My Dear Professional Colleagues,
The accountancy profession is undergoing change globally. Considering the importance of sustainability, the three ‘Ps’ i.e. People, Planet and Profits are rightly in focus today. The Accountancy profession by virtue of its skills and competencies reinforced by ethics, trust, integrity and recognition of its public interest responsibility is augmenting confidence of all stakeholders by being in the forefront of protecting public interest and sustainable economy even in the emerging complexity. Keeping in mind the emerging role of accountancy profession and multifaceted activities being performed by the accountants in national economies, I am pleased to inform you that the theme of the forthcoming World Congress of Accountants (WCOA) 2022 being held in Mumbai this year is ‘Building Trust, Enabling Sustainability’.
Over the years accountancy profession has earned the trust of all stakeholders by establishing a consistent financial reporting framework that improves governance while also enhancing the capacity and competence of diverse economic constituents. With the changing market conditions, the Accountancy profession has evolved to not only mitigate the risk of failure but also to support the growth of the industry.
The Profession has worked and continues to work with the Government and its constituents to deliver futuristic policy solutions like sustainability and digital technology. The strength of our profession to put the interest of our nation first, enables us to adopt, evolve and transform in order to create value for all stakeholders. As said by Hon’ble Union Minister Shri Nitin Gadkari recently “Chartered accountants are pillars of economic growth”. And I am absolutely in agreement with what the Hon’ble Union Minister stated.
The introduction of artificial intelligence, data analytics and machine learning being imbibed in governance is a testimony how governance standards are improving. At this juncture, it is crucial to understand the importance of smart audit using technology to add value beyond the traditional domain and at the Institute it would be our endeavour to bring tools and technologies and introduce ways to empower the profession in harnessing technology.
Let’s have a look at some recent Institute’s activities:
I had a meeting with Shri Amarjeet Singh, Executive Director, SEBI, accompanied by CA. Aniket Sunil Talati, Vice President, ICAI, CA. (Dr.) Sanjeev Kumar Singhal, Chairman, AASB and SRSB, CA. Priti Savla, Vice Chairperson, SRSB and CA. Vishal Doshi, Vice Chairman, AASB. The discussions were focused on the role of ICAI in strengthening sustainability reporting ecosystem, establishing framework and standards for Social Auditors who would audit entities that may be listed on Social Stock Exchange (SSE), assurance of Business Responsibility and Sustainability Reporting (BRSR), ESG rating, green bonds, ESG data repositories, etc.
A meeting with Shri M K Jain, Deputy Governor, RBI was held alongwith CA. Kemisha Soni Chairperson, PDC in Mumbai wherein issues like Coverage of branches w.r.t. Statutory Audit of Public Sector Banks, Qualitative Aspects of Concurrent Audit, Revision in fees for Statutory Audit of Banks among other issues, were discussed.
Meetings with Shri G C Murmu, Hon’ble Comptroller and Auditor General of India and Shri R G Vishwanathan, Dy. Controller and Auditor General of India alongwith CA. Aniket Sunil Talati, Vice President, ICAI were held on 9th March, 2022 to discuss the matters related to CAG Audit including increase in audit fees for the auditors of Public Sector Undertakings and organizing training programme for the officers of C&AG in the area of Ind AS.
I, the Vice President & CCM CA. Umesh Sharma also had the privilege to meet Dr. Bhagwat Kishanrao Karad, Hon’ble Union Minister of State for Finance on 8th March, 2022 to discuss matters affecting the profession and role ICAI and profession could play in development of economy and support the Government in implementing and popularising the initiatives undertaken for financial inclusion in the country.
We had a meeting with the then Acting Chairperson of Insurance Regulatory & Development Authority of India in the month of March at Hyderabad and discussed the application of IND AS to Insurance Companies & also Audit of Insurance Companies.
We also met Shri Jayant Sinha, MP and Chairman of Parliamentary Standing Committee on Finance and briefed him about the Institute’s activities.
All of these meetings, while on one hand provide an apt opportunity to understand the expectations of the stakeholders i.e. government and regulators from the profession, at the same time also provide a forum for us to express our concerns, make suggestions and apprise various initiatives undertaken by the Institute in public and societal interest like financial and tax literacy, sustainability, budget suggestions etc.
Visit of the Maldives Delegation
ICAI continues to nurture accountancy profession globally by supporting developing countries in improving and nurturing the accounting ecosystem. A delegation led by Mr. Hussain Niyazy, the Auditor General of Maldives and President of CA Maldives visited ICAI on 8th March, 2022. A very fruitful discussion was held with the delegation wherein we have apprised them about various initiatives of the ICAI primarily in the areas of adopting technology like Digital Learning Hub, UDIN and DCMM, Sustainability, Forensic accounting, and Valuation Standards. CA Maldives had sought assistance of ICAI in the areas of Examination, Course structuring, Disciplinary Mechanism, Peer Review, Members and students services, Professional development etc.
You will be pleased to know that as part of the ICAI’s continuous endeavour to support and develop accountancy profession in developing countries, the ICAI would be supporting CA Maldives also for the development of the accountancy profession in that part of the world by establishing mutual co-operation between the two Institutes for advancement of accounting knowledge and professional and intellectual development of the professionals in Maldives.
Union Cabinet approval of Renewal of MoU between ICAI & CBFS, Oman
The Union Cabinet, chaired by the Hon’ble Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi has approved the renewal of MoU between ICAI and College of Banking & Financial Studies (CBFS), Oman. Under the aegis of the MoU, the objective is to work together for strengthening the accounting, financial and audit knowledge base within Oman. Over the last 11 years, the MoU between ICAI and CBFS has played a very important role in spreading the global footprints of Indian Chartered Accountants in Oman and Gulf region.
Meeting with officials of the ICAEW
The leadership of ICAI met officials of the Institute of Chartered Accountants of England and Wales (ICAEW) namely CA. Vandana Saxena Poria, India Advisor, ICAEW, Mr. Doug Withington Senior Global Business Development Manager, ICAEW and Mr. Daniel Westley, Senior International Business Development Manager, ICAEW. The meeting focused on the renewal of the MoU between ICAI and ICAEW and promoting the WCOA in their jurisdiction. Discussions were also held on the possibility of undertaking Joint Research/Studies and Joint Events/Webinars on topics such as Sustainability & Valuation.
Chartered Accountants Worldwide (CAW) Meeting
I addressed the Board of CAW to provide an update on the WCOA 2022. The Chartered Accountants Worldwide is an initiative by the leading Chartered Accountants institutes to support, develop and promote the vital role that chartered accountants play globally.
World Congress of Accountants – 2022
As I mentioned earlier, the World Congress, this time, would dwell upon the theme “Building Trust, Enabling Sustainability” keeping in mind the important role accountancy profession is playing as protector of public interest and instrumental role expected from the profession to enable sustainable economies for the future. The Olympics of the Accountancy Profession is scheduled to be held from 18th – 21st November, 2022 at Jio World Centre, Mumbai, India, in hybrid mode.
I would advise you not to miss this opportunity to get priceless insights from thought leaders. For registrations and regular updates, please visit www.wcoa2022mumbai.org.
It gives me immense pleasure to inform you that 55th edition of the Campus placement programme is underway for which a total of 9,968 newly qualified Chartered Accountants have registered. A record number of 143 companies with 11,516 vacancies have registered for the programme. The highest annual package offered hitherto in the current drive is approx Rs. 30 lakh. The entire programme is system driven and is being held virtually from 10th March to 26th March 2022 at 9 major centres and from 13th April to 26th April 2022 at 12 smaller centres. So far more than 5,800 job offers have already been made by the companies.
MoUs for Capacity Building and Developing Co-operation
To enhance capacity building measures and to develop co-operation and collaboration in research, the ICAI and the National Institute of Rural Development and Panchayati Raj (NIRD&PR) signed a Memorandum of Understanding on 24th March, 2022, with an aim to develop and execute projects that improve Accountability & Transparency and effectiveness in implementation of Rural Development Schemes/ Programmes. In a ceremony conducted virtually, the MoU was signed by CA. (Dr.) Jai Kumar Batra, Secretary ICAI and Shri Shashi Bhushan, ICAS, Deputy Director General, NIRD&PR. The event was also attended by Shri Nagendra Nath Sinha, Secretary, Ministry of Rural Development & other senior officials.
The Institute also signed a MoU with IIM Lucknow Enterprise Incubation Centre for Capacity Building of Startups. The said arrangement aims to promote startups and support the government of India’s vision for entrepreneurship development and innovation culture for the Startup Ecosystem.
Report of the Parliamentary Standing Committee of Finance Relating to The Chartered Accountants, the Cost and Works Accountants and the Company Secretaries (Amendment) Bill, 2021
On 23rd of March, 2022, the aforesaid Report was presented before Both Houses of the Parliament. Some of the suggestions of the Institute have not been accepted by the Committee. Many of you have expressed concern about the contents of the Report. The Institute is carrying out an Impact Analysis & shall decide on the future course of action after due deliberations. A meeting of the Past Presidents of the Institute is scheduled to be held on 6th April to discuss the matter.
Progressing towards revised New Curriculum
I am delighted to apprise you that the revised scheme of education and training developed in conformity with the best practices adopted by international accountancy bodies, implementation of National Education Policy 2020 and taking note of revolution in information technology, has been approved by the Council of the ICAI and has been submitted to Ministry of Corporate affairs for their in-principle approval. On receipt of the approval from the Ministry, the new scheme will be available for comments of all stakeholders.
The Chartered Accountants’ Benevolent Fund (CABF)
Since 1962, the Chartered Accountants’ Benevolent Fund (CABF) is providing financial assistance to needy members of our Institute, and their families. During the Covid Pandemic since September 2020, about Rs. 14.75 crores have been released as Financial Assistance relating to Covid & Ex-gratia/Monthly/Medical financial assistance to Members or their dependents.
There is a need to financially consolidate CABF, so that better financial support could be provided to our needy members or to their dependents. I hereby appeal to members to kindly enrol themselves as Life Members of the Fund by making one-time payment of Rs. 10,000 and those who are already life Members can further contribute voluntarily any amount for the noble cause, since each Rupee counts. The Contribution is eligible for tax exemption under Section 80G of the Income Tax Act.
In the emerging economic environment, it’s important that the Accounting and Auditing profession is vibrant, innovative & competes on quality. We are a profession that is revered for its critical and analytical insights, professional scepticism, and a willingness to think outside the box. Let us together ensure that the flag of the profession as well as that of the Nation is kept flying very high.
I wish you all a Happy Mahavir Jayanti & Blessed Good Friday.
– CA. (Dr.) Debashis Mitra
New Delhi, 28th March, 2022