The accounting sector is a major pillar of Hong Kong’s financial services industry. For decades, this pivotal profession has underpinned the sustained development of business and the Hong Kong economy, bolstering their ascension to the world stage. Many exemplary accountants remain committed to their careers while also actively participating in public affairs, using their knowledge and expertise to give back to society. One such generous soul is Loretta Fong (PACC 1993), President of the Hong Kong Institute of Certified Public Accountants (HKICPA) and Sustainability Deputy Leader of PwC Mainland China and Hong Kong.
A Committed and Unwavering Industry Leader
Loretta joined Arthur Andersen (which merged with PwC in 2002 and is one of the Big Four accounting firms) since she graduated from university. She has carved out an illustrious career for herself by diligently and determinedly climbing the ranks at PwC. Loretta has helped numerous companies with their initial public offerings in Hong Kong and the United States and guided clients through substantial mergers and acquisitions. Presently, she is the Sustainability Deputy Leader of PwC Mainland China and Hong Kong, as well as a proud partner of the firm. In recent years, Loretta has been serving in various public positions. As President of the HKICPA, she actively promotes the accounting industry’s accelerating progress. She is also Treasurer and Council Member of the Hong Kong Polytechnic University, Deputy Chairman of the Mandatory Provident Fund Scheme Advisory Committee and a member of the General Committee of the Federation of Hong Kong Industries.
An outstanding student growing up, Loretta has adapted her integrity, dedication and sincerity to her professional life. She believes that women bring distinct strengths to the business world – they can approach issues with impartiality and discipline, set clear goals and successfully contend with difficult decisions. At the same time, they can handle challenging clients with a “soft touch” and tactfully resolve issues both internal and external.
Laying a Solid Foundation During University
Loretta is grateful to the CUHK Business School family for empowering her with a solid foundation. “The CUHK student standard is quite high. The school’s curriculum is crafted to help students develop and hone their knowledge. At our firm, for example, we find CUHK graduates to have a strong grasp of fundamental accounting concepts and that’s critical for their future development in the industry.”
Loretta’s journey into business studies and an enduring career in accounting was more a twist of fate than a deliberate plan. Originally, she aspired to pursue medicine, but destiny led her to business administration, a major which included accounting as a compulsory course. Even though she struggled with this new subject initially, Loretta committed herself to learning the syllabus and preparing diligently for lessons. The process allowed her to equip herself with a basic understanding of the subject and its theories, knowledge which she supplemented by seeking after-class advice from her professors. This proactive approach not only facilitated her learning, but it also helped form lifelong friendships. Loretta has maintained contact with certain professors. She also continues to connect with graduates from multiple generations through the alumni network.
Striding Forward to Propel Industry Development
Networking and relationships are critical to success in the business world. As such, Loretta has always fostered genuine, trusting relationships which are defined first and foremost by sincerity. “Clientele cannot be built overnight; if you wholeheartedly help someone and gradually establish mutual trust, these people won’t forget you. Moreover, they will come find you in times of need. Your business will thrive as a result.”
As President of HKICPA, Loretta has devoted the past two years to broadening the horizons of her profession. At the same time, she is aiming to redefine its parameters to increase competitiveness. For example, she is committed to modernising the HKICPA’s Qualification Programme examinations, updating the exam paper format to make it more convenient for aspiring non-accounting major students to pursue an accountancy career.
Loretta stressed that when it comes to industry advancement, technology is indispensable. Artificial intelligence can address the repetitive auditing processes and assist in data analysis, freeing up time for practitioners to concentrate on exercising judgements in analysing results and tend to client needs. She hopes that young people, regardless of the career they choose, can maintain their dedication, strive for self-improvement and ultimately achieve success.