Accountants aim to strengthen ties with China

THE Hongkong Society of Accountants (HKSA) is stepping up efforts to link with China.

HKSA president Dudley Harding said that among the objectives in the society's third long-range plan to 1997, emphasis would be placed on strengthening ties with the mainland.

Frequent contacts and information exchanges with the China Institute of Certified Public Accountants through twice-a-year meetings gave fruitful returns, he said.

''The booming China market has prompted mainland companies to expand overseas. This has provided a big market for international accountant firms with offices in Hongkong,'' he said.

Mainland demand for accounting services was on the increase, especially after the announcement that nine mainland companies would list this year in Hongkong, Mr Harding said.

This could be seen from the keen competition among the accountancy firms in China and the setting up of joint ventures there by the territory's seven largest accountancy firms.

Mr Harding welcomed the mainland group's suggestion that certified public accountants (CPAs) in Hongkong should sit for an examination in China before they were qualified to become a mainland CPA.

''We accept the proposal as we see benefits for HKSA members in getting the CPA licence on the mainland. But we have yet to put the proposal into effect,'' he said.

China's accounting rules allow only its citizens to become qualified CPAs there. But Mr Harding expected the requirement to be waived, as China's accounting system was undergoing enormous transformation.

Similarly, China CPAs who wished to sit for examination in Hongkong would be welcomed, he said.

As part of the HKSA's long-term plans, efforts would be made to educate the public on the responsibilities of accountants and auditors, and to enhance the credibility of local practitioners.

''While there has been a suggestion abroad that auditors' responsibilities should be fully shown in the auditor's report of a company, we'd like to educate the public to differentiate the responsibilities of auditors from that of the company's management,'' he said.

''It's important to note that a company's failure is, or may be, caused by the management or directors of that company, but not the auditors.

''But in cases of company failure, people always blame and sue the company's auditors, instead of the company's management and directors,'' he said.