HKICPA stands firm over feud
The bitter row between the professional accounting bodies in Hong Kong and Britain shows no sign of abating.
In the latest move, the Hong Kong Institute of Certified Public Accountants (HKICPA) is insisting it will press ahead with its plan not to renew a mutual recognition agreement with the London-based Association of Chartered Certified Accountants (ACCA) when the agreement expires in June.
HKICPA chief executive Winnie Cheung yesterday said Hong Kong needed to meet international standards in terms of accounting and auditing practices, accountants' integrity and qualification of new entrants.
The Hong Kong professional accounting body in July told the ACCA it would not renew their mutual recognition agreement after it expired. The agreement allows anyone with an ACCA qualification to apply to join the HKICPA.
'As an international financial centre, Hong Kong needs to converge with international standards on auditing and integrity of accountants,' Ms Cheung said.
The relationship between the two professional bodies has been strained since 1999, when the HKICPA developed its own set of qualification examinations.
The main difference between HKICPA and ACCA examinations is that the Hong Kong body accepts only university graduates while the ACCA has no such rule.
Last month, the ACCA threatened to take legal action.
Giving an example of how Hong Kong was adopting international standards, Ms Cheung said the Legislative Council was expected to approve a bill governing the financial treatment of property assets, requiring firms to reflect the present fair value on balance sheets.
'This shows a shift of concept on Hong Kong companies' performance from a profit-and-loss-account approach to a balance-sheet approach,' she said. 'The international practice will enable more transparency over their financial aspects.'