A Hong Kong businessperson is mandated to annually audit their company’s accounts through a Hong Kong third-party Certified Public Accountant (CPA) who is regulated by the Hong Kong Institute of Certified Public Accountants (HKICPA). Competent accountants are therefore well paid, and they are an essential part of the workforce for both local and foreign investors. However, most of the time an investor, may not readily get these services or even afford to have an accountant exclusive to their business company. In such cases, they outsource accounting services.
Why engage in accounting services?
- It is essential for your business as it provides crucial information necessary for your company’s decision-making process.
- Proper bookkeeping assists in the long run auditing of financial statements.
- It is part of Hong Kong’s statutory requirement for companies according to the Company Ordinance.
- It demonstrates competence to your partners, investors, banks, and suppliers.
- It helps you avoid unnecessary compliance and audit costs.
- Detect losses and theft early.
Benefits of Compliance
- Useful as proof for those companies which qualify for the exemption on offshore revenue.
- You are in a position to easily secure bank loans.
- You can easily associate with the government.
- It accords you the legitimacy of doing financial activities.
- Allows you to review and compare your company’s financial strength.
- Improves management of cash flow
- Improves your business planning management.
- Minimizes the risk of wrongdoing and fraud.
The mandatory official accounting-related requirement in Hong Kong
- Preparation of unaudited accounts such as cash flow statement, balance sheet, and income statement.
- Filling of profits tax return annually. Bulk annual tax return issuance takes place each year on the first working day of April.
- Maintaining accounting records for 7 or more years from the end of the financial year.
Benefits of outsourcing accounting services
- You get relieved from the burden of reporting
- You get time to concentrate on other important aspects of your business.
- It saves you the cost of having your accountant because these accountants also assist in your day-to-day accounting needs such as office expense claims and balance sheet management. They provide a virtual workspace.
- Because they are professionals, you don’t need to worry about timelines.
- Payslip management, which includes the management of medical and annual leaves.
- They do tax computation
- Account consolidation
- They deal in multicurrency
The essential documents for effective accounting services
- Documents of company incorporation,
- Company bank statements,
- All invoices in the reporting period,
- Purchase requisition and purchase order,
- Sales invoices,
- Delivery receipts,
- Cash register tapes and
- Records of daily expenses related to company operation.
Accounting Bookkeeping Services
Bookkeeping services involves regular preparation of the general ledger, profits or loss accountants the balance sheet preparation.
Important business records that need keeping
- Daily cash-in and cash-out records
- Bookkeeping expenses, payments, and the receipts issued.
- A record of all documentation needed to prove the entries in the ledger accounts such as invoices, vouchers, receipts, and bank statements. Record of products purchased and those sold. Clearly showing the sellers and the buyers, the quantity, quality, and price.
- Expenses associated with shipping of goods, delivery, and the location. This particular detail is essential for- profit tax exemptions.
- Assets and liabilities records.
Annual Financial Statement Audit Requirements:
When you audit your accounts for the first time, the first people to present it to are the shareholders of your newly incorporated company during the Annual General Meetings (AGMs). You are tomust do so within the first nine months from the Financial Year End (FYE) or six months if it is not a Private Limited Company. After which you submit to the Statutory Board of the Inland Revenue Department. Thereafter the rest of the audited financial statements are submitted each year in not more than 15 months.
Hong Kong Auditing
In Hong Kong accounting services, auditing is the third-party verification of all company accounts to comply with the laws of taxation. The areas of auditing include financial statements and taxes, especially profit taxes.
The auditing process begins with the company preparing its financial statements then forwarding them to the Certified Public Accountant (CPA) together with supporting documents. The CPA then tries and understands the activities of the company and check the financial statements for any errors, unforeseen, or intentional. After which the CPA observes as to whether the information is accurate or unfairly represented. From there they produce audit reports to be signed by the directors who then sign and sends it back to the auditor. Then the auditor computes the profit tax and submits it together with the supporting documentation.
Things to be aware of about accounting services
Be aware of the requirements of the Hong Kong Institute of Certified Public Accountants (HKICPA) which is responsible for all the city’s financial operations. Apart from supervising companies, this body has also a new qualification which helps accountants to improve their expertise and skills.
This is the regular recording and organizing of all the company’s financial transactions. The said records are gathered daily or monthly from expenses, receipts of sales or deliveries, and bank statements. The aim of bookkeeping in Hong Kong is to have a correct and up-to-date bookkeeping record that is used to file annual returns.
Proper bookkeeping provides a record of the finance source, destination date, description of the transaction, and the amount. Hong Kong bookkeeping involves double entry whereby each transaction is written down twice, first as credit and as a debit on another account to prevent the occurrence of any error.
There are two bookkeeping methods. One method involves paper and pen, and it has been there for as far back as accounting services began. The other method is the use of a computer. This is a modern way of bookkeeping which utilizes a computer.it is believed to improve and simplify bookkeeping which reduces the making of errors. Another advantage is that it reduces paperwork and also it can be backed up online.
In as much as the bookkeeping information is critical to accounting services, a bookkeeper can only do bookkeeping services, but he/she cannot perform accounting services. However, a professional Certified Public Accountant can do both tasks. A bookkeeper only records financial transactions in the company ledger. An accountant turns the ledger details into important projections about the company.
The choice of a competent professional accounting service provider is critical to your company’s success. Look for Certified Public Accountants who comply with the Hong Kong Institute of Certified Public Accountants (HKICPA) regulations. He/she should be one who seeks to understand your company’s business rather than just looking at the numbers. They should have the ability to provide you with all important financial information and documents such as balance sheet and general ledger as opposed to just working on cash and bank statements.
Those businesses that mainly deal with cash transactions are to be very careful to keep all the records of transactions because they are the most vulnerable when it comes to proof of transaction. Examples of these businesses are retailers. And when keeping your books, always make sure you only enter transactions of value because some transactions may not be relevant for recording in a ledger, for example, personal finances.
Account Services in Hong Kong FAQs
Is accounting software better than a professional accountant in accomplishing an accounting service?
It depends on your knowledge to interpret the data from the accounting software into important decisions for your company. Otherwise, it will just be data that you don’t know how to use. A professional accountant on the other hand can advise you about your company structure and the necessary decisions for a more profitable operation. They also advise on financial statement controls and accounting procedures.
No, Hong Kong does not have specific dates for year-end for compliance of accounting services. However, most companies choose the last day of March or December.
Statutory audit involves the filling of financial statements of incorporated Hong Kong limited companies annually through a third-party qualified Certified Public Accountant (CPA) as required by the Companies Ordinance of Hong Kong.
Noncompliance to the mandatory statutory accounting compliance requirements is a crime that attracts a fine, a jail term, or both. It is therefore wise for company to comply to Hong Kong accounting standards to reduce compliance and audit associated costs. Your accounts will be reassessed, and the cost accrued to you. Thereafter you will be prosecuted and charged accordingly.