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'Once-in-a-lifetime opportunity' for Singapore to become sustainability knowledge hub: Grace Fu

Jovi Ho
Jovi Ho • 2 min read
'Once-in-a-lifetime opportunity' for Singapore to become sustainability knowledge hub: Grace Fu
Fu, an accountant by training, tells accounting professionals to “value-add” their services by welcoming sustainability reporting. Photo: SBF
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Singapore has a “once-in-a-lifetime opportunity” to become a hub for sustainability reporting and assurance, and the government is preparing the local economy to seize this opportunity, says Minister for Sustainability and the Environment Grace Fu. 

“That’s the reason why we’re putting in carbon taxes. That’s the reason why we’re putting in [sustainability] reporting requirements. That’s the reason why MAS is really breathing down the necks of our banks,” says Fu at a March 12 event jointly organised by the Singapore Business Federation (SBF) and Institute of Singapore Chartered Accountants (ISCA).

“Do you want to struggle with stranded assets 10, 20 years later, or do you want to lead in the process of renewables? That’s the kind of simple choices we have,” she adds.

Speaking at the SGX Auditorium, Fu tells accounting professionals to “value-add” their services by welcoming sustainability reporting. 

“It's really my wish that all accounting professionals are able to value-add, increase your fees, [and] make it attractive to young professionals to want to be part of this change, to see that there is great opportunity [and] great prospects ahead of you,” says Fu, who was trained as an accountant herself. 

See also: Institute of Singapore Chartered Accountants launches three-part series to woo young accountants

Hence, Fu says she is “a little bit surprised” to hear that some accountants are hesitant to adopt sustainability reporting. “I heard from some of my friends that the accountants are fighting this. Accountants are saying: ‘I’m not trained to do this; go and employ someone else. Why give me more work? I already have enough with accounting.’”

According to Fu, there is a “tremendous opportunity” for accountants to broaden their skills and become chief financial and sustainability officers, or even chief executive officers. “There are so many synergies with accounting… Accounting is the bridge between finance, operations and markets.”

She adds: “As an accountant, I’ll tell you that I would jump at this!”

With the relevant skills in sustainability reporting, even those new to the industry can “leapfrog” veteran accountants, says Fu. “If you are a five-year accountant and go on the sustainability journey, you can beat someone [with] 20 years’ experience. Either grab it, or you see yourself being leapfrogged over.”

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