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HKICPA survey shows non-traditional accounting talents are in-demand amidst changing times

07 November 2019

(HONG KONG, 7 November 2019) A Career Survey conducted by the Hong Kong Institute of Certified Public Accountants found that 36% of member respondents are undertaking roles in non-traditional accounting functions and employers are experiencing difficulties in retaining and recruiting such talents.

“In the Accounting Plus era, CPAs are moving into a wider range of businesses beyond the traditional accounting and auditing sectors. Despite the economic uncertainty, accounting professionals remain in high-demand across Hong Kong for the diverse services they offer. This demonstrates the importance employers and clients place on the skills of accountants – even in challenging times,” said Patrick Law, President of Hong Kong Institute of Certified Public Accountants. 

Non-traditional accounting roles in public practice include consulting, forensic accounting and insolvency. In the non-practising sector, these functions include corporate finance, investment and financial management, internal control and risk management, as well as compliance.

“The role of accountants is transforming with an ever-changing business world. A new mix of hard and soft skills such as business acumen, data analytics and leaderships are required to stay relevant and provide effective strategic advice. Members in leadership positions in the accounting profession do more than crunch numbers and require job skills in leadership and decision making,” Mr Law said. 

He added, “The earning power of the CPA designation stays strong, but CPAs also need to strengthen their skills in the age of Accounting Plus to seize this opportunity. With this in mind, the Institute is continuously expanding its range of continuous professional development (CPD) courses to ensure its members and students can access the training they need for career success.” 

The Institute is committed to equipping members with various skills to thrive in the ever-changing business environment. The support helps accountants on their digitalization journey, where they can create value-added solutions for clients leveraging on advanced technologies. Members can access a wide range of tech-related CPD programmes, including the seminar series “Challenge and Advancement of Treasury Management” newly launched on 30 October 2019, which looks into omnichannel collection and the application of blockchain. Another tech-related series is the Fintech series, which covers topics from cybersecurity, the European Union’s General Data Protection Regulation, cloud computing, artificial intelligence to big data, and will help members develop the skill set employers look for in the Accounting Plus era.
 
As well as face-to-face courses and programmes, the Institute is increasing the range of online courses, including more content from leading global producers of professional development materials. 

The annual Career Survey was comprised of a membership survey conducted from November to December 2018 with 2,612 respondents, and a studentship survey conducted from December 2018 to January 2019 with 1,302 respondents. Respondents of all levels agreed on the importance of developing their soft skills. Among all skills, problem-solving and analytical skills are of the top importance in accountants’ daily tasks, applying strong technical knowhow to business, and providing practical solutions to client issues. 

In terms of mobility, 45% of member respondents and 64% of student respondents expected to change their role (promotion or change in responsibilities) or move to a new organization in the next 12 months.

Responders at management levels reported difficulties in recruiting and retaining staff. Practising firms, particularly larger organizations, reported significant difficulty in retaining staff as it is a common career move for junior members to transfer from the practicing to non-practising sector after obtaining their qualification and practical experience. 

Senior and middle managers were asked in the membership survey about their organization’s recruitment plans. Over half of the management level respondents expected to increase recruitment or fill vacancies, demonstrating the continued demand for professional accountants which enables employees to switch organizations receive a promotion or move into a new role.

There were differences between the employers. Big Four and CPA firms with listed clients are taking a more active recruitment approach to deal with the demands of IPO advisory work and expand their service offering to area including environmental, social and governance reporting, cybersecurity and other areas of consulting. While in the non-practising sector, corporates face a slowing global economy and would be more prudent on recruitment.

Remuneration for accounting professions in Hong Kong is highly competitive with other professions, and accounting is a well-paid profession for those entering the work force. 

With inflation of 2.5% in 2018 in Hong Kong, the median pay rise for members was between 3% and 4.9%, and that lies between 5 and 6.9% for students. 

Student respondents with less than one year of experience had an average starting salary of $17,500 per month. Average reported remuneration for membership was $70,000 per month, while the average salaries for newly-qualified accountants (with up to one year of post qualification experience) was $35,000 per month. Student respondents reported an average monthly of $23,000.

 

Bonuses stood strong as well, with median bonuses of 1 to 2 months for members and up to 1 month for students.

HKICPA's latest Career Survey is available online at:
https://www.hkicpa.org.hk/en/News/Communications/Surveys/Membership-Survey
 

香港會計師公會調查顯示市場急速轉變

非傳統職能的會計專才需求殷切 

 

(香港,二零一九年十一月七日)香港會計師公會對會員進行的一項就業調查發現,36%回覆會員正從事非傳統會計工作,而僱主則表示在徵才留才方面遇到挑戰。

香港會計師公會會長羅富源先生表示:「我們正身處『Accounting Plus』世代,會計師的事業發展已超越傳統會計及核數範疇,並擴展至更廣泛的服務領域。儘管經濟環境多變,香港市場對能夠提供多元化服務的會計專才的需求仍然殷切。由此反映,即使在挑戰重重的時期,僱主及客戶都十分倚重會計師的專業。」

在執業會計師事務所,非傳統會計職能包括諮詢服務、法證會計及破產管理等;而非執業界別的非傳統職能則包括企業財務、投資及財務管理、內部監控、風險管理及合規管理等。

羅先生說:「商業世界瞬息萬變,會計師的角色亦隨之演變。會計師要兼具實務才能與軟技能、商業觸覺、數據分析及領導才能等,才能與時並進、提供適切的策略建議。在會計專業擔當管理層的會員,不單要處理數字,更要發揮領導及決策角色。」

「會計師專業資格為人才帶來理想的收入,然而於『Accounting Plus』世代,會計師亦要增強實力把握機會。公會致力豐富持續專業進修(CPD)課程的內容及範疇,確保會員及學生獲得合適培訓,協助他們於事業發展上更上一層樓。」羅先生補充說。

公會重視為會員裝備多元技能,助他們與不斷發展的營商環境同步向前,並支援會計師於數碼時代藉先進科技的助力為客戶提供增值服務。公會提供多類科技相關的CPD課程,包括於二零一九年十月三十日新推出有關庫務管理的挑戰和科技應用的研討會系列,探討全渠道收款及區塊鏈的運用等。此外亦有關於金融科技的系列,題材涵蓋網絡保安、歐盟的一般資料保護規範、雲端運算、人工智能以至大數據技術等,助會員在「Accounting Plus」世代發展市場渴求的技能。

公會提供面授培訓課程及活動外,亦不斷增添網上課程,包括引入國際領先機構製作的專業進修教材。

是次年度就業調查分為兩部份:會員調查於二零一八年十一月至十二月期間進行,回覆者共2,612人;而QP 學生調查則於二零一八年十二月至二零一九年一月期間進行,共1,302人回覆。各職級的會員及學生不約而同認為提升軟技能十分重要,當中以解難能力和分析技巧於會計師在日常工作最為關鍵,並要應用會計專業知識幫助公司及客戶處理事宜。

就人才流動性而言,調查中分別有四成五的會員及六成四學生打算在未來12個月轉職(晉升或職能轉變)或轉工。

擔任管理職位的會員表示在招聘及留才方面遇到挑戰。由於不少工作年資淺的會員在獲得專業資歷及實務經驗後,會由執業界別轉到商界發展,執業會計師事務所(尤其規模較大的事務所)在留住員工上遇到重大困難。

公會亦向擔任中、高管理層的會員了解所服務機構的招聘計劃,逾半數預期會增聘人手或填補空缺,反映市場對會計專才的需求持續,僱員亦能透過轉工獲得晉升或擔當新職能的機會。

不同僱主亦有着不同需求。四大及其他負責上市公司客戶的會計師事務所較積極招聘人才,以應付上市諮詢工作的需求,以及拓展其服務至環境、社會及管治匯報、網絡保安及其他諮詢領域;而非執業界別的企業,則因全球經濟放緩在招聘上較為審慎。

與香港其他專業比較,會計專業的薪酬水平具競爭力,並為初投身社會的專才提供良好薪酬條件。

二零一八年香港的通脹率為2.5%,會員的加薪幅度中位數為3%至4.9%,而學生則為5%至6.9%。

在調查回覆者中,工作經驗不足一年的學生平均起薪為每月17,500港元。會員的平均月薪為70,000港元,而剛獲會計師資歷(即考獲後累積一年或以下經驗)的會員賺取的月薪平均為35,000港元。學生的平均月薪則為23,000港元。

調查亦顯示會員及學生享有不俗的花紅收入,會員獲發的花紅中位數為一至兩個月,而學生則多達一個月。

公會最新的就業調查已上載至
https://www.hkicpa.org.hk/en/News/Communications/Surveys/Membership-Survey,以供參閱。

 
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