As we approach the mid-point of the year, we are finally seeing further easing when it comes to restrictions under the pandemic. With fingers crossed, we can all look forward to even less restrictions and more activities during the summer.
For accountants, many will be keeping a keen eye on the developments of international environmental, social and governance (ESG) reporting standards this summer, with the International Sustainability Standards Board (ISSB) currently fielding its first two proposed standards for public consultation, which will end 29 July. In this issue of A Plus, we have the immense honour of featuring Emmanuel Faber, the inaugural Chair of the ISSB in an insightful profile where he speaks on his vision to lead the development of global ESG reporting standards. Interested readers should also be sure to pay attention to the Institute’s online survey seeking to collect stakeholder feedback on the ISSB’s exposure drafts, which will remain open until 13 June.
The month of May has been eventful for the development of the accounting profession in Hong Kong. The government gazetted three pieces of subsidiary legislation for the commencement of the new regulatory regime of the profession, which were subsequently tabled in the Legislative Council (LegCo) for negative vetting on 11 May. The subsidiary legislations formally appoint 1 October 2022 as the commencement date for the new regime, and provides for other transitional arrangements in the meantime, as well as setting the fee levels for collection by the Accounting and Financial Reporting Council. Interested readers should visit the dedicated webpage on the Institute’s website for further details.
On 13 May, the government gazetted the Professional Accountants (Amendment) Bill 2022 to revise the election arrangements of the Council of the Institute and make other technical changes. The Bill was then introduced into the LegCo for first and second reading on 18 May. The Financial Services and the Treasury Bureau has indicated before that they intend for the proposal to take effect before the 2022-end election. More details are available on the Institute’s dedicated webpage on the website.
Members would have received the Institute’s clarifications regarding the recent discussions on the non-renewal of the mutual recognition agreement (MRA) between the Institute and the United States International Qualifications Appraisal Board (IQAB), which will expire on 31 December 2022. The issue sparked speculation online which caused certain implications to be overstated. We expect the non-renewal to have minimal impact on our members; after all, few members make use of this MRA every year.
To reiterate, the Institute and the IQAB could not come to an agreement to extend the agreement due to the precondition proposed by the IQAB. The precondition required the new MRA to waive the standard requirement for all IQAB accountants to have one year of local experience in order to obtain a practising certificate in Hong Kong, with audit experience solely obtained in the U.S. recognized instead. I hope our explanation on the matter will have answered members’ questions and quelled any concerns. The Institute remains a leading professional accounting body in the international community, and we will continue to work hard towards upholding the quality and values of the profession.
I always find solace in seeing young talents looking to grow and exert a positive influence on their surroundings, especially within our excellent profession. In the past month, I delivered the welcome speech in the Institute’s V-fair 2022 event, our annual career fair for young aspiring CPAs. The virtual occasion featured sharing sessions from experienced leaders in the profession on the prospects of the profession and guidance on career paths to success with the CPA qualification. While we were not able to meet these talents in person, I am optimistic we will see many of them follow in the footsteps of so many brilliant CPAs before them in this ever evolving profession.
I encourage our seasoned colleagues to share the video highlights of the event with the young people around them, and perhaps this might encourage them into a fulfilling career as a CPA. Read our article on the Institute’s Mentorship Programme, which offers a glimpse of how your experience can help nurture the profession’s leaders of tomorrow.
Loretta Fong CPA (practising)
“I hope our explanation on the matter will have answered members’ questions and quelled any concerns. The Institute remains a leading professional accounting body in the international community, and we will continue to work hard towards upholding the quality and values of the profession.”