Why becoming a CA is going to get tougher

ICAI president Debashis Mitra said that the CA aspirants have to score a higher percentage in the foundation course.
ICAI president Debashis Mitra said that the CA aspirants have to score a higher percentage in the foundation course.


  • Technology and data analytics will now have a greater coverage in the chartered accountancy curriculum

NEW DELHI : The Institute of Chartered Accountants of India (ICAI) is set to raise the bar for entrance to revamped chartered accountancy courses so that only those with a high degree of aptitude get to study and become CAs prepared for new growth areas like forensic audits and sustainability reporting.

As part of the plan, aspirants have to score a higher percentage in the foundation course before entering the three-year CA articleship, said ICAI president Debashis Mitra.

“There are four papers in foundation examination. At present, one has to score 40% in each of the subjects and 50% in aggregate. Now we are proposing that on each paper, one needs to score 50%. It is making it tougher to enter the course," said Mitra.

He said the principle is similar to the admission process in IITs and IIMs where the bar is high. This would ensure students are of a high quality who do not end up wasting their time on a course that they cannot complete.

“The changed curriculum has been given in-principle approval by the ministry of corporate affairs," said Mitra. ICAI will incorporate more case studies in its curriculum to ensure greater application of mind by students and to discourage rote learning. ICAI is trying to prepare students in emerging areas of accounting and auditing including sustainability reporting and forensic audits. “We believe that sustainability will be an area of great importance in future. We are laying a lot of emphasis on non-financial reporting, for example, in areas of environment and emissions. On the audit front, we believe forensic audit will play a big role in the future," said Mitra.

“We have developed 23 forensic audit standards. We are trying to get the profession ready to take full advantage of the opportunities provided by forensic auditing," he said. Besides, technology and data analytics will find greater coverage in the chartered accountancy curriculum.

ICAI also intends to give data analytics tools and software to all its members free of cost. “The changes in the curriculum are being made keeping in mind the technological developments around us and global best practices," Mitra said.

The accounting rule maker also plans to eventually expand the scope of peer-review of statutory audits. At the moment, audits conducted by audit firms need to be peer reviewed for quality by another auditor but this requirement is not applicable to statutory audits done by individual auditors.

Putting in motion a revamped disciplinary mechanism for professionals is also high on the agenda. The government earlier this year passed the Chartered Accountants, the Cost and Works Accountants and the Company Secretaries (Amendment) Act to revamp the disciplinary mechanism for these professionals. Once the ministry of corporate affairs comes out with the rules, the disciplinary committee of the Institute has to be reconstituted with three non-chartered accountants nominated by the government.

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