Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman has emphasized the need for chartered accountants (CAs) in India to embrace contemporary accounting concepts and compliance areas. She urged them to familiarize themselves with aspects such as carbon accounting, corporate social responsibility (CSR) accounting and auditing, and due diligence concerning environmental, social, and governance (ESG) factors. This, she said, is crucial for the profession to stay aligned with evolving global practices and compliance requirements.
CA to embrace carbon accounting
Sitharaman underscored the responsibility of CAs to establish best practices that can serve as templates for global compliance standards, which are progressively becoming mainstream. She highlighted that India’s emerging economy is driven by start-ups, modern industries, and the shift from traditional to contemporary methodologies. In this context, CAs are not only expected to incorporate technology into their own practices but also to encourage their clients to do the same.
The government is actively engaged in facilitating international collaboration between Indian CAs and their counterparts abroad. Sitharaman noted that existing memoranda of understanding (MoUs) between professional charters should be harnessed to strengthen this global engagement. She highlighted that renewed MoUs have been signed with various countries, including the Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales (ICAEW), and urged CAs to fully leverage mutual recognition agreements with other nations.
Sitharaman also emphasized the role of CAs in enhancing financial literacy across India, benefiting retail investors and students. She acknowledged the contributions of CAs in expanding the tax base and ensuring the smooth implementation of the Goods and Services Tax (GST) regime.
Discussing the potential of digitization in promoting financial literacy, Sitharaman noted that the Institute of Chartered Accountants of India (ICAI) is well-equipped with its wide network of branches and regional councils to effectively leverage digital access for nationwide educational initiatives.
The finance minister’s call to action encourages the Indian CA community to not only stay current with global financial trends but also to actively participate in shaping the nation’s financial landscape through education and collaboration.