In view of the pandemic, the Institute had planned to change the Annual Dinner to a sit-down Annual Cocktail with a much smaller group, less formalities and shorter programme. However, the recent spread of the fourth wave of COVID-19 has made holding such an event untenable. To ensure the health and safety of our guests, members and colleagues, as well as to manage the Institute’s reputational risk, the Annual Cocktail had to be cancelled. Instead, some celebratory videos will be released in December to showcase our achievements this year.
It is disappointing to face this fourth wave – particularly at a time of year when families and friends coming together for celebrations is the usual fare. Nonetheless, we must do all we can to maintain social distance, minimize interactions, and stay safe.
Preparations to hold the Qualification Programme module examinations in late December continue. We are closely monitoring the situation in view of the new COVID-19 outbreak. The health of all those involved is of the utmost priority, and I am very pleased with the efforts the Institute’s management have put in to ensure safety. The Final Examination was successfully held in November, and I thank the Institute’s members and staff for their hard work. Qualifying new members is a major responsibility of the Institute and it is important we do this safely.
Thanks to all the members who attended the two virtual Members’ Forums on 12 and 13 November. During the forums, the Chief Executive and Registrar and I discussed the latest developments of the Institute and answered questions from members. A recording of the presentations will soon be available for members who were unable to watch the live event. Please consider watching the presentation to learn more about our activities and how we will implement the Strategic Plan 2020-2022.
The Young Members Conference, held in mid-November, was an exciting morning event. While virtual, the passion and energy of the speakers was real. I am glad to see that even while facing the disruption of the past year, our young members look forward to their careers as leaders of our community and as successful accountants in a wide range of specializations.
“Even while facing the disruption of the past year, our young members look forward to their careers as leaders of our community and as successful accountants in a wide range of specializations.”
I attended the Institute’s virtual 2020 SMP Symposium on 27 November. During my presentation, I discussed how the International Federation of Accountants’ Small and Medium Practices Advisory Group, of which I am a member, is helping small- and medium-sized practices (SMPs). Other speakers at the symposium discussed topics including the development of the Institute and our strategic plan, anti-money laundering, new financial reporting and auditing standards and taxation. This year has been a challenging one for accountants around the world, and it is important that the Institute supports all its members during the difficult time. Supporting our SMPs’ development is also vital for the long-term sustainability of the profession, and is something the Institute cares deeply about.
I was a judge of the HKICPA Business Case Competition 2020 in Hong Kong on 28 November. The event was virtual, with teams delivering their presentations and question and answer sessions remotely, and it was exciting to see the enthusiasm and dedication towards the event. Again, this is another example of how it is possible to successfully hold face-to-face events, virtually.
I was invited by the Hong Kong Trade Development Council to represent the Hong Kong accounting profession at the high profile 23rd Beijing-Hong Kong Economic Cooperation Symposium on 19 November. As is increasingly the way, the symposium was a combined physical and virtual event, held in Beijing and Hong Kong simultaneously and joined together virtually. The Mayor of Beijing and the Chief Executive of Hong Kong officiated the opening ceremony. I spoke about the Institute’s longstanding relations with Beijing, made suggestions on how to enhance economic cooperation and to collaborate on the future of our profession between Beijing and Hong Kong.
The Independent Working Group for President and Vice-Presidents Election reported its proposed one member, one vote election framework at the October Council Meeting and also prepared a draft public consultation paper for the November meeting as planned. Council is now considering these, with the objective of holding the consultation in the first quarter of 2021.
Finally, I urge members to vote in the Council election and, in view of the pandemic, to watch the annual general meeting (AGM) online on 10 December. Voting closes at 5:30 p.m. on 7 December, and you can vote either electronically or physically. You can register to watch the AGM and submit proxies on the agenda items by 8 December. Further information about voting and the AGM is available in the Members’ area of the Institute’s website.