CPA opens many doors
There is more to being a successful certified public accountant (CPA) than desk-bound number-crunching. "Accountants are needed by all industries and sectors, not just in Hong Kong and mainland China, but also in any country that you can think of," says Dennis Ho, vice-president of the Hong Kong Institute of Certified Public Accountants (HKICPA).
"There are CPAs in the private sector, in non-profit [organisations] and in government," Ho says. "They are involved not just in finance functions, but also move to operations and management - because CPAs are well-trained and can offer a unique view of how organisations need to be run."
Ho will be one of the speakers in the Leadership Forum session at the Career Forum. In his talk, "CPAs: The Success Ingredients", Ho will share some of what he has learned during his progress to the top of his profession.
"I do think a CPA should be a leader, and a trusted adviser, with the necessary technical and soft skills to tackle a wide range of issues and challenges every day.
"The training - the qualification programme (QP) for prospective CPAs and continuing professional development programmes for members - offered by HKICPA ensures that CPAs have the technical skills and practical training, along with an advanced education, to become successful.
"Whether they start out as auditors, tax advisers or accountants in business, they have the fundamentals to become leaders in business and in the community. One aspect of HKICPA's QP that separates Hong Kong CPAs from others is the focus on communication, a key ingredient of leadership."
Ho believes that young accountants should walk into any situation with an open mind and try to learn about new industries and pick up new skills. "I think it's equally important to not be afraid to put in the effort, and even the hours, in the beginning.
"Whether you specialise as an auditor, a forensic accountant or end up as a CFO, a CPA designation can open many doors."