The Hong Kong Institute of Certified Public Accountants (HKICPA) will be holding its annual career forum tomorrow with an aim to convey the huge diversity of career choices and opportunities that the modern-day accounting profession has to offer.
Ivy Cheung, president of HKICPA, says that regardless of local or global economic performance, and in both good times and bad, there is always a need for accountants. “Once qualified, CPAs can be found working in high-level positions all over the world in all fields of business and finance,” she says.
She adds that the scope of work extends beyond traditional tax and auditing disciplines to include specialisations such as consulting, corporate finance and management accounting. “Through our forum, we are keen to offer wide perspectives about the accounting profession and promote the concept that the HKICPA professional qualification is a passport to business.”
Featuring a series of workshops, presentations and discussions with experienced CPAs, the forum will give attendees the chance to discover the latest developments and trends affecting the accounting profession – such as big data and analytics, a current hot topic.
It will also include insights on more conventional topics that students need to be aware of, such as assurance and risk management, tax compliance and planning, financial management, mergers and acquisitions, corporate restructuring, due diligence, business transformation, management consultancy, and strategic business management.
Participants will also be able to pick up some lesser-known details about the accounting profession, while learning about recruitment trends.
New elements have been added to the structure of the panel discussion, including a few surprises to make it even more interactive than previous years. Cheung says that the discussion will also include details about new industry developments, such as the impact of digital technology on the CPA profession and the business environment, for which attendees will join in.
The HKICPA organises over 4,000 hours of initiatives a year that keep its members up to date with everything that is happening to the profession. Cheung says forum participants will find out how HKICPA events, e-learning programmes and mentoring schemes are in place to support them before, during and after they qualify as CPAs.
Attendees will also have the chance to be interviewed by HR experts, and win internship placements at CPA firms. During lunch, they can interact with CPAs who are at different stages of their career journey and ask them questions about their work.
During a CV workshop, forum attendees can learn how to strengthen their résumés and build a personal profile. Recruitment experts will also be on hand to provide one-on-one critique and offer tips on compiling a CV that gets noticed.
More than 20 exhibiting professional services firms and accounting firms will be onsite to provide details and insight into what they look for when hiring recruits, and to outline available job opportunities.
Training for greater productivity and work-life balance
Similar to the situation in many of Hong Kong’s professional sectors, work-life balance is also an ongoing challenge in accounting. In the latest HKICPA members survey, conducted in March this year, 42 per cent of respondents stated they work more than 50 hours per week – a figure that rises to 71 per cent during their companies’ busiest period. A total of 13 per cent claimed to work over 60 hours a week.
Ivy Cheung, president of the HKICPA, says that because work-life balance can mean different things to different people, there is no easy-to-implement solution that will benefit people across the profession.
“It is a fact of life – the same as it is for doctors, lawyers and other professions – that during the busy reporting season, because of deadlines imposed by regulators and the need to make good use of an opportunity to launch an IPO, accountants need to work long hours,” Cheung explains.
However, she adds, the HKICPA – as well as mid- to large-size accounting firms – are trying to improve the work-life balance of accountancy professionals.
“The institute recognises that the issue of long working hours needs to be addressed. We will continue to connect with our members as well as employers and will keep looking for insights from other industries and professions,” Cheung says.
In the meantime, the institute organises sports and recreation events, as well as other leisure and networking activities, throughout the year to provide options and opportunities for members to maintain work-life balance.
A recent review of its qualification programme and various professional development initiatives was also designed to train up CPAs with the right level of skills and productivity to master the growing challenges in the workplace. This, the institute strongly believes, plays an essential part in maintaining healthy work-life equilibrium.
WHEN AND WHERE:
Date October 2, 2016
Venue Cyberport Conference and Exhibition Centre
This article appeared in the Classified Post print edition as Spoilt for choice.