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Institute's membership survey reflects a rewarding profession

29 June 2017

Members enjoy favourable income and career prospect despite the challenge to balance work and life


(Hong Kong, 29 June 2017) Hong Kong accountants continue to enjoy favorable remuneration and high levels of mobility within their careers, while those with diverse skill sets and experience are in high demand, proving the outlook of the accountancy profession is positive, according to the Hong Kong Institute of CPAs' most recent 4th membership survey.


In the annual survey conducted from 14 November to 15 December, a total of 3,748 respondents completed the questionnaire, resulting in a response rate of approximately 9 percent of total membership.


The survey results reaffirm the broad opportunities for CPAs as the accounting qualification opens many doors for career development. Institute members work in a variety of different sectors from public practice to multinational corporations, family businesses and small-to-medium sized enterprises to government bodies and non-profit organizations.


Mabel Chan, the Institute's President notes, "The skill sets of an accountant are valuable across a diverse spectrum of business, as seen by the sectors in which our members currently serve, in supporting Hong Kong's economic growth and maintaining its status as an international financial centre."


Attractiveness of the profession

Salary remuneration continues to increase with 49 percent of respondents earning more than HK$600,000 per year, compared to the 45 percent recorded in the last survey. Statistics also show that 12 percent earned over $1.2 million a year and the top 3 percent earned more than $2.4 million per year. Additionally, 84 percent of respondents received a pay rise and 79 percent received a bonus. In the private sector 59 percent received a bonus greater than one month's salary.


This high paying salary coupled with company's added benefits remain the top factors for motivating staff, followed by job satisfaction and the prospect of a promotion. Salaries and benefits also remain the top influencer for attracting new employees across all sectors.


"I have full confidence in the future of the accounting profession. Salaries may attract many young people, but I believe it is the training which is the most valuable, as it provides a solid foundation for young people to work in every other areas of business," says Chan, an accountant for over two decades.


Indeed, the Institute recorded high numbers of members (more than 41,000) and students (more than 18,000) as more people continue to join the profession. Large accounting firms are always among the most attractive employers for new members starting their careers. According to the Institute's latest statistics, 48 percent of Qualification Programme graduates work in Big Four accounting firms.


Outlook and career development

This year, 59 percent felt positive or neutral about the economic outlook for the next 18 months, which is higher as compared to 44 percent in the last survey.


As for their career plan, 58 percent of respondents do not plan to change jobs, while 32 percent plan to change jobs. In addition, employers in all sectors face difficulties in recruiting and retaining staff.


"It is common for members, after having acquired a few years of experience in public practice, to switch to private and non-profit sectors. The well-recognized CPA qualification offers them the advantage of high mobility," says Raphael Ding, the Institute's Chief Executive. "The statistics also imply that accountants, especially those with the right skills and experience, are highly sought after by employers."


Within their work, respondents report a variety of different necessary skills. The most important skill sets for their current jobs are analytical (22 percent), problem solving (18 percent), followed by technical and communication (12 percent each). Overall, 81 percent say there is a need to continue to develop themselves by acquiring additional skills to meet the markets needs. For those who move from public practice to private and non-profit sectors, they would like to strengthen their skills including sector knowledge, problem solving, flexibility / ability to adapt to change, creative thinking, and negotiation.


"The Institute strives to help members further develop their careers with services such as the Financial Controllership Programme and the Mentorship Programme. They are looking for professional and technical training and this coincides with the Institute's effort to expand the scope of services offered, including soft skills and non-traditional training," says Ding.


Work-life balance

The survey acknowledges the problem of long working hours in the profession as 53 percent of respondents worked 50 hours or more in an average week. During the busiest week, 80 percent of the respondents reported working 50 hours or more.


Respondents suggest a number of ways to deal with long working hours including employing more staff, streamlining work processes, and overtime compensation, among others.


"Different sectors have different circumstances and job cycle contributing to long working hours. As reflected in the diversity of solutions suggested by respondents, the issue of long working hours is a complex issue that requires involved parties to work together to address the issue." says Ding. "The Institute endeavours to play a more active role to bring together employers, employees and other stakeholders to address the issue in a considered and robust manner."


Meanwhile, the Institute observes that accounting firms and businesses are harnessing technology such as artificial intelligence to help cope with work and deal with long working hours.


"Keenly aware of the need to consider advanced technology for conducting audits and businesses, the Institute is proactively playing a part by reforming its Qualification Programme and introducing more relevant CPD programmes, to help equip our students and members to meet the changing market needs," says Ding.







是次會員調查於 2016 11 14 日至 12 15 日期間進行,共有 3,748 名回覆者完成問卷,回覆率為總會員人數的 9%








調查發現會計師薪酬持續上升。49%的回覆者每年賺取超過 600,000 港元,較去年調查的 45%為多。統計數字亦顯示,12%的回覆者每年賺取超過 120 萬港元,而收入最高的 3%回覆者每年賺取超過 240 萬港元。此外,84%的回覆者獲得加薪,另外79%獲得花紅。在私營機構中,59%的回覆者獲取超過一個月薪金的花紅。






此外,越來越多人繼續加入會計專業,令公會的會員及學生人數持續增長(分別為超過 41,000 18,000 人)。大型會計師事務所總是新會員開展事業時的首選僱主。根據公會最新的統計數字,48%的專業資格課程(QP)畢業生在四大會計師事務所工作。




今次調查有 59%對未來 18 個月的經濟前景表示樂觀或一般,與上次比較只有 44%為高。


對於事業發展,58%的回覆者沒有轉換工作的計劃,而 32%則打算轉換工作。此外,所有界別的僱主都面對招聘及留住員工的困難。




在工作上,回覆者表示他們需要多種不同的技能,最重要的是分析能力(22%)、解決問題能力(18%)、技術能力(12%)及溝通能力(12%)。整體來說,有 81%的回覆者表示有需要繼續自我增值,以增強工作能力應付市場需要。從會計師事務所轉職至私營及非牟利機構的會員,亦致力加強相關技能,包括行業知識、解決問題能力、靈活度/ 適應改變的能力、創意思維及談判能力。






調查發現,53%的回覆者每週平均工時 50 小時或以上,而 80%的回覆者表示在最忙季節每週工作 50 小時或以上,說明業界有長工時的問題。