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  • Dec 20, 2014
  • Updated: 11:23pm
Occupy Central
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Employees from 'Big Four' accounting firms disown anti-Occupy Central ad

Professionals declare love for Hong Kong and reject political statement from 'Big Four' firms

PUBLISHED : Monday, 30 June, 2014, 2:01pm
UPDATED : Tuesday, 01 July, 2014, 2:53am

Employees of the so-called Big Four accounting firms have told off their bosses in public, in an advertisement rejecting the companies' joint anti-Occupy Central ad published last week.

"You boss, your statement does not represent our stance," they say in a quarter-page ad carried in the Chinese-language Apple Daily yesterday.

The Chinese words for "you boss" are printed in much bigger characters - the term, in Cantonese, can also mean an expression of anger bordering on vulgarity, hinting at the strong sentiments behind the unusual public comment.

The ad's creators called themselves a "group of Big Four employees who love Hong Kong".

Their bold move was in response to a statement issued on Friday by the city's four biggest accounting firms - Ernst & Young, KPMG, Deloitte and PricewaterhouseCoopers Hong Kong - condemning a non-violent sit-in planned by the Occupy Central democracy movement.

Students plan overnight Occupy Central sit-in 'rehearsal' after July 1 march

Occupy has threatened to block streets in Central if the government fails to deliver a plan for the 2017 chief executive election that guarantees voters a genuine choice between candidates.

The accounting firms said the blockade could have an "adverse and far-reaching impact" on the local legal system, social order and economic development.

Their statement was published in Chinese-language newspapers Ming Pao, the Hong Kong Economic Times and the Hong Kong Economic Journal.

Accountancy-sector lawmaker Kenneth Leung said it was possible that dozens of accountants were unhappy about their employers' statement and had paid for the latest ad.

"The firms were unwise in issuing the unprecedented statement against a political activity," Leung says. "Even their US counterparts did nothing of the sort when New York protesters staged Occupy Wall Street."

That protest began in September 2011. It targeted US financial policies blamed for the yawning income gap between rich and poor in the country, and sparked a wave of rallies across the globe.

All four accounting firms declined to comment on the latest ad. Occupy Central at the weekend wrapped up a public poll in which almost 800,000 voters picked their preferred option for the 2017 election.

The majority backed a plan to let political parties and the public propose candidates.

Meanwhile, the accountancy profession also spoke up on a separate issue - a June 13 protest outside the Legislative Council that forced the suspension of a Finance Committee meeting on the development of new towns in the New Territories.

In a Ming Pao ad, 25 members of the Society of Chinese Accountants and Auditors, including its president Stella Choy Po-fong, condemned the violence that broke out that night.



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This article is now closed to comments

Good for these employees to speak up.
I don't know why all the big bossesl want to stuff their heads so far up Beijing 's rear end what's in it for them? Some of them have their heads in so far you can't tell where one ends and the other begins.
Surely the Big Four's local kow towing lao bans were "encouraged" to place the anti-Occupy ad by the CCP's liaison office in HK. Without consulting their employees.
Typical ham fisted, CCP instigated approach which eventually bites back in the A S S...
The bosses were not speaking on behalf on their employees............they were speaking on behalf of their firms...............it doesn't matter whether the employees like it or not cause they are just employees with no right to disagree.............if they don't like it, go work somewhere else.
The big four and any audit firm for that matter should be apolitical, particularly in the public. Usually partners in the big four are hyper sensible to do the right thing and always try to be below any radar.
That these partners of the big four place such politically dynamite charged and concerted advertisement gives me reasonable fear that they must be under tremendous pressure from Beijing .
If that is so, I have to ask whether we can trust their "independent and true" audits of Hong Kong listed companies belonging directly or indirectly to Beijing ?
Follow the money. The accounting firms are concerned about loss of business if the central government carries out its threat to ban HK auditors from working in the mainland. Therefore, they want to be seen as toeing the Party line.
accountant as a professional has been marginalized and its professionalism can be questioned during the recent court case, in which the accounting firm brought the the legal excuses of "national security" for its failure of disclosures in certain corp event. Accountant should be objective and should have the interests of all shareholders at heart, not the management nor the "national interests" The core of free market depended on free flow of information and the objectives of auditor. The Big 4 in HK by catering the mainland interests, will disgrace the whole profession, and will further remove the employablity of HK accounting students, in the sense that they are no difference from the mainland accounting firms.
But the employee doesn't represent the stance of the companies.
Just what I was gonna say.
I'll bet u r right. I know the Beijing liaison Office called in the British Consul General and warned her not to get involved in any way.
The partners get out at 4pm. The staff slave til' 2am. And they have to take it up the *ss because the partners are in control. If they quit someone else will take their place and be thankful about it.



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