Practical experience requirements for membership admission

Under the Professional Accountants By-law 41(3), "practical experience" (實際經驗)  means experience whether in Hong Kong or elsewhere acceptable to the Council as an employee of a person practising public accountancy or in the financial or management accountancy department of an organization in industry, commerce or the public service or in a similar department.


The Institute's Council further rules that:


  1. Depending on the academic qualifications of the membership applicant, the period of full-time practical experience will be three, four or five years: 


      • Approved degree holders or HKIAAT graduates who have passed the QP
      3 years
      • Approved accountancy diploma holders
      4 years
      • Holders of other academic qualifications
      5 years

    • Within the required length of practical experience for membership, an applicant can have up to two employments, each of which is less than 12 months long with the same employer. The rest of the experience must be acquired from employment(s) that lasts for at least 12 months with the same employer. Depending on the academic qualifications of the applicant, the respective requirements are:



      Minimum length of full-time

      practical experience

      for membership

      Maximum number

      of employments

      Maximum number

      of employments

      which are less than 12 months each

      Approved degree holders or HKIAAT graduates who have passed the QP3 years42
      Approved accountancy diploma holders4 years52
      Holders of other academic qualifications5 years62


    • Part-time experience will not be counted as part of the practical experience.


    The Institute first introduced the new practical experience framework in 2002 on a voluntary basis and it has become mandatory in 2005. Practical experience gained by the Institute's registered students on or after 1 January 2005 and by applicants from other recognized bodies, if applicable, on or after 1 July 2005 must be under the Institute's authorized employer or authorized supervisor complying with the practical experience framework requirements.


    Non-authorized employer / authorized supervisor experience


    Non-authorized employer / authorized supervisor experience in accountancy acquired before 1 January 2005 (for the Institute's registered students) or 1 July 2005 (for other prospective members) may also be recognized under the old system (i.e. the system before the introduction of the practical experience framework). Applicants are required to furnish the Institute with relevant work testimonials and/or the Institute's student's training record book (STRB) to support their membership application.


    For experience acquired under authorized employer / authorized supervisor, applicants are required to use the Prospective member's record of practical experience for membership admission (training records) to record their experience.


    Overseas practical experience


    Recognition of practical experience acquired outside Hong Kong before the mandatory implementation of the authorized employer / authorized supervisor practical experience framework for the Institute's registered students on 1 January 2005 or for applicants from other recognized bodies on 1 July 2005:


    1. The practical experience acquired in a country whose accountancy profession is under the jurisdiction of an accepted accountancy body may be fully accepted, i.e. Australia, Canada, Ireland, Mainland China, New Zealand, South Africa, the United Kingdom, the United States, and Zimbabwe.

    3. The accounting experience obtained in an office not situated in Hong Kong nor a territory under a recognized jurisdiction (overseas office) may be accepted in full if:


      • the overseas office is that of (i) a Hong Kong entity or a branch / subsidiary thereof, or (ii) an entity operating in a recognized jurisdiction or a branch / subsidiary thereof; and
      • the applicant's work relates to the accounting practices of Hong Kong or those of a recognized jurisdiction; and
      • the applicant works under the direct supervision of a member of the Hong Kong Institute of CPAs or a recognized institute.

    4. If an applicant cannot fulfill all three criteria above, at the discretion of the Council, not more than half of his/her experience may be recognized up to a maximum of 18 months.

    6. Experience gained in the branch office of a Hong Kong CPA practice is considered as satisfying the three criteria for non-Hong Kong experience.


    Recognition of practical experience acquired outside Hong Kong after 1 January 2005 (for the Institute's registered students) or 1 July 2005 (for other prospective members):


    1. Practical experience may be recognized if it is gained under an authorized employer / authorized supervisor. 

    3. Practical experience acquired from a training organization accredited by an overseas accountancy body with which the Institute has entered into a reciprocal membership agreement may also be accepted. However, the accredited training organization is required to provide training to the prospective members in accordance with the competency requirements of the Institute's practical experience framework and to complete the Institute's training records.