It is time for public accounting firms in Singapore to rethink their hiring practices and take on employees from backgrounds other than accounting, said Singapore Accountancy Commission (SAC) chairman Michael Lim on Wednesday.
Mr Lim was the keynote speaker at the CPA Congress 2014, organised by professional accountancy body CPA Australia and attended by over 300 accounting professionals.
The SAC is the statutory body tasked with transforming Singapore's accountancy sector.
"The sector has come into its own these past two years," Mr Lim said. "Few sectors or industries come close to having such diverse stakeholders; and I believe this diversity is what keeps things interesting."
"Today, diversity is pervasive - it comes in many forms. What the accountancy sector lacks is not the widely debated gender diversity; I believe that we're doing quite well with women in leadership roles. What the sector needs is diversity in the workforce, comprising talents from different backgrounds and qualifications."
He said that the public accounting firms - which make up the bulk of the sector - ought to lead the charge.
"I know of a few firms who have started to take the plunge and recruit graduates from the science, social science, mathematics and engineering fields. This may seem like a risk-taking endeavour, but I applaud their vision. The broadening of the talent search to include those that come from diverse fields and experiences will be one of the many ways to help the sector flourish."