The Central Council of the Institute of Chartered Accountants of India (ICAI) has given its approval for the Indian government to extend market access for audit and accounting services to Australia.

This decision allows the government to pursue this market access offer during its ongoing negotiations for a Comprehensive Economic Cooperation Agreement (CECA) with Australia, Aniket Sunil Talati, President of ICAI, told businessline here.

He emphasised the significant opportunities this could create for ICAI members, who are part of the largest accounting body in the world.

Talati highlighted that this market access offer is based on reciprocity. It means that if Australia allows ICAI members to practice and work in their country, India will reciprocate by permitting Australian members of their professional bodies to practice and work in India. 

ICAI already has mutual recognition agreements with two Australian professional accounting bodies, Certified Practising Accountants (CPA) Australia and Chartered Accountants Australia and New Zealand.

The proposed CECA, expected to be in place by December, aims to build upon the India-Australia Economic Cooperation and Trade Agreement (ECTA), which came into effect at the end of 2022.

Talati emphasised the importance of ensuring smooth access for ICAI members, free from artificial barriers like visa restrictions, as this would encourage professionals to work in both countries.

Additionally, the ICAI had previously extended market access offers for audit and accounting services in the UK and Canada. These offers have undergone revisions and they too have now been approved, Talati said.

Women Excellence Awards 

Talati said that ICAI is recognising the growing significance of its female members by introducing the Women Excellence Awards from this year. Approximately 30 per cent of ICAI’s total membership of around 4 lakhs comprises women.

Talati also said that ICAI is developing a framework for digital assurance through the Auditing and Assurance Standards Board (AASB) and the broad contours of this framework is now approved by the Council.