Now a day’s winds are blowing against the ICAI. Large value decisions like NFRA, COE committee findings inherently suggest that the magnitude of the potential consequences will be high. The upper level of Disciplinary has taken out from the ICAI by placing the NFRA and now withdrawing the second level of disciplinary seems to be on the cards by incorporating disciplinary proceedings of three professional institutions. The transition period has started from the self-regulatory institution to merely an academic institution.
SECTION 132 OF COMPANY LAW 2013
None opposed when section 132 was introduced in company law 2013. Everyone failed to read the writing on the wall. There was a time gap of nine months in passing the Company law 2013 from Lok Sabha to Rajya Sabha. None cared. No one protested. No representations. Now, when the heat is on and looking like a battle for survival, the very section 132 is being challenged. Legal opinions are now being obtained from the various sections. Recently President of the ICAI issued a press statement rejecting the formation of NFRA. But NFRA is a reality now. The Alma Mater has already lost its glory to take large value decisions. COE committee report not only rejected the ICAI report on the operations of Multi-National Firms but also raised the serious question on its survival and suggested the regulator amend its regulations. This will surely ease out the illegal operations of the Multi-National Firms. Further, there is a quest among every committee decision and every authority to have its independent enforcement agency against the Chartered Accountants, which speaks loud about the new environment to be faced by the chartered accountants.
THE GLORIOUS PAST OF STRONG DECISIONS
Most of us are well aware of the ICAI big decisions made and the significant impact those decisions have had in our professional lives. But slowly the shine for the decisions faded away. The President offices were having the allegations of money misappropriation, council members shaking hands with the Big 4, council members in jail, council members in armed booth capturing, council members disciplinary scams, council expenditure scams, examination scam and so on. All such events resulted in depreciation of the branch value of Chartered Accountants.
NEED FOR THE SMALL DECISIONS TO OVERCOME
Now, all large decisions are being taken up by the Government, and autonomy of the institution has reached at its lowest. However still there are fair chances to counter the on-going attacks from every direction. ICAI has to move lower in a decision network, the number of small decisions being made increases in number, making it possible for the combined value of these small choices to exceed the value of the larger decisions. It is possible that these smaller decisions can be made in a way may stand against the demerits of the higher level decision. When you see the many choices, you make each day as too small or insignificant to matter, you aren’t seeing the big picture, the overall impact of your small decisions. Making a one-time decision to eat a candy bar instead of an apple is not a big deal. But if your goal is to be physically fit, making that decision every day won’t help you achieve your vision. We love to talk about equality these days, but let us not confuse equality of opportunity with equality of outcome. Where do you start to do not dictate where you shall end? If we can’t visualize what we want the future to look like, we don’t have the context for what we could be giving up in the future. We may think that each small decision we make doesn’t matter. But our small day-to-day decisions can have a disproportionate effect on our lives.
MY 51 POINT WISH LIST TO ACT
The sum total of all these little decisions determines outcomes such as ours. Small decisions will surely add up to big results. The 51 small decisions could make a higher impact than the consequences of the bigger external decisions. Now a time is marked to stand for the small decision in favour of small firms and firms of the small cities. The impact will be higher. While paying attention to smaller decisions, particularly where there is a bias or preference for a decision to be made in the same way, can lead to a large unexpected outcome. A particularly alarming case is characterized as the dilemma of the “tragedy of the commons,” where small independent decisions based on apparent rational self-interest lead to the depletion of a common resource that opposes everyone’s long term interest. The real profession lies with the 85% of the small firms. Let’s start thinking about strengthening small firms by all possible ways of preference, reservation but it should be today’s agenda. Hopefully, someday, there is a good day for the wind to blow. My 51 point wish list for small decisions by ICAI stands asunder:
RE- GLORIFICATION OF ICAI
1. The foremost task will be re-glorification of ICAI in the eyes of Society at large and Govt.. in particular. The image, reputation of the profession has been 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 so as to have the leaders from every state.
3. Redefining the role of various committees and to convert their working to accomplish pleasure support for the members rather than claiming the propaganda activities.
4. Redefining the CPE programme to the real educative hub rather than a social gathering event. The thought of CPE required to be strengthened by having disciplined seminars.. The on-going practice of selling CPE hours should be stopped.
5. Redrafting post qualification courses and due recognition as Post-Graduation Course by Indian Universities, Audit Authorities, C & AG and The Government. The present system of conducting various Certificate Programs has failed to serve the desired purpose.
6. Direct action against Multinational Accounting Firms by strictly implementing the CA regulations. There on-going violations and illegal operations need to be handled and controlled with a will and all seriousness in concurrence of Supreme Court directions over their operations on Indian soil.
7. Sharing opportunities for further studies with Foreign Universities and World-Repute Business Schools for members.
8. Adding another category of Members in Academic in addition to members in practice and members in the industry. A detailed pathway is prepared to recognise their contribution to the profession.
9. Establishment of Members secretariat at HQ and the Secretariat shall assist the member for execution of various works at HQ/RO.
FOR MEMBERS IN PRACTICE
10. Tendering of CA work and Undercutting of Fee be banned with immediate effect and revert back to earlier ethics for not permitting the same.
11. Till reversal, Council should formulate the guidelines to regulate the tendering process under Clause (6) of Part I of the first schedule. Monitoring system on the line of seeking no objection from the previous auditor be implemented through ICAI mechanism..
12. The word ‘NOT ELIGIBLE’ should be taken out from every sphere of professional opportunities. Every eligible firm of PDC empanelment 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.
13. Council approved Limit of 4 Concurrent audits per partner per year be scrapped. It should start with one audit, one member.
14. 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 should be under mandatory audit independently.
FOR SMALL FIRMS & SMALL CITIES
15. 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.
16. Preference should be given to sole proprietor/ small firms for empanelment equalizing opportunity to our younger brothers & sisters in their initial years as Guardian to their practice.
17. To ensure equitable allotment of all kinds of Public Sector assignments on a predetermined criterion or formula and with complete transparency in the system.
18. 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.
19. A preference is given to local proprietary firm for concurrent audit. The coverage of bank business and Reports shall be determined universally 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.
REVISION OF FEES
20. The Council under Clause (1) of part II of the Second Schedule of the Act should prescribe and regulate the minimum uniform fees mandatory to be charged by the members.
21. The fixation of fee structure for statutory bank audit should be revised & be based on the advance plus deposits exposure of branch in place of advance only.
22. 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.
23. In the case of Tax Audits allotments from CCIT, 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.
24. The fee structure for concurrent audits should be uniform and should be revised manifold. The minimum fee of the Concurrent Audit shall be Rs. 25000/- per branch. The requirement of taking attendance from Management should be dispensed with.
25. Allowing members to have the revenues from the peripheral areas such as Mutual Funds, Insurance and NPA auctions etc.
FOR MEMBERS IN INDUSTRY
26. Persuasion with the Govt. to craft a way for INDIAN FINANCIAL SERVICES ‘ on the line of IES with the basic eligible qualification of CA.
27. Persuasion with the RBI to craft a way for CA as Financial Facilitators for the various loans granted by the banks and to take due diligence reports from the members.
28. The total transparent mechanism for campus interview & providing employment opportunities with a minimum of 10.00 lac p.a package.
29. Exempt members in Industry from the annual fee of the Institute and to explore the possibility for grant of non-practising allowance for the members in Industry.
30. Recalculation 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
31. Practising/ servicing women Chartered Accountants be provided web-based professional work so as to able them to work from home/office.
32. Women Reservation in the regional & Central council is implemented without any delay toning with the Govt. Policy.
33. To reconstitute women-cell to work and assist the women members in solving their work-related issues. The real purpose of women empowerment committee of ICAI should be taken up on priority.
34. Services of Chartered accountants should be utilized for Special Audit u/s142 (2A) on the regular transparent basis. The matter shall be taken on priority with the Finance Minister and ICAI should take a lead role in such assignments.
35. The definition of ACCOUNTANT u/s 288 should be monopolized for Chartered Accountants. Any attempt to dilute should be taken care of with firm decisions to be taken by the council with all legal ways to blockade any such attempts.
36. Redefining limits of audits u/s 44 AB, 44AD and Audit of Trust & Society.
37. Tax Audit is applicable to Cooperatives societies, Trust/societies (Non Business entities) based on their revenue receipts.
38. Penalty u/s 271 J against Chartered Accountants prescribed under the Income Tax Act should be scrapped.
STATE GOVERNMENT AUDITS
39. The availability of Branch Statutory Auditors panel shall be in the ratio of 1:1 as per the numbers of vacancies available. Every empanelled auditor should get an allotment of branches. The banks should accommodate the Auditors of their list to the branches available.
40. The audit requirement period of bank branches less than 20 crores is reduced to three years from the present level of every five years.
41. One central body should appoint auditors for state government department and local bodies and for many governments run organisations, which are kept beyond the reach of CAs or CAs are appointed without any publicity.
42. MEF should get a statutory recognition for allotment of various Government audits.
43. To strengthen the Examination system and evaluation of answers sheets and to provide a permanent mechanism for a re-evaluation of answers sheet at the choice of the student.
44. 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.
45. To create infra and facilities for students to improve the quality of education through own satellite programmes and to end the menace of private coaching centres.
46. The concept of E-dairy for students is implemented without any delay so as to take up the real article training rather than to dummy with coaching menace.
ICAI BRANCHES & OFFICE BEARERS
47. The office bearers of the branches are the real leaders at ground however from so many years, they are being dealt with as an employee of the Institute. The autonomy should decentralise to branch offices. A sufficient staff should be given for the smooth working of the branch.
48. A special department at central and regional levels of ICAI be created to deal the branches and more powers are given to branch office bearers.
49. There should not be any matching criteria of donations from branch levels for the purpose of purchase of land and construction of the building.
50. An open policy should be announced for establishment and creation of institute infrastructures.
51. The practice of appointing regional council members as ex –officio of the branches should be disbanded. The branch ex-officio shall be from the branch to be selected on seniority basis.
Author was Member of ICAI- Capacity Building Committee 2010-11 and ICAI- Committee For Direct Taxes 2011-12 and can be reached at email firstname.lastname@example.org or on phone Phone: 0121-2661946. Cell: 9837515432 having office at 115, Chappel Street, Meerut Cantt, UP, INDIA