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CAs clear last hurdle in using advertising for their services
May, 23rd 2008

Chartered accountants can finally go ahead and advertise their services in the media

Doctors and lawyers will still have to wait, but chartered accountants, or CAs, can finally go ahead and advertise their services in the media.

We discussed the subject at length at our council meeting before allowing CAs to advertise their services through mass media, said Ved Jain, president, Institute of Chartered Accountants of India, or Icai.

The meeting was held on 13-15 May.

In 2006, the Chartered Accountants Act, 1949, was amended, permitting CAs to advertise, subject to guidelines framed by the Icai council. This has been formally passed by the council, said Jain.

CAs can now approach both the print and electronic media to advertise their services. And, they can advertise both in their individual capacities as also in the name of their firms.

Jain said CAs will also be able to showcase various services being offered by them, particularly those that are not in their exclusive domain. These include services such as risk management and consulting.

Today, only very few CAs are known, through word of mouth, notes Richard Rekhy, chief operating officer of consultant KPMG India. Advertising will change all that. However, one has to see what the guidelines permit and in what manner are they implemented.

A detailed guideline is ready and the Icai Council will soon formally notify it, said an official who didnt wish to be identified.

CAs are allowed to advertise through billboards and other mass media in many countries, including the US and Canada.
Icais earlier brand-building exercise included a dress code and a logo, which they can use on business cards, cars and their firms name plates.

With the provision to advertise, we will be able to showcase our specialities and we can function in a corporate form. This move will also help the firms choose their CAs and get the right fix of services provided by them, said a Delhi-based chartered accountant who wouldnt want to be identified since the issue isnt concluded.

According to ICAI officials, 8,000-10,000 new CAs join the profession in India every year.

In 2007, around 47,000 students appeared for the final examination, which enables them to become full-fledged chartered accountants. Some 8,200 passed.

At least 125,000 students cleared the entrance common proficiency test in 2007.
Human resource consultant Anil Sachdev, chairman of Right Grow Talent, said the chance to advertise will allow CAs to get a lot of visibility. Today, every CAs dream is to be into analytics and advertising will provide him/her the legitimate route, he said.

Besides, they will find their way to important decision-making groups of their clients rather than just dealing with tax and finance departments.

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