Back in the 1980s, when China and Britain began their lengthy debate over the future of Hong Kong, political uncertainties prompted a tide of people to leave the city's shores for greener pastures, with Canada being one of the most popular destinations. So much so that visitors to Toronto can now dispense with speaking English all the way from the airport to the city centre while many call Vancouver 'Little Hong Kong'. But today, with China becoming one of the world's largest economies, the tide has turned. Hong Kong migrants are flooding back, and bringing with them Canadian professionals in search of greener shores. Peter Bowie, the chief executive of Deloitte China, guest of our podcast this week, is one of those attracted by the warm weather, good food and huge opportunities in the mainland. Mr Bowie was with Deloitte in Canada for 25 years before moving to Hong Kong in 2003. Before setting off, he recalled, he sought advice from Chinese friends in Toronto. But the tips he got proved to be outdated. 'The Chinese community in Canada is large and my Chinese friends did offer me some tips. But they seemed to have been based on very outdated perceptions,' Mr Bowie said, noting that he had been warned about bad service and a poor work ethic in China. 'I found things to be very different when I worked in Beijing, Shanghai and Shenzhen. I have received very good service and met Chinese who are smart and hardworking. I think I need to update my Chinese friends in Canada about the current situation in China.' Mr Bowie said Deloitte had big plans in China for the next five years but it did not have an eye only on profit. 'Deloitte does not only want to achieve profit and growth in China. We also want to be able to contribute to the development of accounting standards and good corporate governance. And we also want to invest in people.' As part of the training agenda, the Big Four accounting firm last week introduced the Deloitte Institute, which provides online training, formal training courses, on-the-job training and global secondment to help people develop their talents. 'The programme is not only for Deloitte's staff. It is open to our clients' staff and people from the Chinese and Hong Kong governments,' Mr Bowie said. To listen to the podcast, please visit podcasting.scmp.com bean counter promoted More on accountants. Congratulations would already seem to be in order for our accountant friend Patrick Chan Kwok-wai, a candidate in the forthcoming council election of the Hong Kong Institute of Certified Public Accountants (HKICPA). White Collar is not sure if Mr Chan will come out on top, since the result will not be known for a few months, but we have received a note from his employer, Hang Seng Bank, to advise that he will be dropping the 'deputy' from his name card as he has been promoted to general manager and chief financial officer. As mentioned in this column last week, Mr Chan and two other candidates for the council election, T.T. Wu and Paul Mok, have been accused of running for election under the banner of another accounting body, the ACCA, because the trio last Tuesday appeared in a newspaper advertisement proclaiming the star qualities of the British-based accounting body. White Collar has heard rumblings of discontent from the institute's ranks, with some members questioning whether the three candidates will work for the interests of the Hong Kong or British body. Those in the know have sought to assure White Collar that Mr Chan was not seeking to represent ACCA. 'Patrick has been a member of the HKICPA for 19 years and has served on several of its committees. His decision to stand for election is simply based on a desire to serve members of the HKICPA,' we were told. more promotions Besides Mr Chan, also on the promotion list at Hang Seng is Cheung Ka-ming, an assistant general manager in charge of investment and insurance business who will be promoted to deputy general manager; and Suzanne Chan Shet-hung, a senior manager and deputy chief financial officer who will be promoted to assistant general manager and deputy chief financial officer.