Happy new year, I wish you a year of good fortune and success in your work and life. It is my privilege to be President and I look forward to the year ahead leading the Institute to its own good fortune and success and working closely with my Vice-Presidents, Council members and the management of the Institute for the betterment of the entire profession.
A key task for the Council this year is to recruit a new Chief Executive and Registrar. A new chief executive is vital for the Institute to operate effectively, and the search committee will be interviewing candidates for the role in the coming months.
Strong and productive relationships with our counterparts in the Mainland are important for the success of the profession in the years ahead. I have long taken an active interest and role in the Institute’s activities in the Mainland, joining a number of delegations to meet representatives from the Ministry of Finance and other government and accounting bodies.
I expect the importance of the Greater Bay Area (GBA) to grow this year and the Institute will work hard in support of our members across the area. We will work to ensure effective communication with the relevant government bodies to facilitate Hong Kong-qualified accountants working in the GBA cities.
This year the Digital Strategic Plan will enter phase two. Building on the successful launch of the website last November, the team will develop new website improvements and new services will be offered to members. The Institute will also release a new and improved events app for signing up to continuing professional development events. I look forward to the other improvements they have in store.
We will further develop the Accounting Plus theme, ensuring that the profession is ready for the opportunities ahead. We will also ensure that our continuing professional development courses are tailored to members’ needs, offering them training in the skills needed to become Accountants Plus, and to succeed in the digitally connected era. While the launch of the new Qualification Programme, which begins rolling out later this year with a new student system and study materials, will help the next generation.
“When we build the profession together, we are stronger. As the President of the Institute, I am honoured to be leading the profession through this busy year, with some very important changes ahead.”
One big change affecting the practising members of our profession is the Financial Reporting Council (FRC) taking regulatory responsibility for the auditors of listed companies. The amendment bill is making its way through the Legislative Council process at the moment, and the Institute expects to meet with representatives of the Financial Services and the Treasury Bureau and the FRC in the coming months to discuss the remaining issues we have with the bill including the production of sanctioning measures guidelines, and the FRC’s oversight of some activities of the Institute and the wider profession. It is expected that the new regime will be in place after summer and the Institute will ensure the profession is supported throughout the transition.
Last year Council began publishing abridged minutes from its meetings on the website, so members can better understand the activities of Council, and this will continue this year. The Institute must effectively communicate with its members, to inform them of opportunities suitable for them such as continuing professional development, professional designations and other useful information.
Accounting Plus requires the Institute and the members to be more effectively communicating with each other. I believe it is important that we actively listen to our members, and I look forward to meeting members at the symposiums the Institute organizes, including for small- and medium-sized practitioners, young members and members in business. I am committed to attending many events across Hong Kong – one of my first activities, which I’m greatly looking forward to, is racing for the profession for the Chairman Cup of the Standard Chartered Marathon in February – and the Mainland. I look forward to meeting many of you at these events and hearing your voices and experiences in the age of Accounting Plus.
When we build the profession together, we are stronger. As the President of the Institute, I am honoured to be leading the profession through this busy year, with some very important changes ahead.