Downturn sparks demand for audits
The economic downturn taught many companies that abiding by legislative requirements is just a first step towards effective corporate governance. Most are focusing far more on risk management measures and tighter internal controls, creating new demand for the services of leading audit and advisory firms.
"Organisations start out operating in a certain manner but, after a while, it may no longer be appropriate," says Bruno Arboit, FCPA (Aust), executive director at Baker Tilly Hong Kong. "Everyone prefers the easiest route, but it benefits the company as a whole to have a regular independent review and to go a little bit further."
He notes that when companies expand rapidly or have been through a period of upheaval, problems can easily go unnoticed. This may mean, for instance, that senior staff are micromanaging, procedures aren't watertight, resources are poorly utilised, or authority for capital expenditure is unclear.
"Recent cases have also given cause to sit back and think about processes," Arboit says. "Every firm needs to take issues of corporate governance seriously because, overall, we still have a long way to go compared with some of the more developed jurisdictions."
Anticipating increased demand for audit, risk advisory and business restructuring services, Baker Tilly Hong Kong has already taken on 14 graduates this month. The CPA Australia "Global Opportunities - Career Market Day" will provide the chance to scout for further recruits, either with experience or new to the profession.
"We are always keen to snap up future team members and this is a good opportunity to see who is out there," Arboit says.
He adds that last year saw an increasing number of applicants with backgrounds in commerce, industry and banking. This trend is expected to continue as people, who have deliberately stayed put during the past 12 months, start to look around again for new openings and better options.
"Given what we have gone through, the onus is on people to make themselves attractive to employers," Arboit says. "With us, they can be sure of the proper training to get professional qualifications in one or two years."