"Time is not measured by the passing of years but by what one does, what one feels, and what one achieves,” rightly said our first Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru while adding that: Failure comes only when we forget our ideals and objectives and principles. As we celebrate his birth anniversary on 14th November, these words of wisdom are worth taking note of by our profession which has a successful track record of 64 years but still has miles to go before it reaches its ultimate destination to the peak of global professional excellence. As a partner in nation building, let’s re-invoke and re-emphasise these thoughts in our professional conduct too, which will be the best tribute to this visionary leader.
The recently launched Clean India Mission by our Government not only aims at correcting the country's reputation for poor public hygiene and rudimentary sanitation but also promises a positive economic impact. A World Bank report has estimated that India is losing 6.4% of its GDP annually because of poor access to sanitation which leads to diseases and deaths. Our 235,000 Chartered Accountant fraternity and 850,000-strong CA student community can make a big difference to this worrisome scenario. As such, I recently launched ICAI’s ‘Clean India Campaign’ in Bangalore as a nation-wide initiative involving all our members, students and stakeholders across all our branches to support the five-year National Mission...
NACAS to Facilitate IFRS Convergence in India
It is welcome that the National Advisory Committee on Accounting Standards (NACAS) has been recently reconstituted since Indian Accounting Standards converged with International Financial Reporting Standards are to be adopted in India from next year on a voluntary basis and mandatorily a year later. The reconstituted NACAS would advise the Central Government on the formulation of Accounting Standards for adoption by companies in India. I heartily congratulate our past president CA. Amarjit Chopra for being appointed as the Chairman of the NACAS. I too have been nominated as ICAI representative in NACAS and in that capacity I commit myself to help the NACAS achieve its goals.
India’s G20 Obligations - ICAI’s Role
It is a matter of pride for our profession that a member of our fraternity and former Union Minister CA. Suresh Prabhu has been appointed as our Prime Minister’s Sherpa for the G20 summit, the most significant meeting of world leaders, to be held in Brisbane from 15th November, 2014. As a personal emissary of Prime Minister, he will be responsible for preparing the agenda for the Summit.
ICAI has always been supporting the Government in fulfilling its G20 obligations and we will continue to contribute on issues like IFRS convergence, anti-tax evasion, money laundering, governance, risk assessment and litigation besides the strategic function of accounting and auditing.
Leveraging Technology to Reach Out to Members: A Success Story
During the year, I have constantly devoted my energy to leverage technology to reach out to members and students of our profession. I am happy to inform you that over the last eight months, we have launched 12 path-breaking hi-tech initiatives that have been very well received. Our technology initiatives have scripted a success story of their own in a very short span of time. Let me give a quick update on these initiatives:
(1) ICAI Mobile App: Our Mobile App “ICAI NOW,” which provides key updates on ICAI activities on Android, iOS and Windows platforms, is being currently accessed by 160,000 users who have given it a 4-star rating on an average. Our young members have found this App very convenient and useful to get connected with the Institute.
(2) ICAI Knowledge Gateway: Our knowledge portal ICAI Knowledge Gateway, which helps ICAI members, students and other stakeholders to access the knowledge resources of ICAI, has been a big success and has been visited by a mammoth 7,25,508 users so far.
(3) Flexi Working Portal for Women: Our flexi-working portal to empower the women members to identify jobs with flexi hours has been visited by 20,154 users so far. Presently, it has 1,962 registered jobseekers and 84 registered employers and the numbers are increasing by the day.
(4) Embracing Social Media: Our social media platform on Facebook, Twitter YouTube and Google+ Hangouts has also been well appreciated. So far, there are more than 32,000 likes on our Facebook page, 1,320 likes on twitter page, 1,422 users on You Tube channel and 3,759 users on ICAI Google+. I request all of you to enthusiastically participate in our social media platform.
(5) Cloud Campus: Our new next-generation interactive learning management system for students, which enables anywhere and anytime learning, has logged 9,40,589 users so far.
(6) ICAI Publications Online Store: Our online store, which enables members to purchase ICAI publications and stationary items online, has been utilised by 4,324 members so far.
(7) ICAI Digital library: Our Digital Library provides access to online resources of ICAI and its various digital publications right at your fingertips.
(8) ICAI TV: Our ICAI TV provides a platform to view all our webcasts and event videos at one place. This web channel is getting popular by the day with a mammoth 21,90,437 viewers in the last one year.
(9) e-Books: Our recently introduced e-Books aim to update members on various important professional subjects. So far three e-Books on Guidance Note on Audit of Banks, Companies Act and Peer Review Manual have been launched.
(10) Video Podcasts: Our new initiative to provide a platform to members on the move to access a series of videos on the new Companies Act 2013 has also been widely appreciated.
(11) Global Career e-Kits: Our Global Career e-Kits, comprising information on career opportunities in various countries to enable young members to take up global careers, have been launched in Muscat, UAE, Kuwait and Australia so far.
(12) Independent Directors Repository: The repository for Independent Directors, recently developed by us jointly with the Institute of Company Secretaries of India and the Institute of Cost Accountants of India, has also been a success and more than 1,200 professionals have so far uploaded their profile on it, out of which 700 are Chartered Accountants.
Our IT Directorate has set up a team to monitor these IT applications and provide more value-added services on a continuous basis. I am extremely happy with your tremendous response to our IT initiatives, which have been close to my heart. Let’s optimise the use of these hi-tech facilities to achieve professional excellence.
ICAI A Partner in Clean India Mission
The recently launched Clean India Mission by our Government not only aims at correcting the country's reputation for poor public hygiene and rudimentary sanitation but also promises a positive economic impact. A World Bank report has estimated that India is losing 6.4% of its GDP annually because of poor access to sanitation which leads to diseases and deaths. It is sad to note a UNICEF estimate that some 594 million people in India - nearly 50% of its population - defecate in the open. More than 186,000 children under-five die every year from diarrhoeal diseases caused by unsafe water and poor sanitation.
Our 235,000 Chartered Accountant fraternity and 850,000-strong CA student community can make a big difference to this worrisome scenario. As such, I recently launched ICAI’s ‘Clean India Campaign’ in Bangalore as a nation-wide initiative involving all our members, students and stakeholders across all our branches to support the five-year National Mission. Given our track-record as a partner in nation building, we all should contribute our individual as well as collective might to make this initiative a success. Let’s make this Mission our Social Responsibility and commit ourselves to the Clean India pledge delivered by our Prime Minister to devote at least one hundred hours every year and two hours every week towards cleanliness of our offices and surroundings. I am happy to note that the Institute’s employees across India have also joined us in this campaign. Together, we can make a big difference.
SAFA-IFAC Regional SMP Forum
Uplift and development of Small and Medium Practitioners (SMPs), which constitute the majority of our fraternity, has been one of my high priority areas. I am committed to providing and facilitating a level playing field for them and enhance their capacities with global perspective. With this focus in mind, we recently organised a high-profile SAFA-IFAC Regional SMP Forum to make SMPs know about significant developments impacting them worldwide. The forum dwelt upon issues like global and regional trends impacting SMPs, Enhanced Practice Management and New Services for SMPs, Quality Control and Efficient Auditing, etc, and provided an opportunity to the participants to explore networking options with SMPs in Europe, ASEAN and SAARC region. SAFA represents over 300,000 accountants in Bangladesh, India, Maldives, Nepal, Pakistan and Sri Lanka. I am sure this event will go a long way in broadening the outlook and global perspective of our SMPs.
Stage Set for Mega International Conference in Bangalore
I am happy to inform you that in line with our annual tradition of bringing together leading global personalities of accounting profession on the ICAI stage to discuss the issues of professional interest in global perspective, we will be organising a 3-day mega International Conference at Bangalore in January, 2015, titled ‘Accountancy Profession: Building Global Competitiveness; Accelerating Growth.' This high-profile event, spread over 11 technical sessions and panel discussions, will witness a mammoth gathering of more than 2,500 delegates from across the world. Details of the conference have been published elsewhere in this journal. Since it will be an event which will tremendously enhance our global professional outlook, I request all of you to take time out from your schedule to actively participate in this Conference, which will offer 14 hours CPE credit.
Examination System- User friendly Measures
A robust and effective examination system is the mainstay of the quality of our profession. Our examination system is regarded as one of the toughest and best in the world. The reason is that we have been constantly improvising the same in tune with the times. Taking this drive forward, we have started leveraging technology to improve it further and have recently launched many hi-tech initiatives.
As a green initiative, students are now provided certified copies of their answer books in soft copies. Through a secure login identity and password intimated to them, they can visit the particular site and view their answer books at their convenience. Even after submission of their examination forms, students can now correct their particulars online. Further, nearly 98% of all examination forms are now submitted online. We have also launched three web portals- the first for facilitating all activities relating to observers appointed in examination centres, the second for capturing absentee data online, and the third for checking the “Exemption” status from May 2014 examinations.
With a view to encourage feedback on the question papers from the candidates, a feedback form has also been designed and hosted on our website and a dedicated email ID has also been made operational for the purpose. I am sure these initiatives will go a long way in improving our examination system and make it more convenient for our students.
Good Response to our Campus Interviews
With increasing business complexities and slowly recovering global economy, the industry is putting added emphasis on its finance, risk management and compliance functions. Given the education and training of Chartered Accountants, they are best suited for these as well as other business functions. As such, their demand has been steadily growing in the industry. We at the ICAI are making all efforts to facilitate and further this phenomenon and ensure respectable positions and pay-packages for our newly qualified Chartered Accountants.
Our 40th Campus Placement Programme is being conducted at 20 centres across the country and I am happy to note that it is getting a very good response. Campus interviews have been successfully conducted at 14 smaller centres where 188 offers have so far been made with the highest CTC of 17 lakh per annum offered by ITC Ltd. The interviews at bigger centres are underway at Hyderabad, Bangalore, Chennai, Kolkata, Mumbai and New Delhi. A total 4800 newly qualified CAs and 87 highly reputed companies have registered for this Campus Placement Programme. I call upon the young members to take full benefit of this initiative to brighten their career prospects.
Developing Expertise in Intl Taxation: IFA and BNA Bloomberg
With the ever increasing globalisation of world economies, international taxation is getting all the more important and complicated. Expertise in this domain assumes particular importance for our members because India, as a growing hub of international companies, is also fast getting deeply integrated with the world economy. Being fully alive to this urgent need, we have been making continuous efforts to build capacities of our members in international taxation. Taking this drive forward, we recently associated ourselves with the International Fiscal Association (IFA), a Netherland-based highly trusted international organisation representing 110 countries which works for the advancement of international and comparative fiscal law and the financial and economic aspects of taxation. We recently organised an interactive meeting between our members and delegates of IFA, who had gathered for the ‘68th IFA Congress 2014’ in Mumbai.
To further help our members practicing international taxation, we are working for an arrangement with a highly reputed and accessed BNA Bloomberg software, for providing online access to the data base of Global Tax Guides to all members of ICAI free of cost. The Global Tax Guides provide in-depth analysis of tax profiles of over 100 key jurisdictions, and regular updates to tax rate information. I am sure these initiatives will go a long way in building up professional capacities of our members in the domain of International Taxation.
Raising Indian Concerns at World Standard Setters Meeting
As part of our concerted efforts to position ourselves and put across Indian viewpoint on global standard setting platforms, I recently participated in the meeting of World Standard-Setters at London, which had more than 150 delegates participating from various accounting standards setting organisations. We utilised this occasion to raise Indian concerns on various technical issues such as IFRS 15, Revenue from Contracts with Customers, Rate Regulated Activities, etc. I also had the opportunity of meeting and interacting with the members of our Chapter in London.
Before I conclude, let’s re-commit ourselves to the power of change in tune with the times for a sustainable future. Recall Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru when he said that it is ‘ignorance which is always afraid of change’. It’s no longer enough to just respond to changes; we must lead the change or be left behind. Let’s strive to build change proficient organisations. Let us be the change agents of the economy.