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Thursday, Sep 26, 2002

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ASB is bass

AT TIMES, it makes sense to read a publication from the last to first. As in the case of the latest issue of the CA journal. If you skip the big pictures that stare at you — which members of the southern region are so much used to — you land in an important news tucked under the caption `CGA Canada', which talks about exemption from 11 papers for Indian CAs who wish to become Canadian Certified General Accountant.

A few more pages on and what you have is `discussions on accounting issues', expressing views of the Accounting Standards Board on matters recently raised in newspapers. Almost a dozen items are dealt with in this, and they range from questions whether debenture redemption premium could be written off from reserves, to the tangibleness of marketing know-how. Given the lean strength of the ASB and the measly budget that the ICAI should be devoting to the board, it is significant that we have quite a few general clarifications (GCs) and AS interpretations that have been put up on the Institute's web site.

For those who secretly wonder whether our ASs are a mere replica of the IAS, the ASB could think of highlighting the differences between the two, not only for the future releases but also for the existing ones, explaining the rationale for the changes. If the members of the board are more active, it would be useful to release their individual views too which go into the making of a standard. And, there are all those study groups that assist the ASB in its crucial task. The ICAI could think of reporting the progress of these groups on an ongoing basis.

Since there is already a perceived overload of pronouncements in the form of `second generation rush' of AS, the ASB would have to work overtime to plug in the knowledge gap. This can be done by initiating a discussion forum on the website, answering AS queries from users and members, and commenting about published accounts. But that would need more guts. Perhaps the ICAI should hive off the ASB.

D. Murali

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