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Approved accounting experience for practising certificate ("PC") issuance under section 29A(5)(a) of the Professional Accountants Ordinance

Under section 29A(5)(a) of the Professional Accountants Ordinance ("PAO"), "approved accounting experience" means such professional accountancy experience as the Council may approve from time to time as sufficient practical experience for the issuance of a PC.  The current requirements/ policies are as follows:

1.

No. of years of approved accounting experience:

Under section 29A(1) of the PAO, a PC applicant is required to have at least four years of full-time approved accounting experience in the office of:

  (a) a PC holder in Hong Kong; or
  (b) a person practising public accountancy under the jurisdiction of
    (i) an accountancy body with which the Institute has a reciprocal membership agreement ("RMA") or mutual recognition agreement ("MRA"); or
    (ii) an accountancy body accepted by the Council under section 24(1A) of the PAO.

The four years can be reduced to 30 months if all of the experience is post-qualifying. 

 

2.

Post-qualifying experience:

At least one year of the experience is post-qualifying experience, i.e. acquired after becoming a HKICPA member or a member of a body accepted by the Council under section 24(1A) of the PAO.



3.

Recent local experience:

At least one year of the experience must be gained in Hong Kong within three years preceding the application, i.e. prior to the date of submission of your PC application to the Institute.

 

Example – If your last employment with a local CPA practice ended on 31 July 2014, your PC application along with relevant supporting documents and appropriate application/annual fees must reach the Institute on or before 30 July 2016.


 

4.

No. of employments:

Within the required length of full-time experience in public practice for a PC (i.e. four years or 30 months if all experience is post-qualifying), 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.  The respective requirements are:



Minimum length of full-time experience for PC Maximum number of employments Maximum number of employments which are less than 12 months each
Experience comprising pre- and post-qualifying experience 4 years 5 2
All experience is post-qualifying 30 months 4 2
   
5. Location:
5.1 Hong Kong experience
  Practical experience, of which 75% must be in auditing, acquired in the office of a PC holder in Hong Kong is fully acceptable.
5.2 Mainland China experience
For experience gained in Mainland China, Council has prescribed criteria for recognition and they are as follows:
  (a) the Mainland CPA practice is a branch/subsidiary of or affiliated with a CPA practice in Hong Kong;
(b) the PC applicant's work significantly relates to a Hong Kong engagement; and
(c) the applicant is working under the direct supervision of a Hong Kong PC holder.
But at least one year of the four-year/ thirty-month auditing experience for PC issuance must have been acquired in Hong Kong.
5.3 Experience acquired outside Hong Kong and Mainland China
  (1) Practical experience, of which 75% must be in auditing, acquired in the office of a person practising public accountancy under the jurisdiction of an accountancy body with which the Hong Kong Institute of CPAs ("the Institute") has a reciprocal membership agreement ("RMA") where practical experience requirements have been assessed as equivalent, is acceptable for meeting the approved accounting experience/ post-qualifying experience requirements. Currently, these are:-
    (i) Chartered Accountants Australia & New Zealand ("CA ANZ")
    (ii) Chartered Accountants Ireland ("ICAI")
    (iii)

Chartered Professional Accountants Canada ("CPA Canada")

    (iv)

Institute of Chartered Accountants in England & Wales ("ICAEW")

    (v) Institute of Chartered Accountants of Scotland ("ICAS")
    (vi) Institute of Chartered Accountants of Zimbabwe ("ICAZ")
    (vii) South African Institute of Chartered Accountants ("SAICA")
    (viii) U.S. State Boards of Accountancy
       
  (2) Practical experience, of which 75% must be in auditing, acquired in the office of a person practising public accountancy under the jurisdiction of CPA Australia ("CPAA")/ Association of Chartered Certified Accountants ("ACCA") will be recognized in accordance with the terms of the mutual recognition agreement ("MRA"). Such experience will be accepted only if it has been gained:-
    (a) under an Authorized Employer or Authorized Supervisor complying with the Institute's Practical Experience Framework requirement; or
    (b) from a training organization accredited by an RMA body.
       
  (3) Practical experience, of which 75% must be in auditing, acquired in the office of a person practising public accountancy under the jurisdiction of an overseas body, which has entered into an agreement for mutual examination paper exemption ("MEPE") with the Institute, must comply with (2)(a) or (b) above in order to be accepted.  Currently, this body is the Chartered Institute of Management Accountants ("CIMA").
   
   
 6.

75% of Audit involvement:

As the PC entitles the holder to sign statutory audit reports, the auditing experience required to qualify for a PC refers to external auditing experience.  Experience gained from internal audit will not be accepted for PC issuance purpose.

Under a current Council ruling, which serves as a benchmark for evaluating the audit involvement of PC applicants, the working experience of a PC applicant acquired from audit-related work or assignments other than statutory audits may also be accepted provided that such work or assignments involve attest or examination functions.

Accordingly, PC applicants who acquired working experience in a department of a CPA practice that does not provide external auditing services will be considered on an individual merit basis.  In addition to filing of a completed Proforma for Testimonial (Form PCT)to the Institute, these applicants will be required to provide an official testimonial issued by a practising partner/director from his/her employer to substantiate that his/her working experience has met the criteria as set out in the aforesaid Council ruling for consideration.

 
Last update in Oct 2018
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