Programme opens door to important profession

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 16 December, 2006, 12:00am
UPDATED : Saturday, 16 December, 2006, 12:00am

A six-week series on the Certified Accounting Technician programme

Accounting scandals involving high-profile firms have put auditing under the spotlight and, as a result, have underlined the importance of the profession.

According to Andrew Leung, audit senior with CK Shum & Co who has also acquired the CAT and ACCA designations, an audit is necessary in assessing the fairness by which a company's financial statements are presented by its management. The role of an auditor is to carry out an independent examination of the financial statements that a company's management has prepared.

Mr Leung said audits were performed to determine the validity and reliability of financial information, and also provided a valuable assessment of an organisation's system of internal control.

Such systems must adhere to generally accepted standards set by governing bodies that regulate businesses.

'Audits have important implications for investors making investment decisions, for banks and financial institutions that may extend credit or make loans to the company, and for other businesses and members of the public who deal with the company,' Mr Leung said. He said private companies typically requested audits because owners might want to have an external, impartial, professional review of the financial statements to determine if the company was complying with all the required accounting principles.

Some companies also used internal auditors to review their financial reporting processes and internal accounting controls to ensure that the company's systems were appropriately designed and operating effectively.

Mr Leung said those with a flair for figures could learn basic auditing skills by completing the ACCA certified accounting technician (CAT) syllabus. He said completion of the programme could also open the way for a position with an auditing company or an audit position in the private sector and establish the first steps of a career in auditing.

'The CAT programme can be useful for securing a job with a local auditing company and could provide more diverse on-the-job training,' Mr Leung said.