The demand for CPAs with risk management expertise has been on an upward trend, driven by the increasingly complex regulatory landscape worldwide and the growing need among organisations to implement stringent corporate governance.
To sustain their long-term business development, companies need to heighten their risk awareness and strengthen their capabilities to develop the controls to mitigate them, believes Ken Lin, senior manager – risk advisory at Baker Tilly Hong Kong Risk Assurance.
“CPAs can excel in risk management. To deliver their work properly, CPAs, auditors or accountants, need to identify the risks and the corresponding mitigation controls day in, day out. Over time, they can definitely draw on their experience and insights gained to help their organisations strengthen risk management.”
While risk awareness is of fundamental importance, Lin thinks the traditional accounting and auditing skills and knowledge are helpful for CPAs to optimise risk management. “For instance, before an auditor provides the audit assurance, he has to consider all the risk factors involved,” he says. “When an auditor has developed risk awareness, the learning curve is not too steep for him to diversify into risk management because the two functions are closely connected.”
HKICPA’s holistic qualification programme (QP) transfers the comprehensive range of essential skills as well as updated knowledge of business developments for CPAs to carry out a host of business functions, including risk management, Lin says. “Equipped with the wide-ranging skills and knowledge covered in the QP, I embarked on my professional career at an audit firm. I accumulated the relevant experience and diversified into risk management.
“This area is as exciting as it is forward-looking. It calls for the specialists to look at the big picture of the environment in which their organisations operate while paying attention to the minute details to identify the risks and formulate outside-the-box solutions to address them.”