Hong Kong to Implement Background Checks for Accounting Students
Police will carry out a detailed background check of the students that plan on pursuing accounting as a career. This will be to ensure that they have not been involved in criminal activities before. Their fingerprints will also be taken for biometric authentication.
According to the Hong Kong Institutes of Certified Public Accountants (HKICPA), these new measures are being implemented due to a recommendation by the Financial Action Task Force (FATF), an international regulatory authority to fight money laundering.
HKICPA is the authority in Hong Kong that allows the registration of accountants and gives them the necessary certifications to be able to practice as accountants. Before the applicants were expected to reveal their criminal record in the application process, however, this did not happen and now these new measures are being taken.
Accounting Bro’Sis Labour Union posted on Facebook that the students will have to sign a consent form that will allow the law enforcement authorities to give their any criminal records to the HKICPA. Then their fingerprints will be authenticated to ensure their identity and ensure that the records really belong to them.
Former lawmaker and now an accountant, Kenneth Leung, said, “The union thinks that this is completely unnecessary and unreasonable. We request the HKICPA immediately cancel the related requirements.” According to him, many laws have already been passed by the Legislative council to fight financial crimes due to FATF’s recommendations.
Leung also expressed his views that HKICPA has not properly planned out to implement the guidelines given by the FATF.
HKICPA states that the Professional Accountant Ordinance requires the accountants to be fully qualified and be a person “of good character and… a fit and proper person.” These new regulations are to make sure that these laws meet international standards.
The applicants will only be asked to prove their identity if there are any criminal records discovered.