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Tuesday, Jul 23, 2002

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ICAI may seek nod for multi-disciplinary firms

K.R. Srivats

NEW DELHI, July 22

THE Central Council of the Institute of Chartered Accountants of India (ICAI) is set to suggest to the Government that chartered accountants be permitted to establish multi-disciplinary firms so long as a separate firm is constituted for non-exclusive areas.

Currently, chartered accountants are banned from entering into a partnership with any person other than a chartered accountant. The auditing services (exclusive area) are now the preserve of chartered accountants.

"If the suggestion is accepted by the Government and the law is amended, chartered accountants can enter into a partnership with a lawyer, engineer, management consultant, cost accountant or a company secretary and establish a multi-disciplinary firm for providing services in non-exclusive areas," Mr Ashok Chandak, President, ICAI told Business Line here.

A proposal to this effect is now being made as part of the host of recommendations from the ICAI to the Department of Company Affairs (DCA) for amendments to the Chartered Accountants Act. The ICAI Council had set up a working group to come up with recommendations on amendments to the Chartered Accountants Act.

"This proposal is also made in the context of globalisation of services and would give chartered accountant professionals a level playing field and strengthen the scope of services that can be provided by them," Mr Chandak said.

The ICAI has already made a proposal to the Ministry of Law over the need for increasing the maximum number of partners in a partnership firm under the Indian Partnership Act. Currently, a partnership firm cannot have more than 20 partners, which may be a constraining factor if multi-disciplinary firms involving chartered accountants were to be permitted for non-exclusive areas.

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