Last December, when I was elected President, I wouldn’t have believed you if you told me about the year we have had. For my final message as President, I would have expected to discuss alongside the changes we had made to the Institute, all the events and outreach activities we’d engaged in over the year.
Although we were unable to hold these events, and I have often felt like a Virtual President, I am pleased that we have been able to undertake the three major tasks I set out for the Institute to focus on.
Firstly, releasing the seventh long range plan. This became the Strategic Plan 2020-2022 published in June, which includes 27 key action items that the Institute will develop and implement by 2022.
Secondly, improving our member services. We have achieved this through holding free live webinars and expanding our e-programme offering, setting up a new Members-Help-Members initiative for small- and medium-sized practices, running seminars dedicated to members who work with the Audit Commission, Treasury and Inland Revenue Department and engaging with members.
Thirdly, enhancing the image of the profession. This year, we have improved our communications with members and the public through new video series, new social media channels, and celebrating the anniversary of some of our programmes. I have also been interviewed by the media about many topics that our profession is engaged in that are of interest to the public.
Leading the discussion with the Securities and Futures Commission and Hong Kong Stock Exchange for concessions to meet the 31 March reporting deadline for December 2019 year-end listed companies affected by the COVID-19 outbreak was certainly a unique experience. I am glad to see that the challenge was very well managed.
Like many times this year, the COVID-19 pandemic has caused disruption to our events this month. Both the Annual Dinner and the Best Corporate Governance Awards (BCGA) presentation ceremony have had to be adjusted. A video celebration was filmed and uploaded to the Institute’s website replacing the annual dinner, and features the Chief Executive of Hong Kong delivering a message for the profession. I urge you to watch the video. The BCGA presentation ceremony was replaced by a virtual press conference announcement, and the team is working on a video featuring the awards winners. You can read more about the awards in the article here.
“We have seen fundamental changes in how we work, live and play, but through it all I remain inspired by the incredible resilience, resourcefulness and resolution that I have witnessed.”
I am very pleased to advise that at its last meeting the Council had endorsed the draft consultation paper on One Member, One Vote for the election of President and Vice-Presidents. The public consultation is planned to take place in the first quarter of 2021. I would like to thank the independent working group, set up early this year and chaired by Past President David Sun, for their hard work and wisdom.
Another pleasing development this month has been successfully holding the Qualification Programme (QP) Module Examinations. These are the final module examinations of the current QP, and I wish the Institute success in implementing the new QP modules next year.
As I reflect on the year, we have seen fundamental changes in how we work, live and play, but through it all I remain inspired by the incredible resilience, resourcefulness and resolution that I have witnessed.
My journey to becoming President started while serving the Institute as a committee member back in 1994. It has been more than 25 years of continuing service and I believe I am the oldest reigning President of the Institute. Although the disruption this year has been immense, I still consider 2020, and at the age of 60, to be the apex of my professional career and I have lived a life that is full. So my fellow members, particularly young members, I want you to know that if you keep working towards your goals, they can be achievable.
I would like to take this opportunity to pay tribute to my beloved mother who passed away two years ago and also thank my wife and two children, who are also accountants, for their tolerance and support given to me over the years.
Finally, I thank my two Vice-Presidents, Nelson Lam and Loretta Fong, Immediate Past President Patrick Law, Council members and committee members for their concerted efforts over the year dedicated to our profession. I would also like to extend my special gratitude to the Chief Executive and Registrar Margaret Chan, the Institute’s management and staff for their professionalism throughout this challenging year.
I have truly been honoured to serve as the President. I wish you and your family an enjoyable Holiday Season and a New Year filled with health, happiness and prosperity!
For the final time...