Kenneth Morrison, Chairman of the Mazars Greater China board, tells A+ magazine how and why he came back to his birth city, Hong Kong, as well as how the audit and accountancy profession has evolved over the past four decades.
Accountants were flocking to the private sector and expatriates were still very much in demand. “Lowe, Bingham & Matthews was a very local firm but having said that there were quite a few Scotsmen in it and every summer they would go back to the glens and throw a net over a few people and drag them out to Hong Kong,” is how the Hong Kong-born Ken Morrison describes the recruitment process. Morrison himself had joined Coopers & Lybrand’s Glasgow office in 1972.
Given a choice between transferring to Edinburgh or Hong Kong at double his Scottish salary, he seized the chance to return to his birthplace. “Honestly it was just the excitement,” Morrison says, though adding, “as a Scot I had to consider the money.” Hong Kong, he says, “was a terrific opportunity. It was a dynamic place with a real can-do spirit.”
And as the Hong Kong economy slowly improved after the 1973-74 economic crisis, the U.K. domestic situation worsened. By 1974, parts of British industry were working a three-day week to conserve electricity, made scarce by coal miners’ strikes. Inflation had reached 25 percent by 1975. “The 1970s were challenging times for the U.K.,” recalls Morrison.
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- Article published in the May 2013 issue of A+ magazine