Malaspina's International department introduces Western accounting practices to 19 Chinese auditors

July 17, 2000 - 5:00pm

Nineteen professional Chinese auditors are living and studying in Nanaimo until next March. They are taking part in an 11-month custom training program, contracted with Malaspina University-College through its International Education and Business Programs departments.

The auditors, all employed by the Chinese National Auditors Office in Beijing, are here to improve their English and learn about Western accounting and auditing practices.

"They are extremely eager students," said Marti McKinley, Manager of International Contract Development for Malaspina University-College. "Most have made personal sacrifices to be here for the next 11 months. They have left behind wives, husbands and very young children."

In addition to studying at Malaspina, the Chinese auditors are living in the community learning about life in Nanaimo. Some are boarding with Canadian families for the duration of their stay, while others are living in local apartments.

"They'll go home changed in a profound way, as all our international students do," said McKinley. "They will leave us with something, as well. Anytime you work with individuals from other countries, there's a two-way exchange of culture and ideas."

McKinley says Malaspina Business program instructors were so excited about the contract training program and the opportunity to teach and learn from the Chinese auditors, they put off their summer holidays.

"China is forming joint venture partnerships with business and education in Western countries more and more," says McKinley. "They need training programs like this in order to increase understanding of Western culture and business. The Chinese already have a solid education, but they are learning how to adapt their skills to a Western context."

Upon their return home, the auditors will go back to their offices and share their new knowledge with their colleagues.

It took the International Education department more than two years to negotiate the contract training program with the Chinese National Auditors Office.

The original request came through a Malaspina graduate from China, Michael Lee of Lee and Sun International Enterprise Ltd. He participated in Malaspina's interpreter program many years ago and currently runs a business in Nanaimo. He was instrumental in making the connection between the University College and the Chinese National Auditors Office.

Originally the Auditors Office wanted a three-month auditor upgrade program; however, during the course of negotiations, it became an 11 month program, including two weeks of instruction in English for Special Purposes, Malaspina's eight month accounting certificate program, two weeks of auditing principals to be designed and delivered by local auditor Shan Thomas, and work experience attachments organized by J.S. (Woody) Hayes, partner in the accounting firm Hayes Stewart Little & Co. Goodman Mott and past-Malaspina Board Chair.

"Malaspina University-College is very fortunate to have won this contract," said McKinley. "To have developed a contract training program for government-level business people from China represents a major coup for the University College. It shows the Chinese Government's high level of confidence in Malaspina as a post-secondary institution. Hopefully it will lead to other training opportunities."

Malaspina's International Education department will attract more groups of Chinese professionals over the next several years.

"We've been asked to provide all types of customized short- and long-term training programs," said McKinley. "For example, in conjunction with the Faculty of Education, we're delivering a one-week High School Principal Study Tour that includes lectures and site visits. We expect six to nine groups of Chinese principals per year for the program."

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