Mainland enterprises are booming and overseas investors are desperate to increase their presence in the China market. As far as Frank Lyn, China market leader for PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) is concerned, that points to one inevitable conclusion: the demand for accounting and auditing services will continue to grow even more rapidly in the short to medium term.
"With GDP in China increasing at about 10 per cent a year, there will be demand from both domestic companies and foreign investors," Mr Lyn says. "The challenge is to find enough qualified accountants with the knowledge and international experience to meet those needs."
He points out that auditing and accountancy work requires a thorough understanding of the established professional standards plus a high degree of integrity and commitment. "Certain skills and attributes are essential if you want to operate successfully in this working environment," he notes.
We look for people with a broad vision, clear goals and international exposure
PwC currently has more than 7,000 staff split between its mainland China and Hong Kong offices and has an ongoing challenge to compete with other firms to attract qualified accountants and the best graduate recruits. Candidates must have good English and Chinese language skills and the commitment to build a long-term career within the profession.
In recent years, PwC has taken on an average of 1,000 new recruits in China each year and puts each of them through a rigorous selection process. "We look for people with a broad vision, clear goals and international exposure," Mr Lyn says. "We provide extensive training to ensure that new joiners will be equipped with up-to-date knowledge of local and international accounting and auditing standards. Other training further enhances the skill sets needed in this competitive market."
Mr Lyn advises that flexibility is essential for anyone planning to work on the mainland. "You must be able to adapt and realise that living standards are improving, but that things are also becoming more competitive," he says. "It is therefore important to work for an organisation that provides the right environment for both personal and professional growth."
He adds that it is also necessary to learn about the mainland's business culture. "Hong Kong is generally seen as more mature in this respect and more accustomed to complying with international standards and practices," he says. "However, if you have the right mindset and the necessary skills, mainland China offers enormous opportunities, especially for young professionals looking for a career breakthrough."
Mr Lyn says that PwC offers good opportunities for career advancement and a transparent scale of remuneration and benefits. "You must commit to continuous learning and the rewards will be commensurate with how much you put into the job," he says. "When we talk about recruitment in mainland China, the same global standards apply because we need to maintain the integrity of the firm, as well as our reputation for quality."
Chance to grow The business expansion of mainland and overseas companies is adding to the demand for qualified accountants
Professionals in the field must have a high degree of integrity and commitment
Candidates are required to get through a rigorous selection process
Accountants relocating from Hong Kong have good opportunities for personal and professional growth
Global standards must be applied to maintain the firm's reputation