Firstly, I wanted to wish a very Happy New Year to all members. I am honoured to be President of our Institute and help lead our profession through the year ahead. As CPAs, we all face disruption to our activities brought by advanced technology and we must ensure that the Institute helps equip all members with the skills needed to thrive in the smart era. We have an exciting year ahead of us, and the Council’s leadership of the Institute is instrumental to ensuring a prosperous future for all members.
Over the next year, I believe the Institute should focus on four core activities. Firstly, implementing its digital strategy; secondly re-energizing the brand; thirdly finalizing and start implementing the Seventh Long Range Plan; and finally building on top of these activities, we will ensure accountability and transparency with members through effective communications on all fronts.
The Institute needs to upgrade its digital systems to keep pace with the demands of the smart, always on, always connected era. This year, the Institute plans to implement a multi-year process of upgrading its digital services. It has been a long time since the website and other related services were launched and since then global developments have left behind our web presence. By upgrading the website and its digital communication abilities, members and the public will find it easier to access the services of the Institute and the information they seek.
We must work to refresh the brand. Accounting has moved on from “bean counting” and financial reporting, yet this is still the image to many in society. It must therefore be clearer to the public, and especially students who may be interested in joining the profession, that a career in accounting is in fact a career in “accounting plus...” As professionals, we are all aware of the many other services our firms offer including advisory, valuations, IT consulting, due diligence, restructuring, etc. – the list is extensive. We must be better at communicating this to society. Accounting is a profession for the future.
“It must be clearer to the public, and especially students who may be interested in joining the profession, that a career in accounting is in fact a career in ‘accounting plus...'”
The Seventh Long Range Plan will help the profession face the disruption of the digital era. Building on the foundation of the sixth plan, the plan will set out the agenda for the coming five years. I hope to be able to share more details of the seventh plan with you in the coming months.
Finally, the Institute must improve its communications with members. The profession will benefit from enhance transparency and communications with members by making sure the activities the Institute support of members and their businesses through constant communication with members. We must continue to ensure we are working for all members, be they in practice or in business, small and large, and offering them the services they need for their career development.
I look forward to making progress on these matters with my fellow Council members and with the support of the wider membership. Together we can ensure our profession will continue to thrive and sustain to better serve our society and beyond.
On the international front it is also an exciting year for the profession in Hong Kong, with visits from key stakeholders including, the International Financial Reporting Standards Foundation trustee dinner at the end of January, the Natural Capital Coalition in late spring, and in June the Nomination Committee for the International Federation of Accountants will be held at the Institute. We are pleased to host these high-level meetings and proud that Hong Kong continues to be recognized as a global leader of the accounting profession.
I had the privilege of being interviewed for A Plus this month. You can read more about me and my aims for the year ahead here.