From the Dean

From the Dean

Professor Houmin Yan

Over the years the Hong Kong accountancy profession has become a by-word for integrity, transparency and due process. Traditionally, the insistence on an accurate "bottom line" was all about the nitty gritty of financial profit and loss. Nowadays, the demands for greater accountability, morphing with ever-more-urgent demands for greater environmental sustainability, and the ongoing technological revolutions of our times are resulting in a "new bottom line." We tell the story of how the new approach is impacting the accountancy profession from multiple perspectives.

In Roadmap boosts convergence of global accountancy standards, Professor Jeong-Bon Kim, Chair Professor and Head of the Department of Accountancy, describes how changes in accountancy procedures have been integral to China's successful integration into the global economy, helping to create an internationally recognised standard for the bottom line.

From another perspective, CSR – Entering the mainstream, by Dr Yangxin Yu, shows how the global shift towards corporate social responsibility has enlarged the scope of financial reporting as it gets integrated into quarterly and annual reporting.

In Rolling back "too big to fail," Dr Zilong Zhang details how increased accountability has been brought to bear on state-owned enterprises in China. Following a series of SOE defaults, investors can no longer cling to the old belief in implicit government guarantees.

Dr Sidney Leung, and Professor Phyllis Mo describe How social enterprises are facing the challenge of sustainability. Given the relatively poor track record of Hong Kong SEs in financial sustainability, here the bottom line has to be redrawn to embrace dual investment objectives, that are both financially as well as socially-driven.

The impact of new technology on accountancy features heavily in this issue. Dr Xiaoli Hu and Dr Wenfeng Wang look at New technologies and the future of accounting, including the way in which the profession will have to adapt to the use of unstructured data. In this way, new technology allows the bottom line to be expanded and redrawn to embrace a wealth of hitherto uncaptured granular data.

Just when we were beginning to fear that AI is pushing human beings out of the picture, Professor Jeong-Bon Kim puts us back centre stage in Seeing is believing? Executives' facial trustworthiness, auditor tenure, and audit fees, and asks what the implications are for personalised trust in business accounting and auditing settings.

Finally, back to technology. Corporates are now typically sharing technological platforms across supply-chain and product market sectors and this brings leveraging opportunities to the accountancy profession. Dr Bing Li analyses How technology knowledge spillovers are transforming the audit profession whilst Dr Stephen Sun shows how technology links among companies can indicate predictable (and highly profitable) returns.

I would also like to mention that our CityU MBA programme has entered the Financial Times' 2020 MBA top-100. My congratulations go to Director Professor Kevin Chiang, and all members of his dedicated team who have put in such a tremendous effort since the programme's relaunch in 2013.

I do hope you enjoy this vibrant and many-faceted exploration of the "new bottom line," and the many innovative contributions from our colleagues in the Department of Accountancy.

Houmin Yan
Acting Dean