Continuity gives us roots, change gives us branches, letting us stretch and grow and reach new heights,’ rightly goes the saying. While the triumphant tradition of our democracy has continued, a change has happened in Indian polity too. I, as the leader of the Indian accountancy profession, welcome this change led by our dynamic new Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi, a leader who leads by example. Riding the wave of new aspirations of Indian masses, Shri Narendra Modi has taken over as the harbinger of change, growth and development as spelt out in his agenda. Given his proven track record in vibrant Gujarat, I am sure we will have a resurgent India under his stewardship. The Indian Accountancy profession commits itself to the growth agenda of the new Government and will continue to contribute to a vibrant Indian economy. Today we have a Prime Minister who is considered the most techno-savvy political leader in India. He understands the value of connecting with the lives of people by making use of technology. We appreciate him as a dedicated and determined man of good governance, who is guided by the principle of Sabka Saath, Sabka Vikas (Collective efforts, inclusive growth). We stand by his mantra for functioning that is 'Minimum Government, Maximum Governance'. A firm believer in the philosophy of Antyodaya or reaching the very last person in the queue, Shri Modi is known for proven ability to deliver results.
We at ICAI are committed to the growth agenda of the new Government, particularly with respect to ensuring good governance, reforms, ease of doing business, financial discipline and economic growth. We are also committed to the new Government’s vision to rationalise and simplify the tax regime in India and make it non-adversarial and conducive to investment, enterprise and growth. In furthering our partnership with the new government, we plan to work with various ministries and government departments to help them achieve their new agenda.
Partnering with the New Government
The new Government has expressed its commitment to bring about sustainable and inclusive growth. To build a strong India, it aims to usher the economy to a higher pedestal, rein in inflation, reduce current account deficit, reignite the investment cycle and restore the confidence of domestic and international communities in the national economy. A series of measures and reforms to help Indian economy achieve its potential of high growth are on the cards. We at ICAI are committed to this growth agenda, particularly with respect to ensuring good governance, reforms, ease of doing business, financial discipline and economic growth. We are also committed to the new Government’s vision to rationalise and simplify the tax regime in India and make it non-adversarial and conducive to investment, enterprise and growth. In furthering our partnership with the new government, we plan to work with various ministries and government departments to help them achieve their new agenda.
We propose to submit our views on ushering reforms in the financial, banking and insurance sectors and also adoption of accrual accounting in all government departments. We will continue to give our recommendations on Direct Taxes, Indirect Taxes, the New Companies Act, Bank Audit, IFRS Convergence, Implementation of GST, and so on, to the Ministries concerned.
Reaching out to Finance Minister
We are extremely delighted to welcome Shri Arun Jaitley as our Union Minister for Finance, Defence and Corporate Affairs. A person of high degree of knowledge, he has been associated with the Institute for many years. I recently had the opportunity of personally calling upon him and congratulating him on behalf of the accountancy profession. It was heartening to note that he holds ICAI and the accountancy profession in high esteem and has big expectations from us in helping the government to steer the economy back on the high growth curve. I assured him that the ICAI will be forthcoming to implement all his initiatives for the good of our country.
Building Rapport with Railway Ministry
The Railway Ministry is proactively looking for reforms and is keen on strengthening its finances and financial system. In this scenario we see a vast scope for our involvement in improving their financial reporting system. In this regard, I recently met Railway Minister Shri D.V. Sadananda Gowda at his office in New Delhi. In a fruitful meeting, he was very receptive to our proposal to transform the Indian Railways by converting from cash based to accrual-based accounting system. I hope for a positive outcome of this meeting soon.
Meeting the Minister of State for Corporate Affairs
I congratulate Smt. Nirmala Sitharaman for taking over as Minister of State (Independent Charge) for Corporate Affairs, Commerce and Industry, and Finance, and pledge our support to the Ministry’s objectives. In our meeting, we volunteered to support the effective implementation of the Companies Act 2013 and requested her to look into the issues concerning the profession. I once again commit ourselves to the agenda of the Ministry and look forward to their continued guidance and support to us.
Congratulations to CA. Piyush Goyal
I also congratulate CA. Piyush Goyal on assuming office as the Minister of State (Independent Charge) for Power, Coal and New & Renewable Energy. One among us, he has been our friend, philosopher and guide in addressing various issues concerning the profession in the past. We take pride in his inclusion in the Union Council of Ministers and look forward to his constant support and guidance to the profession. I wish him all the best.
Strengthening Ties with RBI
Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has been playing a pivotal role in strengthening the Indian financial system, and our profession continues to play an important role in developing a healthy banking sector. With a view to strengthen our ties with Reserve Bank of India, I recently met its Governor Shri Raghuram Rajan in Mumbai to discuss various issues concerning banking sector besides our concerns on Bank Branch Audit.
We also volunteered to help the RBI in its all important agenda of financial inclusion in India. I conveyed him that ICAI, as a partner in nation building, is keen on safeguarding the government and public interest in public sector banks. I assured him of our whole-hearted support in various initiatives of the RBI.
Celebrating 65 Years of Professional Excellence
It was with great futuristic vision that founding fathers of our nation established ICAI on 1st July 1949. Today, I am proud to say that we have exemplarily lived up to their expectations through our dedicated service to the country as a true partner in nation building. This glorious journey of our professional excellence continues unabated even today and this calls for a befitting celebration of the Chartered Accountants Day on 1st July 2014.
On this day ICAI will complete 65 years of strong national and international professional standing. With about than 2.25 lakh members and more than 8.5 lakh students today, we are the second largest accounting body in the world. To celebrate this outstanding success with the society, we have lined up a series of programmes and events across the country, like Tree Plantations, Distribution of Literacy Kits, Blood Donations, etc. A special ‘Google Hangout’ session with IFAC president Mr. Allen Warren has also been planned. Let’s join hands and make the CA Day an occasion to remember.
Cloud Campus - A Big Bang Initiative
To celebrate the CA Day, we are also launching a Cloud Campus for the students- a big bang initiative to enable the entire CA student community to connect together. The Cloud Campus will be a virtual campus for students where e-learning courses, audio lectures, video lectures, webcasts, online mentoring, articleship training resources, etc. would be provided to the students free of cost. As another first in the history of ICAI, this would herald a knowledge revolution by providing online resources to the students to prepare for the CA course.
Roadmap for Implementation of Ind AS - An Update
The ICAI has submitted a revised roadmap to the Ministry of Corporate Affairs for implementation of Indian Accounting Standards (Ind AS) converged with IFRS. We are proactively discussing the new roadmap with RBI, SEBI and other stakeholders to support the implementation of the IFRS-converged Indian Accounting Standards. We recently had two separate meetings with officials of RBI and SEBI to discuss various issues and concerns on moving to IFRS-converged standards (Ind AS) for banks and listed entities.
Putting forward our Perspective through CAPA
It has been my earnest endeavour to highlight the role of the Indian accountancy profession in various global forums. With that spirit, I recently participated in the Board meeting of Confederation of Asia and Pacific Accountants (CAPA) in Colombo. I also highlighted our potential at CAPA’s Financial Reporting for Economic Development Forum in Colombo, on the theme of The Financial Reporting Supply Chain. I also moderated the panel discussion on Education and the development of needed skills at the CAPA Financial Reporting for Economic Development Forum (FRED) in Colombo and put forward our experiences.
Building Bridges with Saudi Professionals
You would appreciate that ICAI has taken upon itself being a mentor and collaborative partner to transition economies. I recently took this vision forward by signing a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the Saudi Organization for Certified Public Accountants (SOCPA) in New Delhi to help develop accountancy profession in Saudi Arabia. Assistant Secretary General for Membership and Professional Development of SOCPA signed the MoU from SOCPA.
The MoU inter alia provides that both ICAI and SOCPA would be working together in establishing possible co-operation in respect of Corporate Governance, technical research and advice, quality assurance, forensic accounting, issues for SMPs, etc. I am sure this MoU would be a big step forward to strengthen bilateral relations between India and Saudi Arabia and establish closer working linkages between ICAI and SOCPA.
Global e-Kit Launched in Muscat
To promote brand Indian CA in Muscat, we recently launched a Global Career e-Kit in Muscat. The e-Kit contains exhaustive information on job opportunities in Muscat where we see a good opportunity for our young professionals who want to pursue global career. I also participated in the 6th Annual International Conference on Moving to a New World Order-Role for Finance Professionals of the Muscat chapter of ICAI besides interacting with Indian ambassador to Oman Shri J. S. Mukul. I am sure that this initiative will go a long way in firmly putting Indian CA on the global map.
EEG Meeting in Moscow-Adoption of IFRS
Issues in adoption of universal financial reporting framework are being raised everywhere now. Gobalisation of business and blurring of the international border due to virtual and online business are applying further pressure to this adoption process. Emerging Economies Group (EEG) helps in addressing the issues in financial reporting in the emerging economies. Russia, our strategic partner, is an important stakeholder in this regard.
I had the opportunity of participating in the EEG meeting held in Moscow, Russia recently. The meeting provided insights on IASB projects and development in International Accounting Standards, which we will use in the adoption of IFRS in our nation. Russia has already made IFRS mandatory, with two exceptions, for use in Consolidated Financial Statements of all legal entities, in 2012.
Clarifying Certain Auditors’ Concerns under the Companies Act, 2013
The Council recently considered the issue of date of applicability of Section 143(3)(i) of the Companies Act 2013, requiring the Statutory Auditor to report on adequacy and operating effectiveness of internal financial controls in the Statutory Auditor's report. It also considered Section 143(12) of the said Act, envisaging the Statutory Auditor to report Frauds committed or being committed against the Company to the Central Government.
The Council was of the view that as both these Sections and related Rules have come into force in respect of financial years beginning on or after 1st April 2014, these apply to Statutory Auditors appointed under the Companies Act 2013. Accordingly, the Council has taken a view that provisions of these Sections and related rules would apply to the years beginning on or after 1st April 2014 and not to audits for periods beginning on or before 31st March 2014 even if the audits thereof are carried out and Auditor's Report thereon are issued after 1st April 2014.
The Council is of the view that Section 143(3)(i) and Rules thereunder would apply to the financial years beginning on or after 1st April 2014. In respect of the applicability of Section 143(12) and related Rules, while the Council has taken a prima facie view that these too would apply only to financial year (and not to audits of interim periods such as quarter/half year as these are per se not carried out under the Companies Act 2013) beginning on or after 1st April 2014, we are also coordinating with the Ministry of Corporate Affairs in this regard.
For the benefit of the members, we have issued three separate Announcements, covering these aspects. The full text of these Announcements is available on our website.
Playing our Role in Union Budget 2014-15
The stage is set for the Union Budget 2014-15. We at ICAI have played a significant role in this important national exercise, by presenting a Pre-Budget Memorandum, 2014 to the Ministry of Finance recently. An ICAI delegation also participated in a pre-Budget meeting of the Ministry of Finance and presented the gist of recommendations made in our Pre-Budget Memorandum.
Our Memorandum contains suggestions to improve tax collection, reduce and minimise litigations, rationalise provisions of taxation laws and remove administrative and procedural difficulties, etc. Accountancy profession looks forward to a progressive Union Budget that will propel Indian economy to high growth trajectory.
Innovation and change will always let us develop and upgrade our lives-be it our profession or personal life. Change is the only constant thing in life, it is said. Innovate and the change gets better.
I shall be telling this with a sigh Somewhere ages and ages hence: Two roads diverged in a wood, and I- I took the one less travelled by, And that has made all the difference.
Robert Frost in his above poem hints at out-of-box thinking that creates relevance. The people of India have great expectations from the new Government and I am sure we could look forward to good governance that would lead to a buoyant Indian economy. Even the new Government will have to think out-of-box and work harder to meet the increased expectations of the people. This applies to us too. Let’s gear up and get ready to deliver to our stakeholders. Recall what Mahatma Gandhi has said: ‘You must be the change you wish to see in the world,’ and let’s make a new beginning to this effect on the CA Day.