What ICAI has changed for the Article Assistants after the New Announcement on
Our Institute has been in recent times very stringent about the course of CA and the members’ regulations. With the change in the structure of the course, frequent announcements over lapping earlier notifications, more notifications for members’ after the Satyam case and what not in addition to the “Price Hike” in the fees of the institute, everything seems so confusing and dramatic. I agree there’s always scope of improvement and if this is the case I would be rather for it… But with the student’s perspective “Big B mind your steps, you are playing with somebody’s career…”.
Here, I’ll be highlighting the New Announcement that was made by ICAI on
Well, firstly what was the idea of the Institute to make it compulsory for articles to have practical training?
This is what the Institute has got to say “The unique requirement of practical training is instrumental in shaping a well-rounded professional to ensure that students have an opportunity to acquire on-the-job work experience of a professional nature. Such a practical training:
- Inculcates a disciplined attitude for hard work;
- Develops necessary skills in applying theoretical knowledge to practical situations;
- Provides exposure to overall socio-economic environment in which organizations operate; and
- Develops ethical values”.
Under the New Scheme of Education & Training 3 ½ years of articleship training has been designed to strike a balance between theoretical education and practical training.
I feel this is justified and ICAI are more concerned about the quality of students who get their CA’s degrees and for this is whatever it takes should be done.
But here I have something to add, something about the stipend and grace working hours. I’m not talking in terms of earning for the students though this is a fact that many students do earn their living from their stipend also. My concern here is why we do not adopt other means to make practical training more interesting and “desire to do” thing for students rather than just imposing 35 hrs per week working on them.
Suggesting here is incentive to the students after 6 months on their working performance both in terms of grace working hours as well as increase in stipend. As suggested by ICAI in the latest announcement on “Maintenance of Work Diary” will make the above suggestion work fruitfully. Below are the clauses that mentions work diaries in the latest announcement and i’m for it and this is in interest of all three parties- the students, the principal and the Institute.
e) Every articled/audit assistant shall be required to maintain mandatorily the Work Diary in the Form to be prescribed by the Board of Studies.
f) The Institute to call for at random training report alongwith attendance record and stipend details and also Work Diary maintained by articled/audit assistant from any member/firm in respect of any articled assistant at any point of time during the period of practical training for verification.
g) In case an articled assistant is found not undergoing articles in the manner prescribed he shall be debarred from appearing in the exam upto 3 consecutive exams besides cancellation of such period of articles. The concerned member who allowed such an articled assistant be subject to punitive action besides withdrawing either partly or fully his eligibility to train articled assistant. In Peer Review the Reviewer be required to verify whether training is imparted to the articled assistant in the manner prescribed.
Getting back to the announcement, it says…
a) The coaching classes shall not continue after 9.30 a. m. or start before so as to enable the articled/audit assistants to concentrate wholly on practical training.
b) Members of the Institute who are engaged in coaching be advised not to undertake coaching between
In my opinion these two clauses are well thought of and are in the interest of all three parties- students, members and ICAI.
Students will be able to complete their training without harming their theoretical necessities and members will be able to give more time and focus on their individual excellence.
Clause c and clause d says:
c) An articled assistant should undergo practical training in accordance with the guidelines of the Institute between and During the period an articled assistant shall not be permitted to attend colleges/other institutions for graduation or any other course.
d) Every articled/audit assistant shall submit once in a year a specific declaration duly counter-signed by the Principal to the effect that the he is regularly attending training and his college hours do not clash with his articles timings and that no coaching is undertaken by him between 9.30 am and 5.30 pm on any working day. In the event of breach of this guidelines and not taking permission as required, the articles already undergone shall be de-recognised for such period as the Institute may decide.
In an earlier notification too the timings for article training was stated as after but before in the morning and end not before and after in the evening. Thus there’s not timing difference made in the new announcement.
The difference here is earlier the principal could decide on the normal working hours of the Article assistant but in the new announcement the Institute clearly states “An articled assistant should undergo practical training in accordance with the guidelines of the Institute” so basically the principal’s power on this aspect has been taken away this is what could be made from the plain reading of the new announcement.
The most interesting part in the new announcement is the “Termination of Article Assistants”.
h) No request for termination of articles is entertained from any articled assistant in general and more particularly during the first six months and also during the last twelve months of articles except as provided in the Regulations. In the event of termination, his articles shall not be registered in the same city.
Anyways, the most dreading thing for CA students in my opinion is taking a termination for whatever reason it may be, they just don’t want to undergo this process and so the decision of “under whom to take articleship/ will I get him as my principal/ will he or the other one be lenient in giving me dummy also” is a million dollar event. Even after pondering over this again and again and after taking a decision at times few of them somehow have to take the painful path of termination, Now What?
Students, you can still go for termination but the catch is that ICAI will look into the reason of termination being “Genuine”.
i) No request of an articled assistant for termination (transfer) of articleship shall be considered unless his/her working parent(s) is/are transferred from the city/place where the articled assistant is receiving training to another city and a copy of transfer order / proof is submitted to the principal in proof thereof. On such termination the articled assistant concerned shall join articles training in and around the place of posting of his/her parent(s) and shall not re-register articles in the same city or within 50 Kms radius of the city where he/she has undergone articles prior to such termination.
Well, I don’t understand why ICAI out of so many reasons found only this reason to be specified in the announcement.
Students from small cities also take transfer, I’ll explain how. Many students while carrying on articleship want to prepare for their exams and for good coaching and guidance they go to other cities, take classes and join a new principal for articleship. Now, they shouldn’t be allowed this, this is what institute thinks. For reasons, what I could trace is yes they don’t want this to happen because the CA’s otherwise in small cities will not be able to find articles.
But isn’t it this way that students should find their principal so that they get the best practical training with maximum exposure…. Okay!! Hope this makes sense…
There are many more reasons why termination would be sought for:-
· Absence of quality work.
· No growth in terms of individual understanding because of limited work allotted.
· Ill Behaviour of the Principal.
· Principal forcing to use unfair means in audit tasks the list is countless…..ICAI will surely need to think about this!!!
j) If the articled assistant is not able to serve the articleship for specified genuine medical reasons thereby opting to discontinue the CA course for a period of at least three months, the termination of articles be permitted, provided that the medical grounds are such that warrant termination of Articleship.
Genuine Medical Problems that leads student’s to discontinue the CA course can be a reason of termination from articleship too but student’s will need to proof that medical issues make them unfit to continue articleship as well.
k) In the event of misconduct involving moral turpitude, gross negligence or unsatisfactory performance of the articled assistant, his articles shall be liable to be terminated by his principal besides being cancelled or extended for such period as may be decided by the Institute. Board of Studies to decide and enumerate the acts constituting misconduct.
Here, the articles need to be careful because “BIG B” has got all the authority.
l) Termination of articles be permitted on such other justified circumstances as may be deemed genuine by the Council.
Students’ don’t you worry, your genuine issues will be heard but the process undoubtedly will be painful.
m) While forwarding the form no. 109 the principal shall state specifically the clause (the relevant clause mentioned above) under which the articles have been terminated.
Now principal will need to confirm specific clause before giving termination to an article assistant.