The Institute of Chartered Accountants of India (ICAI) has undertaken various initiatives to create a communication link between its
members who are practising and those who are employed in the corporate sector.
This is to meet the current challenge of finance functions becoming crucial and a chief finance officer developing into a chief strategy officer in a corporate organisation.
The effort as launched by the apex body of the country's accountancy and finance profession covers refresher programmes, sessions to connect practising chartered accountants (CAs) and those in corporate employment, campus recruitment of fresh pass-outs as well as those looking for a change in their existing work profile. Importantly, the ICAI has also recognised the importance of the skills and knowledge of those who enrolled for the CA programme but could not complete it, thus being unable to obtain a certificate of practice from the institute.
Sanjeev Maheshwari, member of the ICAI's central council, told TOI that the institute has initiated one of the largest campus recruitment programmes across the country. The ICAI is the only institution that holds campus recruitment twice a year, since there are two batches of CAs passing out every year. The move has come in response to the increasing preference among qualified CAs to get into corporate employment, Maheshwari said. He added that many candidates have been hired with packages as high as Rs 11 lakh per year.
Maheshwari said current indications show that around 80 per cent of new CAs want to join the corporate sector. This trend has made it necessary that there is regular communication between the two segments of the professionals, to ensure that problems and issues before corporate accountants and those in practice are understood and shared.
Maheshwari said the quality of knowledge and expertise of Indian CAs is recognised internationally, and the institute has been able to begin a dialogue with accounting bodies of many countries for approving ICAI's course for practising in these countries. In fact, the institute has recently signed an agreement with the Institute of CAs in England and Wales for reciprocal certification arrangement.
"An Indian CA has to clear only one paper of this institute to qualify for the England and Wales certification, while his/her counterpart has to clear four papers of the ICAI," he said, adding that similar arrangements are being sought with countries like Australia and Canada.
President of the Pune branch of the ICAI Dinesh Gandhi said the trend in the city conforms to the national one, with more CAs entering the corporate profession than opting for practice. He said in 2006, there were 3,559 CAs in Pune, of which 1,564 (43 per cent) were in employment. In 2007, out of 3,934 CAs, 1,850 (47 per cent) were in employment. The figure moved to 49 per cent in 2008, with 2,191 out of 4,397 CAs being in corporate jobs.
Shivaji Zaware, principal faculty and managing director of Zawares Professional Academy Pvt Ltd., said India has one of the lowest ratio of CAs as compared to the rest of the world. The country has only 1 CA for every 10,000 people, whereas developed countries have more than 20. It is important to bring the value of this qualification to the notice of the aspiring generation and expand the population of CAs as this is a profession which is relevant whether an economy is in boom or recession, he added.