Biggest Challenge the Top 3 Accounting Firms in Hong Kong are Facing

‘Beth Brooke — Ernst & Young’

Beth is the global vice chair of public policy for EY and listed in 2015 as #94 in Forbes global women power ranking.

‘My perspective is a bit skewed to marketing-related issues, but with that in mind, I think the biggest issue most firms face is how to differentiate themselves from their competition and better connect with their clients and prospects. Read a handful of CPA sites and you’ll quickly get a pretty strong case of deja vu. Many are afraid to pick one (or a few) niche(s) because it might mean lost business. But what most don’t think about is the flip side of that equation … tons of new business because of a targeted focus.

Stephen Chipman — CEO, Grant Thornton 

Stephen, recently retired from Grant Thornton, throughout his tenure he served in numerous locations including London and two stint in Hong Kong.

I believe the single most important issue currently facing the accounting profession is the further commoditization of low-end services (e.g., write up, simpler tax returns, etc.). Technology, made readily available with cloud computing, has accelerated this trend. Small businesses have easy access to free (or very inexpensive) accounting software, tax returns, and write-up services

.While significant, I see this as a positive development in that it’s increasingly pushing CPAs to figure out what strategic role they will play on behalf of their clients. The CPA has always been regarded as a trusted advisor, but it’s clearly time for CPAs to more definitively step into that role.

For large businesses, I see the continued globalization of accounting standards and increasing regulatory complexity as two of the most important issues.

James Turley — Ernst & Young

James served as the CEO for EY with his tenure lasting over 12 years, from July 2001 to June 2013. In his final year with EY, James was the 4th highest rated CEO and had an approval rating of 96% as quoted by glassdoor.

Clearly, making the transition from the traditional role of “service provider” to “growth consultant” is the most important issue the profession is facing. Boomers are aging and retiring, so as firms plan for their future, they need to understand that their younger staff — and even their clients — expect them to be more than tax and accounting advisors.

Clients want advice, leadership and a plan detailing how they can grow their companies, and will trust their CPA to help them achieve their goals. Clients have always relied on their CPA for advice — and that will not change. What does need to change is the way the profession.


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