CPA qualification may 'guarantee success'
As CEO of The Link Management, Hong Kong's first and largest real estate investment trust, George Hongchoy says his certified public accountant (CPA) skills provide useful tools for running the business.
"The CPA development path provides a big bag of know-how and one of the strongest foundations to build up the skill set required to run a business. As a CEO, my training is a great help when explaining to our directors, investors and staff our business planning, strategies going forward, financial impact and the way we use our resources," he says.
Hongchoy says CPA training and on-the-job experience also provides broad-based exposure to a wide range of business practices. "CPA training provides a head start in business because you are dealing with real-life business situations. Add to this the exposure to economics, ethics, information technology and environmental performance, and you have a good introduction to the range of skills required to manage a business."
He believes a CPA qualification on job-seekers' résumés indicates they have undertaken a rigorous examination process and implies a desire to excel.
"Being a CPA myself, I am slightly biased, but a CPA is about as close as you can get to a qualification that guarantees success," he says. "I don't believe in career planning. However, the CPA development path can lead to interesting places."
Prior to joining Link Management, Hongchoy was the managing director and head of DBS Asia Capital. He was also director, head of diversified industries at N.M. Rothschild & Sons (Hong Kong), and managing director of investment banking at JP Morgan Securities, Asia-Pacific.
He says commitment to continuing professional development, an obligation undertaken by all CPAs, provides a useful tool and networking opportunities that help him to stay up-to-date with knowledge and the skills necessary to succeed in business and finance.
"There are always new things to learn that help you to better understand the big picture and the essential details of managing a business. For example, imagining a business as a rainforest, as a CEO I can take a helicopter view of the tree tops, which may look fine, but I still need to check the roots periodically to make sure they are not [rotting]," Hongchoy says.