WHEN COMPILING THEIR target list of preferred employers, final-year students in accountancy and other business-related disciplines often overlook one fast-growing sector - corporate services. 'There is strong demand for company secretarial, accounting, payroll and other corporate services in Hong Kong and around the region,' said Samantha Suen, managing director of corporate services provider KCS. 'As businesses face tough competition and have to keep pace with ever-changing regulations, they want to focus their resources on core activities. They can do that by outsourcing non-core duties to an external services provider like us.' The firm started life as the corporate services division of KPMG Hong Kong, but became independent in mid-2003. The following year it acquired the corporate services arm of Grant Thornton Hong Kong. The office network extends to Beijing, Shanghai, Shenzhen, Singapore and Jakarta. Clients range from multinationals to owner-managed businesses in industries such as banking, consumer products, pharmaceuticals and manufacturing. 'We see each client as unique, with their own needs, time schedules and regulatory requirements.,' Ms Suen said. 'Our professionals offer them individual care and attention and help to manage their businesses every step of the way.' This can go from planning and setting up a company to assisting with ongoing administration or even corporate restructuring. There are also specialist services for listed companies and financial institutions. 'We have an enviable wealth of knowledge and experience,' she said, adding that trust was an essential in any successful business relationship. KCS has a staff of more than 200 in the region, including local and overseas professionals from a range of backgrounds. The firm considers finding and retaining good people a top priority. Potential recruits must have a degree or an appropriate diploma and be prepared to obtain further professional qualifications. In terms of personal qualities, they should be conscientious, good team players, have an eye for detail and be able to develop strong client relationships. The firm is committed to long-term training. It arranges comprehensive in-house programmes and technical seminars, on-the-job coaching and secondments. 'The future holds many great opportunities for business in Hong Kong, which will obviously increase the demand for talent,' Ms Suen said. 'As an employer, we look for the best fit in terms of skills, value and enthusiasm. In return, we offer numerous opportunities for career development and advancement.'