Prospective chartered accountants are left with little manoeuvring space. The Institute of Chartered Accountants of India’s (ICAI) recent decision to spell out the working hours of articled assistants seems to have played spoilsport with their academic interests.
As per the decision which came into effect from April 1, 2008, the office hours of the Principal (CA under whom they are working) for providing article training to the articled assistants shall not start after 11 am and end before 5 pm and the working hours for the articled assistants should not exceed 35 hours in a week. However, in case the articled assistant is required to work beyond his working hours, he will have to be compensated.
To ensure that the working hours do not clash with the graduation course pursued by the article assistant, the articled assistant registered on or after April 1, 2008, will be required to obtain specific permission from the ICAI for pursuing graduation or other course as permitted under Chartered Accountants Regulation by submitting a prescribed form within one month.
However, as it turns out, the assistants will not be in a position to pursue graduation or any other course. Even those registered on or before April 1, 2008, will be required to seek permission within six months from ICAI.
Earlier, ICAI had allowed any person with qualification of X standard to appear for the Common Proficiency Test (CPT) and join articleship after passing standard XII. However, the recent decision has created resentment among the students fraternity as they would not be in a position to pursue graduation or any other course.
Ajit Shah, a leading chartered accountant and past president of Ahmedabad branch of ICAI said that because of the decision taken by the ICAI council, entire articled clerk fraternity would be facing a lot of problems.
Ahmedabad branch president Yamal Vyas said that the branch has received complaints from students pursuing articleship under the CA Articleship Rules and the branch is now considering to represent the ICAI headquarters about the likely inconvenience faced by the articled clerks. A majority of prospective CAs proceed for both CA & also for B Com degree simultaneously.