Effective communication with members and stakeholders is underpinned by a strong brand and a consistent message. The Institute’s branding and marketing activities help promote the profession and attract new entrants. Over the year, the Institute undertook a number of initiatives to engage with its stakeholders and the public, and to support the profession.
THE ACCOUNTING PLUS BRAND
A strong brand helps the Institute to advertise the services of its members and the strength of the profession, as well as attract new entrants to the profession.
This year, we ran advertising campaigns in Hong Kong and the Mainland highlighting the Accounting Plus brand, what the concept means and how Hong Kong Accountants Plus can help businesses. In Hong Kong, we published an advert alongside an advertorial on accounting in the South China Morning Post. The advertorial also featured the Institute’s leadership discussing the new Qualification Programme (QP). As part of our long-term relationship with Xinlicai, a leading magazine specialized in finance and economics, supervised by the Ministry of Finance, the Institute sponsored the 14th China CFO Forum.
With the 20th anniversary of the QP approaching and the launch of the new QP, work began this year to celebrate this milestone. The Institute launched a 20th Anniversary Logo Design Competition for the QP inviting accountants, students and the public to produce a special logo for the celebrations. Work also began on developing a new set of thematic collaterals, videos and visuals to communicate the concepts of the QP to students and the public in a new manner, and highlighting the professionalism and prestigious identity the QP represents.
NEW DIGITAL PRESENCE
Throughout the year, the digital transformation team made significant progress on the Digital Strategic Plan. The website revamp project, which launched in November, was a success, with positive testimonials from various Institute members regarding the website’s modern look and feel and its compatibility with most mobile devices. This year also saw the release of a new mobile app that aims to provide a better event experience, and features artificial intelligence – the first time for the Institute’s digital solutions. Members can now search for events, pay with Apple and Android pay, check into events via a QR code, download event materials, engage with speakers and rate our events all through the mobile app.
The team has also embarked on the next digital initiative: a customer relationship management system (CRM). The CRM will allow the Institute to better understand our members and students, consolidate and streamline our communications, as well as improve our services by providing the necessary tools to our internal teams to facilitate information sharing and collaboration.
Regular engagement with the media is vital to getting the Institute’s message to the public. The Institute organized a number of press events and contributions to media platforms over the year to publicize its messages.
Best Corporate Governance Awards
The call for entry for the 2018 Awards was reported in media outlets from across Asia. The press coverage highlighted the importance of good corporate governance for gaining investors’ confidence. After the awards were held, the Institute held a press conference where media reported on the judging panel’s recommendations, including strengthening board disclosures.
Finally, ahead of the 2019 awards the Institute issued its call for entry with special features on etnet, HKET and in the South China Morning Post. The awards are celebrating their 20th anniversary this year, and the call generated over 100 articles throughout the region, focusing on how good corporate governance is vital for gaining investors’ confidence. The articles also introduced the categories of awards and commendations inviting entries.
In January 2019, before the Hong Kong budget, the Institute held a press conference on its 2019-20 Budget Proposals hosted by the Chairman of the Taxation Faculty Executive Committee KK So, and the Convenor of the Budget Proposals Subcommittee, Curtis Ng. Media conducted one-on-one interviews with the spokespersons afterwards. News reports that followed reported on the Institute reiterating its view that there needs to be an extensive review of the tax system to support Hong Kong’s competitiveness, particularly against the background of a changing global business and tax environment, and the increasing complexity of the local tax system. News reports highlighted measures including a proposed tax deduction of up to HK$100,000 annually for taxpayers’ rental payments on their primary residence for those unable to benefit from the home loan interest deduction.
After the budget was announced in February, the Institute held a follow-up press conference, again featuring KK So and Curtis Ng. Media reports included that the Institute believed the budget to be fairly prudent, given the economy and the challenges faced by the government. The Institute also reiterated the continuing need for some of its proposals.
President meets the media
In February, Institute President Patrick Law met several media outlets. The president spoke on a number of topics including the “One Member, One Vote” taskforce. He commented that the taskforce was set up by the Council and had looked into election models of eight other professional bodies. He also spoke about the recruitment of the new Chief Executive and Registrar, and the professional opportunities for accountants in 2019.
On 9 June 2019, the TVB programme Finance Magazine featured interviews with President Patrick Law, then-Acting Registrar Jonathan Ng and two young members discussing the accounting profession. The feature covered the development of the profession in the past as well as the prospects for the future in the Accounting Plus era. The feature also covered how accounting services are increasingly going beyond traditional auditing and taxation services to business advisory services including mergers and acquisitions, corporate finance and technology. The interviews also covered how the new QP aims to train professional accountants with the necessary skills to deal competently with these growing client needs.
The Institute held a media luncheon in May with the President and Vice-Presidents which attracted 18 media organizations. Their coverage discussed the qualification process and work-life balance within the profession. Many outlets focused on the new QP, and how it will include training on topics such as big data, artificial intelligence, and cloud computing, to equip its students with the latest knowledge and skills. The reports also noted the different interest groups of the Institute and leisure events it organizes to promote members’ work-life balance. The media also highlighted the Institute’s development of new financial reporting standards and its views on some recent government and regulator activities.
FRC AMENDMENT BILL
The Institute updated its webpage on the legislative developments of the Financial Reporting Council (Amendment) Bill, in preparation for the passing of responsibility for the regulation of auditors of public interest entities to the Financial Reporting Council. Since the passing of the bill, the Institute has begun preparations for the new regime, and informed those affected of how the regulatory environment will change.
This year A Plus, the Institute’s monthly publication, ran two new videos series under “Accounting Plus: A conversation with CPAs under 35”. The videos featured accounting firm partners and entrepreneurs discussing how being a CPA helps them in their working lives.
As well as the videos, roundtable feature articles were introduced to the magazine. These articles covered developments in Mainland China and global tax.
The Institute continued its relationships with Master Insight, a Hong Kong media portal providing insights on business, cultural and technology issues, and Xinlicai to publish translated A Plus articles to promote our insights to a wider audience.