Sky Yuen

Sky Yuen, Director, Technical and Regulatory at Baker Tilly Hong Kong, and Institute member, on how specializing in technical accounting has deepened his business sense, and his views on the upcoming sustainability disclosure standards

What are the three biggest lessons in your career so far? 

I have learned how important it is to be a team player at work. It isn’t always possible to complete tasks on my own, and in fact what leads to the successful completion of tasks is being open to working with others who specialize in various areas. Moreover, I have learned how to work with others so that tasks can be accomplished efficiently and effectively, which relates to the two other biggest lessons – don’t hesitate to communicate with others, and focus on the development and utilization of my strengths. I’ve been able to achieve success particularly when my team members and I communicated well with each other and made use of our individual strengths. 

What do you like most about specializing in technical accounting and financial reporting? 

It enables me to deal with various types of technical issues that come up in different industries and businesses. In tackling these issues, I direct audit teams to obtain reasonable assurance in an appropriate way so that the financial statements give a true and fair view of the financial performance and financial position of entities in accordance with financial reporting requirements. Through this experience, I get to have a close look at various corporate practices, and in the process strengthen my business sense. 

In what ways has your CPA qualification helped you in your career? 

Accounting skills and knowledge are fundamental in the business world for understanding the financial impact of every circumstance that may affect various stakeholders’ decisions. Besides that, a good understanding of regulatory updates allows me to know the best practices and how to measure business performance. Last but not least, problem-solving and networking skills are essential when engaging in all sectors and business fields as these skills help me cope with complex business matters, and maintain great relationships with people. 

What challenges do you foresee in the implementation of the IFRS Sustainability Disclosure Standards? 

I anticipate that there will be application difficulties, especially for small- and medium-sized entities (SMEs) as they may not be able to put sufficient effort in environmental, social and governance-related policies and measures in their operations. I believe that the industry-based topics and associated metrics would be a useful guide in helping those entities to apply the standards for the first time. Regulators, whether it’s the International Sustainability Standards Board or local ones, could establish implementation guides, and constitute focus groups inviting stakeholders from SMEs in various industries to understand their difficulties and to provide opportunities for open discussions on resolving difficulties. 

Which out of the standards that will be effective in 2023 are currently top of mind for you? 

Amendments to IAS/HKAS 1 Presentation of Financial Statements, relating to classification of liabilities as current or non-current, is top of my mind as the amendments would have an impact on most entities’ financial statements. Entities would need to revisit the conditions of their liabilities instead of management’s intentions or expectations, especially their borrowings and rights to defer settlement, at the end of the reporting period when assessing whether the liabilities should be classified as current or non-current in the statement of financial position. The outcome may affect financial ratios.

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