Remembering Interesting Anecdotes of the Glorious History of ICAI on The CA Day!!
The Chartered Accountants Act, 1949 came into force on July 1, 1949. Since then, July First of every year is celebrated as the "Chartered Accountants Day". Today, on this 73rd CA Day, Team TaxAaram wishes all the esteemed members of this glorious CA profession and all the aspiring CAs, a very Happy Chartered Accountants (CA) Day.
There are some very interesting anecdotes concerning the glorious history of ICAI. The same are being shared here for the benefit of all young professionals.
The Institute of Chartered Accountants of India (ICAI) is the national professional accounting body of India under the jurisdiction of Ministry of Corporate Affairs , Government of India . It was established on 1 July 1949 as a statutory body under the Chartered Accountants Act, 1949 enacted by the Parliament (acting as the provisional Parliament of India) to regulate the profession in India.
ICAI is the second largest professional Accounting & Finance body in the world in terms of membership and number of students. It recommends the accounting standards to be followed by companies in India to the National Financial Reporting Authority the Public Accounting Oversight Board which supersedes ICAI. ICAI is solely responsible and accountable for setting the Standards on Auditing (SAs) to be followed in the audit of financial statements in India.
The Story behind the Motto of ICAI
The motto of the ICAI is Ya Aeshu Suptaeshu Jagruti (Sanskrit), which literally means "a person who is awake in those that sleep". It is a quotation from the Upanishads (Kathopanishad). It was given to the ICAI at the time of its formation in 1949 by Sri Aurobindo. as a part of its emblem. CA. C. S. Shastri, a Chartered Accountant from Chennai went to Sri Aurobindo and requested him through a letter to give an emblem to the newly formed Institute of which he was an elected member from the Southern India. In reply to this request, Sri Aurobindo gave him the emblem with a Garuda, the mythical eagle in the center and a quotation from the Upanishad: Ya Aeshu Suptaeshu Jagruti. The emblem along with the motto was placed at the first meeting of the Council of the Institute and was accepted amongst many other emblems placed by other members of the Council.
Apart from its emblem, ICAI also has a separate logo for its members. As a part of a brand building exercise, ICAI introduced this separate new CA logo for the use of its members in 2007. The logo is free for use by all members of ICAI subject to certain conditions. The logo was launched by the then Minister of Corporate Affairs, Prem Chand Gupta at the occasion of the Chartered Accountant Day (1 July) in the presence of the then President of ICAI Sunil Talati. Members of ICAI cannot use the ICAI emblem, but they are encouraged to use the CA logo instead on their official stationery.
The Story behind the Expression “Chartered Accountant”
The Companies Act, 1913 passed in pre-independent India prescribed various books which had to be maintained by a Company registered under that Act. It also required the appointment of a formal Auditor with prescribed qualifications to audit such records. In order to act as an auditor, a person had to acquire a restricted certificate from the local government upon such conditions as may be prescribed. The holder of a restricted certificate was allowed to practice only within the province of an issue and in the language specified in the restricted certificate. In 1918 a course called Government Diploma in Accountancy was launched in Sydenham College of Commerce and Economics of Bombay (now known as Mumbai). On passing this diploma and completion of three years of articled training under an approved accountant, a person was held eligible for grant of an unrestricted certificate. This certificate entitling the holder to practice as an auditor throughout India. Later on, the issue of restricted certificates was discontinued in the year 1920.
In the year 1930, it was decided that the Government of India should maintain a register called the Register of Accountants. Any person whose name was entered in such register was called a Registered Accountant. Later on a board called the Indian Accountancy Board was established to advise the Governor General of India on accountancy and the qualifications for auditors. However, it was felt that the accountancy profession was largely unregulated, and this caused much confusion as regards the qualifications of auditors. Hence in the year 1948, just after independence in 1947, an expert committee was created to look into the matter. This expert committee recommended that a separate autonomous association of accountants should be formed to regulate the profession. The Government of India accepted the recommendation and passed the Chartered Accountants Act in 1949 even before India became a republic. Under section 3 of the said Act, ICAI is established as a body corporate with perpetual succession and a common seal.
Unlike most other commonwealth countries, the word chartered does not refer to a royal charter, since India is a republic. At the time of passing the Chartered Accountants Act, various titles used for similar professionals in other countries were considered, such as Certified Public Accountant. However, many accountants had already acquired membership of the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants and other Chartered Institutes of Great Britain and were practicing as Chartered Accountants. This had created some sort of brand value. This designation inherited a public impression that Chartered Accountants had better qualifications than Registered Accountants. Hence the accountants were very stern in their stand that, the Indian accountancy professionals should be designated only as Chartered Accountants. After much debate in the Indian Constituent Assembly, the controversial term, chartered was accepted. When the Chartered Accountants Act, 1949 came into force on 1 July 1949, the term Chartered Accountant superseded the title of Registered Accountant. This day is celebrated as Chartered Accountants Day every year.
Actions on Professional Misconduct
One of the public actions of The ICAI Disciplinary Committee in the 2009–2010 time period was proceedings for professional misconduct against two auditors from the firm Price Waterhouse partners for wrongly auditing and inflating the financial statements of Satyam Computer Services Limited. The Supreme Court of India (November 2010) rejected a plea by the two charged auditors to stay the proceedings by the ICAI Disciplinary committee. The court's order came in response to the pleas of the charged auditors seeking a stay on the disciplinary proceedings against them on the ground that it violated their fundamental right against self-incrimination under Article 20 (3) of the Constitution of India.
Other publicized actions included, the SEBI referred case of a brokerage firm, Karvy, in which the internal auditors, Haribhakti & Co (an associate of BDO Global). were held guilty of negligence for failing to detect thousands of demat accounts being opened with the same address. The Committee has also taken action against members for alleged irregularities in the books of Maytas Properties and Maytas Infra and the role played by their auditors. The names of the members found guilty of misconduct are published on ICAI's website. The ICAI website lists 35 as the number of cases in which inquiry was completed by the Disciplinary Committee in the past one year since February 2010. The list of members held guilty of professional or other misconduct is published periodically.
ICAI's first president were Sh. G.P. Kapadia (1949 to 1952). Sh. Nihar Niranjan Jambusaria is the current president. CA. (Dr.) Debashis Mitra is the current vice president of the council, and will be the next president of the council after the vacation of office by the current president.
The Institute maintains a placement portal on its web site for qualified members and partially qualified students. This is supplemented with campus placement events and advertising through its professional journals and website.
A CA’s role in our Nation building is highly underrated and deserves due respect & recognition by all and sundry.
On this 73rd year of its robust foundation, Team TaxAaram wishes all the esteemed members of this glorious CA profession, a very Happy CA Day.