Compared with a decade ago, the career paths offered by accounting firms are wider and more varied. Here are some of today's most popular accounting specializations in Hong Kong.
These specialists not only inhabit the glamorous world of initial public offerings and other fundraising measures, they also have acquired grassroots knowledge of valuation and credit analysis.
The right specialist is a person with initiative and a knack for problem solving.
This specialization focuses on the establishment, testing and monitoring of internal controls and risk management functions, and understanding the role of directors and audit committees.
The right specialist has a keen interest in the operations of a company and how processes and principles that govern a company are set up in order to elevate investor confidence.
Forensic accountants apply their knowledge to litigation and investigations covering risk management, fraud investigation, litigation support, dispute analysis and expert witness services.
The right specialist is a natural sceptic with great interviewing and presentation skills who can simplify complex information for lay readers.
This specialism includes identification and assessment of information technology abilities, needs and strategies, covering IT budgets, infrastructure, software, procedures, staff and data.
The right specialist is tech-savvy with an interest in translating accounting into technology.
Management accountants utilize business acumen and commercial awareness in providing analysis, planning and risk assessment to devise strategies for companies to deliver shareholder value.
The right specialist is self-confident, assertive and has passion for the business, whether in engineering, manufacturing or services.
Restructuring and insolvency
This specialization requires knowledge of insolvency and winding-up procedures, creditor protection, schemes of arrangement, compulsory and voluntary liquidation and asset recovery.
The right specialist has a good commercial mind and a business-oriented attitude. He or she won't be so easily demoralized by the downs of the job (for example, losing potential clients).
Accountants contribute to managing risk through properly executed financial forecasting, budgeting and internal reporting and countering dysfunctional and self-interested management behaviour.
The right specialist has great communication skills, both in terms of report writing and verbal. He or she also has a sound analytical mind and has the flexibility to travel.
Tax specialists provide guidance on Hong Kong’s direct and indirect taxes, duties and rates, as well as tax strategy, appeals against determinations, and China and international tax compliance.
The right specialist has good language skills and a logical and creative mindset and should see opportunities when everyone else sees obstacles.
Source: HKICPA's APlus Magazine – September 2013