A new chapter begins in China and Hong Kong

CPA Canada has launched four new chapters in Beijing, Shanghai, Shenzhen and Hong Kong.

Kevin Dancey addresses the crowd at the launch of CPA Canada's Hong Kong branch

In January, CPA Canada took its show on the road to launch four chapters in China and Hong Kong.

Kevin Dancey, CPA Canada’s president and CEO, and Lyle Handfield, CPA Canada’s vice-president, international — Asia/Pacific, visited the new chapter locations in Beijing, Shanghai, Shenzhen and Hong Kong. All four locations were home to CGA-Canada chapters before unification.

There are about 2,700 Canadian-designated accountants in China: 1,300 on the mainland and 1,400 in Hong Kong. Most are Chinese or Hong Kong nationals who qualified at home through distance education or partnerships with Chinese universities. The chapters, says Handfield, will support these members and give them a sense of belonging.

Moving forward

Amy Lam — the vice-chair of the Hong Kong chapter board — was born in Hong Kong but called Vancouver home until 2012. She joins 14 other board members who have equal representation from the three legacy bodies in moving key initiatives forward.

"We’re very hands on," says Lam. "We have events planned for almost every month." January was the chapter launch. March saw a seminar, co-hosted with the Hong Kong Institute of Certified Public Accountants (HKICPA), on Canadian tax. Networking, updates and learning opportunities are priorities. "My hope is that the chapter will build a community of Canadian-designated accountants who understand the value of the CPA," she says.

To do that, CPA Canada is also busy promoting the CPA Canada designation to the Big Four and other large employers in China and Hong Kong. "We want to educate people about our united single designation and how we now represent 190,000 members in Canada and around the world," says Handfield.

Make that CPA — Canada

In China, the confusion is increased because hundreds of thousands of accountants are already designated as CPAs by the Chinese Institute of Certified Public Accountants and HKICPA, the statutory accounting bodies in China and Hong Kong.

CPA Canada works closely with both organizations, says Handfield. "We asked if our members could use the CPA designation and they said yes, as long as we put ‘Canada’ in brackets after the CPA."

CPA Canada is only one of many accounting bodies vying for the attention of China’s accounting students and professionals. "Canada has cachet," says Handfield. "We probably have the highest standards of all the accounting bodies and we’re attracting the top students."

CPA Canada has more than 10,000 members living in more than 100 countries outside Canada. In addition to the Chinese and Hong Kong chapters, Caribbean chapters are due to launch shortly and more international chapters may follow.

For Handfield, international chapters are one way CPA Canada supports the global mobility of its members. "If you’ve been dreaming of working overseas, we’re working to make your CPA Canada designation recognized around the world."