When thinking about what to include in my message this month, paying tribute to Past President Edward Chow, JP was the first thing on my mind. Ever since his sudden passing away on 1 June, every time I entered into the Institute’s Wu Chung House office premises I thought about Edward, who had the foresight and was instrumental in its acquisition during his presidency in 2005. This is his largest legacy to our members. Those members who regularly attend the Institute’s annual general meetings will understand and share my feeling that these meetings will lose a big attraction without Edward’s presence and his questions. Edward’s invaluable contributions to the accounting profession will never be forgotten and he will be deeply missed by all of us.
At the end of my message last month I mentioned that we at the Institute endeavour to support our members’ preparation for the new normal of a weak economy and restrictions on travel. I am pleased to announce that the Council has determined to introduce a range of one-off concessions for the 2021 membership renewal, which covers all existing members, firms, corporate practices and students. The concessions, an annual fee waiver to a maximum of one partner per firm or one director per corporate practice, waiving the capital levy for all members and students, a reduction of student annual fee, and offering more free or subsidized continuing professional development events in the year ahead, are other ways that the Institute will help its members during the economic recovery.
I had the honour of being interviewed by Recruit and Metro Radio this month.
During my interview with Recruit, I spoke about how becoming an accountant gave me the skills I needed to succeed and reach my goals. I hope my experiences will be read by their young readers and help to inspire them to handle adversity they are facing as a consequence of the COVID-19 pandemic and Hong Kong’s challenging year in general. I also explained how the Qualification Programme (QP) had been upgraded, and that the new QP offers its students the training they needed for a successful career.
In this age of Accounting Plus, integrity and professional ethics are among the most important qualities for a professional accountant to have. Accountants have to analyse data, and we cannot just listen to what people say. We are at our best when we are independent and critical, and when problems arise, cooperation is needed to find solutions together. These are the foundations we build successful careers upon as trusted advisors and financial leaders, and are also the foundations for how we build a successful society.
On the Metro Radio show HK Cheer Up, I spoke about the resilience of our auditors, who were able to meet audit deadlines, even though many of them were not able to travel to undertake their audits. I reiterated how the Institute had been regularly liaising with the regulators, including the Securities and Futures Commission and the Stock Exchange of Hong Kong, to advocate the importance of flexibility while dealing with the pandemic.
“In this age of Accounting Plus, integrity and professional ethics are among the most important qualities for a professional accountant to have.”
During my interviews with both outlets, I spoke about how the COVID-19 pandemic has posed unprecedented challenges to businesses, and forced all of us – and particularly the accounting practices – to move out of our own comfort zones and review our operation routines. I believe that this recent experience can help the profession to remodel and fine-tune the entire modes of operation when the pandemic is over. This will help us to better achieve work-life balance and increase the attractiveness of the profession to future generations.
With that goal in mind, I am pleased that the Institute has released its Strategic Plan 2020-2022. Titled Building Trust in Our Profession, the plan sets out strategic objectives for the Institute that will help to prepare the profession for the challenges ahead. The plan includes key action items that the Institute will develop and implement over the next three years. I urge members to read the plan, to understand how the Institute will develop.
Registration for the government’s HK$10,000 Cash Payout Scheme has started, and I understand that the first tranche of payments for electronic registrations submitted through banks by 30 June will be deposited from around 8 July. I appeal to you all to join together to boost local consumption. This could help improve our city’s retail and restaurant businesses, the income of smaller enterprises and employees, and save our ailing economy.