Over the past few years the audit and accounting industry has enjoyed astounding business growth thanks to rapid economic development in China.
"The fast pace of economic growth in the Chinese market is creating an increasing demand for our professional services," says Victor Ng, head of audit, Southern China, Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu.
Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu's history in China can be traced back to 1917 when an office was opened in Shanghai, making it the first foreign accounting organisation to have a presence in this dynamic city. The firm continues to grow and develop into a network of operations with 7,000 employees including more than 300 partners in the 10 offices in Beijing, Dalian, Guangzhou, Hong Kong, Macau, Nanjing, Shanghai, Shenzhen, Suzhou and Tianjin. It plays a key role in the development of China's accounting and tax systems and has advised the Chinese Ministry of Finance on the development of accounting standards and mainland tax systems since 1993.
"As one of the leading organisations in China including Hong Kong providing professional accounting and audit services and advice, we have achieved the number one position in the US initial public offering (IPO) of Chinese companies," notes Mr Ng. Deloitte also plays a leading role in the financial services and banking sector, with two of the five Chinese commercial banks as their clients.
He adds, "We are the only firm that has retained our consulting services, in addition to being the largest enterprise risk services provider by headcount in the industry."
With a strong commitment to developing the China market, the firm is also committed to attracting, developing and retaining world-class professionals. "We invest a lot of time and resources helping them to develop professionally. Our aim is to foster a sense of pride and a greater sense of belonging among our team," says Mr Ng. The firm is reaping the benefits from its investment in people development as demonstrated by the continuous decline in staff turnover, while graduate intake surges year on year.
A "National secondment programme" is in place to provide opportunities for the firm's employees to experience the life in different offices in China. "Some Hong Kong employees have become so accustomed to the lifestyle and environment in mainland China that they have volunteered to relocate to the mainland," Mr Ng says.
Before sending employees on any assignment, the firm will ensure they are equipped with the knowledge and skills necessary to do a professional job. The establishment of the Deloitte Institute exemplifies this commitment to staff training and skills enhancement. The institute plays a significant role in equipping staff with both technical and personal skills to face the challenges in such a dynamic market. "We provide well-structured and ongoing learning and training for our people through the Deloitte Institute. Our programmes cover core technical skills, specialised industry expertise as well as soft skills which are important for professionals serving clients in both the global and local markets," Mr Ng says. "Through the institute, our professional qualification support (PQS) and various learning and development opportunities, we will continue to ensure our people excel and deliver quality services to our clients."
Mr Ng believes that sustained prosperity inevitably brings challenges. "In line with the recent growth of our industry in mainland China and Hong Kong, all sectors will become even more aggressive and eager to grasp new business opportunities in the future. As a result, tension among competitors will intensify," he says, noting the supply of qualified talent is outpaced by the demand for audit, tax, consulting and financial advisory services.
"In addition to recruiting accounting major graduates, we also hire non-accounting graduates who are offered a comprehensive conversion programme which supports their progress towards professional CPA qualifications," explains Mr Ng.
Regardless of the challenge ahead, Mr Ng believes that with firm perseverance, a global vision and a strong commitment to providing quality services for clients not only in Hong Kong, but also to the wider Asian community, the firm will continue to maintain its foothold as leader of the industry.