Insights into the diverse world of accounting, knowledge and experience sharing with industry professionals and how to prepare academically and personally to apply for an accounting and finance job - these are just some of the topics on the agenda at the CPA Australia Career Expo, an annual event held every January.
"The expo is an ideal platform to learn more about the diversity of the accountancy industry," says Bernard Poon, managing director of transaction advisory services (TAS) at Ernst & Young.
To engage with potential employers at the expo, Poon suggests participants spend time building up a basic background knowledge so they are able to ask meaningful questions, for instance, current challenges faced by Hong Kong and mainland businesses, and a general view of how the wider business world is evolving. Participants should also spend time researching the business and service offerings of the companies taking part in the expo that they might be interested in joining.
"Expo participants should also ask about career prospects, such as exchange programmes on the mainland or overseas, mentorship and training programmes," says Poon, who is also deputy president for Greater China of CPA Australia.
Poon says for professional service firms such as Ernst & Young, human capital commands the highest level of importance. "When we recruit people, we want to hire people who will fit in with the culture of the firm, work hard, but also gain satisfaction from developing their career," says Poon.
In addition to academic skills, he says employers increasingly expect their staff to excel in the areas of communication and leadership.
Poon says the career expo is one of the best opportunities to offer a transparent view of the accounting profession. "I explain that the stories about working long hours are real. Hard work is a necessary part of the processes," he says, though he also stresses the importance of work-life balance. He, himself, plays tennis, runs marathons and takes part in triathlons.
Poon says CPA Australia arranges workshops to help members update technical skills, such as learning about new accounting, tax and finance developments and development courses to improve interpersonal, language and other soft skills.
CPA Australia is one of the world's leading professional membership accountancy organisations. In the Greater China region, the organisation has a network of about 13,000 members.
CPA Australia Career Expo 2012
Date: 14 January 2012 (Sat) Time: 9.30am – 2.30pm Venue: InterContinental Hong Kong, 18 Salisbury Road, Kowloon, Hong Kong Online registration: cpaaustralia.com.au/careerexpo