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Local qualifications key for HK finance career

Published on Friday, 04 Jan 2013
Louisa Yeung

I completed my chartered accountancy and company secretary courses in India with merit. I have around three years of experience in accounting, audit and tax consultancy, which also includes working with Deloitte in India on international taxation for three months. After getting married and moving to Hong Kong, however, I'm having difficulty understanding which direction I should focus on for my job hunt. Are there any opportunities for professionals from abroad? Please help. Garima

Accounting, tax and audit roles are increasingly available in local companies that need finance functions to support and maintain their growth. International companies are also looking for finance professionals for their operations in Hong Kong. If these are the areas you want to work in, it is a good time for you to look for a job.

Firstly, to secure a finance role in Hong Kong, you will need local qualifications. As you already have chartered accountancy and company secretary qualifications, you may be fully or partially exempt from exams for the Hong Kong equivalents. You can check the steps that you need to take to get local qualifications by looking at industry association and university websites.

Also of note is that employers in Hong Kong prefer staff with local language skills. It is worth taking a language course so you can comfortably communicate in the local business environment.

When you have the right qualifications, you can start a job search that is tailored to your area of expertise. You can do this by looking for roles with professional practices that specialise in tax, audit or accounting, and then look for in-house finance positions with larger companies.

Another option is to speak to your senior partners at Deloitte in India and obtain a glowing reference from them that you can pass on to Deloitte in Hong Kong. You can also use this reference to apply for other positions besides those I have mentioned, such as roles with other large professional practices in Hong Kong.

Although you may need to take some time to develop the skills and experience required to work in Hong Kong's finance sector, I am sure you will have a good chance of finding a suitable platform to pursue a long-term career in the city.

Louisa Yeung is managing director of Michael Page in Hong Kong and Southern China. Michael Page is part of PageGroup, one of the world’s leading recruitment companies operating in 164 offices in 34 countries worldwide

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