02 May 2013

SAA Global Education: A Stepping Stone Into Accounting

SAA Global Education is the training arm of the Institute of Certified Public Accountants of Singapore (ICPAS), the national accountancy body of Singapore. Boasting a reputation for delivering accredited accountancy qualifications, it is the choice for over 5,000 students from around the region. Find out why you should consider enrolling with SAA-GE as we speak to two of their brightest and get a better insight into life as an SAA-GE undergraduate.


Niwas Nallasamy hails from southern India and has been in Singapore ever since he decided to pursue his ‘A’ levels here. He soon found himself at crossroads after graduating.

“I initially had plans to further my studies in physics or engineering but at an education fair, I realised that the career development options in the accounting field would suit me better – so the choice then came down to where best to pursue my accounting education.”

As it turned out, the choice was not difficult. “I did my research and what attracted me the most to SAA Global Education (SAA-GE) was its affiliation to the Institute of Certified Public Accountants of Singapore (ICPAS),” recalls Niwas.

A taste for accounting
The 20-year-old decided to first get an overview of the accounting profession by enrolling in the Certified Accounting Technicians (CAT) course in Singapore, provided by SAA-GE.

The CAT qualification is an introductory course that not only provides graduates with the necessary technical skills and knowledge but more importantly, could act as a stepping board towards achieving more advanced qualifications the one offered by the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants (ACCA).

For the uninitiated, the ACCA is a professional qualification that requires candidates to pass 14 papers within the span of five years. As a result of having attained his CAT, Niwas was exempt from taking the first three papers of the ACCA.

“This will save me a lot of time as I aim to attain my ACCA in two years,” says Niwas who also only took half the time others take to attain their CAT. He has a massive task ahead of him considering most candidates attain the ACCA qualification in three years.

He is well on target though, having already sat for the next four ACCA papers since enrolling in January 2010 and he is looking to attempt another four at the end of the year. “My teachers have been nothing but supportive and I am optimistic I can perform my best because of them.”

Professional as teachers
At SAA-GE, the syllabus is delivered by industry practitioners who are actually professionals at the top of their game. For example, Niwas’ lecturers all have relevant backgrounds in the fields they are teaching.

Therefore, lawyers will teach law and auditors, tax principles. Management subjects are even taught by CEOs and directors. “Our lecturers also take pains to tailor each year’s curriculum to market changes and developments,” says Niwas. This ensures that students receive the most up-to-date learning as possible.

In addition, he adds, “The great thing about learning at SAA-GE is that our lecturers adopt the Singapore stream of teaching so that our syllabus will be in line with local practices. This will enable me to get a job here in Singapore more easily in future.”

Niwas also finds the real world experience his lecturers bring to the classroom very helpful. “The lecturers are always ready to impart the practical reality of the accounting practice, we can then compare what goes on in the real world with what is in our textbooks.”

Same goal, different routes
That insight into the accounting world is proving to be invaluable to Niwas who has aspirations of being an external auditor. And he is not the only one.

Jessica Chan Hui Chenalso dreams of being an external auditor but the 23-year-old has embarked on a different route towards achieving her goal.

The Business Management graduate from Nanyang Polytechnic weighed her options when deciding on a school to pursue her interest in auditing. She did her research online, spoke to her friends, then selected SAA-GE and has not looked back since.

“The best thing about SAA-GE? The classroom environment,” she affirms. “Unlike the other schools where large lecture halls are the norm, over here I really get the opportunity to interact with my lecturers.”

She feels that especially for those who get nervy about voicing out their opinions in a large lecture theatre, the much smaller classrooms over at SAA-GE are definitely conducive for speaking out.

Jessica is pursuing a degree in Accounting & Finance from the University of London and she highlights that her lecturers are not only highly respectable but very approachable.

“To reach them directly, we can simply book an appointment for consultation and they’ve never rejected students’ requests to see them.” With help from her favourite lecturer who she says makes learning easier, she not only passed the dreaded Corporate Finance module but exceeded expectations.

She also mentions how the administration staff at SAA-GE is helpful, flexible and kind, especially when they advised her on the choice of modules she should enrol in. Additionally, SAA-GE helps with internships at the “Big 4” accounting firms for locals who are eligible to work.

Widening exposure
Meanwhile for Jessica, thanks to SAA-GE, she was sent for an ASEAN accounting seminar which she found to be quite an eye-opener. “I gained an insight into the harmonising of auditing standards in ASEAN and it was useful to gain ‘out-of-textbook’ knowledge,” she says.

Lest you think SAA-GE is all about work and no play, note that the student council makes sure that students’ leisure needs are looked after.

“Aside from providing foreign students with advice during their relocation, the council organises activities such as badminton, barbeques, movie screenings and ‘makan trail’ where foreigners get a taste of local cuisine!” says Niwas who also used to serve on the council.

Additionally, all SAA-GE students enjoy recreation facilities such as a pool table, computer rooms and two libraries spread over two campuses, one of which is situated right in the Central Business District. This Raffles Place campus is easily accessible to part-time students which will be especially convenient for those whose workplaces are located within its vicinity.

Jessica agrees that SAA-GE’s location is far superior to other schools offering accounting courses. “You literally have the financial district right outside the school – what better way to experience the hustle and bustle of the corporate world while receiving your education!” she exclaims.

No doubt with the guidance Niwas and Jessica are receiving at SAA-GE, their dreams of becoming auditors are really only a doorstep away.

Contributed by JobsCentral Pte Ltd