Working for a multi-national company in China offers particular challenges for Anne Feng Zhao. “Accounting principles don’t change greatly throughout the world, but in China we are continually developing our accountancy practices and local regulations – so it is important to keep up to date,” explains Anne.
After passing her ACCA exams in 1996, Anne began work as a financial controller at NetTest, a multi-national telecommunications company, in its Beijing office. Last year, Anne was promoted to general manager of the China region and is now responsible for over 30 staff, including sales and services professionals.
Her role as general manager has meant that, in addition to her accountancy skills, Anne also needs to develop her management skills. “As well as giving me the technical knowledge, studying for my ACCA qualification helped me to develop an open and constructive mind. This helps with many areas of business and management. ACCA has also allowed me to think globally – important for me within a multi-national organisation.”
Training and development is important in China. “The Chinese Audit Office, together with the big accountancy firms, offers annual accountancy and tax update courses and seminars. As well as updating our knowledge, these seminars also give us the opportunity to share our experiences with others, “says Anne. “I also take time to read accountancy magazines, which help me to maintain my knowledge.
In addition, all accountants in China have to take and pass an annual accountancy examination, ensuring that we keep up to date with all accountancy issues.”
Anne’s employer, Net Test, actively encourages training and development. “I encourage all my accountancy staff to be professional and keep on learning even after completing their ACCA exams. However, this can sometimes be difficult because of work commitments,”
Anne adds. “The company also provides structured training for staff. For example, as a general manager, I attend worldwide management training.
My staff also attend seminars and meetings – both for accountancy and tuition about telecommunications technology.”
ACCA recognises not just financial accounting training, but also takes into account people working in different industries or countries and those with different interests and according to Anne, "This makes CPD meaningful. It also recognises training courses in English or in aspects of computing – even specific training for those in specialised industries.”
Feedback from ACCA
An holistic approach
As a qualified accountant with management responsibilities, it is important for Anne to maintain her management skills as well as her accounting and finance knowledge, in order to remain effective in her new role. Anne is fortunate that her employers’ acknowledgment this by providing access to management training programmes. Training of this kind will certainly count towards Anne’s CPD requirement.
Recognising a wide range of activities
Anne is already involved in completing a wide range of activities that will be recognised by ACCA and meet the requirements of CPD.
These include technical update courses and seminars, networking with colleagues at events, reading accountancy magazines, and the preparation and completion of an annual accountancy exam.
ACCA would encourage all its members to adopt this approach to completing a wide variety of activities to help ensure different development needs are achieved.
Work based learning counts
The training that NetTest provides Anne covers technical and personal development, as well as updates on the telecommunications industry, and will all count to meeting Anne’s CPD requirement. ACCA works closely with employers to recognise their employee development schemes.