In pursuance of its objective of strengthening the corporate governance framework under the Companies Act, 2013 to attain the national objective of becoming a $ 5 Trillion economy, powers conferred under sub-section (11) of section 143 of the Companies Act, 2013 and in supersession of the Companies (Auditor’s Report) Order, 2016, the Central Government has notified the Companies (Auditor’s Report) Order, 2020 (CARO 2020) on 25th Feb, 2020.
The CARO, 2020 is applicable for an audit of financial statements of eligible companies for the financial years commencing on or after the 1st April 2019. The criteria of eligibility of companies on which the CARO, 2020 shall be applicable has not been changed and hence it shall be applicable to all those companies on which CARO, 2016 was applicable. CARO 2020 would necessitate enhanced due diligence and disclosures on the part of auditors of eligible companies and has been designed to bring in greater transparency in the financial state of affairs of such companies.
The CARO, 2020 includes certain additional clauses, as compared to CARO, 2016, and the existing clauses of CARO, 2016 have been re-drafted to elicit detailed comments from the auditors. A brief analysis is given below:
1. Fixed Assets:
|Description of property||Gross carrying value||Held in the name of||Whether promoter, director or their relative or employee||Period held – indicate range, where appropriate||Reason for not being held in the name of the company|
Also Materiality has been defined as 10% or more in each class of Inventory.
3. Loans granted
4. Loans, investments, guarantees, and security (Section 185 and 186 of Companies Act, 2013) : There is no change in CARO 2016
5. Deposits: There is no change in CARO 2016
6. Cost records: There is no change in CARO 2016
7. Statutory Dues: There is no change in CARO 2016
8. Default in repayment of loan or borrowings:
A specific format below has been prescribed to report the period and the amount of default by the company in repayment of loans or other borrowings or in the payment of interest thereon to any lender:
|Nature of borrowing including debt securities||Name of lender||Amount not paid on due date||Whether principal or interest||No. of days delay or unpaid||Remarks, if any|
9. Public offer: Clause (xiv) of CARO 2016 regarding preferential allotment of shares has been merged in clause (x)(a) of CARO 2020
10. Fraud by/on company: Modified Clause (xi)
(a) Earlier, auditor had to report on any fraud on the company done by its officer or employee. This specification has been removed. Now ANY fraud by the company or on the company has to be reported by the auditor.
(b) If any reporting of fraud has been filed by the auditor under 143(12) of the Companies Act, 2013 then such reporting has to be disclosed here also.
(c) Auditor has to disclose if he considered any whistle blower complaint received by the company during the year.
11. Managerial Remuneration: Clause (xi) of CARO 2016 has been removed in CARO 2020.
12. Nidhi Company: Defaults in repayment of principal or interest portion of deposits now to be reported in newly inserted clause (xii)(c)
13. Related Party Transactions: There is no change in CARO 2016
14. Internal Audit: New clause(xiv) inserted under which auditor has to report whether-
(a) Company has internal audit system commensurate to the size of the company.
(b) Such internal audit report has been considered by the auditor to reach his Opinion
15. Non-cash Transactions: There is no change in CARO 2016
16. RBI Registration: New clause (xvi) has been inserted in CARO 2020. Accordingly, auditor has to comment if the company has done any NBFC activity without valid registration from RBI.
Whether the company is fulfilling the criteria of Core Investment Company (CIC) or exempted CIC, is to be reported by the auditor
If the company has more than one company as part of the group, then the number of CICs which are part of the group are to be reported.
17. Cash losses: New clause (xvii) has been inserted in CARO 2020.
If the company has incurred cash losses for 2 consecutive years, then the amount of such cash losses are to be reported.
18. Resignation of auditor: Newly inserted clause (xviii)
The current auditor to report if he has taken into consideration the issues, objections or concerns raised by the outgoing auditor, in case the outgoing auditor had resigned during the year.
19. Material uncertainty: Newly inserted clause (xix)
Auditor has to comment whether material uncertainty with regards to company meeting its liabilities is existing at the Balance Sheet date as and when they fall due for the next one year on the basis of:
(a) Financial ratios
(b) Ageing & expected realization dates of financial assets & liabilities
(c) Other information accompanying the financial statements
(d) Knowledge of the Board and Management Plans
20. Corporate Social Responsibility: Newly inserted clause (xx) regarding transfer of unspent CSR funds to a specified fund within 6 months from the expiry of the F.Y. is to be reported.
21. Qualifications or adverse remarks by auditor in CFS: clause(xxi)
Auditor has to report whether there have been any qualifications or adverse remarks by the respective auditors in the Companies (Auditor’s Report) Order (CARO) reports of the companies included in the consolidated financial statements and details of those companies thereof.
The CARO, 2020 is expected to significantly improve the overall quality of reporting by the Auditors on the financial statements of the Companies and thereby lead to greater transparency and faith in the financial affairs of the companies. This is automatically expected to bring greater inflow of investment by and in Indian companies.
About the Author
Author is Rahul Jindal, partner in PK Chopra & Company, Chartered Accountants, a Chartered Accountancy firm having experience of over five decades, with its head office at New Delhi.
He is highly skilled business practitioner and a great strategist with distinguished expertise in the matters related to Due Diligence, Valuation and Assessments of the Companies, Direct and Indirect Taxation and Accounting.
He also assists foreign clients for establishing their business operations across India by helping them in liaison office management, branch office management, subsidiary office management and also offers incubational services to upcoming and promising companies.