The business world has changed enormously over the past decade. Globalization and the knowledge economy have changed the landscape of the once familiar local marketplace. Transactions that previously took hours to process have been transformed by technology and can now be completed in a matter of minutes and sometimes seconds. Information that previously took days to gather can now be obtained with the click of a button on the computer. As business processes have become increasingly more complex, problems that could once be tackled independently now need to be solved with a more holistic approach.
In the midst of this versatile environment, businesses need solid and sound advice more than ever before. Increasingly, they are turning to their professional advisers, often the organization's accountants, for counsel. Faced with changing and complex situations, accountants have to think broadly in order to give the best advice. This requires them to apply their knowledge to situations beyond their professional territory: to analyze new problems with a fresh mind, and think creatively to devise novel solutions to new problems.
The Hong Kong Society of Accountants Qualification Programme (QP) is designed to produce a new generation of accountants with a broader range of skills to meet this challenge. Ever since the idea of having a modern qualification scheme designed specifically for Hong Kong students was first proposed, all participants in QP's development have insisted that the programme should include the latest educational and assessment methods.
With their emphasis on providing real-life simulations and getting students to apply their knowledge while "thinking on their feet", case studies clearly form a vital part in the entire QP process. However, when QP was launched in 1999, there was a lack of suitable Hong Kong-specific case studies.
As a result, the Society decided to launch the Accounting Case Competition to encourage the evolution of this important component in accounting education, whether at the tertiary level or for professional training.
The results of the case competition are presented in this book. Using both real life and hypothetical examples, these seven cases provide students with near real-life situations that they may encounter in the real world. The cases give them the opportunity to integrate their different study areas to come up with practical and effective solutions to the matters at hand. Whether it is by combining financial management with financial reporting, management accounting with environmental strategies, or taking a fresh look at the issues behind an audit, these case studies give students a valuable opportunity to consolidate their knowledge and assess and solve problems in practice.
For accounting educators, we hope that the Society's effort in this publication and future editions will serve as a useful repository of accounting cases relevant to Hong Kong, and will help to promote the use of case studies in teaching.
President, Hong Kong Society of Accountants
Remarks: Hong Kong Society of Accountants renamed as Hong Kong Institute of Certified Public Accountants (HKICPA) on September 2004.