While the legal profession in India is still weighing the pros and cons of opening up to foreign competition, chartered accountants have gone ahead and taken the plunge. The Institute of Chartered Accountants of India (ICAI) has signed an agreement with the Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales (ICAEW), allowing both countries to recognise the qualification of CAs from the other country.
The move will allow CAs in India to practise in the United Kingdom, and permit British CAs to set up shop in India.
The ICAI is also in talks with countries like Canada and Australia for signing similar agreements. The agreement signed between UK and India will temporarily grant qualified CAs of both countries a level-playing field for practicing in the field of taxation and consultancy.
However, they will, at present, not be allowed to audit the accounts of companies in the host country. It would be allowed after the matter is taken up for approval with UK’s Financial Reporting Council (FRC). Once an approval is granted by the professional oversight board of FRC —UK’s independent regulator for corporate reporting and governance —Indian CAs will be provided a platform at par with their UK compatriots to audit the accounts of corporate entities there.
According to ICAI president, Ved Jain, “The agreement stands on the principles of reciprocity. Once the ICAEW gets approval of audit rights for Indian CAs, we will lend similar professional openings for their CAs also.” In India, ICAI is not required to seek approval of government or an independent regulator for taking such decisions.
On the adaptability of the services of foreign professionals within India Inc, Mr Jain says that the professionals working here will be guided under strict professional standards maintained by the ICAI, and hence there will be no lapse in service delivery.
Observing that India and UK have strong trade interest, ICAEW deputy-president Martin Hagen said that the initiative will enable closer working linkages between the two countries. The MoU will require CAs of both countries undergo training programmes on each other’s accounting practices.
FAQ on SCHEMA
1. What is the current scope of MoU between ICAI & ICAEW?
The MoU provides for Recognition and Examination arrangements for the members of the two largest Institutes. This agreement would facilitate mobility of members across the borders and further strengthen the ties between India and Great Britain. The MoU entitles Institute membership without license to practice. General practice rights excluding auditing rights would be available.
2. What is the effective date of the MoU?
This MoU would be effective from December 01, 2008
3. What is the process for an ICAI member wishing to take up the membership of ICAEW?
Existing members of ICAI, in good standing and with two years post qualification experience which meets the learning outcomes of the two ICAEW Technical Integration papers (may apply for credit for prior learning) will be eligible for ICAEW membership on passing single examination of ICAEW on Case Study. The ICAI members with less than two years experience and who do not meet the learning outcomes of the two ICAEW Technical Integration papers (not able to apply for credit for prior learning) will be required to appear additional papers in Business Reporting (T1) and Business Change (T2) along with the Case Study. All ICAI members must also complete the ICAEW’s online Structured Training in Ethics Programme.
Please refer to the schema for further information.
4. What are the costs associated with becoming an ICAEW member?
Registration with the ICAEW
Registration Fee £ 165.00;and Credit for Prior Learning Fees £ 840.00
If sitting the ICAEW Advanced Stage Technical Integration papers; or£1,150.00 if applying for credit for ICAEW Advanced Stage TI papers these fees are non-refundable and are required at the point of initial registration
Purchase of ICAEW learning materials www.gillards.com/icaew
Learning materials for TI exams £ 130.00 Postage and packing £ 74.74
Learning materials – Case Study £ 65.00 Postage and packing £ 35.71
Examination( s) Registration
Technical Integration Papers £ 155.00 each per sitting Case Study £ 240.00 per sitting
Please refer to your training provider. This will be the ICAI for any tuition in India
Admission Fee £ 250.00; and Full Year Subscription £ 172.00; or Half Year Subscription £ 86.00
(Half year subscriptions apply to all memberships starting on or after 1 July)
Cost for ICAI member qualifying by sitting the Case Study from: £ 2,077.71
Cost for ICAI member qualifying by sitting the Technical Integration papers and Case Study from: £ 2,282.45
These costs are approximate and are subject to change
5. What is the procedure/steps to be followed to become ICAEW member?
• Apply to ICAEW in the prescribed format for registration.
• Register with the ICAEW with requisite documents
• Purchase learning materials
• Register for exam(s) as mentioned in 3 above.
• Sit & pass exams
• Complete online Structured Training in Ethics Programme (STE)
• Complete application for membership and file it along with the letter of Good Standing issued by the ICAI
6. What documents are required at the time of registering with the ICAEW
Registration would require documents such as
ICAI members with no adverse disciplinary findings made against them and those who have confirmed their compliance with the CPD requirements of ICAI will only be eligible for the arrangement.
7. What is the experience requirement for the ICAI members?
An ICAI member with a minimum of two years’ post qualification experience which has been certified by their current (and, if appropriate, past) employer(s) which meets the aims and learning outcomes of the ICAEW’s Technical Integration Business Change and Technical Integration Business Reporting papers. ICAI members who are sole practitioners may self-certify that their post-qualification experience meets the aims and learning outcomes of these papers. These members will also need to complete the ICAEW Structured Training in Ethics programme in order to become eligible for ICAEW membership.
Those ICAI members with less than two years’ post qualification experience will be required to sit for and pass, Technical Integration Business Reporting, Technical Integration Business Change and the Case Study papers, and to complete the Structured Training in Ethics programme in order to become eligible for ICAEW membership.
There is no additional requirement to undertake any additional training experience or to take any other examinations.
8. What is the sequence in which the requirements as stated at 3 above need to be undertaken by an ICAI member?
(i) Structured Training in Ethics
Following successful registration with the ICAEW, an ICAI member can immediately access the Structured Training in Ethics programme.
An ICAI member may complete the Structured Training in Ethics (STE) Programme at any point between ICAEW registration and application for ICAEW membership. The programme is independent of the ICAEW examination papers and is a web-based training package which is based on interactive case studies and self-test questions. It is split into three stages that are usually designed to be spread over the length of an ACA students training contract, however for experienced professionals this could be covered intensively in around 5 hours.
The STE programme provides:
• structured training in professional ethics
• case studies and other material on some of the issues you are likely to face
• sources of further information and support.
The programme’s objectives are to:
• familiarise ICAI members with the ICAEW’s code of ethics
• show the member how to apply the fundamental principles (and ethical guidance) in their work
• help the member to recognise ethical issues, make ethical decisions and resolve dilemmas
• help the member know when (and who) to ask for help with ethical matters.
Completion of the STE programme will be mandatory for members of the ICAI wishing to join the ICAEW.
Please visit the ICAEW website for a copy of the Structured Training in Ethics Programme to review. You will need to extract the downloaded files and save them to your hard drive, before the programme will run.
(ii) Technical Integration Papers
The two Technical Integration papers and the Case Study are all written examinations, which would take place under exam conditions. The Case Study must be the last exam attempted by a candidate, however the regulations do allow for all three papers (TI – Business Reporting (TI BR), TI – Business Change (TI BC), and the Case Study) to be sat in one session.
If a candidate who has not gained the two years’ post qualification experience chooses to sit the papers over more than one session, they must take the two Technical Integration papers first. The Technical Integration papers should be attempted at the same sitting due to their common technical content.
9. How are the requirements, as stipulated in question 3 above, administered?
An ICAI member may complete the Structured Training in Ethics program at any point between ICAEW registration & application for ICAEW membership. The program is independent of the ICAEW examinations and is a web based training package.
Completion of the STE program would be mandatory for members of the ICAI wishing to join the ICAEW.
All examinations will take place at the British Council and would be administered by the ICAI.
10. Do I need to take tuition before attempting the ICAEW examinations?
Professional tuition for the ICAEW examinations is not mandatory. However, while not mandatory, it is strongly recommended that professional tuition is undertaken by all candidates, as it will be key to giving you the best chance at passing the examinations.
Tuition in India will be imparted by ICAI in India. ICAI members wishing to undertake professional tuition in respect of the Technical Integration and Case Study papers should contact the ICAI. Details shall be available at ICAI’s website shortly.
Tuition / training would be available for:
a) TI – Business Reporting
b) T2 – Business Change; and
c) Case Study
Tuition in the UK is provided by ICAEW Training Partners, you would need to arrange this independently. A full list of tuition centres are available on our website.
No training would be required for the completion of the Structured Training in Ethics program.
11. Whether there is any specified time lag between registration and taking of examinations?
The ICAEW Technical Integration and Case Study papers are only sat in July and November. You can register for the exam up to 10 weeks before the assessment, and all exam registrations must be made at lest four weeks before the examination date.
12. What would the training encompass?
If you are an ICAI member undertaking tuition in the UK for the ACA Advanced Stage (i.e. the Technical Integration papers plus the Case Study) the syllabus is usually taught over approximately 7 weeks full-time by current professional providers. The Case Study is integrated within these 7 weeks but, if de-coupled, is usually taught over approximately 10 days full-time (including pre-examination revision). These figures are the classroom time and candidates are expected to do further work outside the classroom over this period.
If you are an ICAI member wishing to undertake tuition in India the study arrangements may be different. Please contact the ICAI for more information.
13. How many attempts are allowed per paper in order to be eligible for membership of the ICAEW?
A maximum of four attempts are available per paper for all examinations. However, one is advised to sit no more than 3 times in order to remain eligible to apply for credit for prior work experience if you have at a later stage gained the appropriate two years’ post qualification work experience.
14. What is the pass percentage in each paper?
Pass marks are 50% in the Technical Integration and Case study papers
15. I am a member of the ICAI and am already studying for the ACA, can I take advantage of the additional credits?
If you are already registered as a student with the ICAEW, you will be eligible for transition onto the new scheme. Please contact the student support team for information on your particular circumstances.
16. I am a member of the ICAI based in India, can I come to the UK for tuition?
If you are based in India and would like to come to the UK to study for the ACA, you would need to obtain a visa. Please visit the UK Border Agency section of the Home Office websitehttp://www.ukba.homeoffice.gov.uk/ to assess you eligibility. You would need to apply for this independently.
17. I would like to take the ICAEW examinations in India, where will I be able to sit these?
Examinations in India will be available at British Council Offices subject to demand. A list of the British Council Offices in India can be found on the British Council website.
18. Who would be the contact person in India in case of any issues?
Shri Rakesh Sehgal
The Institute of Chartered Accountants of India,
PB No. 7100,
New Delhi – 110 002, India.
19. Who can I contact at the ICAEW in case of any issues?
ICAEW Membership Enquiries
The Institute of Chartered Accountants in England & Wales
321 Avebury Boulevard,
Buckinghamshire MK9 2FZ , UK
Tel: +44 (0)1908 248040