A year back, we invited our honorable PM to address us on our very special day - the CA day. His speech however took a diverse turn. He questioned whether post demonetization, CAs worked for the country or the client? He surmised that some economic doctors (CAs) would have helped frauds by companies. He advised that CAs should not break the trust placed on their signatures.
This was a dark day for us. When the leader of the country chastises the most important accounting body, it’s time for all of us to rise and do something.
What should we do?
We need to do quite a few stuffs – and some may take a bit of time.
First, we need to get our brand image restored. It may be a tough task, but recognition of the problem itself is half the battle won. I believe that a small minority of our colleagues are bringing ill-name to our profession. This needs to be suitably addressed.
Next, the Institute needs to hand-hold CAs‘post-qualification’. This will be to build capability on the latest developments in the world of business and finance. Let’s involve established entrepreneurs and senior CA professionals, to let us know what type of skill-sets they need. Then, bridge the gap.
And finally, our examinations are tough. But it is rather theoretical. We need to make the CA-curriculum more ‘business-oriented’. Or else, the best jobs will continue to be taken away by the MBAs from the better institutes. Benchmark our pedagogy with the best, and adapt what is relevant and required.
A few more things to do
There are a few more top-ups required.
Enhance the ease of doing business for practicing CAs, without compromising on controls and exchequer objectives.
Enlarge the cake size for both CAs in the Industry and practice. Learn from larger corporates their current business tactics and practices, and use it to train those who are not exposed to the latest developments. Plus, provide Industry specific training needs - like agriculture, packaging, logistics etc. This will enhance job and consultancy opportunities.
Enhance communication skills of young CAs. Immediately after qualification, most find their verbal and written skills lagging. Let’s set up special clusters with CA fraternity mentors who could help in focusing on those who need improvement.
The last words
Time is running out. We, the CAs, are sitting on a tipping point. Unless we get our act together sooner than later, we may have to rue our losses. Our competing professionals may just walk away with our booties: jobs and businesses.
CAs are perhaps the most intelligent group of professionals; and it is time to prove that - we care, we are ethical, we are trustworthy and we are ready to regroup, recalibrate and renovate.
The author is a Managing Director, Caprihans I Ltd. Ex GM/CFO in Hindustan Unilever, Arcelor Mittal, Thomas Cook, Essar Steel and Suzlon and Contesting the Central Council Election from Western India.