The nation’s accounting standard-setting body, the Institute of Chartered Accountants of India (ICAI), has changed some rules to allow both new and serving officers of the Indian Audit and Accounts Service (IA&AS) to acquire the qualification of a chartered accountant (CA).

This is thought of as the first of a series of moves towards a synergy between the accounting and auditing practices of the country’s apex government auditor, the Comptroller and Auditor General of India (CAG) and the ICAI. The CAG is staffed by the IA&AS, and is the latter’s cadre-controlling authority.

The rule change has happened even as India prepares to align its accounting practices with over 100 countries by adopting the International Financial Reporting Standards by 2011.

The ICAI Council took the decision on December 17, to permit  IA&AS officers to take the final phase of the CA exams and skip the intermediate stage of qualification.

Those who want to acquire the CA qualification will be required to write all the papers prescribed for ICAI’s Common Proficiency Test and Integrated Professional Competence Course,  along with the CA Final course. On the practical training for three years prescribed under the Chartered Accountants Regulations, 1988, work experience of the IA&AS officers would be recognized as eligible for a set-off of the prescribed period; some rules apply.

“The decision will allow ICAI to closely coordinate with CAG and monitor the nation’s financial affairs in a more systematic and comprehensive manner,” Uttam Prakash Agarwal, president of ICAI, informed.

The IA&AS cadre are deployed by CAG for all government and public sector audits. They are also deputed abroad. “The IA&AS officers who are often deputed abroad for audit of internationally aided institutions would be able to bring together their experience as departmental auditors, along with the high professional knowledge accrued through the chartered accountancy course,” Agarwal said.

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