Have you ever considered a career in non-traditional accounting?
According to a career survey by the Hong Kong Institute of Certified Public Accountants, 36% of member respondents are undertaking roles in non-traditional accounting functions and employers are experiencing difficulties in retaining and recruiting such talents.
Non-traditional accounting roles in public practice include consulting, forensic accounting and insolvency, said HKICPA.
In the non-practising sector, these functions include corporate finance, investment and financial management, internal control and risk management, as well as compliance, the accountancy body added.
“In the accounting plus era, CPAs are moving into a wider range of businesses beyond the traditional accounting and auditing sectors,” said Patrick Law, President of HKICPA.
“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.”
While the earning power of the CPA designation stays strong, CPAs also need to strengthen their skills in the age of “Accounting Plus” to seize opportunities, Law advised.
HKICPA’s 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, the accountancy body said.
- 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.
- 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.
- More than 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.
- 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.
- 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 HK$17,500 (US$2236) per month. Average reported remuneration for membership was HK$70,000 (US$8944) per month, while the average salaries for newly-qualified accountants (with up to one year of post qualification experience) was HK$35,000 (US$4472) per month. Student respondents reported an average monthly of HK$23,000 (US$2938).
- Members received median bonuses of one to two months and students one month of bonuses.