As per Srimad Bhagavad Gita, It is only ‘change’ which remains forever and every other thing changes with the ‘change’. So true. More than 5,000 years ago, humanity got this divine knowledge which is becoming more and more relevant with the each passing period. Our Institute ICAI adopted this great teaching since its inception that’s why CA’s are getting more and more in almost all sectors of the economy. Yesterday at its annual function, ICAI unveiled the proposed new scheme of education and training for the CA students. This is not the first time ICAI is making a major overhaul in its curriculum, but fortunately it is a regular exercise of the Institute where it assess the rapidly changing environment and accordingly makes suitable changes in the CA course so as to keep CA’s more useful than any other commerce profession for the industry. In this article, I would try to analyze the proposed new scheme of the education and training from the point of view of the industry i.e. whether the existing system of the CA education is more useful for the Industry or the proposed one would be. We will discuss three pillars of the CA Education which are as follows:
i. CA Foundation (CPT)
ii. CA Intermediate (IPC)
iii. CA Final (Final)
CA Foundation (CPT)
When ICAI replaced Professional Education- 1 or PE-1 by Common Proficiency Examination (CPT), the main reason given by the Institute was that they wanted to make the entry in the CA Course in the line with other major education bodies like IITs or IIMs. It was praised by all at that time and it also increased the awareness about CA Course among the students. The major issue was however, within CPT system itself as it is an objective type exam where it is not possible to evaluate the major areas which is the core of CA profession like English understanding and writing skills. In the proposed system, Institute adopted a hybrid model for the foundation course where both objective as well as subjective papers will be tested. This is a very significant change which will prove better for the profession as well as the industry.
CA Intermediate (IPC)
In the intermediate level too, Institute proposed significant changes from the existing pattern. Some of them are:
a. Enhanced the syllabus from 700 Marks to 800 Marks.
b. Removed IT-SM altogether and increased the weighted of Cost-FM from a single 100 Mark paper to 2 Papers each of 100 marks for Cost and One for FM. Now change is in line with of ISCA removal from the CA Final level.
c. In the same way, increase the weighted of Direct and Indirect Taxes from 50-50 Marks to 100 Marks each.
Analysis of the change
The removal of IT-SM as the subject may prove worthwhile in the long term but the increased weighted of other important subjects is a welcome move as it will force students to go in more detail for these subjects.
Here I would say the biggest and much needed changes proposed by the institute. Highlights are:
a. Deletion of ISCA as the Subject.
b. Introduction of a new paper of 100 Marks ‘Financial Services & Capital Market’.
c. Modification of Direct Taxation Paper into two parts, one for normal taxation with 60 Marks and another art of International Taxation of 40 Marks.
Analysis of the change
As I told, these were the most needed changes. The newly introduced paper ‘Financial Services & Capital Market’ will make CA’s more appropriate in the Financial & Capital Markets which is growing at a very rapid pace and would continue to grow as there is the direct connection between the Capital Markets and Economic Growth. This paper would also put CA’s in the direct competition with MBA Finance and CFA’s. Another change of modifying the Direct Taxation Syllabus is a master stroke by the Institute where it correctly calculated the increasing importance of International Taxation and taking steps towards preparing CA’s more comfortable with it. As more and more foreign companies are choosing India as their preferred business destination, the international taxation becomes more important.
Conclusion: Overall the proposed new study system is very forward looking as well as in line with the changes occurring in the global level. The main reason Institute removed ISCA is that it failed to achieve the objective with which it had been introduced by the Institute.