Challenging the status quo

Ardent, February's ATO of the month, is passionate about grooming the potential of its employees to their fullest

Posted on 28 February 2016 in ATO Xchange

Ardent

Share with us a brief background of Ardent

Ardent is a firm of Chartered Accountants of Singapore established in 2008 by a team of qualified professionals. The word “Ardent” was selected as our name as it represents our beliefs in being passionate, enthusiastic and committed in everything we do. Our values are also encompassed in our tagline “Client Focused. Excellence Driven”.

We have 8 partners with extensive experience and a large group of experienced and trained professional staff. Some of our key milestones are:

  • Started operations in a 360 square feet office in Kim Keat Road in 2008
  • Moved to 2,500 square feet office in 146 Robinson Road in 2009
  • Certified as an Accredited Training Organisation in 2013
  • Winner for Practice of the Year (SMP category) and Joint Winner for Excellence in People Development (SMP Category) in 2014
  • Moved to 7,000 square feet office in 112 Robinson Road in 2015
  • Admitted as a member of Kreston International in 2015
  • Accredited as CPA Australia’s Recognised Employer Partner status in 2015 and  as an ACCA Approved Employer in 2016
  • Ranked in Top 50 Accounting Entities from #AEcensus2015 by the Singapore Accountancy Commission (SAC) in September 2015

Ardent has grown due to its simple ethos of working hard, serving clients and developing our people.

Ardent has recently undergone some significant changes (for e.g. moving office, expansion of headcount). Would you be able to walk us through some of these changes and how they will help in Ardent’s growth?

At Ardent, we have always been developing talents to reach their potential as accounting professionals who are grounded on professionalism and service excellence, so as to be a practice that clients and employees are proud to be associated with.

We shifted to our new office in July 2015 as we believe that a great work environment is essential to attracting and retaining happy and productive staff. Everything from physical changes (like lighting and organisation) to shifts in the company culture and management techniques can turn an accounting entity from a mere working place into a place employees love going to every day. Even subtle changes can take the firm to the next level and to pique the interest of potential new hires.

After joining the Kreston International network, we have been growing our service offerings at an unprecedented pace. To cope with the increased range of services, we have been hiring aggressively. We have also admitted new partners and managers to better guide our professional staff. As at February 2016 we have a staff strength of 60 and we are still hiring.

Ardent has been actively participating in various sectoral initiatives, appointed not only as a consultant for the SME Business and Financial Management Programme but also an employer in the Skills Future Earn and Learn Programme for Accountancy. What role is Ardent looking to play in the Accountancy Sector?

Ardent aims to work closely with the SAC, Institute of Singapore Chartered Accountants (ISCA) and various professional accountancy bodies to contribute to the Accountancy sector in as many ways as possible. We have participated in various programmes to support the government and industry initiatives.

In 2015, we have signed Memorandum of Understandings (MoUs) with UniSIM and Singapore Institute of Technology (SIT) to provide training and mentorship for aspiring accountants. In 2016, we welcomed our inaugural batch of SIT interns for their 8-month Integrated Work Study Programme and we are expecting more interns from other universities, polytechnics and the ITE.

We are also an Accredited Employer for CPA Australia and ACCA to facilitate our staff’s application as associate member of these professional bodies. We also encourage our staff to take up the Singapore Qualification Programme to attain the Chartered Accountant of Singapore designation.

Ardent also participates actively in various committees and focus groups in SAC, ISCA and ministries to provide insights and share our experiences.  

What other plans does the firm have for 2016 and beyond?

Going forward, we would like to build our competitive advantage through distinctive capabilities. This is to make the firm’s services more valuable to clients, by working closely with fellow Kreston members in other parts of the world and continuing to develop the skills set of our people. 

We also intend to work together with like-minded Small and Medium Practices (SMPs) to share on client servicing, staff coaching and technical development.  We may, if opportunities arise, collaborate with other SMPs on projects.

We will continue to work hard and challenge the status quo.

We chanced upon the glass panels at your lift lobby on which staff are given free rein to sketch meaningful expressions. How did this great idea come about?

The glass panel is designed to allow our staff to express their thoughts and inject some fun element in the office.  We hope that every person who steps into the office will be inspired with these positive messages.

What are the company activities outside work that Ardent employees can take part in?

At Ardent, we always encourage our people to lead healthy lifestyles and forge good friendships through activities such as sporting events, our “weekly fruits” initiative, anniversary celebrations, Chinese New Year and Christmas celebrations, teambuilding, etc.

In 2015, the firm participated in a team building event at Singapore’s first and only Treetop obstacle course @ Bedok Reservoir Park.  It was a half-day event that allowed colleagues from different departments to interact with each other through fun and games.

Charity work is also undertaken by our staff – this not only benefits the community, but provides satisfaction and the opportunities to meet new people and learn new skills.

In 2014, we started collaborating with REACH as part of our corporate social responsibility (CSR) initiatives. We chose Reach Community as our partner as we believe that they are in a better position to help with the outreach.  We are committed to partner with REACH Community to provide volunteers on a quarterly basis and our entire staff cohort on a yearly basis on our anniversary celebration.

Some of our upcoming events for this year are:

  • 16 April 2016 (Saturday) – Dragonboat
  • 30 April 2016 (Saturday) – Flag Day (Reach Community)
  • 28 May 2016 (Saturday) – Annual ISCA Run
  • 20 August 2016 (Saturday) – Trekking/ Hiking
  • October 2016 – Annual CSR (Reach Community) #
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