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ICAI - Planning to introduce unique code numbers (UCD) to check the increasing forged
October, 07th 2010

Copies of the balance sheet, tax audit reports and similar documents attested by chartered accountants as part of several million mandatory filings done by companies across the country each year may soon have a unique code number as authentication.

The Institute of Chartered Accountants of India (ICAI), the apex auditing standard setting body, is planning to introduce such unique code numbers (UCD) to check the increasing instances of forged attestations, said Amarjit Chopra, president. The UCD will be developed as part of Project Parivartan, an 18-month programme initiated by ICAI to change its operational processes to meet global benchmarks. Software major Infosys is assisting it in developing this Unified Digital Technology Platform, which includes creation of UCD.

"We want the banks to insist upon such unique code numbers, as there are several instances where people file different balance sheets or utilisation certificates for different purposes without the knowledge or approval of our members," Chopra said.

According to him, there are instances where the financial statement produced before the tax department is different from the one sent to banks or the registrar of companies. "The forgery happens because the chartered accountant's membership number is in the public domain. A UCD can make this difficult," Chopra adds.

The authenticity of attested documents is important enough in curbing corruption for the anti-corruption watchdog, Central Vigilance Commission, to have come out with a code of ethics for chartered accountants.

While the project has been conceptualised, the modalities for operating this are yet to be worked out through Project Parivartan, Chopra said.

Project Parivartan was conceived with an idea of taking ICAI to a qualitatively new way of working, which would bring together both aspiring and existing chartered accountants. It was to take a comprehensive view of existing processes and benchmarks these with global best practices. Infosys, which will partner with ICAI to develop the programme, is also running the programme management office for the institute.

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