CUHK Professional Accountancy Students Take Home Prizes from Big Four Accountancy Firms’ Competitions

In June 2020, four students from the Professional Accountancy (PACC) programme of The Chinese University of Hong Kong (CUHK) Business School took home prizes in EY Young Tax Professional of the Year 2020 (Hong Kong) and PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC)’s Career Plus Challenge.

EY Young Tax Professional of the Year 2020 (Hong Kong)

Sachiko Surjono (PACC, Global Accounting Stream, Year 3) won the championship of the EY Young Tax Professional of the Year 2020 in the Hong Kong region. “The competition was both challenging and demanding. It highlighted tax issues relating to e-commerce from both Hong Kong and international tax perspectives,” Sachiko commented.

EY Young Tax Professional of the Year is an international competition designed to identify young talent with an interest in tax, help them enhance their professional skills and develop their careers. Participants have an opportunity to share experiences with people from a range of backgrounds and cultures. The competition aims to demonstrate how much the tax profession has changed today and how business is managed in different cultures.

The competition aligns with the objectives of the Global Accounting Stream – prepare outstanding accounting students to acquire a global mindset as well as an understanding of international accounting practices and issues. “The competition allowed me to have a glimpse of what a career in tax entails is like. It goes beyond just crunching numbers and filing tax returns. Instead, it is a complex issue that requires an up-to-date mindset on changes in global trade, regulations and technology,” Sachiko added.

Sachiko will represent Hong Kong at the national competition to be held in the second half of 2020. Two other PACC students, Tong Ka-man (PACC, Year 3) and Wong Oi-ying (PACC, Year 3), were also among the best 8 finalists. Apart from the prizes to the top 3 winners, they were awarded direct entries to EY’s assessment centre for tax internship or graduate programme.

Dr. Edmund Wong, Director of the PACC Programme and Senior Lecturer of the School of Accountancy at CUHK Business School commented, “I am proud of our students’ strong analytical skills and ability to apply them in a complex and ever-changing business environment. I look forward to seeing Sachiko make another breakthrough in the national competition later this year.”

PwC’s Career Plus Challenge

A team of four PACC students including Sachiko Surjono, Patrick So (PACC, Global Accounting Stream, Year 3), Renee Ko (PACC, Global Accounting Stream, Year 3) and Sammi Leung (PACC, Year 3) got the 1st runner-up of PwC’s Career Plus Challenge in Hong Kong. Patrick shared, “Career Plus Challenge is a demanding yet interesting case competition. As ‘being innovative’ was the key judging criterion of the competition, we had to understand the market thoroughly and figure out strategies that have never been implemented.”

This year, Career Plus Challenge centred around the theme “ideal employer”, encouraging students to unleash their creativity as Gen Z representatives. Star mentors from PwC provided professional guidance to the top 10 teams in the final round.

Patrick added, “While brainstorming new ideas, our team seriously considered the feasibility, effectiveness as well as costs of our solutions. The case competition is a great learning opportunity as we learned how to strike a balance between innovation and practicality, which is an important skill in the modern business world.”

“Creative thoughts form an important element in contemporary business world. Such significance is amplified in the fight against COVID-19,” Mr. Eric Leung, Associate Director of the PACC Programme and Senior Lecturer of the School of Accountancy said. “I am delighted to see that our students, as future accountants, were able to identify problems in workplace, apply their analytical skills and come up with innovative ideas to solve business issues. These are definitely the core competencies we would like to train our students through our programme curriculum.”

To let students of the Global Accounting Stream gain international exposure and practical knowledge, the PACC programme organises overseas study trip and various non-classroom trainings such as case analysis workshops and leadership training sessions, with scholarships provided. Discover more about the Global Accounting Stream and other streams of the Professional Accountancy programme here.