Indian accounting body hopeful of British recognition

Tuesday, 03 September 2002, 07:00 Hrs
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NEW DELHI: India's accounting body, the third largest after the U.S. and British institutes, is hopeful of getting British recognition of its programmes and training within a year.

At present, while around 200 Indian chartered accountants are working in Britain, they cannot undertake auditing, solvency and other financial institution services.

The Institute of Chartered Accountants Of India (ICAI) had last year applied to the British Department of Trade and Industry for recognition of the Indian qualification and training program for freer movement of trained professionals.

The recognition would not only help Indian chartered accountants but also British accountants who too are seeking mutual recognition by ICAI to work in India.

Under a memorandum of understanding signed with Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales (ICAEW), both the Indian and British body are studying ways of enhancing cooperation and have agreed to make comparative study of each other's professional code of ethics and disciplinary mechanism, said ICAI president Ashok Chandak.

Both the institutes are holding the first joint conference here to study contemporary issues in the wake of U.S. auditing disclosures that has shaken the financial world and made countries review their audit systems.

Under the mutual cooperation agreement, ICAEW has "already done a great deal to get Indian qualification recognition in Britain such that Indians now do not have to give five of the eight papers required to be cleared by chartered accountants," ICAEW president Peter Wyman said.

Added Chandak: "We do not foresee any major problem in getting mutual recognition. We hope to get the recognition within a year."

Though Indian laws are based on British laws, there have been changes in the last several decades in the laws of both the countries, the experts said. This necessitates the chartered accountants be familiar with local laws.

Due to corporate failures in the U.S., both the institutes are undertaking comparative studies of each other's professional codes of ethics and disciplinary mechanism. In addition, the British government has also appointed a consultant to study the Indian system.

The study is at an advanced stage, said Chandak.

The effort is also to get mutual recognition for the on-job training programme in both the countries.

Indian qualifications are currently recognized in the South African, Gulf and Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) countries.

The U.S. and Canada are jointly conducting an evaluation of the Indian qualification, while Australia is also studying a similar move for reciprocal freer movement of qualified personnel.

In addition, countries like China, New Zealand, Singapore and Zambia have also lately taken an initiative on similar lines, said ICAI secretary Ashok Haldia.

Indian chartered accountants are currently working in 50 countries globally, with around 4,500 in the U.S.

Source: IANS
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