Financial and tax literacy, advocacy and technology training will be the thrust areas for the CA Institute during his presidency, the new ICAI President Nihar Jambusaria has said.  

The CA Institute wants to particularly enhance awareness on finance and tax among the MSMEs (Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises) and general public. Towards this end, the Institute of Chartered Accountants of India (ICAI) will, this year, embark on a nationwide financial and tax literacy drive, Jambusaria said. 

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“We in the institute have noticed that MSMEs are not so literate or having professional guidance on finance and tax matters. So this year we are starting financial and tax literacy drive. It will also help the entire nation and auditors. If they (MSMEs) are financially literate, they themselves will maintain accounts at a certain level, they will be fearful of following certain practices that are not good and if they are tax literate too, they can realise that tax evasion is not something that anybody can practise nor is it desirable for the country,” Jambusaria told BusinessLine in his first interaction after assuming charge of the Presidency of ICAI. 

The financial literacy drive will be started with micro units and gradually expanded to corporates, if needed. In big corporates, the need is not that much as the professionals they employ are literate on both finance and taxation, he added. 

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In a post Covid-19 world, the ICAI has also decided to form a group that will do public advocacy. “Whenever a new law is introduced or existing law is amended, chartered accountants in touch with corporates and MSMEs will know where there would be difficulty for them. If at the enactment stage itself those difficulties are removed, then commercial law will help all businessmen, whether MSMEs or corporates,” he said.  

The ICAI also plans to enhance training on technology, including AI and robotic processes, for its members and do hand-holding. 

Audit tools, smell test

ICAI also plans to train its members in forensic audit so that people who want to deliver specialised services can also do so, Jambusaria said. 

Jambusaria noted that society’s expectations from auditors are increasing and there is a need to make the public aware about the scope of audit work. “My own view is that wherever auditors feel something is wrong, they should apply the smell test and they should go a little ahead by being in constant dialogue with Audit Committees. We are developing testing models for auditors and firms. We are developing audit tools that will be taught to members and given to them so that they perform highest quality of audit.”

Multidisciplinary firms 

Jambusaria said there is now recognition that multidisciplinary firms are a necessity in the current scenario, especially when services of insolvency professionals and advocates are required. “This year, we have progressed substantially. In our central council, the ground rules for multidisciplinary partnership firms are already passed. Now we have to frame the guidelines as to how multidisciplinary partnerships will work and we will do it on priority basis. Ground rules will be made this year and training will be imparted. It will be a reality this year and members will be encouraged into multidisciplinary partnerships,” he said. 

He expressed confidence that the coming into being of multidisciplinary partnerships will help Indian audit entities grow in scale into globally competitive firms.