The year continues to throw up new challenges. While August is typically a quiet month for both the Institute and Hong Kong, this year has been even more so due to all the COVID-19 pandemic restrictions, which were ramped up to suppress the third wave of the virus. In preparing for a few upcoming (virtual) speaking engagements, I’ve been considering how we can learn lessons from these challenges and overcome the adversity of the pandemic, and look forward to a brighter future.
Working from home – I’ve mentioned this topic in these messages before but it is worth repeating. The pandemic has shown us how we can work from home and, with technology and planning, contribute effectively to our organizations. While the office is not dead, the meetings, informal discussions and act of gathering really do help to create a stronger team. I hope your organizations are considering how you can implement more flexible working policies in the future. The world is changing, and as we welcome to the workforce the next generation, Gen Z – a digitally native, always-on, generation – we must consider how we can best support them at the start of their careers.
Engaging with colleagues – messaging apps, virtual meeting tools and even an old-fashioned phone call are all tools to help us engage with each other. Think about how you can engage your team, but try not to expect instantaneous replies. Work-life balance should still exist even though we can always be messaged.
Communicating with our clients – meeting our clients is an important way to maintain business relationships. But in the age of COVID-19, it has been more of a struggle. With businesses across Hong Kong struggling to stay afloat, consider letting your clients know you’re there and thinking of them.
Responding to opportunities – while it may seem like the end of the world as we know it, there are still opportunities for businesses. Consider your service offering, the pain points your clients or employers have raised in discussions, and how you can help them. As CPAs we should consider how we can take what we see in the financial data and analyse it to develop solutions.
Staying healthy and positive – being healthy is a way we can help our bodies to fight off viruses and illnesses. Regular exercise and a healthy diet are vital, and with the Internet it is easy to access some simple workout tips and routines you can do from home and healthy recipes to cook. It is also important not to forget our mental health. There are professionals out there you can speak to if you encounter stresses and troubles.
“While it may seem like the end of the world as we know it, there are still opportunities for businesses.”
The Financial Services Development Council has announced a new job creation scheme, with a quota of 1,500 full-time jobs, for the finance industry. The Financial Industry Recruitment Scheme for Tomorrow (FIRST) will support eligible employers in four regulated sectors, including CPA firms and corporate practices regulated by the Institute, through subsidies of HK$10,000 per month for 12 months for the wages of one to 25 new employees (eligibility based on existing employee numbers). Registrations for FIRST start soon.
I’m always pleased to see the Institute’s members giving back. On 31 August, members of the Restructuring and Insolvency Faculty Executive Committee were invited by Caritas to discuss individuals’ debt restructuring and bankruptcy-related issues in a webinar. There’s another webinar on 24 September. Details are available on the website of Caritas Family Crisis Line and Education.
This month, my specialization of restructuring and insolvency is also featured in A Plus. I hope you read and enjoy the special report to better understand one of the profession’s many specialisms. If you’re interested in it as your specialty and are inspired by the stories shared, take the Insolvency Preparatory I course starting in September.
Finally, congratulations and best of luck to the Institute’s longest-serving Council member, Ada Chung, who becomes the Privacy Commissioner for Personal Data in early September. As a Council member since 2007, Ada has devoted her time to our profession, and I would like to deeply thank her for her contributions.