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The 30th birthday for a man in the Chinese tradition is an important day indeed - a propitious time to celebrate the coming of age. At that age, he is expected to have established himself as a contributing member to society. There should be tangible achievements to show too, as his career path has already begun the long upswing. With a solid foundation built, his future prospects should be promising. A thirty-year-old should be a proud, self-assured and forward-looking man.

The 30th anniversary of a well-run professional organisation such as the HKSA is not that different. As members of this prestigious and highly regarded Society both locally and overseas, we can also be proud, self-assured and forward-looking.


I have personally been involved with the affairs of HKSA since 1983. Some of you may be aware of my involvement as its past president; the initiator of its QP programme; an advocate of the Accountants Ambassadors programme; your representative to sign the first MOU with CICPA in 1994 and so on. But I guess that not many of you, would remember that I was also the chairman of the organising committee to celebrate our 20th anniversary ten years ago! As a young and somewhat 'unconventional' vice-president of the HKSA in 1993, I persuaded the rather more serious members of the Council to throw a ball! This first and only dinner/ball that I can remember in the history of HKSA saw the former Governor, Mr Chris Patten, dance for his dinner and stay till the late hours thoroughly enjoying himself!

Proud legacy

The 30-year- old HKSA has much to be proud of. The Society has been a focal point for hard working members of our profession where they could work, learn, share our views on matters of mutual concern and display our collective strength in interactions with the Government; other sectors of the wider community and the numerous professional accountants¡¦ organisations overseas. There will not be enough space here to list all the achievements that were the results of the hard work and accumulated wisdom of the many generations of dedicated accountants. However, the well-researched and wittily written book on the history of our profession commissioned by HKSA as part of the Silver Anniversary project did a splendid job on our behalf. There lies in black and white a vivid testimony of the great visions of the Society's founding fathers such as Sir Gordon Macwhinnie and Peter Poon Wing Cheung. The undaunted spirits of many past officials, committee members, volunteers and former professional staff in taking on, one after another, so many seemingly impossible tasks. To them all, I would like to express a special tribute on this special occasion.

The road ahead

The next question to ask ourselves is where do we go from here? Are there still frontiers to conquer and worthy quests to pursue? Naturally, I would certainly think so for a young organisation that is only thirty!

The thoughts that a young man will hold most dear in his heart at this age in his life are likely to be: marriage; having children and how to gain wider social recognition. The HKSA has already made a quick start toward the first goal by forging strong alliances with some of the top tier professional accountancy bodies round the world. But we shall not stop there; there are still many territories to cover. For example, the United States of America, Canada and even more importantly closer to home is the CICPA. A more formal and clearly defined relationship with the CICPA at the advent of China's full market liberalisation will open doors of opportunities. It will almost instantly guarantee that both will have a significant role to play in the future world of Accountancy.

As we march forward with the rebranding exercise in the coming months and gradually make our presence felt outside Hong Kong, the HKSA should begin to progressively think about increasing its membership overseas. Afterall, we have more than just a name to offer. By that time, Hong Kong might be a place to envy for other accountants elsewhere. Situated close to a vibrant China market, operating in a truly world class financial structure of our own right, and last, but certainly not least, a modern top rated training programme to benefit anyone who wish to gain an internationally recognised professional qualification!


I believe we have much to offer China as a professional body as well as individuals. Surely the QP which is good practical training and leads to a world class qualification will be attractive to aspiring young accountants in China. If we cannot bring them to Hong Kong, then how about bringing us to them in China? Is there no scope for HKSA to work hand-in-hand again with our educators to reperform that seemingly impossible task of creating the independent accreditation process ten years ago? Can we not run courses in China at their best Universities and recruit their brightest students who might one day be the pride of HKSA? Is it not true that many of us have gone through that process in our days and became the pride of other overseas professional institutions? Can Hong Kong claim to be a truly international financial centre while the HKSA, as one of its strongest institutions, takes on a parochial outlook?

With membership increasing and resources permitting, HKSA can potentially expand its leadership in other professional sectors, which are accountancy related. In the past, we have successfully taken on new challenges in the field of taxation and insolvency practices. How about IT security services, forensic investigations and financial planning to name just a few? Afterall, the accountancy training and qualification is one of the most versatile amongst all professions. Our members are widely spread through different vocations and have amassed a great deal of related experience that may one day evolve into a new area of expertise.

Happy anniversary to you all!

Dr Eric Li is the LegCo Accountancy Functional Constituency Representative. For more information, refer to his website at http://www.ericli.org 

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