Firstly, best wishes to you all for the year of the rat. I hope you have entered this new decade ready for the exciting new opportunities ahead. There will be exciting developments for our profession due to new technologies and the Greater Bay Area. To succeed, it is important to stay dynamic and alert to seize the initiative when opportunities arise.
It is my honour to be the Institute’s President at the start of this new decade, which I believe will see our Institute transform. In order to lead its revitalization, I see three main areas for the Institute to develop over the year ahead.
Firstly, the Seventh Long Range Plan. It is time for us to push on with this long overdue plan and ensure the Institute is appropriately positioning itself and providing the support to the profession in the ways it needs. Although a five-year plan may render some decisions obsolete in view of the rapid changes taking place in our profession, technology and otherwise, I believe it is still appropriate for setting objectives. Going forward, we need to review our long range plan at least annually to ensure its continuing relevance.
Secondly, improving our member services and I am a strong believer of diversity and inclusion. We need to do more to ensure that our members feel connected to the Institute – throughout their careers and in whatever sectors they work in. With this in mind, I would like the Institute to undertake more free continuing professional development events like the members’ forums but targeted at specific groups of members such as those in business, students and retirees. Some of these groups, particularly the professional accountants in business, are hard to reach, but I believe that if we partner with some of the large corporations operating in Hong Kong we can offer sessions to a wider group of members. We should also review the interest groups, and see if there are areas where additional groups could be beneficial, including for different sports and recreational activities as well as professional and specialist sectors. In addition, high on my agenda is to offer the relevant training, networking opportunities, and other services including help accessing the opportunities in the Greater Bay Area, to help members succeed in the age of Accounting Plus.
“We need to elevate our members’ sense of belonging and make them be proud of being a member of a premier body.”
Finally, we need to do more – and better – at enhancing the image of our profession and improving communications. We need to elevate our members’ sense of belonging and make them be proud of being a member of a premier body. We’re Hong Kong’s largest professional body and we should be justifying the social status of accountants. When I joined the Institute, we had around 4,000 members – we now have over 10 times that number. We need to make sure they all feel included. We need to reach members, and also the young generations, to promote our profession and the opportunities within it. This should include more engagement with the media and enhancing our social media outreach.
The Digital Strategic Plan revamping our digital services and presence is now in its third year. It is a task for Council this year to review the progress of the plan against its targets, and to determine whether to embark on the second phase of the plan to further enhance our digital presence.
Another important piece of ongoing work is to establish an independent working group, which was decided upon by the Task Force for EGM Resolution 2 in October last year. The objective is to conduct public consultation and help formulate amendments to the Professional Accountants Ordinance necessary for the implementation of the election of the President and Vice-Presidents by all members of the Institute.
As well as these developments we also have the introduction of the new Qualification Programme (QP) this year, with the Associate level being sat for the first time in June and the Professional level in December. I am excited to see the new QP being sat, as it has been a long time in development, and it will help the profession to continue to attract and nurture the accountants Hong Kong needs. Accountants are no longer just “accountants”, but are now Accountants Plus. So it is important that we offer ways into the profession for economists, engineers or even marine biologists, who want to develop the skills in the language of business that is accounting.
I was honoured to be interviewed for A Plus. You can read more about me in the article here.