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Saturday, December 15, 2012
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ICAI has been making keen efforts to regularly upgrade the quality of education, training and examination and today the Indian CA qualification is the best in the world. However, in view of the fact that India is growing at a rapid pace, businesses are becoming larger and regulations are becoming complex, expectations from Indian chartered accountants are increasing phenomenally not only in India but also internationally. It has also been noted that the legal profession has significantly upgraded their level of education in the recent past by introducing national law schools and universities in various parts of the country, specially through their 5 year programme. The CA education has been primarily delivered as a distant education coupled with training under a chartered
accountant firm. The successful model followed by the profession for more than 6 decades has been recently impacted by a section of students and members by not undertaking their training and education seriously and by concentrating only on somehow qualifying the CA final examination. It is important for the Institute to examine the following suggestions :

  • To significantly upgrade the level of examination at the CPT (enter) level, IPCC (CA intermediate) level as well as in the final level by ensuring high level practical oriented questions in the examination papers. This may include case studies and projects.
  • ICAI may also consider to make it mandatory that all the students undergoing training are required to take permission of the Institute, on the recommendation of the chartered accountant concerned (Principal) before undertaking any kind of coaching or tuition.
  • It may very import to ensure that the quality of such coaching institutions are up to the mark and they meet various norms prescribed by the Institute including  teaching timing, number of students in a class, number of hours for which continuous education can be give, level of fee charged and the quality of education is at high level on the lines prescribed by ICAI and compliance of similar other parameters as may be decided based on consensus arrived at after a debate.
  • ICAI may also consider mandating class room teaching by ICAI itself by creating necessary infrastructure, all across India to ensure high quality education at reasonable cost. It is important to ensure that a minimum 3 months to 6 months class room education is provided to every CA final students, before the final examination by the Institute itself. This may require small restructuring and if necessary training period can be curtailed to 2years 6 months, which may be followed by the class room training of about 3 to 6 months before the CA Final examinations. This will require massive financial resources. This is not difficult to achieve over a period of 2 years from the date of the finalization of the blue print plan and once the council is convinced through consensus.
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There has been a recent newspaper report wherein banks have been advised to file disciplinary case against auditors in case of default by the borrower. It is appears that there is a significant gap in the understanding among various regulators, government and society about the actual and real role of an auditor and how to effectively utilize the audit work undertaken by the Auditors and the Audit report
issued on the financial statements. Auditors clearly understand that there is an expectation of the society that once an audit is undertaken, it will prevent occurrence of frauds and manipulation in the books of account or in the financial statements and the audit will ensure true and fair presentation of financial statements and statement of affairs of the audited entity. It may, however, be clearly noted that the transactions, documents or actions which are not brought on record, are extremely difficult for an auditor to identify. More particularly, when a fraud or manipulation is undertaken with the active connivance of top management team, it may still become more difficult to identify and pin point the fraud. Even the documentation, supporting vouchers as well as approval of the competent authorities are brought on record by such fraud team. Auditor is not a blood hound nor is the Auditor
an investigator. The following points are necessary to be kept in mind by all the users of the audit services:

  • Auditors do not undertake verification of all the transactions (100%) and highly rely on testing of internal control mechanism and scientific audit sampling. Auditor is present at the time of transactions and he has to rely on documentary and circumstantial evidence.
  • Audit will ensure detection and prevention of most of  the fraudulent and manipulative practices. However, it  cannot guarantee a complete absence of fraud.
  • The audit report, notes to accounts and other disclosures in the financial statements authenticated by the auditors are very important to be examined and understood carefully, If necessary, with the help of an expert who understand such documents and disclosures and their implications.
  • There are large numbers of instances where some miscreants may even forge the signatures and / or stamp of the auditors. It may therefore, be very necessary to confirm from the chartered accountant concerned as to whether he has authenticated such certificate or financial statements.
  • Only a full-fledged audit provide a safety from the risk and compilation of accounts or a copy of certified financial statements, without a proper audit report is of no value.
  • Obtaining the signatures of a chartered accountant on provisional/draft financial statements or obtaining similar signatures on projected balance-sheets/ financial statements are completely foolish on the part of the user, as in the absence of full-fledged audit report, such certification has no legal validity.
  • In case a client (Borrower) , subject to audit is not able to repay debt, it may arise due to genuine business reasons or siphoning of funds by the promoters through colorful devices. It is, therefore, very important for all lenders to not only verify the audited financial statements but also to physically examine the progress of the project, verification of relevant assets, documents, papers.
  • In desirable cases, may be beyond a specified size of exposure, the lenders should appoint special auditors to examine the books of accounts and records of the borrower at the time of disbursement as well as during the currency of loan with a well defined scope, coverage and reporting requirement, so that all the requirement of lenders are duly met.
  • It has been noted that in certain cases the lenders are not undertaking due diligence and their credit monitoring is very poor. It is also important to undertake detailed training program for all the lenders' officials, in consultation with the Institute of Chartered Accountants of India so that lack of knowledge and diligence should not result into non performing assets.

In all those cases where any chartered accountant is 
found to be a party to fraud or is grossly negligent, in 
any case is being severely punished by the CA Institute 
very actively.