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ICAI: Big 4 flouting laws
April, 06th 2010

Top multinational accounting firms (MAFs) PriceWaterhouseCoopers, KPMG, Ernst & Young and Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu have flouted norms to provide services in India, a report by an Institute of Chartered Accountants of India (ICAI) committee has said.

It has been noticed that MAFs (multinational accounting firms), entered through automatic/FIPB route for rendering consultancy services, are transgressing the permission so granted and are rendering taxation services, auditing, accounting and book keeping services and legal services, said the committee set up to probe the alleged doctoring of accounts in the Satyam Computer Services scam.

The committee is headed by former ICAI president Uttam Prakash Agarwal.

The report, a copy of which is available with HT, said these international accounting firms are operating in India through domestic affiliates.

The Indian affiliate of PricewaterhouseCoopers, which was the auditor for Satyam Computer Services, include Price Waterhouse firms and Lovelock and Lewes. Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu has tie-ups with CC Chokshi, AF Ferguson, Fraser and Ross and SB Billimoria.

KPMG has association with BSR firms and Ernst & Young has a tie-up with SR Batliboi entities.

India does not allow foreign direct investment (FDI) in accounting, auditing and book keeping services, taxation and legal services. It has also so far not made any commitment for opening of such services under the World Trade Organisation.

These entities (the four multinational accounting firms) are not only providing services through their own establishment in India, but also through service providers in India, particularly for those services like auditing, which cannot be rendered by them under the laws of the country, the report said.

These entities are providing assurance, management and related services circumventing the provisions of the Chartered Accountants Act, 1949 and other relevant regulations, it said.

The committee has also asked ICAI, the sectors regulator, to maintain a mandatory record for registering international network and affiliations of Indian chartered accountancy firms.

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