Home' A Plus Magazine : Dec 2012 Contents December 2012 17
executive officer of TeleEye, a medium-sized
company in Lai Chi Kok that develops video
Chan, who is also chairman of the SME
committee at the Hong Kong General Cham-
ber of Commerce, says the smallest of SMEs
rely on simple cash accounting and use CPAs
mainly for tax advice.
However, he says that some are looking
to grow with the help of their accounting
firm. "Some want to become bigger -- maybe
they want to find an investor -- then they will
need more services."
There already are accounting firms and
professional ser vices firms responding to
those expansion needs by connecting SMEs
with funding sources.
Another in-demand niche that smaller
CPA firms can fill is corporate secretarial
services. This covers a wide range of tasks,
from managing personnel and maintaining
company records and registers, to ensuring
that the company complies with regulations
or providing advice on corporate gover-
Many SMEs have considered listing on the
stock exchange but few SMPs are equipped to
handle the process for them. That forces SMEs
to seek the services of larger accounting firms.
Chan says he found the fees quite expensive
when TeleEye sought its own listing on the
Growth Enterprise Market. He says he would
have used an SMP if it had the expertise.
Cheng of Erik Cheng & Company points
out that there are regulatory obstacles to
some fields. CPAs, he says, cannot undertake
bookkeeping ser vices for audit clients, due
to conflict-of-interest concerns. Complex tax
investigations tend to go to larger CPA firms,
he adds. While there is no blanket ban on
providing non-audit ser vices to audit clients,
Institute members should ascertain exactly
what services they are able to perform and
adhere to the code of ethics.
Cheng says that providing audit or other
services to listed companies tends to be off-
limits to SMPs, citing the elevated risk and
compliance factors and a heavier regulatory
burden. "That leaves the company secre-
tarial area as the most logical growth area,"
he says. "But there are many corporate sec-
retarial firms operating at very competitive
Reporting on solicitors' accounts can be
a lucrative field for SMPs, as only the largest
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