Accounting trainers, go north

Peter Ho


The demand for knowledge of international accounting rules and practices, coupled with a desire to improve their English language skills, has prompted the accounting professionals in the mainland China to look for quality programmes with an international slant.

To meet this growing need, CityU's Department of Accountancy (AC), with the help of sister departments in the Faculty of Business, the Department of Economics and Finance, in particular, boldly ventured north. On 13 December, the Department signed an agreement with the Harbin Institute of Technology (HIT) on a joint Master of Arts in International Accounting (MAIA) programme, to be offered in Shenzhen.



The MAIA programme is designed "to provide an intensive exposure to theories and practices" on international accounting, corporate administration, information systems and other related perspectives, said Professor Ferdinand Gul, the AC Head. And the need for such perspectives is no greater to be found in Shenzhen, a boomtown just an hour away from the heart of Hong Kong.



The programme, which will debut in February 2004, will be an intensive, part-time programme of at least two years. It is an exact replica of the current MAIA on offer in Hong Kong, following the same course pattern and using the same lecture materials in English. Target intakes (40, initially) will be accounting practitioners, financial managers, business managers and executives, government officials in China. All classes will be held from nine to five on Saturdays and Sundays in blocks of eight to nine weeks, with assessments arranged at the end of each course. Students travel to CityU only for the semester start and the graduation ceremony. However, CityU's professors, in small groups, will travel north every weekend to give lectures. Recruitment for the first cohort of intakes has begun, and response has been enthusiastic. Many of the applicants are certified public accountants and senior managers in private enterprises. CityU professors are preparing for the second round of interviews in early January, after finishing the first round on 12 December in Shenzhen.



Towards greater compatibility with international standards

MAIA is an example of "good timing, good location and good people", all the necessary conditions for the commercial or academic venture to succeed, according to Professor L K Chan, Dean of CityU's Faculty of Business, who signed the agreement. The programme, he hopes, will help drive China's accounting industry towards greater compatibility with international standards. The choice of CityU as partner, according to Professor Zhang Hua, Dean of HIT's Shenzhen
Graduate School, shows its commitment to further enhancing business and management education at the Institute, one of the few elite and comprehensive universities and a fore-runner in management education in China.



Also present at the Agreement Signing Ceremony was Ms Wu Weixiong, a representative of the Shenzhen Municipal Government's Higher Education Office. Traveling from Hong Kong were: Dr Chen Jieping, and Dr Su Xijia, Dr Tony Shieh, Dr Neale O'Connor and Mr David Yip, of the AC; Professor Eden Yu of the

Department of Economics and Finance; Mr P M Kam, Chairman of the AC's Advisory Committee; and Dr Lee Kai-fat, Registrar and Secretary-General of the Hong Kong Society of Accountants.



The Faculty of Business is already running a joint EMBA programme with Shanghai Jiao Tong University.





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