In the wake of Citibank fraud and other scams, Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee today cautioned against “window dressing” by accounting firms and called for stricter disclosure guidelines.  “Accountants have a critical role in guarding against window dressing of balance sheets that encourage entities to take more and more risk until they are dangerously leveraged,” the Minister said.

Mukherjee was addressing a conference on sustained economic growth organised by accounting body ICAI. The estimated Rs 300 crore Citibank fraud at Gurgaon branch, involving diversion of depositors money to the stock markets, was uncovered last week.

“We must encourage stronger disclosure standards for systemically important financial institutions as well as complex and sophisticated financial products”, Mukherjee said.

On sustaining growth, he said the challenge before the country was to sustain high rate of economic expansion and cross the double-digit growth barrier.

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