Institute news


Council election and AGM

Exercise your right to select seven candidates to join the Council and cast your votes either by e-voting or by ballot paper, but not both, by 5:30 p.m. on 9 December.

The Institute’s 47th annual general meeting (AGM) will take place at 5:30 p.m. on 12 December, at the Institute’s office. As well as the announcement of the election results, the Institute will appoint an auditor and receive the president’s address. After the AGM, the new president and vice-presidents will be elected at a special Council meeting.

The Institute’s full annual report, which details the Institute’s activities for 2018-19, will be available soon.

Institute releases new Professional Development Framework for PAIBs

Developed by the Institute’s Professional Accountants in Business (PAIB) Committee the Professional Development Framework for PAIBs aims to provide a useful and accessible guide to the competencies – such as prerequisite knowledge, skills, attitude, practices and standards of behaviour – necessary for PAIBs to perform both their current and desired roles. The framework can help them to shape their careers, realize their objectives, and take control of their learning to achieve their goals. It can also be used by employers and company boards to help evaluate their finance functions. You can read more about how to apply the framework in this month’s how to column.

The Institute’s 2019 Career Survey.

Non-traditional CPAs in high demand, according to career survey

A career survey carried out by the Institute has found that the 36 percent of members working in non-traditional accounting functions, such as consulting, forensics and corporate finance, are in high demand and employers are finding it hard to recruit and retain them.

“In the Accounting Plus era, CPAs are moving into a wider range of businesses beyond the traditional accounting and auditing sectors. Despite the economic uncertainty, accounting professionals remain in high-demand across Hong Kong for the diverse services they offer. This demonstrates the importance employers and clients place on the skills of accountants – even in challenging times,” said Patrick Law, President of the Institute.

The annual Career Survey was comprised of a membership survey conducted from November to December 2018 with 2,612 respondents, and a studentship survey conducted from December 2018 to January 2019 with 1,302 respondents. Respondents of all levels agreed on the importance of developing their soft skills. Among in-demand skills, problem-solving and analytical skills are of the top importance in accountants’ daily tasks, as well as applying strong technical knowhow to business, and providing practical solutions to client issues.

Full findings from the career survey are available on the Institute’s website.

Mutual examination exemptions agreed with CIMA

The Institute has entered a five-year agreement with the Chartered Institute of Management Accountants (CIMA) to advance the accounting profession by agreeing mutual examination paper exemptions from the Institute’s Qualification Programme (QP) and the CIMA Professional Qualification.

Under the agreement, members of the Institute can have an expedited pathway to both the CIMA Professional Qualification and the Chartered Global Management Accountant (CGMA®) designation. All Institute members are exempted from 14 out of 16 CIMA examinations and could acquire CIMA membership and the CGMA designation by passing P3 – Risk Management Exam and getting entry to the Strategic Case Study Exam, the final capstone exam of the CIMA Professional Qualification. Members who have successfully completed the Institute’s Financial Controllership Programme will be further exempted from Exam P3.

Margaret Chan, Chief Executive and Registrar of the Institute, said, “In this Accounting Plus era, accountants need to equip themselves with various skills to cope with the ever-changing business environment. This agreement opens up opportunities for Institute members to become members of CIMA and the Association of International Certified Professional Accountants, easing their path to gain another world-leading qualification and strengthening their competitiveness.”

Workshop for new auditors

A new tailor-made programme for new auditors of financial statements or audit staff with less than two years of experience will run from 19 to 21 December. The workshop will involve interactive discussions, case studies and role-play activities to teach the concepts and practical skills relevant to new auditors. It will also cover other aspects of the audit process. More details are available on the Institute’s website.

Disciplinary finding

Tong Yat Hung, CPA (practising) and Cheng & Cheng Limited

Complaint: Failure or neglect to observe, maintain or otherwise apply the fundamental principle of Professional Competence and Due Care in sections 100.5(c) and 130 of the Code of Ethics for Professional Accountants.

Cheng & Cheng audited the consolidated financial statements of Kiu Hung International Holdings Limited, a Hong Kong-listed company, and its subsidiaries (collectively, group) for the year ended 31 December 2015. Tong was the engagement director.

In relation to the audit engagement, Cheng & Cheng undertook a review of the group’s preliminary announcement of its final results for the financial year. The published announcement contained a statement that the auditor had agreed that the financial figures included in the announcement were consistent with those in the group’s consolidated financial statements. This was incorrect as the figures in the announcement had not been agreed by the auditor. Approximately three weeks later, the group published a clarification announcement which corrected a number of errors in the financial results included in the original announcement. But it did not address the incorrect statement regarding the auditor’s agreement made in the original announcement.

In the above circumstances, the respondents were aware of the statement in the original announcement regarding their purported agreement that the financial figures were consistent. However, they did not act diligently in taking appropriate action to alert those in an oversight position. The respondents did not write to the group’s audit committee nor did they request the audit committee to inform the relevant regulators about the matter. In not taking action to disassociate themselves from the incorrect statement, the respondents failed to follow the relevant guidance in the Institute’s Practice Note 730 Guidance for Auditors Regarding Preliminary Announcements of Annual Results.

Decisions and reasons: The Disciplinary Committee reprimanded Tong and Cheng & Cheng and ordered them to pay penalties of HK$35,000 and HK$50,000 respectively, and costs of disciplinary proceedings of HK$93,078. When making its decision, the committee took account of a number of factors, including the respondents’ efforts regarding the original announcement, the importance of maintaining public confidence in the accountancy profession and the regulatory records of Cheng & Cheng.

Details of the disciplinary finding are available at the Institute’s website.

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November 2019 issue
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