Accounting students receive tripartite support

by Billy Chan

Ritchie Poon (right), general manager and director
Bernard Chan (left), programme director, ABRS Professional Learning Services; with
Brenda Lam (middle), head of learning and development, ACCA Hong Kong
Photo: Wallace Chan
Regardless of the state of the global economy, there is always a demand for accountants, making the profession a popular choice for ambitious individuals.

"Accountants play a pivotal role in driving corporate success," says Bernard Chan, programme director, ABRS Professional Learning Services.

ABRS, a Hong Kong-based professional training and education provider, was established in 1991. Over the years, the institution has forged partnerships with a number of leading international universities to administer advanced education programmes and examinations.

One of the institution's initiatives is a bachelor's (with honours) degree programme in accounting and finance offered jointly with the University of Greenwich in the UK, which aims at meeting the growing demand for accounting professionals and raising industry standards. For the past five years, this effort has been given additional impetus through the programme accreditation from ACCA (Association of Chartered Certified Accountants), the global body for professional accountants.

"This is a top-up degree for graduates of the advanced diploma programme in accounting and finance administered by ABRS," Mr Chan explains. "Students who obtain both the diploma and the degree can be entitled to exemption of a maximum of nine examinations towards the ACCA qualification."

ACCA has been around for more than 100 years. The qualifications conferred by the organisation and its training are acknowledged around the world.

"As a global body for professional accountants, we aim at offering business-relevant, first-choice qualifications to people who aspire to a career in accountancy, finance and management", says Brenda Lam, head of learning and development, ACCA Hong Kong. "Through the programme accreditation, we expect to see more fresh graduates enter this profession."

In addition to the insights that ACCA brings to the programme design, ABRS is pleased to furnish support for charity events organised by ACCA Hong Kong on a regular basis as part of its contribution to society. "The idea of 'accounting with heart' serves as a lifetime reminder to students", points out Mr Chan.

Nick Hand
programme director and principal lecturer, department of accounting and finance University of Greenwich Business School
Photo: Courtesy of ABRS
The recent global financial turmoil impacted minimally on hiring in the accounting profession and did not affect prospective accountants' confidence in their prospects. The number of students applying for entry to the ABRS programmes remained high during the downturn, averaging more than 100 for each academic term, says Nick Hand, programme director, and principal lecturer, the department of accounting and finance, University of Greenwich Business School.

"The education sector tends to perform a little differently during a crisis, and people may feel that this is a good time to enhance their qualification when it's difficult to find a job," he notes.

An employment breakdown has shown that 70 per cent of accounting professionals in Hong Kong currently work for corporations, with more than 20 per cent employed by accounting firms and roughly five per cent by the government. Since accountants may end up working in such a varied range of businesses and industries, ABRS and the University of Greenwich aim to cover all the core elements through their collaborative training.

"The roles of accounting professionals have been changing and they are no longer limited to tabulating and presenting data. More problem solving and business advisory expertise are now required," Mr Chan concludes.

Taken from Career Times 6 August 2010, A8

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