It’s a small world, after all.

Our partner Bill Pirolli just returned from a whirlwind tour of China as part of his service to the profession.  Bill is a member of the US Board of Directors of the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA) and the 38-member Board of Directors of the Association of International Certified Professional Accountants.

The Association Board is the combined efforts of AICPA and the Chartered Institute of Management Accountants (CIMA).  Combined, these organizations represent the world’s largest and most influential collection of accounting professionals with over 650,000 CPA and CGMA members and students from 179 countries worldwide.

The trip’s purpose was to meet with the leaders of the Chinese and South Asian markets of CIMA and get a viewpoint of the economy, culture, and the profession from the other side of the world.

With a population of 1.3 billion people, China is the world’s second-largest economy; yet, in many ways, it is still a developing country outside of its major cities like Shanghai, Beijing, Guangzhou, and Shenzhen.  These four cities alone are where over 100 million people live and work.  Compare that to the largest four cities in the United States – New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, and Houston – where the total population is a mere 17 million.

In the past 20 years, the economy of China has boomed along with the need for trained accounting professionals and many other specialized workers.  The market capital of Alibaba is almost that of Amazon, and Tencent is now larger than Facebook.  Bill had the opportunity to meet with many Chinese CFOs (including Coke China) and hear about the regional differences that businesses like McDonald’s, Coca Cola, KFC, and Subway make in their products or delivery to suit the Chinese market.

The trip also included an event to honor recent graduates of the CGMA (Chartered Global Management Accountant) program and their induction into CIMA membership. The highlight of the Board’s activities was a visit to the residence of the US Ambassador to China, Terry Branstad, to hear about some of the top financial, cultural, and political issues of the day.

Yes, regardless of how big, it is a small world.