For my final President’s message, I want to look back on the year. It has been a year of transformation for the Institute. While not all of it was expected, I believe that in challenges there are opportunities.
The most important development over the past year is undoubtedly the further reform of the regulatory regime. After the reform becomes effective, the Financial Reporting Council will be entrusted with regulatory responsibilities currently undertaken by the Institute, including granting and renewing practising certificates, practice reviews and disciplinary actions. The Institute is now preparing for the transfer, and will continue to advocate for the best outcome for Hong Kong and our members.
Last year when we were elected, the leadership team of myself and my two Vice-Presidents set out a list of 10 priorities for developing the Institute. We have completed many of them and made good progress on the outstanding ones.
We held public consultations on the proposed framework for the one member one vote election of the president and vice-presidents. We reviewed our membership admission process to ensure that it remains fit for purpose, and made necessary revisions to the application procedures.
We set up new committees to investigate issues of importance to members around legal and compliance matters, long working hours, and digitalization. All these committees have worked hard over the year in their respective areas, and have made good contributions to our profession’s continuing prosperity.
We worked on enhancing the branding of our profession, including through videos, social media channels and approaches, and revamped webpages. Members of the public are better able to see the wide array of possibilities available to CPAs in the age of Accounting Plus, and the important role that our members play across our community.
We have now introduced all three levels of the new Qualification Programme. The Capstone level, held for the first time this December examination session, received good feedback from its students. We can soon look forward to welcoming new members to our Institute who are graduates of this new QP.
We enhanced our training and development. We’ve arranged more online training, and made almost 1,000 e-learning programmes available. We developed a new training curriculum covering accounting, technical and ethics matters, introduced new bite-size learning videos, developed new specialist training in business valuation and forensic accounting, and offered more programmes in conjunction with other organizations. We held the CPA Conference 2021, the Institute’s first conference for both CPAs in business and practice. With the theme of “Transcending together” the conference provided a platform for speakers to share and inspire Institute members on the latest trends and developments.
As a globally recognized and responsible body, we joined together with 13 other accounting bodies, all members of The Prince of Wales’s Accounting for Sustainability Project Accounting Bodies Network, in publicly committing to achieve net-zero greenhouse gas emissions. The plan will be developed over the next 12 months.
Outside of these 10 priorities, we also organized the CPA Virtual Run 2021 to encourage our members to lace up their running shoes and stay motivated and active during the COVID-19 restrictions. We also continued to teach the next generation of Hong Kong money management skills and financial literacy through online Rich Kid, Poor Kid sessions, and videos on financial management.
This month, we held the Best Corporate Governance and ESG Awards. The awards were renamed and refocused this year, in order to reflect the increasing importance of environmental, social and governance (ESG) reporting and practices. You can read more about the awards and what their recognition means to some of the awardees here.
Serving the profession as our President has been one of the highlights of my career, and certainly the 23 years of my involvement serving the Institute. I thank my Vice-Presidents, Council members and Institute management for their support, and wish Loretta Fong all the best for her presidency.
I hope the new leadership team will continue in our mission to inspire and support our members to look forward and to prepare for opportunities and to develop the skills needed for success in the age of “Accounting Plus.” The Institute must continue to advocate and remain recognized and valued – both in Hong Kong and internationally – as a professional body acting in the public interest.
The Institute has the opportunity to show the diversity and resilience of Hong Kong’s accountants over the next year – let’s take it and realize the theme and slogan of our annual dinner and annual report this year, “Together for the Profession.”
Raymond Cheng FCPA (practising)