A revamp of Hong Kong's accredited accounting technician qualification (AAT) and a new syllabus from next June will provide technicians with a broader perspective of the world economy and business operations, more in-depth knowledge of accounting software and new technology, and a deeper understanding of business and commerce. This is according to Johnson Kong, vice-president of the board of the Hong Kong Institute of Accredited Accounting Technicians (HKIAAT). 'Business in Hong Kong and the mainland has become increasingly sophisticated and globalised with complicated business transactions and standards,' he said. 'Conventional accounting functions have also been taken up by advanced technology. 'The restructured and upgraded AAT training introduces new subjects and skill sets, including business economics, financial mathematics, organisation and management, and management information systems. It also introduces a capstone professional assessment, which aims to develop the technicians' values and ability to demonstrate professionalism.' The reorganised coursework focuses on broader business and financial understanding and reduces detailed study in some topics. This is a reflection of the requests from accounting firms, private companies and public entities to train accounting technicians with a more focused view of business. The introduction of professional assessments is a major change with the aim of developing AAT's professional values, and instil a strong sense of ethics and professionalism. In Hong Kong, accounting technicians come under the aegis of the HKIAAT, which is a subsidiary of the Hong Kong Institute of Certified Public Accountants. The HKIAAT has been administering the AAT qualification since its establishment in 1988. More than 8,000 graduates have attained the AAT qualification with another 6,000 currently being trained. Among other duties, the work of accounting technicians includes preparing simple accounts, providing clerical accounting and book-keeping support for business entities and organisations of all sizes. According to a survey conducted this year by the HKIAAT, more than 34 per cent of its graduates are earning HK$15,000 a month or above, compared with 16 per cent last year. The number of job postings on the institute's employment placement service website in the first half of the year also increased by 103 per cent compared to the same period last year. As an employer of accounting technicians, Mr Kong said the new syllabus was a healthy development for Hong Kong's employers. 'It is specially tailored for Hong Kong's unique business market. It is practical, stimulating and meshes well with hands-on experience in the field. 'My advice to those who want to take up a professional career path is to get themselves the right professional qualifications,' Mr Kong said. 'As far as accounting as a vocation is concerned, AAT is a great start. Behind every successful certified public accountant is a team of strong accounting technicians.'