With Hong Kong’s business environment becoming more complex, accounting firms have expanded and so have specialist opportunities for CPAs.
Alick Fong, Manager, Corporate recovery and forensic services, was interviewed by Jemelyn Yadao for her article "Keeping your options open".
Meanwhile, the growing popularity of forensic accounting is ascribed to the development of anti-fraud and anti-bribery legislation around the world, imposing more responsibilities on business owners.
Few CPAs in Hong Kong are specialized in this area, but many Institute members believe that the demand for forensic accountants is stronger than ever. “This industry is really going,” says Alick Fong, manager of corporate recovery and forensic services at Mazars and an Institute member.
The intellectual challenges and the broad range of projects are what make many choose to become forensic accountants. Fong is one of them. “In one project you may be asked to do some forensic investigation into a fraud, in another project you may be asked to do some internal control duties to prevent a fraud. The diversity attracts me.”
Conducting forensic investigations requires certain soft skills as documents may be incomplete and won’t tell the full story. “You have to interview people in a way that you can dig out the required information,” he explains.
Like many other CPAs, Fong has found greater job satisfaction by specializing. “It’s a high-pressure role, but it’s very rewarding.” He advises accountants interested in the forensic side to sign up early in their careers. “It may take some time to develop the sceptical and investigative mindset required.”
In addition to accounting firms, forensic accountants are also sought-after by regulatory bodies, such as the Independent Commission Against Corruption, which has been stepping up its efforts to hire more candidates to cope with a surge of graft investigations and the growing complexity of the cases.
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- Article by Jemelyn Yadao for A+ magazine, September 2013 issue