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When we look at the beautiful logo of our institute, we get to notice three words "Excellence, Independence and Integrity " which form the theme of the logo. This theme, according to me, is actually the vision of our institute. This is what the institute desires to see in each of its members.

The logo conveys to its reader that our institute believes in Excellence of Knowledge, Independence of Opinion and Integrity in discharging duties. The person who has the obligation to adopt these qualities is none other than the Chartered Accountant. These qualities act as a foundation for a successful professional career. No one can stop a Chartered Accountant with these qualities from achieving "Excellence in his Professional Career".

Our institute has tried to fill a huge ocean in a small cup through this theme. The theory behind Excellence, Independence and Integrity is vast. The fact that really matters to a C.A is what is excellence? What actually independence means? And how integrity can be achieved?

Now let us look behind this theme and try to understand what may be the intention of our institute in putting forward this idea.

Excellence Of Knowledge:
An aspiring student registers himself with the institute, goes through three years of article ship, writes the exams and passes the exams to qualify as a Chartered Accountant. Now this qualification has two faces. The most attractive face of it is lucrative earning. And the other face of it is accepting the onus of huge social responsibility. Now what the profession demands is not how much he earns, but how well he handles his social responsibility. Only the person who satisfies this requirement can excel in his professional career.

Excellence of knowledge plays an important role in one's professional career. The reason for this is that the public has various perceptions about a Chartered Accountant. To enumerate a few as to what public thinks a Chartered Accountant is we can say the following:

1. Person having thorough knowledge of Income-tax or an Income-tax expert
2. Well versed in statutory laws like the Companies Act, Partnership Act, Indirect taxes, Mercantile laws. etc.,
3. Expert in the field of Accountancy
4. A perfect consultant
5. A Financial expert
6. A skilled Economist
7. Person with special ability for reasoning
8. Adequately skilled enough to answer logical questions
9. A model Arbitrator
10. A trustworthy representative

And the list goes on….,

With such huge expectations, it becomes very much important for a C.A to acquire a tremendous hold on all the subjects relevant to his profession so that he, efficiently and diligently, delivers the goods. In other words he should gain excellence of knowledge.

Independence Of Opinion:

A Chartered Accountant, as an Auditor is very often required to express his opinion on certain matters of fact, which is usually the financial position of an entity or the correctness of the books of account. He is also required to certify that certain statements (financial or otherwise) are true and fair. This function of opining cannot be done honestly and effectively under any bias or influential conditions. This opinion or certificate is likely to be accepted universally without any reasonable doubt. Hence, there is sort of social responsibility upon his actions. Therefore, it is very essential that an Auditor is completely independent in expressing his opinion on certain matters of fact or certifying certain statements.

Now the question is what actually independence means. According to the guidance note issued by the ICAI on "Independence of Auditors", Independence implies that "the judgment of a person is not subordinate to the wishes or directions of another person who might have engaged him or to his own self interest". However, it also contemplates that it is not possible to define independence precisely.

The institute has held Independence of an Auditor as a very vital factor in the course of his profession. Therefore we can deduce that 

No Independence - No proper opinion

No proper opinion - No proper profession

No proper profession - No question of Excellence in profession

Integrity In Discharging Duties:
Lord Justice Lindley, in the famous London and General Bank case, has said " An auditor must be honest that is, he must not certify what he does not believe to be true and must take reasonable care and skill before he believes that what he certifies is true". The criterion for the integrity for the auditor is highlighted in this judgment. The personal qualities such as patience, integrity, judgment, reliability, tact, caution, industry, firmness, good temper and clear headedness all form tools for a smooth professional career.
Independence and Integrity go hand in hand and one is backed by another in reaching the required height.
Era Of Globalization :
In this era of Globalization, the competition is stiff. It takes a lot of courage to succeed in one's profession. As the world is growing, the responsibilities are growing. Earlier an accountant was required to write the accounts. Now he is required to check the accounts. Therefore, he needs to be more versatile and prove to be familiar with any system of accounting. The emergence of computers has totally changed the scenario. Every professional must and should have the knowledge of computers.

Accounting systems are being rapidly shifted from manual based to computer based. In this situation it becomes compulsory on the part of an auditor to know computers or to be way back in his profession.
The New Millennium has widened the platform for the accountants. It has extended the scope binding the accountants and enhanced the demand for them. Today, there is hardly any sector of activity left which does not require an accountant.

C.As have been providing services in accounting, auditing and taxation matters from the beginning. But I would like to lead my discussion towards those areas of service, which have gained momentum only from the recent past. These areas of service may be: 
1. Management consultancy
2. Information Technology
3. Capital Market
4. Administration and Governance

1. Management Consultancy:
Management Consultancy may be defined in the simplest form as "Giving consultancy to managements on various aspects" and the person providing such consultancy is called as 
" Management Consultant".
The users of this service are the managements of large companies, corporations, Public sector undertakings, Banks, Government Organizations, etc.,. The various fields of service can be summarized as follows:
1. Business Process Reengineering
2. Finance Process Reengineering
3. Organizational Restructuring
4. Financial Restructuring
5. Valuation of Business, Shares and Assets
6. Market Studies and Surveys
7. Preparation of Budgets 
8. Preparation of Accounting Procedures
9. Review of Management Strategies
10. Review of Skill and Responsibilities of employees

The above service providers are professionals like Chartered Accountants, M.B.As, Engineers Etc., However, the best option for this being C.A or a M.B.A. As the services to be provided are complex and complicated and the users are also of high caliber, the responsibility that lies on the professionals is huge. Any mistake on the part of the professionals is likely to get exposed and damage his professional repute. Hence, it is very important that the professional is perfect at his work.
The profession of Management Consultancy demand for high intelligence, confidence and capability. Communication being the integral part of Management Consultancy, Effective communication skill is the most important quality to excel in this profession. With more than 5 Lakhs companies incorporated in the India, the opportunities are also wide.

2.Information Technology:
An earlier accountant knew only one abbreviation of IT and it was Income-tax. But today the first thing, which comes to our mind when we see 'IT', is Information Technology. The emergence of Information Technology has given a new definition to an accountant's job.
Information Technology initially brought about the changes in the methods of recording transactions, which gave rise to computer audit and information system audit. This initial impact of IT on the accounting field is known to everyone of us and more or less we have got used to it. Hence, I would like to highlight those issues relating to which it gained popularity with the beginning of the new millennium.

Y2K Issues:
Recently, We got a lot to hear about a very popular term Y2K- Year 2000. Here also the C.A were found competent and were authorized to certify whether an accounting system of an entity is Y2K compliant or not. The council of the ICAI also went ahead and issued a guidance note an Auditor's Duties in relation to the Y2K Issue.
The various entities which are affected by this interesting bug include Banks, Manufacturing and other companies, Airlines, Railways, Database Centers, etc.,
The auditor's duty here is to assess the effect of Y2K on the entity's computer system and the steps undertaken by the management to fix up the Y2K Bug. How efficient and knowledgeable a CA has to be to certify this is obvious. The level of learning required and the technical know - How about the Y2K bug in computer language should be high enough to understand whether a computer environment is compliant to a date of four digits year i.e., 2000.
ERP Issues:
In this computer age, much is spoken about Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP). This is nothing but planning of enterprise resources. In other words, ERP is a process of integrating all the resources required (Financial, Material and Manpower) for a Business Enterprise in the most efficient and effective manner. Here seems a huge risk to be carried as their can be considerable disarray of things if there is any minute error in the planning process. Hence, this process needs a person who is an expert in financial management and other organizations. Once again, C.As were felt to be the appropriate persons to handle ERP.

In developing an ERP package, C.As may have to acquire sufficient knowledge about the following points:
1. Areas of business
2. Processes involved in the course of business
3. Favorable and Unfavorable conditions prevailing in the market
4. Documentation
5. Management
6. Level of internal control required
7. Accounting systems preferred
8. Human resources involved
9. Financial feasibility
10. Records to be maintained
11. Statutory law requirements
12. Taxation matters
13. Stability of business in the long run
14. Different costs involved
15. Best way of implementing this ERP package

E- Commerce: 
This is one of the latest developments in Information technology. Electronic Commerce is nothing but business conducted on the Internet. All this is done using the Electronic formats and applications like Electronic Data Interchange (EDI), Electronic Mail (E- Mail), Electronic Bulletin Board (EBBs) and Electronic Funds Transfer (EFT).
As the e-commerce transactions are rapidly increasing, the task of C.As also gets complicated. The conventional audit system cannot be carried on here, as the audit trails are not available for verification. Only things on which an auditor has to rely are the control mechanisms adopted by the computer systems.

The system of E- Commerce has given rise to new term called "Web Page Audit". The auditor's responsibilities here are :
1. To ensure adequate internal control capable of preventing frauds being committed either by the customers or by the sellers
2. Proper system of recognizing the flow of transaction ( Beginning to Conclusion)
3. Ensuring the authenticity and security of the Transaction

Thus, E- Commerce has brought about a discernible onus on the C.As to have a thorough knowledge of Internet concepts to perform the audit of web transactions.
3. Capital Market:
C.As have a great role to play in the capital market also. He can be an investment advisor or a capital market analyst or provide an experts opinion on a issue. All these need a tremendous knowledge about the capital market and a great sense of perception about its future.
The knowledge of corporate laws has become indispensable for a professional. We have seen significant amendments and changes in the company law in the recent past. One of such latest amendments to mention is buy-back of shares and introduction of sweat equity shares. All these amendments and changes affect the functioning of the capital market either directly or indirectly. 
A practicing Chartered Accountant should also be well acquainted with the matters relating to International Finance such as Instruments in International Finance, India's Role in International Finance, International Capital Market, etc.,. The professional should always be equipped with the up-to-date knowledge of the amendments and changes in the corporate laws.
The users of this field of service are mainly the companies and they can prove a very good source of income for the Chartered Accountants.

4. Administration and Governance:
Organization and Management has been gaining more and more importance as things are getting modernized. The managements have felt the need for proper administration and governance of their entities. The aspects like Internal control, Internal check, Planning, Staffing, Co - ordination, Delegation of authority, Departmentalization, Centralization and de-centralization, Performance Appraisals, Motivation, Quality Maintenance, etc., all play an important role in the success of an entity. Only a person who is an expert and has complete knowledge about the positive and negative effects of these aspects can properly implement them. Any shortcomings in the implementation of these essential elements may turn out to be prejudicial.
Chartered Accountants are found to be competent for this job of administration and implementation of the aforesaid vital aspects. Proper understanding of these aspects is important before forming any conclusion. Business organizations being the users of these services, their growth will lead to the growth of opportunities to the C.As in this field.

The discussion covered in this paper on the fields of service of a Chartered Accountant is only a small percentage of the total scope of professional opportunities available to him. The C.As must strive to improve their quality of work as they have a long distance to go.

To conclude, I would say that the scope of a professional career of a C.A is very vast. But the excellence in professional career lies only in the individual hands of the professionals. It is only up to them as to how well they adopt the institute guidelines and carry their profession with Excellence, Independence and Integrity. I hope that with these qualities the vision of our institute will definitely come true. I pray to god that every C.A student should qualify as a C.A and every C.A should Excel in his Professional Career.

Category Students, Other Articles by - LAKSHMI NARAYAN