Updated: Jun 21
A CPA in Hong Kong, or Certified Public Accountant, refers to a professional who has obtained a license that allows him to provide accounting services to the public. In Hong Kong, the profession is regulated and supervised by the Institute of Certified Public Accountants, which sets conditions such as licensing and practicing.
It is advisable for business owners in Hong Kong to work with a CPA as they can ensure that the CPA in Hong Kong has a proper grasp of current accounting principles while adhering to Hong Kong standards of the regulated industry.
When needed, investors may choose to work with professionals trained and experienced in accounting and financial reporting or auditing and assurance.
For investors interested in setting up a company in Hong Kong, working with a Hong Kong CPA is a suitable solution.
Financial statements, monthly reports, management accounts, bank reconciliations
Payroll in Hong Kong
Monthly salary processing, overtime calculation, accurate monthly salary payment, new employee documentations, employee data update
Invoicing and tracking, processing
received monthly invoices
A statement of cash flows showing cash inflows and outflows
Companies subject to this requirement file annual financial statements with the Companies Registry
Analyzing business performance in terms of financial ratios
Our CPAs assist in criminal cases involving securities or insurance fraud, money laundering, falsification of financial statement information, etc.
Payment of all applicable relevant taxes
All applicable relevant taxes
No need to register for VAT as there is no VAT in Hong Kong. Our team can help you find out about other taxes
Audits provided by our Hong Kong CPA
Annual financial statement audit when required by the Hong Kong Inland Revenue Department
Property financial matters
Property financial matters
in Hong Kong
in Hong Kong
Tax authority assistance
Our CPAs in Hong Kong can represent clients before relevant authorities and in other processes as required
Support for voluntary dissolution
We are able to assist investors who wish to close a Hong Kong company and require final financial reporting and bank account liquidation
Services provided by our CPAs in Hong Kong for foreign companies
Accounting of branches and subsidiaries, information on the tax implications of double taxation agreements, etc.
Who can Become a Hong Kong CPA?
Individuals who attend qualifying courses, such as those offered by the Hong Kong Institute of Certified Public Accountants, can become accredited and licensed CPAs. It is a comprehensive training that includes educational and examination phases, and members of the Institute are internationally recognized.
To become a Hong Kong CPA, one needs to pass the practicing certificate examination, which is required for registration as a CPA. Those who have completed the qualifying courses offered by the Institute are exempted from taking the examination, but non-Hong Kong nationals with accounting degrees are required to meet the competency requirements.
Our team of experts dedicated to setting up companies in Hong Kong can provide you with more detailed information on the laws applicable to foreign professionals wishing to practice or conduct business in Hong Kong.
Regardless of the size of the business, it is recommended to engage an accounting firm in Hong Kong.
Hong Kong CPA
Hong Kong accountant
Companies of all sizes can benefit from working with a Hong Kong Certified Public Accountant (CPA). Depending on the type and size, certain requirements for preparing audited accounts are mandatory.
Companies will choose bookkeeping as one of their default services. This includes keeping proper records of all business transactions, and preparing year-end documents.
Accountants in Hong Kong can also provide related services for the payroll management of employees hired by employers. Compliance with social security contributions is also covered.
All Hong Kong companies are required to file annual financial statements and pay annual taxes. A CPA will ensure that the company complies with the mandatory terms of these payments.
Certified Public Accountant qualification
Only accounting degree holders who have completed relevant courses can provide appropriate accounting and auditing services in Hong Kong. They are recognized and accredited by the Hong Kong Institute of Certified Public Accountants.
What are the Standards Followed by Accountants in Hong Kong?
A CPA in Hong Kong is an individual who adheres to prevailing standards and regulations. These refer not only to the current and implemented accounting standards in Hong Kong, but also to quality assurance practices, compliance regulations and anti-money laundering rules and laws.
HKFRSs are developed by the Institute in close collaboration with international standard-setting boards and with reference to consultation papers and regular meetings with key stakeholder groups.
CPAs in Hong Kong also adhere to the Code of Ethics for Professional Accountants, which sets out key ethical principles for the preparation and presentation of information, as well as guidance for accountants in public practice.
Our accountants in Hong Kong can provide you with more detailed information on current regulations.
Should I Work with a CPA in Hong Kong?
It is recommended to choose to work with a professional team of licensed accountants. Regardless of business size, private and public companies in Hong Kong are required to comply with accounting and financial reporting requirements (and, depending on size, audit requirements).
Working closely with a licensed accountant will enable investors to maintain proper books and records and comply with ongoing compliance requirements.
Investors looking to set up a company in Hong Kong can start working with an accountant as soon as the company is registered.
Our accountants in Hong Kong provide clients with a wide range of services and offer a portfolio of services tailored to the size of the business. Read below for more information and examples of these services.
What Accounting Services in Hong Kong can I Get from a CPA?
Accounting firms provide complete solutions for Hong Kong businesses, including foreign companies opening branches in the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region.
It is recommended to work with a team of certified CPAs rather than handling the accounting yourself, even for small businesses.
The following is a summary of common services provided by accountants in Hong Kong:
Bookkeeping: Accounts receivable and accounts payable, complete financial transaction recordings, prepare annual financial statements;
Payroll: Comprehensive management of employee-related payments; paying wages, issuing pay slips, and paying social security benefits;
Audit: Accountants in Hong Kong can also assist clients requiring audit services when required by the authorities.
Tax compliance: Professionals handle tax-related matters, allowing companies to pay all due taxes in a timely manner and avoid unnecessary penalties.
The accounting standards applicable in Hong Kong are the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region Financial Reporting Standards.
Companies must prepare annual financial statements. Public companies are required to submit audited annual financial statements.
When audited financial statements are required, they are formally submitted to the Inland Revenue Department at the same time as the company files its annual profit tax return.
Small companies are exempt from the above requirements.
Private companies are not required to file annual financial statements, however, they are required to keep proper books of account.
By law, Hong Kong companies are not allowed to file consolidated returns. Companies belonging to the same group file their tax returns and pay taxes separately.
Financial Reporting and Applicable Corporate Reporting Exemptions in Hong Kong
The Companies Ordinance sets out the main financial reporting requirements for companies.
Current disclosure requirements have been simplified and overlap with accounting standards.
The general requirements for financial reporting in Hong Kong are as follows:
The directors of the company prepare financial statements for each financial year;
The preparation of consolidated financial statements to include all subsidiaries of the company, unless an exemption applies;
Special conditions apply to holding companies and partially owned subsidiaries;
The financial statements must give a true and fair view of the company's financial performance and position;
Financial statements comply with accounting standards and disclosure requirements and must be audited.
Companies also need to comply with a number of other requirements when voluntarily amending their financial statements.
By working with our team of Hong Kong CPAs, you can ensure your company meets these requirements.
In addition to key financial reporting obligations, investors setting up companies in Hong Kong should also be aware of the reporting exceptions for qualified legal entities.
Private or guarantee companies may be granted a reporting exemption, meaning that some of the conditions for preparing financial statements are less stringent in their case.
To qualify for the exemption, a legal entity needs to meet two or more of the following criteria:
Total revenue or aggregate total revenue does not exceed $100 million;
Total assets or aggregate total assets do not exceed US$100 million;
No more than 100 employees.
The above conditions apply to one financial year of a small private company incorporated in Hong Kong or a holding company belonging to a group of small private companies.
Firms subject to less stringent reporting requirements do not need to:
disclosure of auditors' remuneration in financial statements;
provide true and fair view of financial statements;
disclosure of a director's material interest in certain transactions, important contracts or arrangements;
include business reviews, donations, resignations of directors or other material interests of directors in directors' reports;
include an auditor's expression of a true and fair view and opinion on the financial statements.
For these exempt legal entities, the financial statements are prepared in accordance with the Financial Reporting Standards for Small and Medium Enterprises.
Hong Kong Audit Services
Our accountants in Hong Kong can also provide audit services to clients, and our accounting services include the preparation of required documents when conducting audits.
In Hong Kong, all companies are required to have their financial statements audited, including those that are subject to reporting exemptions under the Companies Ordinance. In Hong Kong, the only companies that are not subject to audit requirements are dormant companies.
Our accountants can conduct statutory and non-statutory audits under Hong Kong Companies Law. Limited liability companies are required to appoint external auditors who must perform statutory audits, and our accountants are also prepared to provide such services. We provide audit services in accordance with the Auditing Standards issued by the Hong Kong Institute of Certified Public Accountants (HKICPA).
Our accountants in Hong Kong also provide non-statutory audit services such as due diligence on M&A cases or company valuations. On request, we can also provide research reports on companies with which our clients are about to do business.
With regard to auditors' responsibilities in Hong Kong, our team reminds company owners that there are also regulations regarding the replacement, removal or resignation of auditors.
The requirements for reporting the status of the company's internal auditors are also set out in the Companies Ordinance.
When a company auditor resigns, the company must submit notice to the Registrar on a special form within 15 days of the date of receipt of the auditor's notice of resignation.
When the auditor of the company is dismissed (removed), the company passes an ordinary resolution for this purpose, and also needs to submit a special notice (in a special form) to the Registrar within 15 days from the date on which the resolution to remove the auditor is passed.
Advantages of Outsourcing Accounting Services in Hong Kong
Companies of all sizes benefit from choosing to work with a CPA.
Business owners often choose to outsource this service because it reduces costs compared to having an in-house accounting department.
While large companies will have dedicated accounting departments, not all companies employ in-house Hong Kong accountants.
The advantages of outsourcing accounting and bookkeeping services are as follows:
Professional assistance: gain expertise through a dedicated team of experts and financial professionals;
Cost reduction: the company will reduce labor costs associated with hiring Hong Kong accountants;
Flexibility: accounting and bookkeeping packages are tailored to the needs of clients; reporting and auditing requirements for smaller businesses are lower, which is reflected in an easier-to-use accounting solution;
Business advantages: investors working with a professional team providing accounting services in Hong Kong will have more time to focus on growing their business while rest assured that the company is compliant.
The key difference between accounting and bookkeeping is that accountants in Hong Kong can work as bookkeepers, whereas the latter cannot perform the functions of a CPA without the proper certification discussed in this article.
Accounting firms in Hong Kong can employ bookkeepers and accountants, but most will choose to work with a certified public accountant.
Hong Kong Accountancy Statistics
According to the Hong Kong Institute of Certified Public Accountants, as of the end of June 2021, the number of practicing accountants was 3,593. Other data is displayed as follows:
Membership: In 2021, the total number of members of the Institute of Certified Public Accountants > 47,000;
Fellow members: Of the members of the Institute, there were 1,540 fellow members;
Non-practicing: 36,964 of the total number of CPAs in the Institute were non-practicing;
Practice method: 49% of the total number practiced in the name of individuals, 1,635 practiced as sole proprietors or partners; only 839 were company shareholders or directors, and 142 were authorized signatories;
Gender distribution: 49.4% of total membership were male and 50.6% were female (practicing and non-practicing members);
Registered office: The registered practice office of most practicing certificate holders was located on Hong Kong Island (60.2%); 95.1% of the registered members also lived in Hong Kong, and only 4.9% said they live outside Hong Kong.
According to existing statistics, most Hong Kong CPAs say that most of their work carried out is from Hong Kong, and only 3% from overseas.
If you need more information on general accounting rules, or if you wish to work with a CPA in Hong Kong, please contact us.
With our assistance, you will benefit from the services of an accounting firm in Hong Kong with relevant experience in both local and foreign companies.
We can help you set up a company in Hong Kong.
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