Hong Kong accountants have voiced apprehension over a proposal by China’s Ministry of Finance for mutual recognition of professional qualifications in the auditing sector, the Hong Kong Economic Journal reported Monday.
The ministry plans to incorporate the policy into the next supplement to the Mainland and Hong Kong Closer Economic Partnership Arrangement, it said in a commentary on its website.
Guangdong province is being suggested as the testing ground for the initiative, which aims to establish a formal management system that will allow qualified partners to work across the border. The scheme will be expanded to cover the entire country in three years.
Kenneth Leung, a member of the Legislative Council representing the the accounting profession, said the proposal will hardly benefit local practitioners but mainly favor their mainland counterparts.
Given that there are only about 4,000 auditors in Hong Kong, with way fewer partners, auditing jobs for the 1,600 listed companies can easily be taken over by mainland counterparts if the proposal is adopted, Leung said.
Other accounting experts are concerned about policy risks in different mainland provinces and cities, leading to a lower rate of participation in the scheme from the Hong Kong side.
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