A SURVEY predicts a severe shortage of accountants by 2003 as demand for number crunchers based in China will 'definitely drain the pool of professionals'. The survey, commissioned by the Hong Kong Society of Accountants found that expanding economies in China and Hong Kong would lead to a shortage. It recommended employers set long-term plans to prevent the high turnover rates among fully qualified accountants. Demand for all accountants will grow significantly more than the supply of graduate accountants from territory institutions, which would grow only 27 per cent between 1993 and 2003. The largest increase in demand would be for China-based accountants. Demand for partly qualified staff would increase by 100 per cent and by 119 per cent for those based in China. Accountancy firms alone expect their demand for partly qualified accountants to increase by 51 per cent, while commercial organisations expect a 30 per cent rise. Partly qualified staff will be the most in demand of the 12 levels of qualification followed by newly qualified and accountants with more than seven years experience. Demand for fully qualified accountants based in China will increase by 117 per cent and those based in Hong Kong will increase by 40 per cent. In Hong Kong, half spend more than a quarter of their time on China-related projects.