The Hong Kong Institute of Certified Public Accountants (HKICPA) drew a full house at their annual Career Forum on October 16. Hosted at the Kowloonbay International Trade and Exhibition Centre (KITEC), the event attracted as many as 800 students and over 50 company representatives.
The morning session commenced with a panel discussion featuring members from various strains of the accounting profession, including: Gary Poon, principal of small and medium practice Poon & Co; Alice Mui, a senior assessor from the Inland Revenue Department; and Frenda So, an accounting tutor for Modern Education. Legislative Councillor Starry Lee Wai-king was also on hand to discuss her experience at Big Four accounting giant KPMG.
Commenting on the panel, HKICPA president Philip Tsai noted that it was designed with the intention of 'allowing students to gain useful insights on the work-life of different types of accountants.'
Later in the day, students were given the unusual opportunity to get up close and personal with practicing CPAs, two of which were sat at each table.
The afternoon session marked the start of the career exhibition in the foyer outside the event hall. There, students talked directly with their potential future employers in an informal setting. In all, the exhibition attracted as many as 16 booths, including the Big Four - which proved the busiest.
The latter half of the afternoon featured a series of career-oriented workshops. The first was centred around a specially-shot video to introduce students to the day-to-day life of a practicing accountant. This was then followed by a brief discussion and question-and-answer session.
As the day drew to a close, both students and speakers were invited to pose for group photos.
Commenting on what lessons attendees should take away from the event, HKICPA Career Forum Working Group member Daniel Au noted that they should learn to expand their knowledge of the profession by attending additional events and talking to practicing accountants as much as possible.
'You don't necessarily have to talk to top-notch practitioners like we have at today's forum,' he said. 'Talk to friends who are working as accountants, ask them about their work-life and try to get tips on how to make the transition from student to professional.'