Despite the rising number institutions offering accounting courses and diploma and the increasing demand for accounting professionals in Asia, there is a strange trend of depleting enrollment in these courses. In Singapore, there is an overcast belief among many educators and educationists that many accounting courses, like for example those basic accounting courses, in the country may not be meeting the demands and expectations of modern industry.
For instance, due to the need for cost-efficiency, many multi and transnational companies have opted to outsource specific accounting tasks overseas. Many multi-national and transnational companies have now shifted into outsourcing their accounting functions to off-shore or overseas companies. Shared accounting services have increased locally in the region in the last 3 years since shared accounting services overseas costs significantly lower.
The complication however is that, companies are hiring more accounting professionals but also providing them with extended or expanded roles or functions in other operations. Many newly hired accounting experts hired into managerial growth tracks which mean they are immediately trained for managerial and project management positions. As such, the requirement for accounting professionals, and indirectly, for accounting courses, have also significantly changed as strong interpersonal skills and creative thinking are now important qualifications to secure employment opportunities and assure career growth in the field. Other soft skills, over-all productivity potentials have even become more important criteria than actual accounting technical expertise or educational specialization background of potential employees.
In other words there is an increase in demand not only for accounting professionals who have formal accounting education background or diploma course credits from taking basic accounting course in Singapore, but there is also increased demand for new set of soft skills. As such, it is valid to suspect that educational institutions may not be producing enough professionals to meet the new demand for a new breed of holistic employees equipped with communication, interpersonal, analytical, managerial skills, and creativity to assume multiple office functions.
From a macro perspective, accounting itself has evolved. The accounting functions which used to be primarily information supplier oriented has now become a strategic contributor and major operation function and there is a growing pressure to deliver higher quality management data. Organizations now expect the accounting department to be a central resource for critical business information used in the decision-making process across the organization. Many leading accounting departments have implemented a robust infrastructure to address powerful external forces, such as globalization and increased regulation requirements, and to cope with the internal pressure from stakeholders. This has further placed stress on curricular designs of many accounting courses in Singapore which need to adjust to the new challenges of trans-national country operations in order to get accredited internationally. No international accreditation means less enrollees for many accounting degrees and courses in Singapore.
Accounting courses whether baccalaureate, graduate and advanced and special diploma courses in Singapore are therefore under heavy pressure to change its current curriculum and teaching methods and emphasize new skills that are important in the changing landscape of industry operations. These skills include professional skills like analytical/critical thinking, written communication, oral communication, and decision-making. Based on international standards, technology skills like spreadsheet software, Windows, and word-processing software must also be adequately provided in accounting courses in Singapore.