Accounting regulator, the Institute of Chartered Accountants of India (ICAI) has decided to allow officials of the Indian Audits and Accounts Service (IA&AS)—the stream of civil servants who audit state-run companies—acquire the chartered accountancy (CA) qualification in less than the usual time. Officers of IA&AS, a central government service under the government’s statutory auditor the Comptroller and Auditor General of India , will now be able to become qualified CAs by undergoing only two years of training rather than the mandatory three year training called articleship.
Regular CA students begin the three-year articleship after higher secondary education and passing a proficiency test.
IA&AS is responsible for auditing the accounts of the union and state governments and public sector organisations. Recruitment to this stream of civil service is through a combined competitive examination which also selects officers of the Indian Foreign Service, Indian Administrative Service and the Indian Revenue Service(IRS).
ICAI president Uttam Prakash Agarwal said the regulator’s council has taken a decision to synergise with the IA&AS officers who belong to the office of CAG.
“In this case, one year work experience of the IA&AS officers would be recognised as equivalent to one year of practical training and the balance period of practical training has to be undergone by the officers under a practising chartered accountant,” Agarwal said.
Accordingly, these officers desirous of becoming CAs would be required to write all the papers prescribed for Common Proficiency Test (CPT), Integrated Professional Competence Course (IPCC) and the CA Final course. The IA&AS officers can appear in the CA final course during the last six months of their practical training as per the present scheme of Education and Training namely CPT, IPCC and Final. The minimum time taken for a CA student to get the degree is four to four and half years but for an IA&AS officer, the minimum time would be three years.
Agarwal said that IA&AS officers belong to a unique service category auditing the government as well as public sector financial resources.
The C&AG is answerable only to Parliament and cannot be pressurised by the government. All government institutions and public sector undertakings are audited by the C&AG which have a national impact.