CHALLENGES BEFORE THE PROFESSION - LEADING TO AN OPPORTUNITY
The government, political thinkers, intelligentsia and media and the top leadership of the country include the senior government officials have been raising an issue of independence of auditors for quite some time. No effective policy decision or action has so far been initiated. The issues which require an open debate within and outside the profession include:
- Role, responsibility and powers of Auditors in Companies and other organizations where public interest is involved.
- Whether the Auditors of public interest entities can be appointed independent of those who are charged with Governance by allowing minority shareholders or regulator appointing the Auditors.
- Whether such auditors are permitted to provide other services including taxation and consulting to their audit clients. There is a strong view both in favour and against separation of audit from other than audit practices.
- Self regulatory practices, code of ethics and code of conduct prescribed by the Institute of Chartered Accountants of India may require substantial modification to meet changing expectations of stakeholders of entities where public interest is involved.
Effectiveness of education, training and examination conducted under the guidance and supervision of ICAI may require substantial re-positioning by not only inculcating ethical values and sense of responsibility among the professionals but at the same time ensuring deep rooted and effective professional delivery.
CA Education, Practical training and quality issues
The lack of sincerity towards practical training among the increasing number of students of the profession has posed a big challenge of the recent time for the profession. This is very important for the Institute to ensure that those who qualify as Chartered Accountants are fully equipped with the practical knowledge and requisite skills. The membership at large as well as students needs to be educated, cajoled and if necessary be disciplined by tough action to ensure that the education and training is taken more seriously, efficiently and effectively by all concerned. The level of examination and course structure also require suitable modification.
The leadership of the profession need to gear up for necessary policy, procedure and tough initiatives to ensure continued top level positioning of the profession. We need to present our specialized
expertise and varied role to Industry, Banks, Insurance and Government sector within India and
outside India. Members need to take the ownership of the quality in their trainee articled assistants, by all means.