The Hong Kong Institute of Certified Public Accountants (HKICPA) has had its Rich Kid, Poor Kid programme in place since 2005 to teach children the art of money management. As the institute believes it is important to learn financial responsibility at an early age, the youngest members of the programme are aged only eight. The HKICPA has taken advantage of the financial crisis to reaffirm its values and mission. 'A lot of economists see the financial crisis as evidence of a lack of financial responsibility. We see this situation as an opportunity to tell our community that our profession has been working hard to instil values of financial responsibility in our younger generation so that history doesn't repeat itself,' said Winnie Cheung Chi-woon, chief executive of the HKICPA. She believes that one lesson to learn from the credit crunch is to be sensible about money, adding that there are many advantages for children in learning about money management. 'Our simple belief is that it is important to start teaching children about money as early as possible,' Ms Cheung said. 'What better way is there for CPAs to demonstrate their social responsibility than to pass on their core skills?' Under the voluntary programme, there are more than 350 accountant ambassadors, or CPA volunteers, taking part in passing on their expertise in wealth management to Hong Kong students. The 'teaching curriculum' is in the form of exercises and discussions where students from eight to 18 learn the importance of the three Ss - saving, spending and sharing. Students have to learn the difference between wants and needs. The programme is derived from a popular book, Rich Dad, Poor Dad, that deals with financial responsibility. The institute commissioned an author and published bilingual books on money management for both parents and children. The cryptic jargon of accountancy is easily digestible in May Moon and the Secrets of the CPAs, which tells the adventures of a little girl, May Moon, and her talking book, while parents get hands-on advice in How to Raise a Money-wise Child. Roadshows on financial management are held for teenagers. Since its inception, the programme has reached more than 25,000 local students from nearly 130 schools. Demand from schools remains strong. Due to its popularity, the programme has reached Malaysia, where a roadshow was broadcast on the internet to 200 students in Kuala Lumpur. The May Moon book has been translated into Dutch and presented to the queen of the Netherlands. Other accounting institutes overseas have also requested a translation and adaptation of the book. Although the underlying principle behind the programme is money management, Ms Cheung does not believe that it will lead the younger generation to measure everything in terms of money. 'Money-oriented and money awareness are not the same thing. We teach children that money skills are important, but if you make it the most important part of your life, you're making a big mistake,' Ms Cheung said. 'If they learn to be responsible through money and budgeting, they will aspire to become a responsible person, citizen and contributor.'