Countdown to a bright future

by Nicole Wong

Johnson Kong
Photo: Lewis Wong
Although education and work experience play a role in a person's career pursuit, but those who do not have a sound academic background can also reach their goals through continuous education and training.

For instance, people whose jobs entail accounting work but are not qualified professional accountants and are therefore classified as accounting technicians can seek advancement by obtaining accreditations conferred by the Hong Kong Institute of Accredited Accounting Technicians (HKIAAT), a subsidiary of Hong Kong's statutory licensing body of accountants, the Hong Kong Institute of Certified Public Accountants (HKICPA).

The institute's Accredited Accounting Technician (AAT) qualification is a vehicle for accounting practitioners without a university degree, who look to advance their academic credentials. Young people wishing to explore the profession may also apply. "The AAT examination is a perfect first step for young people to understand the different aspects of accounting and to see if they are interested in accountancy," notes Johnson Kong, president, HKIAAT.

"It's also an excellent option for people seeking promotion at work or looking to diversify their roles in a competitive business world," Mr Kong adds. "People in professions other than accounting can also benefit, since the programme includes papers on accounting, finance, law, taxation, as well as other business related areas that harness a wide range of business skills."

Since the curriculum covers a range of business and finance issues, accreditation provides a definite edge. Graduates emerge with a solid grasp of accounting systems and software, analytical and communication skills, and the code of ethics required of accounting professionals, stresses Mr Kong.

"The qualified individuals will gain extensive practical knowledge of accounting, financial analysis and management. The qualification is proof that they've reached a high level of professional competency, and AATs in general make excellent employees in corporations of different sizes."

He advises young people pursuing professional qualifications to assess their career ambitions and choose qualifications that fit in with their personal aspirations and needs. For instance, people that already have a recognised degree in accounting may enrol in HKICPA's qualification programme (QP) to qualify directly as Certified Public Accountants (CPAs) once they have relevant work experience.

There are bright academic and career prospects for AATs, Mr Kong notes. By passing the Professional Bridging Examination (PBE), they can be qualified to enrol in HKICPA's QP and work towards CPA designation.

They may also continue to study towards a bachelor's qualification at a number of overseas and Hong Kong institutions, including the Open University of Hong Kong, which offers a bachelor of professional accounting programme specifically designed for AATs. The programme is closely aligned with the PBE syllabus and once students obtain their degrees, they are eligible for admission to the HKICPA's QP.

"When young people consider further studies, it's important that they examine the programme scope, as well as future opportunities for admission to advanced qualifications. They should also evaluate their own temperaments and ambitions, so that they'll choose programmes and job roles that fit in with their personal goals," Mr Kong concludes.

Taken from Career Times 12 November 2010, A11
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