The Institute of Chartered Accountants of India (ICAI) after a period of 10 years has taken steps to bring in changes in the curriculum, and examination pattern of the CA examination. The CA exam known to be the toughest examination in the country will be witnessing a few changes to keep up with the changing times.
ICAI, the conducting body of the CA exam, has approached the ministry of corporate affairs to improve the curriculum, introduce new subjects, electives and open book tests in a few papers.
In the present complex world, an updated course for CA students could prepare them for a better future with titles of Indian auditors, accountants, finance executives and CFOs. Some job roles like tracking financial crimes requires special skills like forensic audit and lower trade barriers along with free flow of capital, such situations demand a change in curriculum for the CAs.
According to ICAI, President M Devaraja Reddy, "Globalisation has brought to the fore not only opportunities in areas of national and international financial reporting, taxation, finance and corporate laws but also challenges to the chartered accountancy profession."
The institute's decision of changing the curriculum is happening at the right time he says, when the rules as well as the language of business are undergoing a change.
Besides understanding the new indirect tax regime like the GST, the chartered accountants will now have to master the International Financial Reporting Standards (IFRS), the new, uniform global accounting order that is aimed at comparing financial statements and books of companies across borders.
He also stated that the changes introduced is being made consciously keeping in view the ever-changing needs of the financial system. The changes have been proposed after considering the views of various stakeholders claims ICAI President awaiting the views of the ministry.
Every year about 1 lakh candidates take the examination where only 10,000 are said to clear it.
Some of the changes that have been suggested by the ICAI are as follows:
- The entry-level examination to become more stringent
- Candidates will have to answer subjective questions along with the regular objective type questions
- At the Foundation level, 2 new papers Business correspondence and reporting and Business and commercial knowledge will be introduced
- A new subject, Economics for Finance will be introduced at the intermediate level
- At the final level, electives would be introduced as the eighth paper where students will appear for an open-book exam to handle questions based on case studies
- The electives offered in the final level include Risk Management, International Taxation, Financial Services and Capital Markets, Global Financial Reporting Standards, Economic Laws and Multi-Disciplinary Case
- The paper on Information system control and audit has been renamed as Information system risk management and audit which will be part of the Advanced integrated course on information technology and soft skills
- Unlike the current practice where students can register for the CA course after Class 10, hereafter, students will instead be allowed to register after Class 12 for the Foundation exam followed by 4 month study period after passing Class 12 examination. This might help students to take up a more matured and conscious decision and to discourage private tutorials attracting students soon after leaving school
- The institute has proposed that students may register for three years of practical training on passing either or both groups of the Intermediate examination. Earlier, students had to register for 3 years of practical training on passing Group 1 or both groups of the intermediate examination
- According to the new changes, students going through the Foundation course will take roughly four-and-a-half years to become CAs, while those qualifying for taking direct admission will take approximately three-and-a-half-years
- However, the institute will continue to allow students to appear for the finals exam in the last 6 months of practical training