Spearheading professional excellence by setting new growth patterns
As the supreme torch bearer of Indian accountancy profession, what is your roadmap/vision for this particular year- for ICAI, members and students?
We have an action-plan set for 2015 as to what will be the major initiatives that will be carried out during this year. We will cater to different domains which in turn will be aligned to fulfilling national priorities.
Our priority is to upgrade the process of designing education and training schemes with an aim to produce competent professional Chartered Accountants. The ICAI is aware of the demands of modern dynamic society and therefore the CA course is regularly updated and revised so that the students should acquaint themselves with the latest in the fields of accounting, auditing, finance, IT and should remain ahead of times.
ICAI is focused on capacity building of Indian CA firms through consolidation and empowering practitioners by developing and upgradation of their professional competence. We would aim to strengthen professional capabilities of small and medium firms so that they are geared up to meet international challenges.
As part of ICAI’s continuous drive to uphold the credibility, integrity and image of the accountancy profession in India, the regulatory mechanism of ICAI is working assiduously. My endeavor would be to establish an ecosystem of professional efficiency and transparency. While law takes its own course, ICAI is committed to ensure justice in all disciplinary cases and thereby upholding the values of Excellence, Independence and Integrity which form the benchmarks of the profession.
How do you plan to take the Swachh Bharat Abhiyan Mission forward?
ICAI has about 150 branches and our aim would be to ensure that every branch is contributing towards success of Swachh Bharat Abhiyan. Our audit firms will take care of the sanitary projects of the Ministry of Power. Also, the Hon’ble Minister of Railways has suggested that the ICAI through its vast network of branches may identify few railway stations and can volunteer for the maintenance of the same. ICAI is in the process of identifying few railways stations in different cities.
What are ICAI views on Ease of Doing Business? Do you want some changes in Companies Law? If so, what kind of changes would you want and what are your major concerns?
To make India a preferred business destination and have conducive environment for doing business, ICAI has sought more changes in the norms governing companies & has also suggested changes in various other aspects of the Companies Act, 2013. With regard to proposed changes, the ICAI has communicated to the Ministry of Corporate Affairs which is implementing the Act. Even otherwise as a part of its endevour to be Partner in Nation Building ICAI is regularly in touch with the Ministry.
Some of the proposed changes in the Companies Law that would help in achieving the main objective i.e. Ease of doing business in India are mentioned below. Private Companies to be exempted from all requirements except public deposits, filing annual returns and regulatory filings. Unlisted public companies and public companies with less than 10% shareholding to be treated akin to Private companies to be exempted from excessive regulations. The scope of relative definition being widened. It should be restricted to financially dependent relative and the relatives for One level up and down only, i.e., father, mother, son and daughter.
How would adoption of Ind AS impact the Indian business?
Some of the Ind AS may affect certain policy decisions to be taken by the companies. For example, the Ind AS may affect the capital structuring of companies that have issued redeemable preference shares or are proposing to issue redeemable preference shares which will be considered as a debt under Ind AS whereas at present they are considered as part of share capital. There are such similar instances whereby the Ind AS based on substance over form take a different position compared to the existing position in the financial statements.
How is ICAI geared up to train the women CA’s in the wake of the new Companies Act?
In order of development of women CAs and to further strengthen their position in the profession in a comprehensive manner, ICAI constituted a Committee that conceives, formulates and implement plans, policies and programmes for betterment of women CAs. To provide the women members a medium through which they can explore suitable opportunities which provide part time jobs, jobs with flexi hours or jobs with work from home option, ICAI had launched a ‘Flexi Working Portal for Women Members’. The portal provides working flexibility to Women Members so that they can contribute towards the growth of the profession and economy while simultaneously taking care of their commitments at domestic front. This portal not only serves the interest of women members but also enables CA Firms and industry to tap talent pool which might not be accessible otherwise in normal course. Given that the Companies Act 2013 requires a certain class of companies to have a woman director, ICAI is organizing various programmes for its women members in addition to training programmes.
CA exams are going to get tougher, as we hear, and a lot of revamping is going in the course curriculum? What changes have you incorporated?
The ICAI as a periodical exercise reviews its system of Education and Training and examines its adequacy in the context of existing requirements and anticipated changes in the environment. This exercise was undertaken last in the year 2005-06. In 2014-15 we had set up a special purpose Committee for the review of education and training scheme. We are ready with a draft proposal and in couple of months we will be freezing all the issues and incorporating our new curriculum.
The attempt is to align the course with the relevant and current better practices e.g. we are looking at an open book exam system which will not test the student for his memory power but will test his application for the knowledge/principle. The attempt is to improvise our existing examination system which is not difficult but tough.