12/21/2006

Corporate governance and ethics not necessary.

Corporate governance and ethics not necessary. Acra and Icpas have withdrawn recognition of the NUS BBA(Accountancy) degree. They wanted accountants to be taught courses that are related to accounting and auditing the traditional way. But NUS thought the emphasis on corporate governance, ethics, risk management, internal control and business acumen are more important and relevant in view of all the big time corporate frauds. 'Even ACCA, the international body representing the profession, had launched a new qualification this year to focus on "professional values, ethics and governance", in line with the "industry demands and expectations", the Association's Singapore head Penelope Phoon told Today.' It is indeed a strange development. Or is it that corporate governance is not important in Singapore? How could taking a few electives in these courses undermine an accountant in his accounting and auditing skills? I think it is the former. Singapore's corporate world is filled with men of high integrity. No problem with corporate governance and ethics.

11 comments:

nofearSingapore said...

Hi redbean,
I am just as surprised as you.
It must be extremely disturbing for NUS BBA students.
Can you enlighten us more and let us know the background leading to this loss of recognition.
Usually there is more than meets the eye.
Surely the NUS BBA students had the knowledge and skills to function as accountants in S'pore's corporate scene?

Dr.Huang

redbean said...

hi dr huang,

welcome to the blog.

i am just as perplexed by this development. it is reported in Today paper, front page news, today by derrick paulo.

it also reported some students left the course for fear of no recognition and NUS is backing out from offering the elective courses.

though everyone know how important corporate governance and ethics are today, cannot see the rationale behind this devt. yes, you are right to say that there is more than meets the eyes.

why didn't nus, as a world reputed university, take this up and reason with Acra and icpas? why did it drop the electives so quickly without fighting for something that, as an academic authority, thinks that these courses should be offered.

with so many accounting and auditing courses available, how could a few of these electives affect the accounting and auditing skills of the graduates?

i catch no ball also.

redbean said...

Goldman Sach is paying its top man US$40 million. Does that ring a bell? One analyst commented that these bankers are playing and gambling with other people's money. They can afford to take all the risks and go for the kill. When they made big money, they claimed all the credit and paid themselves well.

When they lost money, other people's money, just kept quiet. And still got their full salaries and smaller bonuses. Corporate money is real cool.

Wait till they gamble with their own money or if they are managing their own company, then see whether they will pay their staff that kind of money. It reminds me of the communist jargon, dictatorship of the proletariate, when the workers take over ownership of factors of production or organisations they did not own and start to pay themselves like crazy.

Anonymous said...

redbean,
the example give above sound like PAP and its despondent GLC playing with ppl money on ShinCorpse and optus.

nofearSingapore said...

Hi,
an update on this issue:
http://www.channelnewsasia.com/stories/singaporelocalnews/view/248422/1/.html

Its probably some screw-up in the NUS academic curriculum planning.

In a rush to be the first mover in "new" accounting standards ( in view of Enron/Informatics etc), they did not seek out ACRA/IPSA's advice before implementing change.

ACRA/IPSA's job is to ensure graduates of accredited institutions must be able to function as accountants in modern financial settings. Perhaps the new curriculum does not include enough traditional modules.

Maybe they worry these NUS grads cannot read P&L/BS/CFS etc. ha ha.

We should not attribute every administrative hiccups to PAP failure or Shin corp etc etc.

Sometimes it is just some screw-up by some smartass administrator ( who deserves to be sacked)

Dr.Huang

redbean said...

hi all, let me add my comments on this issue which i also posted in redbeanforum.

The NUS is reputed to be one of the world best universities. It has taken the right step forward to include corporate governance and ethics in its curriculum. These are two topices that have been found sorely wanting in many corporate failures that led to corporate collapse and loss of jobs to many.

Unfortunately, though NUS has the foresight to want to move ahead with the time, it does not have the gall to see it through when face with a little obstacle. How could NUS simply back out of a course that it has taken after due consideration and found necessary to meet the new demands of a changing world? Unless the decision to take on the new electives is based on some wishy washy or whims and fancy thoughts of some academics. This cannot be the case in an institution like the NUS that is staffed with the best money can buy.

Now Gerard Ee has spoken in his capacity as an ex auditor and a corporate big shot, that the direction taken by NUS is the right one. So did Penelope Phoon of ACCA. She too agreed that the new electives are important and should not be abandoned.

Now, would NUS make a U turn and take up the gauntlet and push through its reform? That is the least that one can expect from a world class university. As Gerard Ee put it, NUS must be a leader and not a follower. Otherwise it should not try to be world best when it is not.

shame shame said...

NUS wanted to rush in an accounting degree to stem its losses to NTU and SMU. easiest way? as little accounting courses as possible, as many current business courses as they can assemble.

naturally, icpas/acra will not accredit a program that does not have enough accounting content and yet want to be called accounting. simple as that.

to then claim its next-gen program with special courses on ethics and corporate governance but make them electives is a big joke. if they are serious about it, make them compulsory (like SMU accounting).

redbean said...

hi shame shame,
Acra has spoken. And you are right too. I think the main issue is that an accounting degree takes 4 years and many more modules. And if NUS wanted an equivalent degree but doing it in 3 years, that would definitely put an unfair advantage to the others.

But if I am not mistaken, some overseas accounting degree is also 3 years. Wondering if they are recognised by Acra.

redbean said...

hi shame shame,

forgot to extend a big welcome to you.

cheers

shame shame said...

thanks for the welcome.

actually its not the number of years, ntu bacc has always been 3 years. its number of courses and coverage.

ACRA also hinted that "the programme's objectives, the curriculum, the teaching support, the number of contact hours and the evaluation process of the programme were weighed carefully.
The NUS programme was evaluated against these factors and specific gaps for the purpose of accreditation were identified in the programme. These gaps were communicated to the university." (Today, 27 Dec).

If I were the PR person for NUS BAcc, I wouldnt be drumming this issue up to antagonise the authorities. I would look at my programme, what gaps that were communicated and resubmit. Fighting through the press is never a good idea.

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