providing assistance: companies can assist the auditor in selecting team members from the company who is capable to be assigned tasks for this proves.
- Facilitation: when needed, they can facilitate the supervision of the engagement team as well as the review of the work.
The auditor is the one who will determine the general audit strategy, then set the timeframe and the direction of the process as well as guide the actual implementation of the audit plan. The planning activities can start in advance and they can be tailored to the needs of the client company according to the size and business field. The current auditor can when needed, coordinate with the previous auditor if there have been changes in the overall audit strategy. The communication between two auditors, a current and a previous one, will be performed in accordance with ethical requirements. Our audit company in Singapore can offer more information on how we can be of help.
The accounting services provided by our local accountants are delivered by a team of multi-disciplinary professionals, who can give advice related to the accounting policies applied by the company or the financial performance of the company. We also offer GST registration services in Singapore.
Our team of experts offers a wide variety of audit services in Singapore, having a strong knowledge when it comes to the local and international accounting principles. These are completed by a thorough knowledge of organization systems, controls, and processes. Our accountants can provide more detailed information on the types of audit services we offer in Singapore.
Types of audits that can be performed in Singapore
Singapore companies must comply with the audit legislation imposed in the city-state. Nevertheless, apart from the mandatory audit requirements these must respect, there are also other types of such services that can be requested by local businesses.
These are the main types of audits available in Singapore:
- internal and external audits,
- forensic audits,
- statutory audits,
- financial and tax audits,
- compliance audits,
- operational audits.
Out of all these, statutory audits are the ones required by the Singapore law. The other types of audits can be requested by company owners and directors for various reasons.
Our auditors in Singapore can provide different types of audits whenever required.
Internal and external audit services in Singapore
Companies in Singapore have the right to appoint auditors who at the request of the board of directors or directors can review internal rules, conduct risk management assessments and corporate governance regulations. These should lead to an improvement of the overall operations of a business and prevention of fraud.
On the other hand, external audits imply the same services provided by specialists who are not employees or part of the audit committee of the respective companies.
External audits can be performed by audit and accounting firms in Singapore in compliance with the best practices in the domain.
There are various types of external audits that can be performed by our firm in Singapore and if you need information about them, we invite you to get in touch with us.
When a company is subject to an investigation, a forensic audit is usually requested by the authorities in charge of the review of the case. This type of audit is usually performed by a forensic accountant and even if it does not fall under specific regulations, it must be completed with due diligence with respect to the evidence that is used in the case.
Fraud, fake insurance claims and shareholders’ disputes can be the subject of a forensic audit in Singapore and if you have any questions about these services, our specialists can provide the necessary information.
The financial audit in Singapore
The financial audit is not the same as the statutory audit, as the former implies the verification of financial documents of a company at the request of the shareholders or directors. Financial audits can be requested prior to the scheduled statutory one.
Just like in the case of statutory audits, these are performed by respecting the national or international auditing standards.
When it comes to tax audits, these are performed by governmental agencies, and in the case of Singapore companies, the IRAS is the authority that can request such verifications on companies.
If you run a company in Singapore and are interested in a financial audit completed by an external auditor, our firm is at your service with complete services in this sense.
Compliance and operational audits
There are situations in which companies need to verify if they comply with their internal regulation, but also with the laws in the field they operate in. For this, a compliance audit can be the services needed in order to make sure the business operates in accordance with the highest standards.
Most of the times, financial institutions are the ones to request compliance audits.
Operational audits refer to the review of internal procedures and systems in order to ensure a higher level of productivity and efficiency.
No matter the type of audit you need in Singapore, do not hesitate to ask our accountants about it.
Audit exemptions in Singapore
Generally speaking, private companies are not subject to audit requirements, however, they can qualify for audit exemptions. There are 3 main categories that can obtain audit exemptions in Singapore. These are:
- small companies;
- dormant companies;
- small companies in a group.
Dormant companies are deemed as such if during a financial year they have not completed any commercial activity. This is why they are not required to appoint an auditor or have their financial statements audited for the respective financial year. Our audit firm in Singapore is at your disposal with information about the requirements for dormant companies.
In order to be considered a dormant company, a Singapore business must be dormant since the day it was registered and has remained so since the end of the previous financial year. It is important to note that the dormant company ceases to be so once the first accounting transaction has been registered.
When it comes to small companies that are part of a group can obtain audit exemptions if they prove they are part of a group. Both parent companies and subsidiaries in Singapore can qualify for the audit exemption. In order to qualify as such, the following regulations are in place:
- the group’s consolidated accounts must prove a revenue not higher than 10 million SGD;
- the value of the group’s consolidated total assets do not exceed 10 million SGD;
- the group does not have more than 50 employees;
- at least 2 of the criteria presented above are met for 2 consecutive financial years.
Another important aspect to consider when it comes to audit exempted companies is that even if these are not required to undergo audits, the Singapore Trade Register can still request them to file audited financial statements alongside an auditor’s report. You ask our audit company in Singapore for services for company groups.
Audit requirements for businesses in Singapore
If you need audit services in Singapore you should know that according to the Singapore Commercial Law, all businesses in the city-state have to name an auditor in a maximum of three months from the incorporation date. The Profit and Loss Account and the balance sheet have to be audited yearly. In Singapore, limited liability companies must also issue an Estimate Chargeable Income, which will have to be among the documents forwarded to the Inland Revenue Authority.
However, in compliance with the Company Act from 2014, small businesses in Singapore are exempt from having to audit their accounts. These businesses have to meet the following requirements:
• The maximum yearly turnover has to be SGD 10 million;
• The total assets do not have to exceed SGD 10 million;
• It should have up to 50 employees. The documents that need to be prepared for an audit are included in the Singapore Standard on Auditing. Some of the following issues need to be taken into consideration when discussing the documentation of the audit procedures:
- Form: the form and content of the documentation will depend on the nature of the procedure and the size of the business, among other things.
- Recording: the documentation can be recorded on paper or electronic means; it can include audit programs, checklists, correspondence, analyses, and others.
- Exemptions: the auditor shall not include drafts of working papers, financial statements that are incomplete or duplicate documents.
- The final file: the final audit file is the audit documentation assembled in its final form and it is not to be discarded until the end of the retention period.
The audit evidence is gathered during the proves but it can also come from other sources, for example, previous audits, the company’s quality control procedures, and management reports. The manager of the company will be asked to contribute with information and the auditor can use both the existing information and the absence of such information (for example, he can document the management’s refusal to provide requested data, if applicable). Obtaining and evaluating the evidence is a key step for the auditor’s work. For this purpose, the auditor can use processes such as inspections, observations, calculations, and recalculations, conformations, and inquiries, as needed. Relevant and reliable information is to be used during an audit process. It is very common for companies in the city-state to request the services of an external audit firm in Singapore.
Singapore companies are required to file their annual returns with the Accounting and Corporate Regulatory Authority within a month after the shareholders’ annual meeting. Newly incorporated companies are required to file their first annual return within 18 months from registration. In the case of new companies, the audited accounts must not be older than 6 months.
Businesses in Singapore are required to observe the requirements for preparing and submitting the documentation, and using the good practices for advance audit planning is recommended, however, an important issue that also needs to be observed in compliance with the applicable laws and regulations for the purpose of conducting an audit of financial statements. The responsibility for compliance with the relevant laws and regulations falls onto the management of the company. The auditor is the one responsible for assuring that the financial statements are compliant and accurate and that they are not subject to fraud or errors. If you need audit services in Singapore, you can rely on our local experts. If you need assistance for opening a bank account in Singapore or in another country, we can help you.
What are the regulations applicable to auditors in Singapore?
The Accounting and Corporate Regulatory Authority (ACRA) in Singapore is the body that publishes data on the audit quality in the city-state and which registers public accountants. The reason why a person should register as a public accountant is to be able to act as an auditor of the financial statements in Singapore. A public accountant is liable for the audit opinion, which means that he or she makes sure that the audit is conducted in compliance with the SingaporeStandards on Auditing (SSA) and other regulations.In order to register as a public accountant, ACRA requires a person to:
- Have a prescribed qualification;
- Have the appropriate audit experience;
- Have the appropriate ongoing professional education;
- Be a member of the Institute of Singapore Chartered Accountants (ISCA). An accountant in Singapore can offer more details on this matter.
According to ACRA, the Audit Quality Indicators are the following:
- Audit hours: the number of hours incurred by the specialists in the Singapore audit team;
- Experience: the years of audit experience as well as industry specialization, if applicable;
- Training: the average number of hours spent on training and in the industry-specific training;
- Inspection: the results of the external and the internal inspections (and the action to act upon the findings);
- Independence: compliance with the Code of Professional Conduct and Ethics for Public Accountants and Accounting Entities.
Apart from these five indicators, ACRA also includes the number of individuals who occupy quality control functions in an accounting firm in Singapore that also offers audit services. The staff per partner or manager ratio, as well as the degree of personnel losses over the years, are also issues that are taken into consideration. When deciding to work with an audit company in Singapore, these indicators may be valuable in determining the quality of their services. Public accountants are required to base their opinions and findings on appropriate work as well as satisfactory/sufficient evidence. They are also expected to adhere to the Code of Professional Conduct and Ethics and continue their professional education. They can enroll in ACRA’s Practice Monitoring Programme (PMP). Under this program, ACRA inspects the auditor’s performed audits in order to check if they comply with the Singapore Standards on Auditing.
One of our accountants in Singapore can provide interested individuals with more information about these compliance requirements. Our accountants in Singapore invite you to watch a short video about audit requirements:
What career prospects do financial auditors have in Singapore?
There are plenty of opportunities for financial auditors in Singapore who may find profitable openings within viable organizations from recognized institutions in a thriving economy such as Singapore. Because careers can be different, one can take advantage of many opportunities connected to their field of choice or interest.
A financial auditor may as well work for a business and actually audit the books for the company. Internal auditors can also work for a private company and can even be employed to effectuate independent reviews of the books and records of the business.
If you decide to work with our firm, you can benefit from complete accounting and bookkeeping services in Singapore. Based on the reports prepared by our accountants, the audit will be simpler to realize given the information acquired during the entire financial year. Working with the team of professionals in our audit firm in Singapore will allow for quality and compliant audits and the preparation of financial statements as per the applicable rules or regulations. The work if an independent auditor is to be performed as per the standards and by agreeing with the terms of the audit engagement. If you need further information on how to perform anaudit in Singapore, please contact our Singaporean accountants for assistance in this matter.