Unregistered chartered accountants (CAs) and forgery of audit firms signatures, seals and letterheads will be dealt with an iron hand by the Institute of Chartered Accountants of India (ICAI). The institute is in the process of adopting modern tools to prevent malpractices in the name of CA professionals.
We have noticed that, just like bogus medical practitioners, some unqualified accountants and auditors are pretending to be CA professionals. Such people are using false registration numbers and issuing fake certificates. They are taking a toll on the financial health of the nation and our image. We have appointed a team to look into the matter and to come up with appropriate solutions, ICAI president Sunil Talati said. It is learnt that the institute will shortly introduce monogram, unique digital identification numbers and special certificates to prevent the misdemeanors that might affect the image of ICAI.
Mr Talati stated that ICAI receives at least a dozen complaints a year and is taking the matter seriously. The institute, with 1.40 lakh registered members, has issued an open note to its members directing them to initiate necessary action if they come across a case of fake certification.
The institute has requested its members to file an immediate complaint with the competent authority in case of alleged offences related audit reports, balance sheets and certificates by anyone. Sources close to the developments revealed that ICAI has received feedback from the financial institutions and different tax authorities about fake signatures, seals and letterheads of accounting and auditing firms.
Unqualified persons signing documents on behalf of a member or his firm will be levied a minimum fine of Rs 5,000 and a maximum Rs 1,00,000 under the Chartered Accountants Act, 1949. Cases of alleged violation of Sections 24 and 26 are directly against the institute for which the institute initiates necessary criminal actions, reads the ICAI statement.
Meanwhile, ICAI has also decided to address issues related to unregistered qualified CA professionals. It has issued a warning to CAs not registered with the institute. It is advisable for the CA to be member of the institute. It helps one to remain abreast of the changes in the profession and legal framework. The industry should also ensure that its CA employees are members of ICAI to ensure that the institute can initiate necessary actions in case of any misdeed, former president of Baroda branch of ICAI, Sanjeev Shah, said.