THE CHIEF EXECUTIVE
I am honoured to have joined the Institute and to lead it at such an important time. Great work has already been done in preparing the Institute and the profession for the future. The roll-out of the new Qualification Programme (QP) is underway, with new study materials and training for workshop facilitators and markers. The three-year Digital Strategic Plan continues on from the successful launch of the improved website last year with the digitalization of the Institute’s members facing platform – with the team releasing a new events app for mobile devices. Finally, for some members, the transition to the new audit regulatory regime will change the requirements for public interest entity auditors. But our work cannot stop with these developments.
“Building a Future Ready Profession” is the theme of the Institute’s forthcoming Long Range Plan, which will guide the activities of the Institute as it seeks to ensure that the profession is ready for the age of Accounting Plus. As the business world continues to change, Accountants Plus are those who respond to new opportunities, and utilize new technologies to provide higher value-added services to clients and employers.
This next Long Range Plan will help current and future Accountants Plus by ensuring accounting remains a preferred career choice for top talent, the profession is dynamic and relevant to the needs of businesses and society, and that the Institute continues to be regarded as a premium body both in Hong Kong and internationally. These three objectives will benefit the profession like the original roll out of the QP did 20 years ago.
More tailored support
Some progress has been made in preparing members to be Accountants Plus, with expanded continuing professional development (CPD) courses and programmes being a good example of the Institute’s work focused on career opportunities for members and demands of employers. But it is important that we continue our work to ensure you, our fellow members, are ready for the opportunities and the challenges ahead.
For the Institute to tailor its support to the needs of members, we need to hear from you, and understand what help you need to be successful in your work. That is why the members’ forums we organized in September were useful activities for us.
The world has changed significantly since many of us obtained our CPA designations – new technologies, globalization and the growing importance of China have all transformed how Hong Kong’s accountants work and the projects they are working on. These have affected members’ career expectations and the paths available within the profession. With 40 percent of our members aged 40 or below, it is important that we hear from these younger members and respond to their needs. At the forums, young members spoke of the desire for dynamic learning programmes, blending face-to-face and online study, and support in obtaining work-life balance.
Challenges to overcome
Turning to the activities of our members, more than 60 percent are working in business, while on the practising side 70 percent of our member firms and corporate practices only have one partner or director. These groups need support tailored to their needs, business environments and the opportunities available to them.
Members told us of the challenging business environment they are facing, with the economic downturn and changes to their working conditions due to new regulatory regimes including the anti-money laundering and counter-terrorist financing regime, and new standards. Change is disruptive, and it’s the Institute’s responsibility to ensure members have access to the tools and information they need to rise to the challenges. We will continue to explore new ways to achieve this and deliver the support you need.
We shall continue building our mutual understanding of members’ needs through further engagement activities.
This will allow us to strengthen our strategic focus, and prepare the profession to meet the challenges of the continually changing business environment in the age of Accounting Plus.
I hope to meet many of you in the coming months and learn about your needs and expectations. Only through open dialogue can we work together to achieve success, to celebrate the 20th anniversary of the QP, and to build a future-ready profession.
Margaret W.S. Chan
Chief Executive and Registrar