Rosanna Choi

Rosanna Choi is a partner at professional advisory firm CW CPA.  Just before she spoke to ACCA Rosanna had completed a meeting with a German consultancy firm with a focus on the shipping industry, which is referring clients to her business. CW CPA has also recently started serving a US shipping business. 

Rosanna – an ACCA council member– sees these business opportunities as linked to BRI. "With this initiative, our clients and potential clients realise they need a presence in China to take advantage of the opportunities." The first step to setting up in mainland China is to set up a business in Hong Kong, the territory on the side of the Pearl River estuary. 

"We are receiving more enquiries from different industries including food, fashion, software and general trading businesses as they see opportunities created by BRI." For Rosanna BRI is all about connectivity – of people, transport, trade, finance and policy. With more investments along the BRI route, positive cascading effects would be on such sectors as properties, healthcare and industrial markets, leading to greater economic outcomes.

"I will have to find firms in those countries who can provide quality audit work for me and who I can work with as a team so we can issue an audit report on group consolidated financial statements."

An important aspect of BRI is close to home for Rosanna: the development of the Greater Bay Area [GBA] plans to promote economic integration among Hong Kong, Macau and the Guangdong province. Beijing has taken steps to support GBA to become a regional technology hub. With a potential market of 68 million people and a GDP that could triple to US$4.6 trillion by 2030, GBA would provide opportunities for businesses looking to enter the China market. In addition, GBA has been described as the gateway to the world for Chinese companies as they look to expand overseas. Rosanna says: "Greater Bay will become an important hub. For instance Hong Kong has signed a free trade agreement with ASEAN." The Association of Southeast Asian Nations and Hong Kong are significant trading partners in goods and services. "These sorts of agreements provide legal certainty, market protection for trade."

Meeting with client Rosanna is well aware of the challenges to doing business presented by different languages and cultures. 

A farming client is looking to set up a base in Hong Kong with subsidiaries in Cambodia and India. "I will have to find firms in those countries who can provide quality audit work for me and who I can work with as a team so we can issue an audit report on group consolidated financial statements."

For Rosanna the accountancy profession will play a central role in BRI. She points to how the profession – through tools such as International Financial Reporting Standards (IFS) – will crucially provide a common language for business. "Along the BRI financial measurement of performance will be crucial in informing investment and commercial decisions."

That common language will be one element driving economic success which should bring increased prosperity, consumption and job opportunities for the countries and their citizens along the BRI. route. 

She adds: "This business success is for small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs) as well as large multinational companies (MNCs). And all companies will need accountants in the commercial field for reporting and auditing."

Rosanna's firm is making its own preparations with greater international focus becoming a reality: in early 2018 it joined Allinial Global, a top five global association of independent accounting firms. Despite the work her firm is doing, Rosanna calls for greater attention to be paid to BRI. She has spent time talking about BRI and convincing others that it is an opportunity worth taking seriously.   

"Business needs to see the opportunity at the right point in time for them. Financial professionals need to think out of the box and work to help others see what they cannot see. That is how people can become the first mover."