Membership and Qualification

Membership and

Institute member Ada Cheng is Treasury Director at The Executive Centre, a leading provider of flexible workspaces with centres across Greater China, Southeast Asia, North Asia, India, Sri Lanka, the Middle East, and Australia. She sees first-hand how her organization supports professionals and small businesses at different development stages, empowering them to succeed. In this picture, Ada meets with colleagues at The Executive Centre’s newest Hong Kong space at Three Garden Road in Central.


The continuing growth in the Institute’s membership illustrates the accounting profession’s attractiveness in the age of Accounting Plus. As of 30 June 2018, membership stood at 42,612, up from 41,332 last year, including 5,571 fellow members. There were 4,769 practising members at that date, up from 4,627 last year. The number of member practices has also grown from 1,838 in 2017 to 1,861 in 2018, including 575 corporate practices.

The Institute in numbers (As of June 2018)

Since its launch in 1999, the Qualification Programme (QP) has been providing world-class and comprehensive training for aspiring accountants, equipping them with solid accounting knowledge and technical advisory skills for a successful career in either practice or business. With the upcoming changes to enhance the qualifying process, the QP will remain the premier route to becoming a CPA in the age of Accounting Plus, where technology will enable CPAs to offer higher-value analysis services to clients and employers.

Membership growth
Membership age and gender distribution

As of 30 June this year, there were a total of 17,486 students at the Institute, including 778 students from a previous joint examination scheme. Of the QP students, 2,301 are from the Mainland, of which 463 are members of the Chinese Institute of CPAs and 1,838 Mainland degree holders. In terms of demographics, women account for 57 percent, or 10,039 of the overall studentship, and men account for 43 percent, or 7,447. This year, a total of 1,673 students graduated, with 605 students graduating in December 2017 and 1,068 in June 2018, bringing the cumulative number of graduates to 20,358 since the launch of the programme. The number of accredited programmes offered by local, Mainland and overseas tertiary institutions continues to increase, demonstrating the active outreach of the Institute to tertiary institutions, having risen by four to 106.

Members taking up leadership positions

Source: Among 7,921 PAIP and 25,382 PAIB respondents to member census as of June 2018

Preparing the qualifying process for the future

The Institute is implementing the new QP which will ensure the programme remains useful and relevant today and in the future. The new QP will integrate the technical knowledge across fields of expertise in accounting, business and finance while also developing professional skills in analysis and critical thinking, problem-solving and leadership. The three levels of the new QP will be rolled out stage-by-stage, with the first examination session for Associate Modules, Professional Modules and Capstone to be held in June 2020, December 2020 and June 2021 respectively. As we move towards the first examinations, changes will take place as early as September 2019, such as the introduction of a new Student Information System for online registrations and the publication of new study packs to help students prepare for the examinations.

As a continuation and integral part of the development of the new QP, the Institute undertook a comprehensive review of the Practical Experience Framework to ensure the framework aligns with international standards and practices, and prepares QP graduates with the skills they need for the future.

Studentship Growth

In January 2018, the Institute released a consultation paper outlining proposals on enhancing the flexibility of the practical experience requirements, strengthening the quality assurance of the Authorized Employer (AE) and Authorized Supervisor (AS) system, and promoting communication through an online system. The public consultation closed on 4 May 2018 and the Institute is reviewing the responses before issuing a Position Paper.

As of 30 June this year, there were 1,427 AEs and 1,914 ASs registered with the Institute to provide support and practical experience for aspiring CPAs. Since the launch of the AE/AS Enhancement Programme in 2008, the Institute has visited a total of 359 AEs and ASs to provide direct assistance and guidance.

Developing future professionals

To help improve QP students’ techniques in their examination preparation, examination techniques seminars were held to address common problems that they may have encountered.

At its annual award ceremony, the Institute celebrated the success of its top QP students and scholarship recipients in September 2017, with more than 150 guests attending the party.

Scholarships have also been awarded to 83 students of accredited accounting programmes offered by Hong Kong and Mainland tertiary institutions.

Promoting the profession to the next generation

Attracting new talent is vital to the long term success of the profession. The Institute undertakes a number of activities to promote accountancy to students at all levels of the education system.

The QP case analysis competition is an inter-tertiary event aims at developing business skills, professional judgment and preparing tertiary students for the business environment. This year, over 730 teams from Hong Kong and the Mainland participated in the annual competition, analysing the case of a toy company.

The Institute organized the annual career forum in October 2017 which attracted over 700 university students. The career forum featured exhibitions, workshops as well as a panel of speakers who discussed career development and the prospects in the accounting profession. Attendees were able to get CV help and meet with employers in order to kick-start their careers in the profession.

The Institute and the Hong Kong Association for Business Education Limited jointly organized a Business, Accounting and Financial Studies (BAFS) mock examination for the 2017/18 Hong Kong Diploma of Secondary Education examination.

The mock examination aims to help senior secondary school students to prepare well for the BAFS exam as well as to develop and assess their understanding and application of basic accounting and business knowledge, skills and values to meet different business needs. The mock examination was well received, with over 4,950 enrolments from 277 secondary schools in Hong Kong and the number of participating schools increased by 12 percent.

Accounting technicians

The Hong Kong Institute of Accredited Accounting Technicians (HKIAAT), a subsidiary of the Institute, has registered 7,608 new students to its AAT examination since the implementation of its revised framework in 2009, which serves as a benchmark for testing students’ knowledge on accounting and understanding of professional ethics. The HKIAAT has also accredited 15 sub-degree accounting programmes. Accredited accounting technicians have the option of pursuing a career as an accounting technician, or taking the Professional Bridging Examination (PBE), as an alternative pathway to the QP. Since the offering of the PBE more than 15 years ago, 1,318 AATs have become eligible for entry into the QP.