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Chartered accountants should not see company secretaries as threat
May, 17th 2014

The chartered accountants' fraternity should not see company secretaries as a “threat” or “competition” in the latter’s attempts to gain statutory recognition for undertaking income tax-related work, R. Sridharan, President of the Institute of Company Secretaries of India (ICSI), said.

“They (ICAI) should not feel we are competition. We should leave it to the market to decide who could do the tax audit work. If we (company secretaries) show competency, then we should also be allowed to do income tax-related work,” Sridharan told Business Line.

He said the company secretaries’ course provides the necessary expertise to do income tax-related work.

“We are just about 7,000 practicing company secretaries, while there are already over one lakh practicing chartered accountants. We are certainly no competition to them,” Sridharan said.

Vikas Khare, Vice-President, ICSI, said the chartered accountants fraternity should be open to a competitive culture, especially when India had gone in for a Competition Act and the country was looking to encourage competition in the marketplace.

Sridharan’s remarks are significant as they come at a time when the CA Institute has shot off a letter to Finance Minister P Chidambaram opposing the Centre’s proposal in the new direct taxes code Bill to expand the definition of “accountant” to include cost accountants and company secretaries.

Once enacted, these professionals would also be eligible to undertake tax audit and appear before the Income Tax authorities.

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