Honorary University Fellow (2019)
Ms Mabel MB Chan is a creative, energetic and dynamic professional accountant. Born and brought up in Hong Kong, she is hardworking and gentle with an elegant disposition, a typical example of a successful professional with a “can-do” attitude.
As the eldest child in the family, Ms Chan took it upon herself to help care for her younger brother during childhood. Today, she also spends a significant amount of time looking after her elderly parents amidst her busy work schedule. Since the 1970s, Ms Chan has helped transform Hong Kong into the regional economic hub it is today.
As a science major in secondary school, Ms Chan was fascinated by how different ideas and structures could work together to form new possibilities. After graduating with a Bachelor of Arts in Accounting (with honours) from City University of Hong Kong, Ms Chan worked for two prestigious international accounting firms in Hong Kong. This experience enabled her to gain valuable contacts within several multi-national corporations. But it was Ms Chan’s desire since childhood to be in control of her destiny and to start her own business. Soon she forsook the comforts of the international accounting firm, and instead started her own accounting firm just five years after graduation, and in the face of a chiefly male-dominated industry.
Starting out in a humble office that only included a small table, a primitive computer and skeleton support staff, following much hard work, perseverance and, most importantly, passion for the profession, success came quickly to this young entrepreneur. Ms Chan’s motto for success is “to add value” for herself and her clients. She has the vision to provide a multi-faceted service to clients, which includes general accounting, auditing, taxation and other related services. This approach allows her firm to provide professional advice on matters covering management consulting, business consulting, corporate governance and risk management.
Ms Chan is a trailblazer in her profession, and she has revolutionised the accounting industry in Hong Kong over the past decade. In 2016, Ms Chan decided to merge her accounting firm with the Hong Kong branch of Grant Thornton, an international accounting firm, in order to reach out to an even wider clientele. She foresaw the growing trend and influence of information technology and e-commerce in the accounting industry, and the need for accounting firms to go international. She believes that artificial intelligence and big data analysis are changing the global business environment and the business models of commercial entities around the world. Furthermore, business automation in certain areas is inevitable. She also believes that accounting professionals have to be in step with trends and advances in technology, such as big data. Most importantly, they also need to make the most of such opportunities. By doing so, they will be equipped with better tools for professional analysis and will be able to make more accurate judgment calls before forming incisive strategies for business development, enabling them to stay ahead of the competition.
Ms Chan is determined to upgrade industry practices and believes strongly in serving the community through public service. She was named President of the Society of Chinese Accountants and Auditors in 2010. For more than a decade, she has served the Hong Kong Institute of Certified Public Accountants and was named president in 2017. She is only the third woman to lead the organisation.
Ms Chan has maintained close ties with both junior and senior accountants across Hong Kong. She would not hesitate to contribute her extensive knowledge and skills to improve the accounting profession in Hong Kong as a whole. She has helped advocate for female accountants’ rights both professionally and in the workforce, pushing for the introduction of breastfeeding in the office environment. She was one of the founders of the Association of Women Accountants (Hong Kong) Limited, which aims to promote the development and career progression of women accountants. Ms Chan assumed the presidency of the Association in 2008-09.
Ms Chan believes in a proper work-life balance, and vigorously promotes the idea and practice in order to foster long and prosperous lives for fellow accountants. She has participated in discussions and seminars regarding the adoption of flexible working hours and the organisation of stress release workshops for the industry. As an avid marathon runner, Ms Chan strictly adheres to a disciplined training programme, which helps to ensure that she has time away from the office to unwind.
Ms Chan is a contemporary professional who is able to lead our young generation in this new era of global financial challenges. She encourages young people to adopt a life-long learning attitude. Her advice to them is simple: “Learn from everyone you meet and every place you visit. Know your weaknesses and constantly enrich your knowledge and skillsets. Never set boundaries for yourselves and be bold and take on challenges. Strive continuously for progress and always stay positive.”
Ms Chan served as a member of the Hong Kong Baptist University Council for six years, during which time she also sat on the Council’s Audit Committee, Finance Committee and Standing Committee. Following her tenure with the Council, she continues to offer help to the University on many fronts. She is a cherished member of the HKBU family and an exemplary candidate for the Honorary University Fellowship.