A Press Conference was organized by The Institute of Chartered Accountants of India (ICAI) here today  by CA.G.Ramaswamy, President, ICAI. He  updated the media on  some of the recent initiatives taken by the Institute. Following is the Press note issued on this occasion:

Group formed to address the issue of Black Money: In the wake of the ongoing demand from various groups and political parties to bring the black money stashed in the overseas market, ICAI has constituted a Group to provide necessary inputs/suggestions on effectively addressing the issue of menace of black money, benami transactions and related issues in view of public interest attached. A letter has also been received from CBDT asking for the suggestions where the amendments need to be made in laws. The Institute will submit its suggestions to Central Board of Direct Taxes by September end and the report would cover amendment of relevant laws and double taxation avoidance agreement.

Guidelines of Members of Parliament and Local Area Development (MPLAD) scheme: A special group was constituted by the Institute to study the Guidelines of Members of Parliament and Local Area Development (MPLAD) scheme with an objective to recommend areas for improvement with reference to the accounts and audit part of the Scheme. The recommendations made by this special group on accounting and auditing aspects of the Scheme have been approved by the Government.

HRD Working Group to Implement ASs in Educational Institutions: A group has been constituted by the Ministry of HRD for the implementation of accounting standards in all educational institutions of Department of Higher Education of the Ministry. ICAI being the member of the group attended the first meeting of the group recently wherein the issues involved in implementation of accounting standards in the educational institutes were discussed.

Limited Liability Partnership: The Ministry of Corporate Affairs had issued a circular regarding clarification/interpretation of the word ‘partnership’ for the purpose of the CA Act, 1949. All CA firms can now convert themselves into LLPs which would enable CA firms to grow bigger and increase their capacity. For the same, a group on ‘Conversion of CA firms into LLP’ was formed by the Institute to formulate rules for conversion and format for preferring an application for conversion into LLP. This decision could set a trend for consolidation in the space dotted with several small entities. The Institute has also decided to ensure that one name is restricted for use by one entity therefore a firm will have to stick to a name like XYZ instead of setting up several firms with names such as XYZ India, XYZ Delhi and XYZ Mumbai etc.

Quality Review Board: The quality review board has been reconstituted. The board comprises of 11 members including the Chairman Shri R.Bandyopadhyay, Former Secretary, Ministry of Corporate Affairs. Out of 10 members, 5 members are nominated by the Institute and rest are from other corporate houses.

Global Reporting Initiatives: The Global Reporting Initiative (GRI) is a network-based organization that pioneered the world’s most widely used sustainability reporting framework. The representatives from GRI had a meeting with the Institute to discuss the ways to promote sustainability reporting in India. It has been decided to hold joint workshops in India to create awareness about the sustainability reporting and its benefits to the stakeholders.

ICAI being represented at various forums: ICAI has got representation in two committees formed by the Ministry of Corporate Affairs -Committee to advise the Government on the proposed Takeover Code and Committee to advise the Government on the Bimal Jalan Committee Report on Ownership and Governance of Market Infrastructure Institutions (MIIs).  The Committees were formed in the areas which are very important not only for the entire Corporate world but for the Indian economy and for CA profession as well.  ICAI representatives have been nominated in these two committees. The ICAI has presented its views on important aspects of the Code during  a recent meeting of the Committee on Takeover Code.

The Reserve Bank of India has  recently short listed ICAI to be a part of its project Financial Literacy which was  launched in March 2007 with a view to create awareness, especially among the common persons, on matters relating to banking, finance and central banking. The RBI has also invited detailed proposal from ICAI on the activities to be undertaken during this association and the same would shortly be submitted to RBI.

The Institute was asked by the Federation of Indian Export organizations, FIEO (set up by the Ministry of Commerce, Government of India) to provide a program structure along with speakers on the Direct Taxes Code Bill, 2010 for organizing a series of Workshops at Delhi, NCR, Mumbai, Chennai, Bangalore and Kolkata.  The same was provided by the Institute.

The Ministry of Corporate Affairs has inked an agreement with the Ministry of Economic Affairs, Agriculture and Innovation of Netherlands on Corporate Governance and Corporate Social Responsibility. As per the provisions of agreement, Working Group in the areas of Corporate Governance, Corporate Social Responsibility and other aspects of Corporate Affairs need to be established by both sides. Accordingly, a Working Group has been constituted by the Ministry with Additional Secretary, MCA as the Chairman. There are representatives from Tata Services Ltd., NTPC Ltd and three sister Institutes. From the ICAI side, President, ICAI has been nominated in this group.

Programs to be organised with Government: The Ministry of Corporate Affairs (MCA), under the aegis of Investor Education and Protection Fund (IEPF) of the Government of India, has entrusted the Institute with the task to educate the present and prospective investors of our nation about the intricacies of capital market. The objective of the initiative is to create better awareness among common people for investment in corporate sector towards creating a strong India Inc. Apart from the related programmes to be conducted by Regional Councils and Branches of ICAI, the MCA desires that the Institute should conduct programmes through selective resource persons in the smaller towns under the overall control of our Branches, associating with CII, FICCI, ASSOCHAM, etc., wherever applicable and possible. The Institute conducted 73 MCA-ICAI Investor Awareness Programmes till date.

It has been decided to organize a series of joint Seminars with the Ministry of Home Affairs in various regions of the country to spread awareness among the stakeholders and the members about the Foreign Contribution (Regulation) Act, 2010 and the Foreign Contribution (Regulation) Rules, 2011.The first programme would be scheduled at New Delhi.

Chain of Workshops on XBRL: The Ministry of Corporate Affairs had mandated certain class of companies to file their financial statements in XBRL format for the year ended 31st March, 2011. In order to educate members on XBRL and providing hands-on training on the process, XBRL India has planned chain workshops to be organized at various locations across the country. During the first phase, workshops will be organized to provide training on XBRL filings in selective big cities using the resources of the Information Technology Training Centers of the Institute. Till date The Institute has conducted Workshops on XBRL in 60 locations across the country. These include various awareness programmes organized through the various Programme Organizing units (POUs) of ICAI. ICAI has associated knowledge partners for imparting training for this initiative. This training will help members to understand XBRL, which is emerging as the most popular reporting language across the world.

India-Japan  IFRS  Dialogue  in  India:  A  delegation from  Japan  would be  visiting  Bangalore  and  Delhi  in the 1st week of August   2011   for   the   second   India-Japan   IFRS Dialogue.  Key  stakeholders  from  SEBI,  RBI,  MCA, Ministry of Finance, NSE and CAG have been invited to  participate  in  the  IFRS  Dialogue  to  be  held  in Bangalore.

Initiative for Members

Know-your-client (KYC) Norms: The Government had asked the ICAI and other professional institutes to devise mechanisms for its members to have know-your-client (KYC). This was suggested from the perspective of addressing the menace of money-laundering and also from the point of view of tackling the issue of terror funds. The Institute has decided that it will soon recommend to its members that they adopt know-your-client (KYC) norms for all clients — both foreign and domestic. The members will be asked to maintain details of all clients for anti-money laundering purposes and also to ensure that terror funds are prevented. Before taking up a client, the members will have to collect and keep records on details like PAN numbers, Director Identification Numbers, connections with foreign entities and holdings in entities abroad.

The practicing chartered accountants will be urged to do KYC even for non-audit clients who may want services like taxation representation, consultancy, company formation, etc. Though this would be recommendatory in nature for the members but would help them in assessing the antecedents of clients.

Capacity building of Small and Medium Practitioners :Besides other initiatives being undertaken for the members, ICAI would continue to focus on  the capacity building of Small and Medium Practitioners through skill development initiatives.

A Website (www.icai.org.in) created by the Institute for Small & Medium Practitioners was launched on July 1, 2011. Through this website the SMPs would be able to create their portals and shall be able to upload the details of their firms on the proposed website from their end and it shall also provide them an opportunity to reach out to the International practitioners.

The Tax compliance software, ‘ICAI-Tax Suite’ was launched on July 1, 2011.  The software will assist the members in areas of Income tax, TDS, Audit Reports, Project Report/CMA, Form Manager, Annual Information Return (AIR), Service Tax & Document Manager and thereby improve their productivity and efficiency. The software will be uploaded on the website www.icai.org.in so that members can easily download, free of cost.

Also, software on MCA compliance ‘ICAI-ROC’ was launched on 1st July, 2011.  The software is designed to facilitate Auto filing of e-Forms, Shares Records/Certificates, Meetings & Minutes, Resolutions/Drafting, Annual Return forms and maintenance of Registers and Reports etc.  The software will be uploaded on the website www.icai.org.in and will be provided to members on special request received from them.

IT initiatives: For the profession to play a greater role in building the nation, the members need to be trained with latest IT skills. As the profession is increasingly growing global and hence ICAI is making efforts to equip practicing members and chartered Accountancy firms with more IT tools that in turn will increase their efficiency in the global work environment. Developing an IT infrastructure is very high on the agenda for 2011-12.

The Institute had taken up with Reserve Bank of India for recognizing the DISA (Diploma in Information System Audit) offered by ICAI as equivalent to CISA (Certified Information System Auditor) of ISACA.  The RBI has advised that system audits may be conducted by DISA (ICAI) qualified members.

The Ministry of Information Technology has a Computer Emergency Response Team (CERT-In) which deals with cyber security in the country and also has a panel of IT Auditors & IS Auditors.  Some CA Firms are also on this panel. Computer Emergency Response Team (CERT-In) recognizes DISA (ICAI) qualified members for empanelment as IS auditors.

Project Parivartan: Project Parivartan was conceived with an idea of taking ICAI to a qualitatively new way of working considering the need to change the current operational processes of the Institute to meet global benchmarks. A roadmap  has been evolved for the adoption of a Unified Digital Technology Platform that would be  used to transform ICAI into a truly efficient, transparent and global organization. The project took a comprehensive 360 degree view of the existing processes and benchmarked them with the global best practices.

The ‘Beta’ version of the new ICAI website was released on July 1, 2011.  The main objective of this Beta release was to share the new perspective on how the Institute perceives to capture thoughts and transform the ICAI Web Portal into a truly members and students friendly.

ICAI Web TV: The Institute launched ICAI Web TV on July 1, 2011 during its foundation day celebrations at New Delhi. The Web TV would provide support to the members towards continuing professional education. Educative videos will be hosted on the ICAI Web TV which will enable members to stream lectures of eminent speakers and watch them on their desktops, laptops and mobile phones at their convenience.  All important live events of ICAI would be beamed live on Web and Mobile platform using cutting-edge technology.

Campus Placement Programme: The next campus placement programme shall be organised in the months of August-September, 2011 for the candidates who have passed the CA Final examination held in May 2011 and also for others who are eligible.  The Programme will be organized at various centres viz. Ahmedabad, Bangalore, Baroda, Bhubaneswar, Chandigarh, Chennai, Coimbatore, Ernakulam, Hyderabad, Indore, Jaipur, Kanpur, Kolkata, Mumbai, Nagpur, New Delhi and Pune.

Initiative for Students

The Institute is aware of the demand of the modern dynamic society and therefore the CA course is regularly updated and revised so that the  students should acquaint themselves with the latest in the fields of accounting, auditing, finance, IT and should remain ahead of times. The Institute  has recently initiated some more Student friendly measures.

CPT Online Registrations: This facility that will enable the students to register themselves 24*7 to CPT course using the online form was launched on July 1,2011. This would also have the provision to pay course fee online using credit/debit cards/net banking of various banks. This will bring the students closer to the doorsteps of the ICAI, and other such forms will also be available online in due course.

Changed Eligibility Criteria for CA Course: To mitigate the difficulties faced by those students who have not passed (10+2) examinations but have passed any other diploma course or have passed even 1st year of the 3-year graduation course, it has been decided that they would be eligible for admission to the CPT and would be able to pursue the CA Course.

Automation process in the Examination system: For the first time in the history of the examination system of Institute, the Examination Department of the Institute has implemented an automation process covering the coding, attendance data capturing, reconciliation and capturing of marks (after evaluation by examiners), tabulation.  The automated coding process could retain Institute’s uniqueness of all India mix. As an appropriate risk management in the new system, codes printed through machines are 100% verified by the personnel of Exam department. The efficiency (accuracy and speed) of the new system will be known after capturing the marks and tabulation during the result processing stage in July, 2011. Due to this automated process, the Institute would be able to give more time to the examiners to evaluate the papers and provide full justice to the students of Institute.  If the entire processes emerge satisfactorily, the automation would be extended to other exams also in the days to come.

Delegation from IFAC

A delegation from IFAC (International Federation of Accountants) is on a visit to India and is visiting ICAI  today i.e on July 29th. Mr. Goran Tidstorm, IFAC President and Mr. Ian Ball, IFAC Chief Executive briefed media on some of the issues of current relevance.

IFAC is the global organization for the accountancy profession. It works with its 164 members and associates in 125 countries and jurisdictions to protect the public interest by encouraging high quality practices by the world’s accountants.

ICAI is a founder member of IFAC and has continued to assist IFAC in the attainment of its mission to strengthen the profession of accountancy globally through immense contribution in the activities of its Board, committees and Permanent Task Forces.

ICAI has been associated with the activities of the IFAC in the area of the consideration of the issues concerning small and medium sized firms and businesses and contributed largely by presenting their perspective and guiding the role of IFAC and its other member bodies in addressing such matters and rendering strength to the cause of small and medium sized practitioners and businesses

In the meeting of IFAC delegation with ICAI following issues were discussed:

    • High Quality Technical Standards in IFRS
    • Facilitating the convergence of national and international auditing and assurance standards
    • Promoting the value of professional accountants
    • Setting up of standards on education, practical experience and tests of professional competence;
    • Promotion of IPSAS and Government Accounting
    • Development of accounting profession in developing Nations
    • Adoption of high standards of ethics for members and promotion of good ethical practices globally

Other International Initiatives

The biggest issue before the institute is ‘globalisation of Indian accountants’. India is growing at a rapid pace. A lot of FDI is coming into the country, Indian companies are setting up offices abroad, acquiring firms overseas and merging in order to grow bigger and go global. As a part of International initiatives, ICAI would like to have strategic collaborations with more international accounting bodies so that it can provide a global outlook to CA members.

In order to achieve the same, ICAI has tied up with many accounting institutes in the past. Recently a MoU was signed with College Of Banking and Financial Studies (CBFS), Oman. The ICAI shall provide assistance and support to CBFS in capacity building of Omani Nationals in Finance, Accounts, Auditing, IT, Corporate Governance and allied areas under the MOU. The ultimate objective of this MOU is to create a competent and well trained reservoir of professionals adept in core skills in the sphere of Finance, Accounts, Auditing IT, Corporate Governance and allied areas at Oman.

Institute is also working on a similar agreement with the New Zealand Institute of Chartered Accountants.

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