Accounting body to accept American qualifications

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 16 August, 2011, 12:00am
UPDATED : Tuesday, 16 August, 2011, 12:00am


About 370,000 American accountants will have their professional qualifications recognised in Hong Kong from October.

In return, 30,000 certified accountants from Hong Kong will be recognised in the US by the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants.

A deal has been reached between the US body and the Hong Kong Institute of Certified Public Accountants after five years of negotiation.

'Such arrangements make it much easier for professionals to practise in other regions,' Jonathan Ng, the Hong Kong institute's deputy executive director, said.

However, American accountants would still need to sit exams in two subjects, tax and law, to become certified accountants in Hong Kong. They would then need to fulfil a specified period of auditing experience before they could practise in the city. The same rule applies to accountants from Commonwealth countries practising in the city.

Ng said the negotiations had taken so long because different US states had different requirements.

'More American accountants may come to Hong Kong, but strong growth in the mainland market would be able to absorb the increased manpower,' said Dr Daniel Ho, an associate professor at Baptist University.

A growing number of professional bodies in Hong Kong face pressure to recognise qualifications from countries outside the Commonwealth.

Cardiologist Dr Lau Yuk-kong took the Medical Council to court over its refusal to recognise his qualification as a fellow of the American College of Cardiology, a credential recognised in Britain and on the mainland. He won his case last week.

US architectural qualifications are recognised in Hong Kong, but the engineering sector has yet to sign mutual recognition agreements with the US.

The different systems in different states made negotiations more complicated, Hong Kong Institution of Engineers president Chan Fuk-cheung said.