The professional work of a Chartered Accountant is undergoing major changes that will continue, and potentially intensify, in the future. There is a dire need to check the recent erosion of professional opportunities. Our profession is statute backed and as long as we are having a backing of such laws in our favour, the profession may grow faster. But there are disheartening developments where things are changing and our alma mater is helplessly witnessing the eroding shine of the profession. There is a dire need for the corrections such as (i) work for fraternity; (ii) decent work for all; (iii) the Government/Bank audit jobs; (iv) restoration of lost professional opportunities; and (iv) the governance of our alma mater. This paper is on a subject of saving Future of Work for Chartered Accountants. This intends to give an overview of key trends and issues such as conflict with other regulator like NFRA and RBI to informing and facilitating dialogue and debates with the Government at the national and regional levels.
It is, required to plan in detail for the potential changes that might affect the professional opportunities in the years to come. What is important, however, is to build resilient and adaptable approach towards the Chartered Accountants by having a constant dialogue with the other regulators and the Government. My passion has been my profession’s future of work – so I guess in that sense my time has come. The uncertainty of future can be dealt with firm decisions and the scenario can be changed rather can be strengthen by electing the capable persons to the Council. My wish list of changes, decisions and initiatives for the future council and council members who are at the helm of affairs stand as under:
RE- GLORIFICATION OF ICAI
1. The foremost task will be re-glorification of ICAI in the eyes of Society at large and Government in particular. The image, reputation of the profession has faded away for many reasons but main contributory is the weak council in action. Only a strong council and common member participation on war footing can revert the going on dissent against the profession.
2. Restructuring of the Regional councils with the intent of state-wise representation to have the leaders from every state.
3. Redefining the CPE programme to the real educative hub and not a social gathering event. The thought of CPE required to be strengthened by having disciplined seminars.
4. Minutes of the Council and regional council be uploaded on ICAI postal regularly within a definite time frame.
5. The Code of Conduct for elected representatives should be mandatory and not advisory.
6. Fixed Time frame for Disciplinary proceedings.
7. Submission of intimation application for change of Auditor through SSP portal only.
BIG 4 FIRMS
8. Direct action against Multinational Accounting Firms by strictly implementing the CA regulations. There are ongoing violations and illegal operations which needed to be handled and controlled with a will and seriousness. The COE 2019 report of the MCA should be rejected and ICAI old stand on illegal operations of Big 4 be taken up in right spirit through legal means.
9. The creation of NFRA under section 132 should be challenged at the apex Court.
10. The NFRA consultation paper related to small company audit be out-rightly rejected and all legal measures should be initiated against such move.
FOR SMALL FIRMS & SMALL CITY FIRMS
11. Restoration of GST Audit.
12. The discrimination against firms based on the categorization of firms should be stopped. The first three-year ban has no logic hence be taken back. The doors of concurrent audits, cooperative, RRB audits should be open to proprietorship firms.
13. Preference should be given to sole proprietor/ small firms for empaneling equalizing opportunity to our younger brothers & sisters in their initial years.
14.To ensure fair allotment of all kinds of Public Sector assignments on a predetermined criterion or formula and with complete transparency in the system.
15. Wherever internal audit are required to be carried out, the same be carried out only by Chartered Accountants or firms of Chartered Accountants highlighting the possible risks involved in internal audits carried out by persons/ firms/ companies other than by the members of the institute/firms of chartered accountants as they were not subject to any disciplinary mechanism.
16. A preference is given to local proprietary firm for concurrent audit. The coverage of bank reports should be same for all the Banks. The level of Branch business shall be on the basis of quantum of deposits + advances. All Branches of having + 50 Crores shall be served with the Concurrent Audit. All firms of whatever category shall have a 1: 1 ratio of Partner: Branch.
17. Adding another category of “Members in Academic” in addition to members in practice and members in the industry.
18. Establishment of Members secretariat at HQ and the Secretariat shall help the member for execution of various works at HQ/RO.
19. Members Transit Camp at a place of Regional Council and Delhi HQ for members 1/2 day stay.
FOR MEMBERS IN PRACTICE
20. Tendering of CA work and Undercutting of Fee be banned with immediate effect and revert back to earlier ethics for not permitting the same.
21. The word ‘NOT ELIGIBLE’ should be taken out from every sphere of professional opportunities. Every eligible firm of PDC empanelling list should get bank audits. A weighting system on the line of C&AG based on experience be taken into consideration for MEF rather than the number of partners.
22. All private and foreign banks should be covered in the RBI net for the appointment of their auditors. Each & every branch of public & private Bank and Insurance company should be under mandatory audit independently.
REVISION OF FEES
23. The fixation of fee structure for statutory bank audit should be revised & be based on the advance plus deposits exposure of branches.
24. There should be a manifold increase in the fee structure of C&AG. The fee structure should be based on the recommendation of the fee structure of ICAI.
25.Tax Audit mechanism should be routed through Income Tax Department. In the case of such Tax Audits allotments, the fee shall be based on the turnover of the entity after making necessary changes in the CA act allowing the members to receive the fee on % basis.
26. The fee structure for concurrent audits should be uniform and should be revised manifold. The minimum fee of the Concurrent Audit should be Rs. 25000/- per branch. The requirement of taking attendance from Management should be dispensed with.
27. Allowing members to have the revenues from the peripheral areas such as Mutual Funds, Insurance and NPA auctions etc.
FOR MEMBERS IN INDUSTRY
28. Persuasion with the Govt. to craft a way for INDIAN FINANCIAL SERVICES ‘on the line of IES with the basic eligible qualification of CA.
29. Persuasion with the RBI to craft a way for CA as financial facilitator for the various loans granted by the banks and to take due diligence reports from the members.
30. The total transparent mechanism for campus interview & providing employment opportunities with a minimum of 10.00 lac p.a package.
31. Exempt members in Industry from the annual fee of the Institute and to explore the possibility for grant of non-practicing allowance for the members in Industry.
32. Calculation of the fee charged by the institute from its members and students and avoids an excessive collection of funds, which at times is prone to misuse and unwarranted expenditure.
SPECIAL OPPORTUNITIES FOR WOMEN
33. Practicing/ servicing women Chartered Accountants be provided web-based professional work to able them to work from home/office.
34. Women Reservation in the regional & Central council should be implemented without any delay toning with the Govt. Policy.
35. To reconstitute women-cell to work and help the women members in solving their work-related issues. The real purpose of women empowerment committee of ICAI should be taken up on priority.
36. Services of Chartered accountants should be used for Special Audit u/s142 (2A) on the regular transparent basis. The matter shall be taken on priority with the finance ministry and ICAI should take a lead role in such assignments.
37. The definition of ACCOUNTANT u/s 288 should be monopolized for Chartered Accountants.
38. Tax Audit should be applicable to Cooperatives societies, Trust/societies (non-Business entities) based on their revenue receipts.
39. Penalty u/s 271J against Chartered Accountants prescribed under the Income Tax Act should be scrapped.
STATE GOVERNMENT AUDITS
40. One central body should appoint auditors for state government department and local bodies and for many governments run organizations, which are kept beyond the reach of CAs or CAs are appointed without any publicity.
41. MEF should get a statutory recognition for allotment of various Government audits.
42. To strengthen the Examination system and evaluation of answers sheets and to offer a permanent mechanism for a re-evaluation of answers sheet at the choice of the student.
43. To bring reforms in the examination process and re-frame admission rules in ICAI, with an intent to enhance quality and to re-frame the Syllabus in sync with latest developments in Taxation, Audit, Assurance, Banking, Information & Technology, Forensic and Accounting practices.
44. To create infra facilities for students to improve the quality of education through own satellite program and to end the menace of private coaching canters.
45. The concept of E-dairy for students should be implemented without any delay to monitor the article training.