Accounting is the language of business. The BBA in Professional Accountancy (PACC) programme is designed to nurture professional accountants and specialists in accounting-related areas. Students may choose to specialise in different streams, namely, Global Accounting, Global Tax and Governance, Finance for Accountants and Accounting Analytics.
The programme aims to provide students with both accounting and business knowledge, skills and values. On top of academic studies, the programme puts much emphasis on developing students’ leadership, analytical, problem-solving, interpersonal and communication skills through co-curricular activities in order to help them become leaders in the business communities.
Harry Cheng, a recent PACC (Global Accounting Stream) graduate, who was part of the champion team in the KPMG International Case Competition and worked as interns in three of the Big-4 CPA firms as well as the investment banking divisions of two global leading financial institutions can explain to you more on why accounting matters, whether Business, Accounting and Financial Studies (BAFS) is a must for studying PACC and how technology may affect the accounting and finance profession. Read on to find out more!
Taking Accounting into Account
Accounting makes one think immediately of numbers, lots of numbers. But that is not how Harry Cheng, a 2019 Professional Accountancy (PACC) graduate, views his major at CUHK. He said, “Accounting is the third common language in the world, the ‘business language’ —just behind English and Chinese. Whether you are an accountant, a banker, an entrepreneur or even a restaurant owner, you need to deal with financial statements and numbers. This is why Accounting counts as the third language.
Mr. Eric Leung , Director of the PACC programme at CUHK, couldn’t agree more: ‘Accountants do play a crucial role in driving business success. Organisations need experts who have mastery of knowledge to interprete management and financial information which supports decision-making of all kinds. Through giving students a solid understanding of accounting and related business fields that will be valuable and practical throughout their careers, the PACC programme aims to develop future accountants who will serve as consultants or partners providing professional advices to businesses. To help our students reflect the changing roles of accountants, they are required to complete, during their final year of studies, a capstone course which allows them to apply and integrate their knowledge to real-world business situations driving the stratetgic success of an organisation.’
Harry chose the PACC programme over similar programmes at other universities because he saw what PACC students and alumni had done. ‘As a time-honoured programme, the value of its seniors and alumni who are professionals in various fields can never be overstated, not to mention the performance of PACC students in case competitions, internships and professional exams. PACC is definitely the best accounting programme in Hong Kong.’
PACC admits about 130 students each year. Contrary to common belief, Economics or BAFS are not necessarily part of the admission criteria. Mr. Leung said, ‘Regardless of the subjects you take at public examinations, you would stand an equal chance of being admitted to the programme.’ Harry also said, ‘Studying accounting in secondary school is not a must. I am a real example. I didn’t study accounting in high school but still managed to study PACC at CUHK.’
Harry went on saying, ‘Teamwork and interactions are two highlights of PACC courses. We need to take part in class projects, group discussions and case competitions. Close interactions with classmates enable me to gain deeper insights into diverse cultural perspectives and build stronger friendships. I am sure that those friendships I have built will be long lasting and we may be future colleagues or even business partners in future. You can never tell.’
‘PACC does not, however, promise a ticket to any career path, but the School of Accountancy makes the path accessible and does its best to guide you through. The School provides abundant support to students, for instance, coaching them for case competitions and recommending them to well-known international firms. These experiences equip us with international business perspectives and also build for us wider social networks,’ said Harry.
Apart from offering the first accounting degree programme in Hong Kong, the School of Accountancy is known for pioneering new approaches to the study of accounting in an ever-changing business landscape. Mr. Leung further elaborated on the many opportunities offered by the School: ‘The accounting practice has changed and become more interdisciplinary in practice. To let our students have a taste of other displines in the context of accounting, we offer four streams for students to specialise in - Global Accounting, Global Tax and Governance, Finance for Accountants and Accounting Analytics. If you are, for instance, interested in both accounting and law, you may consider specialising in the Global Tax and Governance Stream. Such specialisation is unique to our School and is seldom found in other universities’ accounting programmes.’
Harry had taken part in the Global Accounting Stream, and much relished the experience: ‘We got many opportunities to explore the globe. We were all rewarded with precious international business perspectives and, having left footmarks across continents, are all confident that we will eventually become leaders in whatever industries and wherever in the world we find ourselves.’ The Global Accounting Stream students gain international exposure through non-local training experience, with scholarships provided.
Besides academic study, there are career talks, workshops, seminars and firm visits throughout the year to help all the students explore career options and hone the soft skills required for their careers. PACC students have ample opportunities to join internship programmes offered by the Big-4 CPA firms, other financial institutions and companies. The Treasury, Hospital Authority and the Inland Revenue Department are also providers of internship programmes arranged through our School.
PACC graduates have gone on to work in a wide range of careers, including professional accountancy, investment banking, management consultancy, financial management, the Government and the academia.
As if to remove the last doubt that may be harboured by the prospective PACC students, Harry said it again, ‘Accounting is not bookkeeping. The accounting skillset provides ways to analyse the financial situation of companies in depth, which is necessary and fundamental to the business world. Many high-level business analyses require accounting knowledge which cannot be done by computers. Therefore, professional accountants will never be replaced by accounting software or robots. So just feel relieved and apply for PACC! See you in CUHK!’
Published: Summer 2017
Last Updated: Summer 2022