The accounting profession is proceeding apace with moves to distance itself from its British influence, mirroring similar moves set for the legal sector in the territory. Tim Lui, vice-president of the Hong Kong Society of Accountants (HKSA), said the moves were geared towards earning full international recognition for the Hong Kong profession in its own right. The HKSA will proceed with plans to eliminate the British influence in the next few years by formulating a stand-alone examination system for accountants wishing to set up in practice. An examination is run jointly with the British-based Chartered Association of Certified Accountants, under which students can opt for a Hong Kong variant to make them formally qualified to practise in the territory. That is set to change in coming years, with the HKSA planning to set up its own exam system soon after its contract with the British accounting body runs out. With the moves in recent years to bring Hong Kong's accounting standards into line with those in use internationally, the steps towards an independent examination system promise to reshape the Hong Kong accounting and auditing profession. They also highlight a rapidly emerging trend in the professions - the ending of their long-term ties with British practices. The Law Society recently revealed it was considering an end to the traditional exemption enjoyed by most British lawyers from sitting Hong Kong qualification exams. However, unlike the moves afoot to alter the examination system for accountants, there is a major push to ensure this move is completed before the handover next year. The move to scrap the exemption has attracted opposition from London-based law firms with offices in Hong Kong, but was nonetheless likely to become reality within months. Mr Lui said it was 'understandable' in the past that the HKSA had been strongly British influenced.