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'Not mere accountants, but business solution providers'
July, 05th 2006
ICAI is investing Rs 100 crore to set up 11 Centres of Excellence across India over the next eight years. The first centre will be set up in Hyderabad by April, asserts Sunil Goyal, Chairman, Institute of Chartered Accountants of India (Western region) in an interview.

You have lined up a number of plans to revamp the CA course. Kindly explain.

Students aspiring to become chartered accountants (CAs) can now register as soon as they pass 10th standard instead of 12th. The Institute of Chartered Accountants of India (ICAI) has revamped the five-year and three-month CA course to a four-year course.

Hence, students who register for an entrance test after 10th standard will have two years to prepare at their own pace and can take the entrance test as soon as they appear for their 12th standard exam. Besides, we did not have a filtration process in place earlier.

Students with 50 per cent marks would enrol for the course but the pass percentage was very low. Now we have introduced a computer proficiency test. The five-and-a-half-year course has been condensed into a four-year course.

Students can appear for online exams for some subjects. The task of computer teaching which was 250 hours will now be 100 hours since students are computer literate. The Institute intends to introduce these changes in September this year.

Are you considering a brand building exercise?

We want to be complete business solution providers and not just accounting personnel. Our profession started in 1949 as accounting but we are no longer accountants.

Now CAs are assuming the post of CEOs and CFOs in business organisations. Accounting and taxation are our domain but our course curriculum has always concentrated on providing insight in to the nations economic activity.

We have decided that CAs will now be allowed to prefix their names with CA and have a personalised logo. Today there are 1.30 lakh CAs across the country and in the next five years, there would be a need of five lakh more CAs.

There is a huge gap to cover and we are trying to bridge that gap through such innovative methods. More and more students are joining the course on a daily basis.

You are setting up centres of excellence for Cas. What task will they perform?

Across the world, Indian CAs are regarded as the best. More than 20,000 Indian CAs are working abroad. But we think they need focus on improving communication and marketing skills. ICAI is investing Rs 100 crore to set up 11 Centres of Excellence across India over the next eight years.

The first centre will be set up in Hyderabad by April 07 two more centres will be set up in the following year in Delhi and Mumbai respectively.

The Centres of Excellence will be a post-CA qualification and will have teachers from management institutes such as the Indian School of Business in Hyderabad.

Students perceive CA to be a tough course. Do you agree?

That is true. But what people pay attention to is that one becomes a CA at the average age of 21-22 years. With a minimum investment of Rs 12,500 in this course, one draws a salary of Rs 7-9 lakh a year. We have a strength of three lakh students in the Western region alone and there is a growth of 15-20 per cent enrolments every year.

On an average the institute receives 800-1000 registrations per week. Though we are initiating a lot of changes, we will never compromise on the quality front.
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