ICAI’s to introduce focused initiatives aimed at Inclusive Growth, Sustainable and Resilient Global Ecosystem and Digitisation

✍️By Special Correspondent

The Institute of Chartered Accountants of India (ICAI) on Tuesday announced a series of initiatives aimed at further enhancing its mission of being a true partner in nation building, empowering students and upholding “Independence, Integrity and Excellence” of the Chartered Accountancy profession.

The ICAI had launched nationwide ICAI Sustainability Literacy Drive with an objective to make the process of sustainable development more feasible and operational by establishing a common focus of various distinct stakeholders.Continuing the endeavour, ICAI is partnering with SEBI in its initiative namely “Social Stock Exchange” and is in theprocess of finalising the Code of Conduct for Social Auditors who would function under the regulatory framework of Social Stock Exchange (SSE) and conduct Social Audits.

ICAI also plans to develop and issue a single Comprehensive Framework for Social Audit Standards for audit of Impact Reporting of Social Enterprises listed on SSE and area specific Social Audit Standards with respect to sub – themes of social impact, for example, poverty, nutrition etc. The standards would cover all aspects of assurance of impact reporting like, scope, engagement acceptance, basic principles, audit procedures, assurance report, documentation, etc.

The activities of the Institute will continue to grow in significance especially in the light of the rise of the Digital Economy.Blockchain is believed to have the similar potential that the internet had in the 1990s. Just like the internet revolutionized the exchange of information, Blockchain is being said to revolutionize the exchange of value.

CA. (Dr.) Debashis Mitra, President, ICAI shared “ICAI has been in the forefront of giving a boost to the digital economy of the country and has rolled out many initiatives like Digital Learning Hub, UDIN, Digital Competency Maturity Model, Self Service Portal and the Financial Literacy Drive. Further enhancing its digital drive by expanding the use of Blockchain Technology, ICAI plans to use Blockchain in finance and audit function, Decentralized finance (DeFi) and align Blockchain with other technology areas like Big Data, AI etc.”

In the wake of popularity of virtual currencies or cryptocurrency, ICAI would be undertaking a detailed study about virtual currencies, a new phenomenon butthe importance of which is catching up globally. A Research Group is being constituted by ICAI and shall be soon undertaking the task.

ICAI continuously work towards improving the quality of assurance services rendered by its members. Peer Review is one such initiative, through which the ICAI has been working diligently to improve the quality of Assurance Perception Services provided by its members.

Recently, the Council of ICAI has mandated Peer Review mechanism for certain categories of firms rendering assurance services to specific class of entities, which will go a long way in enhancing the audit quality.

A detailed roadmap has been laid down which classifies Practice Units into four categories and prescribes the implementation of peer review process.Theimplementation will begin, in a phased manner from April 1, 2022 and will first apply to practice units (Firms) that have undertaken Statutory Audit of enterprises whose equity or debt securities are listed in India or abroad.

Over the next three years, the roll out would steadily cover firms providing assurance services to companies other than those listed on stock exchanges also including the ones conducting audits of branches of PSBs.

With an increasing number of Accounting, Financial and Loan irregularities, there is apressing need of Forensic Accounting and Investigation professionals in India to conducttheir professional assignments in a manner which is based on the comprehensive, qualitativeand prudent set of Standards, and also to collect evidences which may be subject to high levelof scrutiny in a court of law.

ICAI is the first Accounting Body in the world to release the detailed Forensic Accounting and Investigation Standards (FAIS) for its members & other stakeholders. The FAISis principle based and will stipulate certain basic (but mandatory) requirements to be fulfilled by members who undertake Forensic assignments. FAIS will also provide recommendatory guidance on the procedures which may be followed in completing such assignments.Till date, 23 FAIS have been issued by ICAI.

For the first time in India, ICAIwould behosting WORLD CONGRESS OF ACCOUNTANTS (WCOA), November 18-21, 2022 in Mumbai.WCOA 2022 is being held in hybrid mode for the first time ever in the Congress’s history.Celebrating ideas for future – the World Congress, this time, would dwell upon the theme “Building Trust Enabling Sustainability” keeping in mind the important role accountancy profession is playing as protector of public Interest and how the profession can play an instrumental role to enable sustainable economies for the future.A conglomeration of 6000 Delegates from over135 Countries to exchange views on accounting& allied areas.

The mission of ICAI is to provide astrong foundationof knowledge, skill and professional value thatenables students to grow as wholesomeprofessionals and adapt to change throughout theirprofessional career.ICAI’s constant endeavour is to impart world class education, training andprofessional development opportunities to createglobal professionals.

ICAI will soon introduce a “New Scheme for Education and Training”, wherein emphasis would be more on development of higher order skills of application, analysis and interpretation. A special feature of the new scheme would be the mandatory multi-disciplinary case study at the Final level, which would help students integrate professional knowledge in different subject areas, analyse and apply such knowledge in problem solving. The scheme also intends to focus more on practical training and will also offer self-paced online modules, where in working students can learn and qualify at their own pace.

CA. Aniket Sunil Talati, Vice-President, ICAI added “This is for the first time the CA course is being revised in 5 years instead of 10 years, as per past practice. The role of a chartered accountant is undergoing a significant change to assume newer responsibilities in a dynamic environment. There has been a marked shift towards strategic decision making and entrepreneurial roles that add value beyond financial recording and reporting. The competence level of chartered accountants, accordingly, need to be bolstered significantly to enable them to perform these roles effectively.”

To widen its reach and encourage young aspirants from across the country, ICAI has decided to extend a 75% concession in registration course fee for all levels of Chartered Accountant courses to the students registering from Union Territories of Jammu and Kashmir, Ladakh and 8 North-East States, namely, Arunachal Pradesh, Assam, Manipur, Meghalaya, Mizoram, Nagaland, Sikkim, Tripura and Andaman & Nicobar Islands till March 31, 2025.

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