Dear Professional Colleagues,
The mammoth world with all its beautiful bounties, geographical riches, scientific innovations, exotic cultures and vast army of extraordinary human capital is one large family interconnected with the common goal for global health, peace, prosperity and progress. The present global challenges emanating from pandemic have only enhanced the need for global interdependence to address issues and identify solutions. After all, global problems requires global solutions. Various countries in the world are working to find solution to the virus in the form of vaccine and ways to produce it in a scale that is unprecedented. India is being looked at as a mass manufacturer of vaccine by many. India has resources to meet the expectations. This is notwithstanding our own efforts to make vaccine and it is heartening that one of it has already entered the trial stage. United by integrated efforts and parallel objectives, the global world today is a true reflection of the ages-old Indian philosophy of Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam reflecting Indian ethos that the world is one family. Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam, a Sanskrit verse, used in Maha Upanishad is engraved in the entrance hall of the parliament of India. Working together is key to the future. Charles Darwin, known for his theory of evolution said – “In the long history of humankind those who learned to collaborate and improvise most effectively have prevailed.
CA. Atul Kumar Gupta
As these challenging circumstances trigger need for immediate action, Government has found an answer in Aatmanirbhar Bharat, and undertaken restorative measures towards further expansion of economic activity, with special emphasis on the MSME sector in order to combat the widespread predicament of massive unemployment and once again stimulate the cycle of growth. As India spearheads towards having strong ties of kinship and kindred with the rest of the world it continues to undertake paramount efforts in the direction. After all, supreme success can only be attained when endeavours that transcend borders in order to, together, lead the world to newer heights of triumph, greater fortune and faster growth. Developing association and establishing partnership allow the harbingers of change and development to expediate the process via collaborative initiatives and reduce problems. Remember, one can go faster alone but farther together!
Amidst the lockdown and social distancing, ICAI celebrated its 72nd Foundation Day on 1st of July. The moment of joy was celebrated in form of 3 Days Virtual National CA Summit, 2020 on the theme – Transforming the Future: Enabling Excellence, Augmenting Trust. Time and again, with their inspiring words of wisdom and constant support, the representatives of the state have proved to be dependable allies to the functioning of ICAI. The special attraction of the event was the address from the Chief Guest Shri Om Birla, Hon’ble Speaker of Lok Sabha on the evening of July 1, 2020. Shri Birla, displaying his happiness on participation at the event, correlated CA Day with Doctors Day that also falls on first of July. He referred to Chartered Accountants as Doctors of economy and stated that Chartered Accountants help in maintaining the health of Business and economy. In the knowledge enhancing 3 days virtual event, the accounting fraternity also had opportunity to listen to CA professionals from all walks of life, from entrepreneurs to leading experts, from top bureaucrats to members in public service, from industry stalwarts to past presidents, from notable women members to extraordinary student achievers who enthusiastically participated in this congregation of knowledge. They shared their unique learning experiences and admirable journey through the profession and beyond, presented their viewpoints on myriad subjects germane to the current socio-economic milieu prevailing in the country. A report of the event is separately published in inner pages.
We, at The Institute of Chartered Accountants of India, firmly believe that as territories dissolve and the world becomes smaller, opportunities multiply and success expands. The world around us today is an interlinked network of technological progress, exponential potential and promises for growth, where every small unified step paves a path for advancement and goes a long way. In sync with the same principle, ICAI inaugurated five Representative Offices of ICAI in USA during a program “Unite in America” on July 4, 2020. With the launch of representative offices in Chicago, Dallas, Houston, New England Region and Washington D.C, ICAI has enhanced its strong presence to 7 major cities of USA including New York and San Francisco. CA. Piyush Goyal, Hon’ble Minister of Railways and Commerce & Industry, Chief Guest of the event complimented ICAI for this step and displayed his confidence that each one who has set up base in USA will work collectively to truly raise the flag of Indian Chartered Accountants, build up the credibility of our work and make sure the integrity that defines our profession is maintained.
The Representative Offices will act as focal point of contact bringing together ICAI members abroad and enable effective reach and service to its members, thus aiding to position the ‘Indian Accountancy Profession’ as a ‘Brand’ worldwide for generating more professional avenues for Indian Chartered Accountants and contribution in global economy. The event also witnessed the participation of Ambassador H.E. Mr. Sudhakar Dalela, Deputy Chief of Mission, Embassy of India, Washington D.C., who congratulated ICAI on taking such an initiative to further strengthen the relation between India and USA and reaffirm the commitment to work closely to strengthen the trading ties & investment opportunities.
To make India Aatmanirbhar, the accounting fraternity needs to play a crucial role. We express our heartfelt gratitude to the Foreign Secretary of India, Shri Harsh Vardhan Shringla, for his insightful virtual address to the members of ICAI on Implementing the Vision of Atmanirbhar Bharat. In his address, he stated that organisations like ICAI are a critical part of our economic diplomacy and outreach. He added that CAs are important stakeholders in policy making and contribute substantially to showcase and promote our economic potential abroad.
The government has recently announced an economic package of 20 lakh crore, equivalent to 10 per cent of India’s gross domestic product, to fight the COVID-19 pandemic. Implementation of the package, particularly the areas targeting business will need the skills of Accountancy Professionals. Chartered Accountants, by virtue of their expertise in accounting and finance can play a crucial role in managing the cobwebs of business and industry to make India Aatmanirbhar. Their position in statutes bestows on them with the unequivocal responsibility to deal with a number of compliances and provide reports or attest them. Their proximity to the micro, small and medium enterprises make them quintessential factor for Aatmanirbhar Bharat. Chartered Accountants can lead the growth of the sector as external advisors or internal managers. Chartered Accountants act as trusted advisors who can provide their expert services as accountancy practitioners or consultants to other businesses. They, as managers, steer businesses to the desired strategic direction and lead growth.
ICAI has a strong tradition of service to the country for the sustainable development. In the year 2005, Dr. A.P.J. Abdul Kalam, then President of India gave a progressive vision to Indian accountancy profession and recognised ICAI as Partner in Nation Building. ICAI constituted under an Act of Parliament enjoys a special status wherein the Institute is responsible for the regulation of the accounting profession in the country. Over the years, ICAI has consciously worked to remain amongst at the top and delivered in providing quality education, training, examination, continuing professional education, standard setting, discipline and in functions that epitomises regulatory aspects. The strength of accounting profession has grown significantly with total number of our members surpassing 3,10,000 from a meagre figure of about 1700 members in the year 1949. With overwhelming interest of students in the profession and the needs of growing economy, this number will only grow.
As the nation celebrates 73rd anniversary of its independence on August 15, 2020, I greet you all at this momentous occasion. The day reminds us of the great freedom fighters who laid their lives, the colossal magnitude of combined efforts for liberation, the great statesmen who worked relentlessly to rebuild the nation. Accountancy profession always stood tall and contributed in national interest, and just like our forefathers, we all must continue to strive hard for the accomplishment of our goal and take our beloved country to new horizons. This day also reminds me first meeting of ICAI council that was held on the occasion of the Independence Day of the Country and addressed by the then Commerce Minister, Shri. K. C. Neogy. Addressing the Council, Shri Neogy then said: “it was appropriate that a great and important profession in the country was launching upon a career of autonomy on Independence Day”. He hoped that the “Council would maintain a level of professional conduct and professional standards which would bring resounding glory not only to the profession but to the country as well.” On these words, foundation of this illustrious profession was kept and with our activities and contribution, we remained true to the expectations of all. On the occasion of Independence Day, when the whole nation fills with the national spirit, I thought it fit to discuss the inspiring journey and contributory role played by the accountancy profession over the years in succeeding paragraphs:
Per se, our basic existence, profile and actions are in national interest as when we act as regulator we catalyse building of India. Emerging Indian economy need strong and credible regulator and ICAI has never failed in its duty to deliver. ICAI as a prudent regulator strives to provide an ecosystem for quality financial information, improved market discipline, and foster confidence of various stakeholders. Benchmarking Indian standards to global principles and standards, ICAI has always focused to improve quality of financial reporting and assurance function. The accountancy function aims to serve the public interest by promoting an investment climate of trust, to lead growth and build a new India. In a recent major decision, the Institute has decided to open Centre for Audit Quality at ICAI’s Centre of Excellence, Jaipur, to provide conducive environment for research and develop a systematic audit quality framework.
India is one of the fastest growing economies of the world. The Institute of Chartered Accountants of India’s consistent record of success and splendid performance over the years can be credited to the pioneering guidance offered to the Government of India. As a partner to the activities at macro level, ICAI takes a number of conscious actions to provide services to the government machinery and other regulatory bodies in the domain area of accounting and finance. ICAI methodically provides incisive inputs on technical and other matters of relevance to various ministries and its departments and bodies like CAG, RBI, SEBI, etc. Our contribution on many national issues such as Price Fixation in Indian Industries, devaluation of Indian rupee, prepared Vertical Form of Balance Sheet, suggestions given on taxation structure in the country, suitable and effective company law system and efficient management of PSUs in initial years and very recently towards implementation of GST in India are a few such examples of our continuous engagement. The Institute in its role towards better governance is regularly called upon to interact with various regulatory and statutory authorities on issues of interest touching upon the profession and otherwise.
Union Finance Minister laying the budget on the floor of the Parliament is eagerly awaited event by every segment of the economy as it defines the financial roadmap of the country for the succeeding financial year. Due to the immense significance it holds for the economy’s present and future, the ICAI takes keen interest in the process of the Budget development and also render crucial pieces of suggestion to the Union Government for their esteemed perusal. The process involves collating views and suggestions from vastly spread members, considering them at central level and then documenting them in form of pre-budget memoranda both in case of direct and indirect taxes. Not only this, post the release of the Budget, Chartered Accountants fraternity across the nation dwell in detail, cognitively analyse and critically review the implied consequence of various policies on the industry and the world of finance. The information again collated, is further considered by expert committees, complemented by their own experience and passed on to the Ministry of Finance. It is satisfying that the tradition of submitting pre-budget and post-budget memoranda that we started in mid-sixties is still continuing and over the years many of our considered suggestions find place in budget proposals.
Chartered Accountants of India value integrity and undertake efforts to become Government aids in tax collection and revenue generation. Spread in every corner across the expansive length and breadth of the country having direct connect with crores of assesssees as trusted financial advisors, our members offer individuals, businesses and others the best advice for efficient financial planning and guide, motivate and encourage them towards tax compliance with sincerity. They seek the best for their clients, while also ensure compliances, avoid evasions and cater to the interests of the Government; thereby benefiting the nationwide economy as a whole. I must say, we chartered accountants are the ones who are putting blood into the economic lifeline of the Country.
India is globally recognised as a storehouse of overpowering potential and a treasury of unmatchable calibre. The country continues to expand its horizons as well as internationally fulfils the needs and requirements for human resource, technological assets and natural capital. India has manifested itself as a solution for global needs and serves as a notable business in-sourcing hub. Many members and chartered accountants firms are taking up global assignments, rendering accounting and finance related services and contributing in the exports. The Government had declared Accounting and Finance services sector as one of the 12 Champion sectors.
Recently, ICAI has also signed an MoU with Service Export Promotion Council (SPEC) to work together for the growth of Accounting and Finance services in order to promote export of Accounting services at the International arena. ICAI has been working towards formulating & implementing an Action Plan for the Sector under the guidance of Ministry of Corporate Affairs. The Committee for Export of CA Services & WTO (CESWTO) is taking various measures & initiatives to supplement Government of India’s impetus on increasing the share of Accountancy & related services in trade.
Chartered Accountants report on the financial performance of business organisations that greatly impact the decision making by various stakeholders. The profession plays a key role in the growth of business – whether it is organic or inorganic. The due diligence information provided by the profession for expansion strategies such as mergers and acquisitions help organisations to quickly deploy resources and grow. The coupling effect that is brought in by the domain expertise of Chartered Accountants is important to promote productivity and bring efficiency. Chartered Accountants are best suited to compare cost of alternative actions and the expected financial results. ICAI stresses on having budgetary control as a tool to enhance productivity. It is a normal business practice to compare actual performance with the targets both for physical and human resources. Chartered Accountants as strategist are structuring organisations and their finances, solving complex problems and implementing any desired changes. Understanding of overall organisational systems and depth to which they are associated, help Chartered Accountants to identify and provide unconventional solutions and innovate.
ICAI not only formulates accounting and assurance standards to remain in tandem with the changing economic-scenario but also enforces the ethical values enshrined in the Code of Ethics and implement provisions of the Chartered Accountants Act, 1949 and the Rules framed thereunder. The revised 12th edition of Code of Ethics has also come into effect from 1st July, 2020. ICAI proactively takes action against its erring members, found guilty of professional misconduct through a well-defined disciplinary mechanism. In our resolute to have strong disciplinary mechanism with convenience, we have also launched a separate website (https://disc.icai.org/) for disciplinary function.
Through the adoption of model of integrating theoretical and practical experience, ICAI has been able to facilitate the development of not only professional knowledge and skills amongst large number of students but also inculcate professional values, ethics and attitudes. Accountancy profession is truly a catalyst of socialeconomic growth in India wherein equal opportunity has been provided to the every strata of the society to undergo professional course at highly economical cost. The training imparted to Chartered Accountants enables him to conduct social cost and benefit analysis for sustainable growth. Chartered Accountants focus on triple bottom line where profits are considered along with the effect of organisation on people and planet. Using the services of Chartered Accountants many organisations are adopting integrated reporting where performance is represented in terms of both financial and other value relevant details.
ICAI is also keenly participating in socially beneficial activities. In the current times, when the world is facing fallout of pandemic, ICAI has resolved to provide all possible support to the Indian Government and committed itself to contribute rupees 21 crores. ICAI has appealed to its one million students and members to generously contribute to the national efforts in its fight against pandemic. Today, responding to the clarion call made by the Hon’ble Prime Minister and pursuant appeal by Ministry of Corporate Affairs, the Central Council of ICAI decided to contribute rupees 15 crore from ICAI. And this is not for the first time. Since its formative years, the accountancy profession always remained attentive to national interest and societal needs. In past also, ICAI has always stood with the government by collecting handsome contributions from the ICAI employees, members and students at time of national disasters. Social responsibility which is integral to inclusive growth is deeply ingrained in ICAI philosophy. 5 regions and 165 branches touch-base with the society to conduct a series of socially relevant events in form of blood donation camps, tree plantation and sanitation to improve health and hygiene for sustainable development of nation. ICAI has always prioritised the golden rule of service before self and undertaken uncountable endeavours to facilitate the society.
The secret of getting started is breaking your complex overwhelming tasks into small manageable tasks, and then starting on the first one” said Mark Twain. The present times offer invaluable opportunity to engage and develop an all-accommodating and allinclusive global economy built on strong roots of shared interests, integrated ideas and multilateral solutions; equipped with modern digital revolution and contemporary research evolution. “The secret of getting ahead is getting started.”
Best wishes. Stay Safe and Healthy.
Jai Hind, Jai ICAI.
CA Atul Kumar Gupta
New Delhi, 5th August, 2020