Home' A Plus Magazine : Oct 2012 Contents 16 October 2012
cluding the Hong Kong Housing Authority,
the Independent Police Complaints Council
and the Estate Agents Authority.
Leung says he has been involved in public
service since he was a form three student. "I
was writing articles for a newspaper for the
aged, visiting aged people's homes and giv-
ing free tutorials to underprivileged chil-
dren," he recalls.
With accountants as his constituents,
Leung believes the issue of audit liabil-
ity should be his top priority. "First and fore-
most... [is deciding whether to deal with]
criminal liability, which has just been em-
bedded in the Companies Amendment Bill,
or civil liability, which we have been discuss-
ing for a long time," he says. "I think dealing
with the criminal aspect could be the more
imminent task that I should aim to tackle.
"I was not happy with the original draft
and that's why I want to... work with the gov-
ernment to revise the draft to one that is less
damaging to the profession. We can tell the
public that their interests are protected but
we are not trying to penalize innocent [audit]
Leung notes that civil liability reform has
been discussed for almost 10 years. "I have a
lot of friends in the profession who want the
liability to be capped... [but] I think this soci-
ety is more pluralistic and really you have to
do it step by step. You can't just say we have to
have a cap.
"One way moving forward is to introduce
a limited liability partnership concept -- al-
though there are accountancy firms (smaller
ones, medium-sized ones) which have already
incorporated -- [in which] individual directors
can be shielded from the wrongdoing of other
directors in the same firm. But for larger prac-
tices, which still maintain a partnership struc-
ture, liability is joint and several."
Liability is just one of a range of contentious
issues that Leung will have to deal with.
Another heated topic is audit reform. "The
global trend is that auditors should be seen as
independent and they should not be engaged
as advisers to a company they are auditing,"
But many accounting firms rely on both
audit and consulting for revenue, and Leung
notes that any reform will have to be prag-
matic. "I understand their concern," he says.
"I know that a lot of the smaller firms do not
like the idea as they do the whole package.
Maybe there... [could be] a possible exemp-
tion for the auditing of private companies."
Another thorny matter, he says, is the
evolving role of the Financial Reporting
Council, and the question of whether it
should take up more regulatory functions
from the Hong Kong Institute of CPAs.
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