What are the biggest lessons in your career so far?
One is that embracing and overcoming challenges and difficulties is highly important in a person’s growth journey. At the start of my career, there was this firm idea that as a professional, even the smallest margins of error were not allowed. However, the truth is that the skills I have gained after learning from mistakes and overcoming an obstacle are invaluable. I also believe in the importance of developing your trustworthiness and reliability as a person in this profession, as demonstrated by your interactions with others. Having a profound sense of responsibility is essential for fostering professional and trusting relationships with clients and colleagues, and should be practiced starting from the early stage of your career.
What do you like most about specializing in audit and assurance?
When I was studying for the professional exam, I came to realize that accounting is an art, and have been passionate about this profession since then. I see auditing as a way for entities to complete their “annual body check”. It allows the management to understand their weaknesses, providing a chance for them to see if they can pass through every test in accordance with the financial reporting standards, and ultimately receive a true and fair opinion. Because of this, as audit and assurance professionals, we always need to sharpen our skill sets to deliver our services.
What is one of the biggest challenges auditors and assurers currently face?
The decrease in the supply of talent in the profession in Hong Kong is one challenge. Also, the perceived value towards auditing from the clients’ viewpoint is low, resulting in a trend of stagnant or even declining professional fees over the years. To fix the root cause, I think public education is key and should be focused on two key groups: students and company owners. By educating students on our profession, a positive impression among the youth can be cultivated. Also, presenting the value of auditors to our clients could bring on a greater level of respect towards our profession.
In what ways has the Institute helped you in your career?
In this profession, the enhancement of technical knowledge is a lifelong journey. The Institute has always been the biggest hub of resources. For example, the Professional Diploma in Insolvency, which I attained earlier on in my career, equipped me with essential knowledge in this field. As a CPA, I particularly treasure the significance of ethical standards and what they have taught me. These core principles of integrity, ethical and moral standards are essential attributes for everyone in senior roles, and should be involved in every thought procedure.
You have significant experience in IPOs. What are your predictions for the Hong Kong IPO market this year?
Hong Kong’s IPO market was relatively restrained in 2023. Geopolitical uncertainties along with approaching elections this year across several countries may cause fluctuations in the equity market. Despite this, we can see that the government remains proactive in advocating the Hong Kong market to investors globally. New measures, including the Listing Rules Chapter 18C to allow specialist technology companies to seek listing here, and reforms to enhance the overall attractiveness of Hong Kong’s listing framework, like FINI (Fast Interface for New Issuance) introduced in late 2023, will hopefully result in a true recovery of the IPO market this year.