Benefits beyond doing the books
"CPAs who work with SMEs are viewed as valued partners that provide professional but impartial advice based on sound accounting principles," says Eugene Fung, director, Pan-China (HK) CPA. He says a CPA can be a trusted adviser for local companies doing business on the mainland, and for companies there seeking to expand their businesses regionally and internationally.
"There is a great deal of respect for Hong Kong CPAs for their integrity and judgment. Because they usually have greater exposure to international business practices, Hong Kong CPAs are in an enviable position to provide services to Chinese companies involved in cross-border transactions such as mergers and acquisitions," he says.
"They can also help mainland companies seeking a public listing in Hong Kong or with company-to-company negotiations, help them improve corporate governance and set up risk-management systems."
Realising the vast potential of the mainland market, Fung decided to learn mainland tax and accounting laws, which laid a good foundation for his career and business development.
He says locally trained CPAs usually have an advantage over their regional and international counterparts because they speak Cantonese. A growing number also speak Putonghua.
"No matter how well-trained you are, if you can't communicate with your clients to explain complex accounting details to them, you have failed," he says.
He says the recent convergence of the mainland's accounting standards with international standards has made it easier for local CPAs working with mainland enterprises.
"Mainland clients of Hong Kong CPAs are now working with a widely accepted global accounting system that provides consistency and transparency, which makes decision-making a lot easier," Fung says.