I’m Debojit, a CA Student undergoing my Articleship Training for the past two years. Like all CA students, I’m not at all satisfied with my Articleship Training. And in the past one year, I’ve become so fed up that now I’ve decided to write a letter to the Institute clearly stating the problems of all the students. I’ve read the forum on this site & I found that there are many other students who are suffering like me. I’ve decided that I want a change in the rules of Articleship or else I’m quitting CA. For this, I want the support of all of you because I alone will not be able to bring this change. I’ve compiled a letter for the Institute revealing the present system of Articleship after taking into consideration whatever I’ve seen & read. I’d like you all to mail this to the concerned members of the Institute so that they take this matter seriously & react to it. You are free to share your views on this matter.
So Here Goes the Letter:
This is on behalf of thousands of students who are undergoing articleship training in different parts of India. One of the major concerns of all of us is ARTICLESHIP TRAINING. We feel that the present system of Articleship training is very strict on the students & hence it gives an undue advantage to all the employers.
We would like to bring to your notice the following hardships that the students are currently facing:
1. Transfer of Articles:
The Institute had restricted the Transfer of Articles w.e.f. April 1, 2009. Due to this restriction, various students are now being forced to continue working under their present employers eventhough they are not satisfied with their employment. Due to this, the employers are exploiting their articled assistants to work under the terms & conditions that suit the employer. Hence, the employers are enjoying a dominant position & the students are feeling totally handicapped.
2. Irregular/Non-payment of Stipend:
This is one of the most common problems of all the students. In many cases, the employer is not paying any stipend to the articled assistants. Also, various employers are making deductions from the minimum prescribed stipend amount for leaves that are available to the articled assistants i.e. even if the articled assistant has not taken any excess leave still amount is being deducted.
3. Nature of Work:
In offices, the employers are taking undue advantage of their trainees by delegating their personal work to them just for the sake of keeping them occupied. The students are being forced to follow their orders just because they have no other choice. Some Members are also using their Articled Assistants as Office Boys & Personal Assistants which is totally unfair on the students.
4. Leave During Exams:
Clearing the CA Examination requires a lot of hard work especially in the modern age of cut-throat competition. Students need at least 2-3 months to prepare themselves mentally for the exams but the employers do not understand this & hence they deny their articled assistants from taking sufficient leaves during the exam season. This adversely affects the performance of students in the crucial CA examinations.
5. Timings of Articleship Training:
35 hours of articleship training in a week are very high considering the amount of coaching a CA student is required to undergo. Even when there is not much audit work, still the students are forced to sit in their respective offices & do some other unofficial/personal work of the employer which in no way is related to practical training. This results in wastage of precious time of the students which could otherwise have been utilised in studying.
6. Discrimination amongst Articles:
It has been found that some Articled assistants enjoy a superior position than others just because they are the relatives/close friends or are of the same caste of the Employer. Such discrimination is totally unhealthy especially in a professional course like CA.
Being an integral part of the Institute, we would like to put forward a few solutions to these problems in order to improve the present system of Articleship Training. Here is a summary of some useful suggestions:
1. This is very important. The Restriction on Transfer of Articles should also be relaxed a little bit. We feel that an Articled Assistant should be given at least one chance to rectify his decision. After all, every student should have the right of freedom to choose his/her employer. Hence, the Institute should make amendments & allow the Articled Assistants to take at least one Transfer during their entire Articleship period without any hassle.
2. The Institute should come out with a strict rule that compulsorily directs the Employer to pay stipend in full to its Articled Assistants. Also, the prescribed amount of minimum stipend should be increased by at least Rs.1000 considering the workload & the amount of time devoted by the Articled Assistants. Currently, even a sweeper/servant/worker demands a minimum of Rs.1000. This shows that the position of an Articled Assistant is very poor & even worse than that of a sweeper/servant/worker during his/her Articleship period.
3. The type of work that an Articled Assistant is required to perform should also be clarified with both the students as well as the members. This would prevent the undue exploitation of Articled Assistants.
4. Exams are a very important part of the CA Curriculum. Hence, it is necessary that the Institute provides specifically a time period (say 2-3 months) that shall be necessarily allowed by the Employer to their Articled Assistants as leave during their exams. This would prevent unnecessary conflicts between the Employer & the Articled Assistants.
5. This is an interesting suggestion. Like all businesses & professions, even Chartered Accountants have an off-season (generally from October to March). During this time, there is not much work for an articled assistant since the Audit Work generally starts after the financial year ends i.e. from 1st April onwards. Hence, it would be appropriate to reduce the working hours in a week of Articled Assistants from 35 hours to say 20-25 hours during the 6 months ranging from 1st October to 31st March. This would not bother the Employers much since there is not much work & also the students would get additional time for their studies.
6. It is a general myth that the CA course is very long in duration. Even a student who clears all the exams in his/her first attempt takes at an average 5 years to become a Chartered Accountant. The main reason for this is the duration of Articleship Training (3 years/3.5 years). We understand that practical training is a very important part of the CA Curriculum but it is necessary that its duration carefully looked into. Hence, a reduction of around 6 months of this training would not make much difference. In fact, it would help the students in settling into their careers earlier than usual.
7. The Institute should also lay emphasis on the system of compensatory leaves because there are various members who are not following it especially after the month of September when the students had spent sleepless nights due to heavy workload.
The views expressed in this letter are on behalf of thousands of students representing the CA Fraternity from different parts of India.
We are sure that the welfare of students is of high priority to the Council of ICAI. We sincerely hope that after going through this letter, you will realise the hardships faced by all the CA students & keeping this in mind, you would come up with a better system to impart practical training to your students which is fair to both the students as well as the Members of the Institute. We earnestly request you to kindly look into the matter & take necessary steps to improve the situation of the students.
Awaiting a positive & quick response from your side.
Thanking you in advance.
ALL INDIA CA STUDENTS
Friends, I know that after reading the above letter, you must have been thinking about the same situation in your office. But don’t be disheartened because you are not alone, there are several other students who are with you. Its high time now that we all UNITE & get ourselves noticed because the Institute is taking us for granted. The time is also right because there will be a new President coming in the next month & this might work in our favour. Finally, I hope that this post has motivated other students like me to fight against injustice imposed by the employers & the rules of the Institute…..