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CAs to soon pick up management tricks
November, 18th 2006

B-school grads had better watch out a new breed of chartered accountants trained in management skills are getting ready to challenge them in their backyard.

Until now, MBAs have had a certain edge over CAs in the job market as most of the latter were not trained in management skills. But now thats going to change. The Institute of Chartered Accountants of India (ICAI) has decided to set up 11 centres of excellence across the country with an investment of about Rs 100 crore.

ICAI is also forging alliance with premier national and international institutes to avail of their expertise in training its members and students and impart better communications and presentation skills. It has already initiated a dialogue with the Indian Institute of Management (IIM)-Calcutta and is likely to sign an agreement soon.

Today, the role of a CA is no more limited only to auditing the books. Their abilities are also being utilised in various areas of operations such as strategic planning, said Sunil Talati, vice-president of ICAI.

He said that it is now being increasingly realised that MBAs score over CAs in the job market as they possess better presentation skills. So, we are going to set up 11 centres in the metros and other major cities. We are in the process of signing an agreement with IIM-C and also planning to join hands with prominent international institutions, he said. It was learnt that ICAI and IIM-C have already conducted two rounds of meetings in the recent past.

The first centre would start training the first batch of students in Hyderabad from March 07. ICAI is shortly going to issue a note on the same to the government.

Talati added that a CA student studies and clears four times more papers compared to an average management graduate. ICAI is trying to break up the barrier of managerial skills between MBAs and CAs. We are changing the syllabus according to todays market requirement, he said.

Of the 1,32,000 CAs, 50% ICAI members are employed in the corporate world while the rest are practising in India and abroad. The supply and demand for qualified CAs have been increasing in the past few years. In the last couple of years, for instance, ICAI added over 13,000 new members a year compared to only 5,000-7,000 earlier. India is next to only US in terms of the number of qualified CAs. Talati added that developments in outsourcing, too, have fuelled the demand for CAs in India and abroad.

Talati, who has just returned after attending a global meet of International Federation of Accountants, said that Indian CAs have emerged as the most preferred candidates for countries like Singapore, Australia, New Zealand, US and those in the Middle East on account of their expertise in the relevant subjects.

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