International accountancy programme launches

Peter Ho


Thirty-seven of the 39 students in the first intake for the Master of Arts in International Accounting programme (MAIA—HIT) in Shenzhen came to campus for their day-long orientation, 14 February. All were impressed with the academic content and structure of the programme, not to mention the sophisticated learning facilities on campus.

MAIA (HIT) is the result of cooperation between CityU and the Harbin Institute of Technology (HIT). Offered by CityU's Department of Accountancy (AC), MAIA (HIT)is perhaps one of the few full-fledged programmes in the Faculty of Business now offered in mainland China, the content and requirements of which are almost identical to those of the programme offered in Hong Kong. The MAIA (HIT) programme, which will start next Saturday, 20 February, and last more than a year, is run in an intensive mode. For each course, students are require to attend classes on Saturdays and Sundays for three weeks in a row, taking an exam in the fourth and a break in the fifth week. Students are required to take 10 courses. AC professors will travel north to Shenzhen to give lectures, using the same materials designed for the Hong Kong students.

Most of the first cohort of students, according to Dr Tony Shieh , Programme Director of MAIA Shenzhen and Assistant Professor of AC, are qualified Chinese certified public accountants, key business and finance executives in firms and high-ranking government officials. Mostly in their late twenties to mid thirties, they are upwardly mobile professionals looking for an international perspective in accountancy training, in the context of China's increasing importance in the global business community.

Global GAAP

"There is a push for global GAAP (generally accepted accounting principles)", said Professor Ferdinand A Gul , AC Department Head, at the orientation. "Obviously China is moving towards greater conformity with this trend." In this connection, the more accountants trained with an international perspective, the easier China's business community will find itself moving in that direction. "Quality information is the cornerstone of a successful market," Gul explained, "and qualified accountants with knowledge of cutting-edge issues will be key players in helping to shape a capital market in China that is fair, transparent and efficient." 

Senior staff of CityU's Faculty of Business turned out in droves to show their support. In addition to Professor L K Chan, Dean; Professor Eden Yu , Head of the Economics and Finance Department; Dr H P Lo , Head of Management Sciences; and Professor K K Lai , Associate Dean, attended. A number of AC staff were also present. Representing HIT were Ms Angela Liu and Ms He Hua , respectively Director and Deputy Director of HIT's Shenzhen Research Institute.

After lunch, which was sponsored by the Australian Society of CPA's, the students were given a detailed presentation of the Faculty, the academic focus of the MAIA programme before touring the library, the computing services centre and sports complex.

The Faculty of Business, according to Professor Chan, is premised on "3 Q" education: quality professional education for students; quality applied research with impact; and quality academic culture for faculty members.

MAIA may also be the harbinger of a future deluge. The University is poised to expand its offer of programmes in mainland China, starting, perhaps, in the Pearl River Delta region.





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