UDIN (Unique Document Identification Number): A Blessing in Disguise for Professionals
UDIN : What is Unique in Unique Document Identification Number ? The Concept of UDIN is a very much awaited decision and a welcome step towards better transparency in Certification of documents by various Professionals including Practising Chartered Accountants, Practising Company Secretaries and Practising Cost Accountants. The Professionals from all three Institutes play a vital role and a Strong Pillar in the success and development of Indian Economy in general and Corporate Governance in particular. The Three Institutes are autonomous Institutes with a role of Government being Supervisory in nature.
The rules, regulations, applicability and process of UDIN for all the Institutes are different but the Intention to preserve and protect authenticity of documents is common. UDIN help in prevention of fraudulent and bogus documents available in public domain which may lead to misrepresentation of facts to general public and may lead to wrong decision making by Stakeholders based upon wrong certification by wrong people.
As far as Concept of UDIN applicable to all Practising Chartered Accountants is concerned, following points need to be considered:
1) UDIN is mandatory on all Corporate/Non Corporate Audit and Assurance functions with effect from 1st July, 2019. Further UDIN is made mandatory at the time of signing audit reports, bank audit, GST Audit, tax audit reports Any Certificates issued with respect to Financial statements like Net Worth Certificate and other Certificates covered as per Notification. (Unique Documents) issued on or after 1st July, 2019 by Practising Chartered Accountants holding full time Certificate of Practice. For generation of UDIN, no documents need to be uploaded at present. A Partner on behalf of Firm of Chartered Accountants needs to generate a UDIN. A firm of Chartered Accountant cannot register and generate UDIN. Manual documents as well as digitally signed E-Forms, a UDIN need to be generated. Creation of UDIN help in maintaining Register of attestation and certification required to be maintained by Practsing Chartered Accountants for peer review purpose.
2) UDIN is an 18 digit system generated Unique Number for every document/certificate signed/attested by a Practising Chartered Accountant. No fees are levied for generation of UDIN. Once UDIN is generated, it can be cancelled by citing reasons for cancellation.
3) Unique Documents for generating Document Identification Number do not include Valuation Report under Section 247 of the Companies Act, 2013, Forensic Audit Report, Information System Audit, Internal Audit Report and Concurrent Audit Reports. UDIN is not necessary for issue of Certified True copies by a Practising Chartered Accountant. However even though for certain certificates UDIN is not mandatory, it is advisable to generate UDIN for more authenticity and safeguard interest of professionals and stakeholders at large.
4) Practising Chartered Accountants need to register themselves on UDIN Portal for the first time by entering Membership Number, Year of Enrolment and date of Birth and OTP will be sent to registered email and Mobile Number and thereby a Username and Password will be generated and which will facilitate generation of UDIN in future whenever required.
5) Date of signing is important before generation of a UDIN. It is mandatory to mention date of signing. Practising Chartred Accountant should take precaution while signing audit reports with respect to date of signing. The Companies Act, 2013 and Provisions in Articles of Association of company provide 14/21 days notice before calling Annual General Meeting. Accordingly Practising Chartered Accountants should plan audit and complete it on time to avoid overlapping of date of Annual General meeting of the Shareholders/Members of the company. UDIN once generated cannot be edited.
As far as Concept of UDIN applicable to all Practising Company Secretaries are concerned, following points need to be considered:
1) In terms of Clause ( 1) of part II of the Second Schedule to the Company Secretaries Act, 1980 as amended by the Company Secretaries (Amendment) Act, 2006, the Council has made quoting of mandatory UDIN (Unique Document Identification Number) in the documents certified / verified / attested / signed / authenticated by a company secretary in practice for the professional services mentioned in the Unique Document Identification Number (UDIN) Guidelines. Further, the Council has also approved the Unique Document Identification Number (UDIN) Guidelines, 2019, which shall be mandatory with effect from 1st October, 2019.
2) Practising Company Secretaries holding a Certificate of Practice need to register themselves on UDIN Portal for the first time by entering Membership Number, Year of Enrolment and date of Birth and OTP will be sent to registered email and Mobile Number and thereby a Username and Password will be generated and which will facilitate generation of UDIN in future whenever required.
3) Various Unique documents suggested by the ICSI Council and as per UDIN Guidelines issued by ICSI include Certification under Section 92 of Annual Return (Form MGT 8), Secretarial Audit Report (MR3 Form, Various Certification under SEBI (LODR) Regulations 2018 and amendments thereto from time to time Like Regulation 40(9), Certification with respect to Internal audit of Operations of the Depository Participants, Acting as Compliance Auditor under third party certification 2018 in the State of Haryana Conducting Internal audit of stock brokers/sub brokers under SEBI Circular No. MIRSDSD/DPSIII/Circular 26/08 dated 22nd August, 2008 and other Certifications as may be prescribed by ICSI in this regard. Digitally signed E-Forms submitted are not covered presently for UDIN. However, it is suggested to generate UDIN for digitally signed E-forms to provide authenticity of certification and safeguard interest of Practising Company Secretary himself.
4) Practising Company Secretaries having Valid Certificate of Practice need to abide ICSI guidelines with respect to UDIN, failure/non compliance thereof shall amount to professional misconduct referred to in First and Second Schedule to the Company Secretaries Act, 1980.
To conclude, the responsibilities of Certifying professionals is huge and every care should e taken by every professional before any certification.
Disclaimer : The Views expressed in this Article are based upon prevailing facts and Law and information available on ICSI & ICAI Websites and views expressed are purely personal in nature. Readers are advised to seek expert opinion before arriving at a decision. You may reach me at [email protected]