What is your current role and responsibilities? How is it going so far?
As Accountant at Airport Authority Hong Kong (AA), I manage the daily operations of the fixed asset accounting functions in accordance with financial accounting policies and procedures. I also supervise the preparation of reports and schedules, and liaise with external auditors for interim reviews and annual audits of the AA’s financial statements. I need to ensure the proper accounting treatment is applied to daily transactions and that they comply with Hong Kong Financial Reporting Standards (HKFRS) and other relevant statutory requirements. I also provide professional advice to departments on accounting issues and contribute to the processing of annual budgets. Since HKFRS 15 Revenue from Contracts with Customers and HKFRS 16 Leases came into effect a few years ago, more reports have had to be prepared.
What are the most rewarding and challenging aspects of your role, and why?
A large part of my role involves report writing, so what I find most challenging is compiling meaningful reports for management to review under tight deadlines. I have to work with a large amount of data when it comes to managing accounts and then use this data to write a report. For example, I am keeping an eye on accounts of mega projects such as the Three-runway System. Though tough, it’s very rewarding when everything comes together in the end. Another rewarding aspect is the opportunity to apply self-developed programmes to help increase productivity and efficiency at work. For example, I use a programme to prepare several reports automatically, and this greatly helps with my report writing. What used to require a whole day can now be done in a few hours with the help of this tool.
Where do you see yourself in the next five to 10 years of your career and which field do you plan on specializing in and why?
I would be happy to continue working in the field of financial reporting. I enjoy analysing different people’s views on interpreting the same standard, which I believe is a skill that will also be helpful in the future. Financial reporting has to comply with requirements stipulated by accounting standards and relevant law and regulations. However, in most cases, there isn’t only a single way to interpret standards. Management and auditors may hold a different view on the same transaction, so aligning their views while maximizing the benefit of company is the most challenging task in the field of financial reporting. This is highly reliant on one’s experience and how familiar one is with standards.
What are the biggest lessons you have learned so far from work experience or managers?
One manager taught me the importance of good formatting when it comes to writing reports. When you write a report or working paper with the correct format, you can really help preparers and reviewers to understand what you’re trying to present. An ideal working paper should be linked to the data so that reports can automatically be updated if and when there are any changes in data. If there is no consistent formatting, figures have to be individually updated, and this will require additional time.
How do you think the Qualification Programme (QP) has helped you in your career so far, or prepared you for your current role?
The QP and the learning pack provided really helps students, especially fresh graduates, to really understand accounting standards and the reasons why one needs to perform tasks such as vouching, for example. I found Module A financial reporting to be the most helpful in my current role and career so far. Sometimes there are rarely-used accounting standards that need to be applied, and having taken the QP exams, I now have a better idea in terms of which standards are the most applicable in different situations. The knowledge gained from the QP helps one to progress within and beyond the profession.