The HKSA has long embraced under one-roof accountants
from all walks of life. Naturally, accountants in practice
present a high profile within a Society created to cater
to the needs of the profession. But as the practice
environment becomes increasingly complex and high-risk,
and the number of young accountants seeking to join
the profession rises, the composition of the fraternity
of accountants is changing also. More and more of us
are pursuing careers in businesses such as banking and
insurance, industry and commerce. Others are joining
the public service en masse.
This trend of a changing composition was already noticeable
in the early nineties. The HKSA promptly responded to
the phenomenon by expanding its services to members
with a greater variety of interests. Nonetheless, the
advantages of keeping all accountants under one roof
Besides the pooling of resources to become one of the
largest and strongest professional bodies in Hong Kong
there are great synergy values between accountants with
different skills and experiences. Among them, the opportunity
to move with ease from one sector to another as one
advances along a chosen career path. The other is the
cross-fertilization experience, which benefits the profession
and the community. Both offer greater choice for members
together with an increasingly well recognized professional
status in support.
In many respects training needs for practicing accountants
and accountants in business or the public sector are
similar. The technical background and the unified standards
of elaborately prepared SAAPs to be observed are the
same. Yet specialisations can also be efficiently catered
for in an environment of lifelong learning where there
is access to a supportive peer group.
Help for all
The design of the HKSA¡¦s Qualification Programme deliberately
caters for these elements and recognizes that within
a multi-skills environment continues learning is a necessity
for modern accountants facing a fast changing business
Accountants in business are also primary users of accounts.
They should have a right to be heard and better still,
be part of the process of accounting standard setting.
They should operate from the inside not from the outside.
They have better understanding and greater commitment
This way of organising the profession is quite different
from that in China. As accountants in the Chinese market
are still in short supply, limited skilled resources
are more likely to be deployed to police the newly built
financial markets in a regulatory role.
This situation presents a golden opportunity to Hong
Kong accountants who are now in abundant supply and
can afford to help in fostering a strong and more resilient
corporate governance structure in the Mainland, based
upon their experience within established corporations.
Hong Kong accountants can offer much more added-value
services too by lending their expertise to the top echelon
of PRC management teams. With our skills-set of taxation,
litigation support, fraud investigation, internal audit,
merger and acquisition and financial analysis, we can
perform much more than simple compliance procedures.
I have some personal experience as a fund manager and
now an independent director of a listed company in the
PRC. In the early days, we use to send teams to familiarise
our Chinese counterparts with modern management techniques.
They continue to need experience in erecting and fully
utilizing organizational structures. They need guidance
in human resources management and conduits through which
they can make contact with investment bankers and other
professionals like lawyers, information technology providers,
corporate secretaries and surveyors.
There is huge mismatch of skills and career openings
across the border. We have what they need and they can
offer what we want. It¡¦s a winning formula for both.
We should be brushing up our skills, widening our networks,
sharpening our communication abilities and not be afraid
to take on this new challenge.
Dr Eric Li is the LegCo
Accountancy Functional Constituency Representative.
For more information, refer to his website at