'It made me sure that a career in tax was right for me'
Sandy Cheng Ka-ying, a tax associate with Deloitte since her graduation in 2005, recalls the 2004 final
'I'd just finished a tax module as part of my second year when I received an e-mail from the department at Hong Kong Polytechnic University about the competition. I'm good at tax and I'm interested in tax, but mainland tax, I hadn't even touched it, none of us had.
'We started preparing at the beginning of the 2004 summer holidays. The first thing we did was read and digest the books Deloitte sent us. These were on mainland tax laws and on foreign-invested enterprises. We spent a lot of time swapping between English and Putonghua, which made it all the more difficult. Our teacher gave us lots of accounting terms in English, which we had to translate. We had to do this because the competition case study needed to be written in Putonghua and we had to be prepared.
'Language was a definite problem. We understood the concepts but swapping between Putonghua and English made the whole thing harder.
'There was a lot to cover, so the four of us worked on different aspects on our own and then got together to discuss them. Our professor helped us and gave us case studies to practise on. He gave us some good practical advice on how to deal with mainland tax issues. This was particularly useful.
'On the day of the competition we were put in a room on our own. We were quite nervous, but then we got the case and understood what we needed to do. We worked well together but the time was rushed. There was a lot to do in the three hours, especially when it came to going through the books to find the laws we wanted to quote to back up our case.
'But I'm glad I took part because it gave me a good insight into the life of a tax consultant. It made me sure that a career in tax was right for me.'