Obtaining a CPA qualification is key to a career in accounting.
According to recruitment firm Michael Page, a CPA is the basic requirement for people seeking accounting jobs across all sectors, including multinational corporations (MNCs) and small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs).
"It is always an advantage to have a CPA. In the Hong Kong market, most employers take it as a prerequisite," says Eunice Siu, senior manager (finance) at Michael Page. "However, a higher tolerance level will be awarded to [those] in junior level positions," though those candidates would be very likely to acquire a CPA sooner or later in order to move up the corporate ladder, she adds.
According to one of Michael Page's recent online surveys, the professional employment market in Hong Kong will continue to perform strongly in the fourth quarter of 2011, with 35 per cent of employers surveyed set to continue hiring for newly created positions. "There are a number of industries that are in pretty good demand, namely retail, fast moving consumer goods, natural resources and pharmaceuticals. They are relatively more active in talent acquisition for finance and accounting professionals," Siu elaborates.
Regarding the financial sector, there have been a significant number of international candidates coming to Hong Kong following the global financial crisis of 2008. Since then, the market has seen job growth in areas such as merger and acquisitions, investor relations and initial public offerings, and has had the capacity to absorb these people, Siu adds.
Job seekers who come to Michael Page can expect to have their needs addressed by consultants who will conduct face-to-face interviews with them individually. The job seekers' profile will then be listed on a database and consultants will keep them posted on various opportunities.
"We currently have about 15 consultants in our finance and accounting team and another 12 consultants in the banking team, covering all kinds of jobs across junior, middle and senior levels," Siu explains. "We also have a very strong client base enabling us to locate any particular job opening in a specific sector for the candidate."
Accounting candidates are advised to be open to different opportunities and seek advice from career consultants who can offer help in shaping their career paths. "For those who haven't got a CPA, we suggest they get one as soon as possible as it will affect their competitiveness in the job market," Siu says.
Michael Page co-operates with organisations, like the HKICPA, in organising regular events to provide candidates with value added services on the technical side.