Money Moves

Meeting of minds

by Agnes Chan

Special highlights of a recent event for the accounting profession

Accounting professionals reap rewards of one-stop recruitment portal

Richard Ho, deputy president
CPA Australia Hong Kong China Division
Photos: Wallace Chan

Buoyant economies in Hong Kong and China plus the keener focus on corporate governance have helped create a favourable platform for individuals aspiring towards a career in audit and accounting.

To ensure accounting firms recruit the finest talent, CPA Australia organised the Career Market Day for the fourth year running. The event attracted more than 1,200 enrolments, which equates to a two-fold increase since 2006.

"The Career Market Day serves as a starting point for candidates to meet their potential employers from various industries including accounting and banking. Such networking opportunities benefit both the individuals and the participating organisations," said Richard Ho, deputy president, CPA Australia Hong Kong China Division.

Confirming this, Terry Lau, senior human resources manager, BDO McCabe Lo Limited said, "The Career Market Day is a main event in the audit and accounting industry. Members of CPA Australia are smart, and they are able to demonstrate a great sense of dedication and charisma. The event has proved to be a success."

As in previous years, CPA Australia encouraged participants to submit their CV on the spot and communicate with potential employers to garner the latest information, background tips and career prospects. Presentations ran throughout the day to give candidates an overview of the work environment and culture of individual firms and career prospects. A total of 18 exhibitors, including the "big four" firms and 13 other leading firms, participated this year making the event a one-stop career opportunity for candidates.

Premium partnerships

(from left to right)
Terry Lau, senior human resources manager, BDO McCabe Lo Limited
Joseph Havlin, director,
Baker Tilly Hong Kong
Doug Oxley, past president, CPA Australia and partner and consultant, CWCC CPA Ltd
John Batchelor, executive director, Ferrier Hodgson Limited
Bruno Arboit, director,
Baker Tilly Hong Kong
Today the global membership of CPA Australia stands at more than 117,000, making it the largest professional finance and accounting organisation in Australia and the sixth largest in the world. CPA Australia has presence in key cities in China, including Beijing, Shanghai, Hong Kong, Guangzhou and Macau. The current membership in the Hong Kong China Division is 10,000 and that figure is expected to rise rapidly.

"We hold our partnerships with participating accounting companies in high regard. Naturally, we seek ever greater networking opportunities with them, and provide comprehensive assistance with the aim of supporting students, candidates and potential jobseekers," Mr Ho added.

Joseph Havlin, director of Baker Tilly Hong Kong, noted that the Career Market Day is an ideal forum to meet potential applicants and invite them to the office. "It's one of the premier recruiting functions in Hong Kong during the year to meet such a wide variety of candidates. The standard of university graduates and experienced candidates at the forum provides us with insight into our competitors' practices and strategies," Mr Havlin explained. He added that Baker Tilly Hong Kong values the partnership with CPA Australia. "We have a long-standing relationship with CPA Australia and we hope it will continue in the future."

Soaring demand

Career prospects for talented professionals remain bright for the foreseeable future, according to Bruno Arboit, director, Baker Tilly Hong Kong. "As a company, we anticipated an improved global level of corporate governance and greater focus on internal controls." Mr Arboit remarked. "In response to these stricter measures and the greater need for corporate accountability, we look to hiring as many as 20 people to satisfy our internal growth."

John Batchelor, executive director, Ferrier Hodgson Limited agreed, "The demand for quality accountants is growing fast. We expect the number of recruits to expand by 10 to 15 per cent this year."

To enter the profession, candidates should have a recognised degree. Of equal importance are a team mindset and first-rate people and commercial skills. An ability to make timely and logical decisions under pressure as well as an analytical eye to decipher and compile sophisticated reports are also essential for success.

Doug Oxley, past president of CPA Australia and partner and consultant of CWCC CPA Ltd emphasised the significance of soft skills in the accounting business. "You can always acquire and update technical skills through an array of sources. Without the essential soft skills, however, you may find it hard going as you progress," he said.

China now offers unprecedented opportunities for Hong Kong graduates, but according to Mr Ho, they should be well equipped particularly in terms of language proficiency. "Mandarin skills are vital. And in that regard, professionals should consider continuous learning a lucrative investment. The right mentality will pay enormous dividends," Mr Ho concluded.

Taken from Career Times 25 January 2008, p. A15
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