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ISCA Sheds Light on High Earning Potential and C-Suite Progression Opportunities for Accountancy Graduates

  • More than 25% of ISCA members are in top leadership positions, including C-suite, Board of Directors and senior management roles. 
  • Chartered Accountants have ventured beyond traditional accountancy tracks (finance and audit) to become business owners, entrepreneurs, sustainability and financial forensics professionals. 
  • Younger members are taking on exciting roles in high-growth areas such as in sustainability reporting and sustainable finance. 
  • High earning potential for accountancy graduates – high achievers can earn more than S$0.5 million in starting annual salary as a CFO or Partner in a professional services firm.
  • There are CFOs turned CEOs and their annual remuneration can go beyond the S$1 million mark. 

14 March 2024 - The average starting salary for accountancy graduates from Singapore’s autonomous universities is between $3,560 and $5,017 according to the 2023 Graduate Employment Survey conducted by the Ministry of Education. Given that this figure does not rank among the highest, it often creates the misconception that accountancy is not an attractive profession and lacks promising career prospects. To support students, educators and parents in gaining a better understanding of the “whys” of choosing accountancy as a discipline and the potential earning power of an accountancy graduate, the Institute of Singapore Chartered Accountants (ISCA) will be launching a series of resources in 2024, with its first reveal hot from the oven – “Snippets Revelation #1 – Accountancy: Pathways, Progression and Prospects”

Recognising a need for insightful information that will support the career contemplation of the younger generation, the ISCA Salary and Career Review Taskforce was formed in 2023 to undertake this initiative. A series of Revelations will be issued throughout 2024.

Ms Yvonne Chan, Chairperson of ISCA Salary and Career Review Taskforce said: “Choosing a discipline and career can be challenging and students may feel overwhelmed by the array of options available. Being part of this Taskforce has allowed me to contribute and drive the review and analysis of career growth and compensation of accountants, and share insights that students and even parents may not be aware of. Having gained an enriching experience and varied opportunities throughout my journey from a finance professional to a CFO, I hope the insights can attract and enable more to enjoy this rewarding career.”

Diverse career pathways in accountancy 

Accountancy is an established profession that offers versatility through its wide career pathways. 

According to ISCA membership data, about 60% of members are in the top three established career tracks of financial accounting, management accounting, and external audit. The transferable skills and competencies from accountancy studies and positions have also enabled individuals to venture into specialised fields and other sectors. Close to 2,000 members have navigated successfully to C-suite positions. Some ISCA members have also become business owners, entrepreneurs and took on other non-finance and audit-related roles but continue to see the value of being a Chartered Accountant. The sustainability finance career track has the youngest average members’ age of 38, indicating interest amongst the younger segment of professionals in exciting new roles in sustainability reporting, advisory and sustainable finance.

ISCA CEO, Ms Fann Kor said "We are excited to unveil this insight, which sheds light on the vast array of career paths available in the accountancy sector. Whether you are a recent graduate exploring your options or an experienced professional seeking new opportunities, the information will provide valuable insights to help you navigate your career journey. You may even uncover options that you might not have thought possible for a trained accountant.” 

Progression and promising career prospects 

While the national annual graduate employment survey focuses on the starting salaries of fresh accountancy graduates embarking on their first careers, we have collaborated with Robert Half Singapore to share salary data adapted from the Robert Half 2024 Singapore Salary Guide for aspiring accountants to discover established and promising accountancy career paths. 

Based on the salary data, the career trajectories are encouraging as individuals can achieve director positions across multiple career tracks in slightly over 10 years. Accountants are found in every business and those who possess the skills, drive and business acumen are enjoying fast progression and high earning potential.    

C-Suite Sprinters

As an inspiration to our future generation of accountants who will continue to play a vital role and value-add to the profession and all businesses, this resource also showcases three personas (of a Chief Financial Officer, Chief Executive Officer and Audit Partner), their career journeys and critical success factors that led these individuals to their positions. Finance leaders, with their background in accountancy, diverse skill sets and broad exposure to different aspects of the business, often make them suitable candidates for other C-suite roles, and those who can balance financial discipline with strategic thinking can move beyond CFOs to become CEOs.  

Please watch out for future Snippets Revelations, where we will be sharing more insights on salary trends, career growth and advancement in accountancy. 


For more information, please contact:

Institute of Singapore Chartered Accountants (ISCA)

Amanda Lim
Assistant Manager, Communications
Tel: 9738 7299
Email: amanda.lim@isca.org.sg 

About the Institute of Singapore Chartered Accountants (ISCA)

The Institute of Singapore Chartered Accountants (ISCA) is the national accountancy body of Singapore with over 36,000 ISCA members making their stride in businesses across industries in Singapore and around the world. ISCA members can be found in over 40 countries and members based out of Singapore are supported through 12 overseas chapters in 10 countries.

Established in 1963, ISCA is an advocate of the interests of the profession.  Complementing its global mindset with Asian insights, ISCA leverages its regional expertise, knowledge, and networks with diverse stakeholders to contribute towards the advancement of the accountancy profession. 

ISCA administers the Singapore Chartered Accountant Qualification programme and is the Designated Entity to confer the Chartered Accountant of Singapore – CA (Singapore) – designation. 

ISCA is a member of Chartered Accountants Worldwide, a global family that brings together the members of leading institutes to create a community of over 1.8 million Chartered Accountants and students in more than 190 countries. 

For more information, visit www.isca.org.sg