Career Advice Job Market Report

HKICPA Career Forum: Essential skills make CPAs well equipped for move into management

Equipped with the essential foundation accounting skills and technical knowledge, many CPAs have been able to develop insights into their employers’ operations and become adept at envisaging the overall direction of their organisations’ future developments. This is the prerequisite for strategic management.

Over time, these CPAs in accounting will excel at the business projection of their organisations and in formulating effective strategies to help their employers achieve growth in sales and profits, according to Patrick Kwok, general manager, Starbucks Coffee Singapore. “On top of the accounting skills and knowledge, CPAs who aspire to diversify into strategic management need to have a thorough understanding of their corporations as well as the sectors they are in,” says Kwok. “Excellent communication and interpersonal skills are essential because effective strategic management executives should be able to collaborate with others and engage and motivate team members to work towards their shared goals.”

“Before I work on the consulting and analysis of a company’s various business functions, I must develop a firm grasp of what each function does and then use the gathered data to analyse and provide forecasts of the likely impact of their individual business plans,” Kwok continues. “In addition to CPAs’ basic skills in financial reporting, strategic management executives are expected to take on the roles of consultant and analyst to clearly communicate the key points to the other decision makers and provide the viable solutions to improve growth further.”

He adds that CPAs working on strategic management should also keep abreast of new developments at their competitors, the latest trends in the overall business environment and local, regional and global markets.

“Many CPAs these days have contributed beyond their traditional accounting and auditing functions. Through auditing, they have gained exposure to different industries and such insights enable them to diversify into other value-added functions like consultant and analyst,” Kwok says.