Staff Reporter –
The Institute of Chartered Accountants of India (ICAI), established by an Act of Parliament in 1949 has proven its mark as an elite world class institution devoted to uphold the values of transparency, accountability and integrity. With over 3.40 lakh members and over 7 lakh students, ICAI is the world’s second largest accounting body. Through its 5 Regional Councils, 164 Branches, 44 Overseas Chapters & 29 Representative Offices, the Institute is taking forward its agenda of inclusive growth & continues to add glory to the profession.
The Eastern India Regional Council (EIRC) of The Institute of Chartered Accountants of India (ICAI) organised an Interaction cum Felicitation Programme on 16 February 2022 in Kolkata, where in more than 250 members attended from across the Eastern Region. CA. (Dr.) Debashis Mitra, President, ICAI, CA. Aniket S. Talati, Vice President, ICAI, CA. Ranjeet Kr. Agarwal, Council Member, ICAI, CA. Sushil Kr. Goyal, Council Member, ICAI, CA. Sunil Kr. Sahoo, Chairman, EIRC, CA. Ravi Kr. Patwa, Vice Chairman, EIRC, CA. Debayan Patra, Secretary, EIRC, CA Hari Ram Agarwal, Treasurer, EIRC, CA. Nitesh Kr. More, Member & Immediate Past Chairman, CA. Sumit Binani, Member & Past Chairman, EIRC & other Members of the Regional Council (EIRC) were present at the Interaction cum Felicitation Programme.
ICAI New Torch Bearers for the year 2022-23
The Council of the Institute of Chartered Accountants of India (ICAI) elected its new President & Vice-President for the term 2022-23.
CA. (Dr.) Debashis Mitra has been elected as the President and CA. Aniket Sunil Talati has been elected as the Vice-President of The Institute of Chartered Accountants of India w.e.f. February 12, 2022.
ICAI Mandates Peer Review for certain categories of Firms
The Council of ICAI has been working diligently to improve the quality of assurance services provided by its members. Empanelment of the reviewers through an assessment test was an initiative in that direction.
ICAI has taken a historic decision to mandate the Peer Review mechanism for certain categories of firms rendering assurance services to specific class of entities and will go a long way in enhancing the audit quality. Realising the extent of wide range of the Practice units, some of which have multiple branches located in different parts of the country while others may be operating only at sole proprietor level, the roadmap has classified Practice Units into four categories and prescribed the implementation of peer review process over a four year time period.
- The implementation will begin, in a phased manner, from April 1, 2022 and will first apply to practice units (Firms) that have undertaken Statutory Audit of enterprises and whose equity or debt securities are listed in India.
- Over the next three years, the roll out would steadily cover firms providing assurance services to companies other than those listed on stock exchanges. The second phase is for the firms which have undertaken Statutory Audit of unlisted public companies having paid-up capital of not less than Rs.500 crore or having annual turnover of not less than Rs.1000 crore or having, in aggregate, outstanding loans, debentures and deposits of not less than Rs.500 crore as on the March 31st of immediately preceding financial year.
- The third phase covers firms which have undertaken the Statutory Audit of entities and have raised funds from public or banks or financial institutions of over Rs. 50 crore during the period under review or of any body corporate including trusts which are covered under public interest entities. The last leg of the mandate covers firms conducting audits of branches of Public Sector banks.
ICAI Partnering MSMEs to bolster them on the Global Map
With the growth of Indian economy and employment generation capabilities, the Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) account for nearly half of India’s total exports thereby becoming the backbone of the nation’s economy even during the pandemic. The MSME Sector is an important pillar to carry forward the vision of ‘Atmanirbhar Bharat’ and face the economically challenging situation posed by the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Central and State Governments have launched many schemes to provide much-needed impetus for the revival of the MSMEs. However, to reach the end users, a simple and effective ecosystem which can assist MSMEs to benefit in a most optimized manner is necessary. ICAI believes that Chartered Accountants with close proximity to the businesses, industry and entrepreneurs can effectively work with the focus areas of MSMEs especially after being hit by the COVID-19 pandemic.
ICAI is receptive to the emerging challenges faced by the MSMEs & Start-ups and to address the issues faced by them, the ICAI has undertaken a number of initiatives to strengthen them in terms of competence and improve their visibility amongst the business community.
To enhance the capacity building of MSMEs & Startups, the ICAI has launched three very important initiatives for them namely: ICAI MSME Exchange, ICAI MSME Portal and Certificate course on MSME.
Enhancing Audit Quality
The Institute launched Audit Quality Maturity Model – Version 1.0 (AQMM v1.0) which includes the following dimensions of audit maturity organised into three sections:
a) Practice management – operation,
b) Human resource management, and
c) Practice management-strategic/functional
The objective of this Evaluation Matrix is for Sole proprietors and Audit firms to be able to self-evaluate their current level of Audit Maturity, identify areas where competencies are good /lacking and then develop a roadmap for upgrading to a higher level of maturity. The AQMM v1.0 is a cross-functional evaluation model for practicing firms covering engagement teams, firm leadership, IT helpdesks, human resources team, administration department, legal cell and the management information systems desk of the firm.
The AQMM v1.0 has been developed after deep international research on systems to enhance audit quality and widespread outreach activities to have inputs from stakeholders have been conducted across India. The aim of this capacity building measure of ICAI will significantly empower the firms to be able to improve their audit quality. The AQMM v1.0 is recommendatory initially and later on ICAI will review the date from which it would become mandatory.
Strengthening the Sustainability Reporting Ecosystem
ICAI is committed for being partner in achievement of UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) 2030 Agenda and to strengthen the sustainability reporting ecosystem in the country. ICAI has taken various initiatives related to community(s), businesses, economy as well as individuals – both members and non-members, towards this endeavour:
- Launched nationwide “ICAI Sustainability Literacy Drive” with the objective to widespread the awareness on importance and adoption of SDGs as well as Sustainability Reporting
- Capacity Building and nurturing of skills of members through “Certificate Course on Business Responsibility and Sustainability Reporting”
- Invited suggestions from members on how to reduce carbon emissions and identify “Champions of SDGs” and “Carbon Footprint Challenge”
- Interacting withIndustry Associations/ Stakeholders and Regulatorsfor developing Framework for Disclosures on Climate Related Risks.
- Engaging with and contributing to International bodies/ think tanks towards global sustainability practices and propagating Sustainability Reporting Requirements and Assurance Standards both for general purpose reporting and/or specifically for a Regulatory requirement
Multi Disciplinary Partnership Firms
In India, need for MDPs has been felt since long time. Formation of MDPs is need of the hour. MDPs are necessary for growth of Indian professional firms and Indian economy.Provisions of CA Act, CS Act, CWA Act and Regulations framed under these Acts (as amended) allow formation of MDPs prior to February 2012. However, due to lack of necessary operational mechanism in the past, these provisions could not be implemented. ICAI has revised Form 18 and has framed Guidelines on MDPs which provide necessary operational mechanism for implementation of these provisions.
MDPs will enable Indian professional firms to build their capacity substantially as various multi-professionals having expertise and experience in their respective fields will be part of MDP. It will allow MDPs to provide complete package of services (audit as well as other services) to their clients. Clients will also benefit since they would no longer be required to approach different firms for their requirements.
Chartered Accountants Benevolent Fund (CABF)- Relief in Corona Times
No profession is immune to the pandemic disruptions. Many members and students have lost their life or their loved ones. The foundation of a functional community is built upon mutual benevolence and social understanding. From September 2020 onwards, a Scheme of financial assistance for treatment of Covid-19 was introduced by ICAI and since then about Rs. 10 crore has been processed/released to approx.. 800 beneficiaries towards treatment of the disease.
Academic equivalence to the CA Qualification
The University Grants Commission (UGC) has granted the academic equivalence to the Chartered Accountancy qualification with its Post Graduate degree in all respects. An Expert Committee was constituted by UGC and the ICAI had submitted a ‘Concept Paper elaborating the ICAI scheme of education and training and its details’ to the Committee. The UGC considered the recommendation of the Committee and resolved that Chartered Accountancy qualification be considered equivalent to Post Graduate course.
- Grant of equivalence to the CA course with the PG degree will make our members eligible to appear in National Eligibility Test conducted by UGC and pursue Ph.D. in all the Indian universities across India.
- The recognition will also open up the international market for various Masters courses in foreign countries for ICAI members, thereby bringing the global acclamation and recognition of Indian CAs worldwide.
Renewal of Fee Waiver in Registration Course for 8 North-Eastern States & Union Territories of Jammu & Kashmir, also included Andaman and Nicobar Islands
Taking forward its mission of inclusive growth & empowering students, the ICAI has renewed its earlier decision of concession on registration course fee for the students of newly formed Union Territories of Jammu & Kashmir and Ladakh and for 8 North-Eastern States i.e. Arunachal Pradesh, Assam, Manipur, Meghalaya, Mizoram, Nagaland, Sikkim and Tripura which was permissible till 31st March, 2022.
It has been decided that the scheme of waiving off 75% fee for the students registering from the newly formed Union Territories of Jammu & Kashmir, Ladakh and also from 8 North-Eastern States, for all level of CA Course i.e. Foundation, Intermediate and Final will be continued till 31st March, 2025. The Council also decided to extend fee concession to the students registering from Andaman and Nicobar Islands w.e.f. 4th February, 2022 till 31st March, 2025 as well.
This decision would be a step forward towards encouraging the young aspirants from these places who wish to pursue their dream of becoming a Chartered Accountant and serve the nation with their capabilities and knowledge.
CRET: The way forward
In order to update the system of education and training with the objective to enable aspiring Chartered Accountants to acquire contemporary competence which the profession requires, a “Committee for Review of Education and Training (CRET)” is set up from time to time.
The CRET of ICAI has been constituted to examine the existing schema, curriculum, article ship training, specific skill development training programmes (ICITSS/AICITSS) and manner of assessment vis a vis leading accounting bodies, tenets of National Education Policy 2020 and paradigm shift due to disruptive technologies and emerging trends in global business, economy and finance; thereafter, ideate and deliberate upon the critical realms to transform the current structure.
As of now, vital aspects such as Academics, Practical Training, ICITSS / AICITSS (Training Programmes integrated into the curriculum) and Examination are being deliberated by the Council. In due course, suggestions will be elicited from the stakeholders, discerning students, esteemed members and subject experts to critically analyse their feedback.
Provide Holistic Learning Experience to Article Trainees
The profession of Chartered Accountancy offers a broad gamut of the professional opportunities in various forms. A need was felt to expand the scope of industrial training to provide more avenues and encourage students to take industrial training.
The amendments have been notified recently in the Chartered Accountants Regulations that enhance the scope of industrial training.
- Now, a CA student can undertake industrial training for a period between 9 months to 18 months.
- Industrial training shall also be allowed in the offices of the Central or State Governments, Central statutory and judicial authorities, regulatory bodies, banking companies and such other departments of Central or State Governments, Institution or Organisation as may be decided by the Council from time to time to further widen the learning scope for students.
- Further, considering the fading economic geographical boundaries and interest of many students to explore overseas opportunities, the scope of industrial training has been expanded to include training for a certain period in any foreign country under a member of the accountancy body recognized by the International Federation of Accountants.
In contrast with several other courses, the Institute offers an exhaustive term of three years during which aspiring professionals get an immersive practical learning experience in the form of articleship training to complement theoretical education.
Even in these pandemic times, ICAI is using best of the technological tools to reach out to the students and assist them in their learning efforts. The widespread adoption and use of mobile technologies have the potential to equip next generation with interactive learning and provide innovative ways to deliver quality services to the students.
To provide quality education to the students, a mobile application has been launched by ICAI which will enable linking of student fraternity with the Institute. The application shall provide interactive learning and coaching on a single platform with a number of additional features to cater to student’s need. Students will also be able to access downloaded assignments, faculty notes and study material offline.
ICAI, the second largest accounting body in the world, has a number of chapters, representative offices and overseas offices helping the Indian accounting profession to reach different parts of the world.
The ICAI Chapters and Representative Offices act as focal point of contact, bringing together ICAI members abroad and enabling effective reach and service to its members. Thus, aiding in positioning the ‘Indian Accountancy Profession’ as a ‘Brand’ worldwide for generation of more and more professional avenues for Indian Chartered Accountants and contribution in global economy. ICAI has increased its presence to 73 Global cities of the World with 44 Chapters and 29 Representative Offices spanning in 47 countries.
Torchbearers at Global Forums
It is a matter of pride that many of CA members are holding coveted positions at Global levels representing ICAI at relevant platforms:
- CA. (Dr.) Debashis Mitra, President, ICAI appointed as a Non Founder Director to the Chartered Accountants Worldwide (CAW) Board for a two-year term.
- CA. Nihar N. Jambusaria, Past President, ICAI got the honour to serve The South Asian Federation of Accountants (SAFA) as Vice-President starting from January 1, 2022.
- CA. Atul Kumar Gupta, Past President, ICAI has been elected as Board member of International Federation of Accountants (IFAC) and also of XBRL International.
- CA. Prafulla P. Chhajed, Past President, ICAI has been elected as Deputy President of Confederation of Asian and Pacific Accountants (CAPA) for a period of two years.