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Producing insightful and relevant content and sharing it with members and the public helps to promote the Institute, our members and their expertise.

Making a difference to society through thought leadership

Celebrating the best corporate governance practices – Best CG and ESG Awards

The Best Corporate Governance (CG) and ESG Awards (Awards) continue to be organized and acknowledged as a rigorous and objective assessment of the CG and environmental, social and governance (ESG) performance of listed companies and public sector/not-for-profit organizations (PSOs) in Hong Kong. Only candidates whose disclosures and practices significantly exceed the minimum regulatory requirements will be given recognition. Stakeholders see the very high standards demanded by the Awards as distinguishing them from many other CG and ESG awards programmes.

The 2022 Awards were successfully completed at a luncheon presentation ceremony on 6 December 2022. The Guest of Honour, Chairman of the Accounting and Financial Reporting Council, Dr Kelvin Wong, presented the awards to the 27 winners, including winners in the Most Sustainable Companies/Organizations (MSCO) category, which was first introduced in 2021, as well as in the separate categories for CG and ESG, and in the Self-Nomination category. The MSCO Awards focus on sustainability in its broadest sense and aim to identify listed companies and PSOs that give equal weight to ensuring good CG and ESG, and which are taking steps to integrate CG and ESG considerations into their values, strategies and operations.

Efforts are continually being made to streamline the Awards, which are quite resource intensive, due to the rigorous procedures involved, entailing an initial vetting process, two rounds of reviews of the CG and ESG reporting of the listed companies and PSOs that are potential candidates for final judging, and then the final judging round. Over 60 volunteers contribute their expertise, experience and time as members of the judging and review panels. This year, we sought to reduce the overall sample size without, at the same time, reducing opportunities for companies and PSOs that are taking positive steps to improve their CG and/or ESG from being identified.

Research and surveys

Research and surveys of the profession help to inform the Institute’s work and are also published as thought leadership reports.

Given the importance of encouraging different views and perspectives to improve the effectiveness of board oversight of the business, the Institute conducted a brief research on the status of board diversity of listed companies, with financial years ending 31 December 2021, and published its findings in early December 2022, in conjunction with the results announcement of the Awards.

In all, the study covered 1,844 companies, looking at board size and diversity, in terms of gender, age and also professional expertise, in particular accounting qualifications, as well as the prevalence of long-serving directors.

The results of this study helped to inform other thought leadership work being undertaken by the Institute work in terms of advocating for a requirement for qualified accountant in listed companies sitting on the board or, at least, in a senior management position.

This year, we are also conducting another brief research project, which will be focused on updating the Institute’s ESG assurance study, first carried out in 2021. Findings are planned to be published by the end of the 2023. The report aims to find out whether and how the picture is changing with regard to listed companies seeking independent assurance of their sustainability reporting.

A Plus

A Plus is the Institute’s premier channel for publicizing its thought leadership to members and stakeholders.

During the year, the magazine underwent a major revamp. A Plus ceased printing physical copies beginning with the September 2022 issue as part of the Institute’s sustainability strategy and moved to a quarterly publication schedule starting from the January 2023 issue. In January 2023, a brand new website (aplus.hkicpa.org.hk) was launched with a redesigned layout and a number of enhanced functions for easy browsing. The new A Plus website delivers a brand new experience catered for different devices to keep members and stakeholders up to date with the latest developments impacting the profession.

The magazine published six issues during the reporting period, covering a wide range of topics aimed at informing accountants about the latest trends in business and equipping them to navigate the fundamental changes facing the profession. It provided technical updates, informal guides, and important insights that would be of interest to members.

The content included discussions on various subjects such as the intersection between cryptocurrency and money laundering, opportunities in the family office sector, strategies companies employ to overcome talent market competition, diversity and inclusion, updates in the taxation sector, mental health in accounting, career development goals, the revival of Hong Kong’s tourism industry post-pandemic, as well as coverage on the Inland Revenue Department’s e-filing project, the developments of the International Sustainability Standards Board’s inaugural standards, and the roles accountants play in areas like mergers and acquisitions, stakeholder engagement, and overcoming recessions, among others.

The build up to the Institute’s 50th anniversary celebrations was also reported on, including a 50th Anniversary Interview Series that features Institute members who have achieved admirable success where they share their experience with the Institute and impart words of encouragement to the next generation of CPAs. The first entry published in April 2023, interviewed Ayesha Macpherson Lau, Chairman of the Mandatory Provident Fund Schemes Authority. The next entry in July 2023 would feature Paul Chan, Financial Secretary of the Government of the HKSAR and former Institute President.

The magazine also featured interviews with business leaders, prominent Institute members, and young professionals who shared success stories from the accounting profession, offering inspiration and valuable insights to readers. Additionally, articles contributed by Institute departments, staff, members, and committee representatives showcased thought leadership and professional development across a diverse range of topics.

Social media

Social media is one of the Institute’s key channels for connecting with members, students, prospective students, and the public. Our official accounts on Facebook, LinkedIn, Instagram, YouTube and WeChat, promote content to different audiences. In 2023, the Institute upheld the strategy on social media content which was adopted in 2022 with focus on thought leadership, brand stories and members/corporate events.

During the year, the Institute created various types of social media posts including short videos about the accounting profession, wise quotes, industry fun facts and news, Qualification Programme (QP) success stories and CPA career journeys and sharings to engage the younger generation through the leisure Instagram page CPA Buddies. The total number of followers exceeded 2,000 in 2023.

Throughout this year, the Institute presented a new series of social media post titles “Successful CPA of the month” on Facebook, Instagram and LinkedIn page “HKICPA.Official”. The series introduced the success stories of the Institute’s members in the form of short videos to promote the Institute’s 50th anniversary, and also enhance the image of the Institute to the public. Another new series, “Stakeholder Engagement”, was introduced on the page, highlighting the Institute’s leadership team engagement and interaction with the profession’s and society’s stakeholders, and keeping the public updated with the Institute’s latest outreach efforts.

In terms of QP promotion, the Institute published between three to four social media posts about QP and QP graduates every month. From September 2022 to May 2023, Facebook and Google advertisements were placed to promote student registration. In April 2023, the Institute curated an online sharing by a social media influencer or KOL (key opinion leader) on their experience studying accounting and working as an accountant.

By the end of June 2023, the Institute’s Facebook, Instagram and LinkedIn pages have accumulated almost 12,677, 3,300 and 12,278 followers respectively.

Media engagements

Regular engagement with the media is vital to getting the Institute’s message across to the wider public. Through interviews, press releases, features, and articles, the Institute publicizes its views on various issues.

President’s interviews

The President undertook a number of media engagement sessions over the year. The major two sessions were arranged in August 2022 and April 2023 respectively. In the media briefing session in August 2022, President Loretta Fong met representatives of major media outlets in which she focused on sharing the implementation progress of strategic plans and other issues related to Institute’s operations.

In April 2023, the President hosted a networking luncheon to meet with 10 senior reporters from local mainstream media outlets to share the details of the Institute’s 50th anniversary signature celebration events and key initiatives under the Strategic Plan 2023, such as the Institute’s work plan for ESG standard setting, nurturing accounting professional talents and fostering international recognition, as well as facilitating members to seize business opportunities in the Greater Bay Area.

Bylined articles

Through the Institute’s bylined articles in Oriental Daily News, Recruit Magazine and Wen Wei Po, the Institute informs the public about different topics relevant to the accounting profession, such as auditing, ESG assurance and taxation etc. Chinese editions of A Plus articles are also published in the Master Insight online.

Media collaborations

The Institute collaborated with media to create multimedia content to serve as an alternative way to deliver information and introduce accounting profession specialties to the general public. From July to December 2022, the Institute partnered with ViuTV to produce a 15-second TV commercial to publicize the Institute’s entering its 50th anniversary and two series of programmes, namely “點去計” and “智富通 市場脈搏”. The two programmes invited Institute members to introduce their profession specialties and a wide range of lively topics in their CPA career. The nine short videos were produced and published on social media from October 2022 to June 2023. Facebook, LinkedIn, YouTube and Google advertisements were placed to maximize exposure.

To celebrate the Institute beginning a new chapter in its 50th anniversary, we partnered with HK01 in January 2023 to publish an advertorial interview with President Loretta Fong which touched on how the Institute would continue to shoulder the responsibility of supporting members and the betterment of the industry while continuing its commitment to upholding the core values and public value of accountancy.

Press events

The Institute published press releases and organized a number of press events over the year to publicize its messages. Some of the major media engagements this financial year included the following:

A total media value of HK$3.31 million was generated throughout the year.

Institute’s newsletters

Members are kept informed about important developments in the Institute, the profession and Hong Kong through our newsletters including the monthly CPA Pulse and the fortnightly newsletters Technical News and Training and Development. As well as these newsletters, the Institute also issues targeted newsletters to particular groups. Inside Business is sent to professional accountants in business, the IP’s Voice to Restructuring and Insolvency Faculty members, Tax Link to Taxation Faculty members, Forensic Update to Forensics Interest Group members, and Prospective CPA for QP students.

Engagements with future accountants plus

One of the Institute’s major engagement activities is to promote the QP to the next generation of accountants. To assist with this goal, the Institute has a number of promotional events and projects aimed at secondary school and university students. Some of the main activities are detailed below.

For secondary school students, the Institute and the Hong Kong Association for Business Education Limited jointly organize the Business, Accounting and Financial Studies (BAFS) mock examination for the Hong Kong Diploma of Secondary Education. The mock examination aims to help student fully prepare for the examination, as well as to develop and assess students’ understanding and application of basic accounting and business knowledge, skills and values, to meet different business needs. For the 2022/23 session, the mock examination was held on 29 December 2022 with over 4,100 enrolments, which accounts for 50.1 percent of the total number of BAFS candidates.

As one of the Institute’s annual flagship events for secondary schools, the HKICPA Accounting and Business Management Case Competition allows senior secondary school students to apply their textbook knowledge in the areas of accounting and business to the real world. It also enhances students’ enabling skills such as analytical thinking, time management, presentation skills, creativity and team building. This year, Kerry Logistics Network Limited was the company selected for the competition’s case study. The competition attracted more than 530 teams of over 1,800 students participating. On 20 May 2023, the oral presentation of the competition was held via a hybrid mode, with six finalist teams competing for the championship.

The HKICPA Business Case Competition is an inter-tertiary event that aims to provide students with the opportunity to train up their business skills and cultivate their professional judgment, develop valuable skills such as case analysis, problem solving, team building and presentation. The case question of the year is about pharmaceutical industry. This year, the competition opened to three category of contestants, including Hong Kong sub-degree, Hong Kong undergraduate and Mainland undergraduate students. More than 1,000 teams from institutions in Hong Kong, Macau and the Mainland joined the competition. On 26 November and 3 December 2022, six finalist teams each from Hong Kong undergraduate and sub-degree groups, and eight finalist teams from the Mainland group competed for the championships in the finale held in Hong Kong and Guangzhou respectively.

The Institute organized the QP Top Student Award and Scholarship Presentation Ceremony on 24 September 2022. Around 80 awardees and guests attended the ceremony, with Joseph Chan, Under Secretary for Financial Services and the Treasury as the Guest of Honour.

The Institute conducted 30 talks and online information sessions about the QP to over 1,500 participants, including sub-degree students, undergraduates, and recent young graduates. 29 career and BAFS talks were also arranged to around 1,129 secondary school students. The Institute also sponsored 34 students’ activities which were organized by the societies of the accountancy and business associations of various universities. These activities included orientation camps, inauguration ceremonies and academic festivals and student journals.

Community involvement

Our efforts in corporate social responsibility (CSR) demonstrate our dedication to serving Hong Kong’s present and its future.

New and existing CSR programmes reflect the Institute’s commitment to good corporate citizenship. Throughout the financial year, over 12,700 members of the public benefited from the various projects and activities that our members voluntarily contributed to.

The Branding and Communication Committee oversees the Institute’s communications, stakeholders’ engagement, branding and CSR initiatives, and providing advice on developing CSR activities that allow the Institute’s members to utilize their professional knowledge and expertise in a meaningful way.

Rich Kid, Poor Kid

The Institute’s flagship community programme, Rich Kid, Poor Kid (RKPK) organized 66 school sessions hosted by the Institute’s Accountant Ambassadors for more than 12,000 primary and secondary school students during the reporting period with the aim to instill in young people proper values about money management through school talks.

For the fifth year in a row, RKPK was presented a Certificate of Appreciation under the “Investor and Financial Education Award” organized by the Investor and Financial Education Council (IFEC), a subsidiary of the Securities and Futures Commission.

Collaboration with various organizations

To maximize our impact, the Institute partners with different organizations to promote financial literacy and entrepreneurship to the public. Additionally, we provide services to support underprivileged groups and non-governmental organizations (NGOs) dedicated to delivering social services.

The Smart Way Forward programme

The Institute co-organized a career talk with Caritas School Social Work Service for about 30 secondary school students who are studying BAFS in June 2023. During the talk, two Accountant Ambassadors of the Institute, who are also QP graduates, shared their past learning experiences and career path as a CPA with participating students to help them gain a better understanding of career development in the accounting profession.

Government’s Strive and Rise Programme

The Institute signed up as one of the supporting organizations of the government’s Strive and Rise Programme with the aim of addressing intergeneration poverty by helping underprivileged students. 21 Accountant Ambassadors were paired up with the programme mentees and a seminar was hosted for both students and their mentors on financial education.

Kiddie-Family Moneyland education programme

The Institute also participated in Kiddie-Family Moneyland education programme, organized by the Hong Kong Monetary Authority (HKMA) and the Hong Kong Institute of Vocational Education, while it resumed to normal after the prolonged COVID-19 pandemic. Accountant Ambassadors are representatives of the Institute for hosting family budgeting seminars for programme participating parents.

Hong Kong Money Month and Global Money Week 2023

For the third consecutive year, the Institute was one of the supporting organizations of “Hong Kong Money Month”. Organized by the IFEC, the event aims to promote financial literacy, which echoes the Institute’s efforts in financial education.

In March 2023, the Institute also extended its support to “Global Money Week 2023” organized by the International Network on Financial Education of the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development.

Millennium Entrepreneurship Programme

The Institute was once again one of the supporting organizations of the Millennium Entrepreneurship Programme organized by Wofoo Social Enterprises this year. The programme aims to prepare the younger generation to become future entrepreneurs. With the topic “Adapting Web 3.0 for the Society Advancement”, participating students formed teams which explored the theme in relation to four areas including wellness, education, cultural preservation, and people connection. The programme successfully concluded in March 2023.

CPA for NGO: promoting best CG in NGOs

Four members of the legacy Community Services Working Group represented the Institute to sit in an expert group formed by the Hong Kong Council of Social Service (HKCSS) to produce the 4th concise guide for NGOs on “Financial Reporting and Disclosure”. The concise guide was published in early August 2022 while the online version has been made available on the webpage of the HKCSS’ NGO Governance Platform Project.

Other social services

Free Public Advisory Service Scheme

The Free Public Advisory Service Scheme offers weekly sessions for members of the public to meet CPAs face-to-face and receive pro-bono accounting-related advice. Service leaflets and application forms are available at 20 Home Affairs Enquiry Centres and the Hong Kong Trade Development Council SME Centre.