Deloitte to hire staff

SINGAPORE: Big four accounting giant Deloitte plans to add around 3,000 new employees in Singapore within the next five years as part of its growth plans across the region.

About a third of the new jobs here will support its regulatory services such as audit and tax.

Deloitte aims to double both its 13,000 headcount and US$1bil (RM4.5bil) revenue over the next five years in South-East Asia, where demand for its professional services is expected to surge.

Incoming South-East Asia chief executive Eugene Ho outlined the plans at a briefing on March 16 to announce his June 1 takeover from two-term chief Philip Yuen.

“We are open to recruiting from all educational backgrounds, including accountancy, engineering and business, and even psychology students. We are willing to attract good talent and train them,” he said.

While about 70% of its new hires will be for services such as consulting, risk advisory and financial advisory and assurance services, Ho underscored the continued importance of traditional accountancy skills.

“I can attest that the skills and acumen required of accountancy are valuable,” he said.

“Accountants are highly quantitative, analytical and understand the finance language.

“They are not only sought after as auditors and tax professionals, but they are also recognised as strong assets by consulting practices.”

The rise of the tech boom in recent years has taken some shine off the accountancy profession – much like for law and business – in Singapore as well as globally.

A Bloomberg Tax report noted that the number of employed accountants and auditors in the United States had fallen 17% in 2021 after peaking in 2019.

In Singapore, while university cohorts of accountancy graduates have dropped in tandem with admission criteria, demand for qualified accountants – which is somewhat tied to economic growth – continues to grow.

In recent years, the government and accountancy bodies have sought to address issues of low starting pay and onerous workloads.

There are about 100,000 finance and accounting professionals here with around 7,000 jobs expected to be added to the sector by 2025.

Executive director Shalynn Ler from executive search firm Ethos BeathChapman said companies struggle to fill roles at the assistant manager and manager levels, and some are turning to neighbouring countries.

Tech layoffs that have soared to over 100,000 since they began last November might give the sector reprieve.

Accounting and finance workers in the technology sector were mostly spared, she said. — The Straits Times/ANN

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