The Institute of Chartered Accountants of India (ICAI) is the national professional accounting body of India. It was established on 1 July 1949 as a statutory body under the Chartered Accountants Act, 1949 enacted by the Parliament (acting as the provisional Parliament of India) to regulate the profession of Chartered Accountancy in India. ICAI is the second largest professional Accounting & Finance body in the world. ICAI is the only licensing cum regulating body of the financial audit and accountancy profession in India. It recommends the accounting standards to be followed by companies in India to National Advisory Committee on Accounting Standards (NACAS). and sets the accounting standards to be followed by other types of organisations. ICAI is solely responsible for setting the Standards on Auditing (SAs) to be followed in the audit of financial statements in India. It also issues other technical standards like Standards on Internal Audit (SIA), Corporate Affairs Standards (CAS) etc. to be followed by practicing Chartered Accountants. It works closely with the Government of India, Reserve Bank of India and the Securities and Exchange Board of India in formulating and enforcing such standards.
Members of the Institute are known as Chartered Accountants (either Fellow or Associate). However, the word chartered does not refer to or flow from any Royal Charter. Chartered Accountants are subject to a published Code of Ethics and professional standards, violation of which is subject to disciplinary action. Only a member of ICAI can be appointed as statutory auditor of a company under the Companies Act, 2013. The management of the Institute is vested with its Council with the president acting as its Chief Executive Authority. A person can become a member of ICAI by taking prescribed examinations and undergoing three years of practical training. The membership course is well known for its rigorous standards. ICAI has entered into mutual recognition agreements with other professional accounting bodies worldwide for reciprocal membership recognition. ICAI is one of the founder members of the International Federation of Accountants (IFAC), South Asian Federation of Accountants (SAFA), and Confederation of Asian and Pacific Accountants (CAPA). ICAI was formerly the provisional jurisdiction for XBRL International in India. In 2010, it promoted eXtensible Business Reporting Language (XBRL) India as a section 25 company (now section 8 of Companies Act, 2013) to take over this responsibility from it. Now, eXtensible Business Reporting Language (XBRL) India is an established jurisdiction of XBRL International Inc.
The Institute of Chartered Accountants of India was established under the Chartered Accountants Act, 1949 passed by the Parliament of India with the objective of regulating the accountancy profession in India. ICAI is the third largest professional accounting body in the world in terms of membership only to the ACCA and AICPA. It prescribes the qualifications for a Chartered Accountant, conducts the requisite examinations and grants license in the form of Certificate of Practice. Apart from this primary function, it also helps various government agencies like RBI, SEBI, MCA, CAG, IRDA, etc. in policy formulation. ICAI actively engages itself in aiding and advising economic policy formulation. For example, It has submitted its suggestions on the Companies Bill, 2009. It also examines the various taxation laws, rules, regulations, circulars, notifications, etc. which may be enacted or issued by the Government from time to time and to send suitable memoranda containing suggestions for improvements in the respective legislation. The government also takes the suggestions of ICAI as expert advice and considers it favorably. ICAI presented an approach paper on issues in implementing Goods and Service Tax in India to the Ministry of Finance. In response to this, Ministry of Finance has suggested that ICAI take a lead and help the government in implementing Goods and Services Tax (GST). It is because of this active participation in formulation economic legislation, it has been designated by A. P. J. Abdul Kalam as a "Partner in Nation Building". Nonetheless, with the advent of globalization and foreign investment, in India, ACCA has constantly gained ground and is currently, standing as tough competition to the ICAI, even though negotiations have been made in the past.
ICAI is a founder member of the International Federation of Accountants(IFAC), South Asian Federation of Accountants (SAFA), and Confederation of Asian and Pacific Accountants (CAPA)  and International Innovation Network (IIN). ICAI is an Associate member of the Chartered Accountants Worldwide, Member of International Valuation Standards Council (IVSC).
The motto of the ICAI is Ya Aeshu Suptaeshu Jagruti (Sanskrit), which literally means "a person who is awake in those that sleep". It is a quotation from the Upanishads (Kathopanishad). It was given to the ICAI at the time of its formation in 1949 by Sri Aurobindo as a part of its emblem. CA. C. S. Shastri, a Chartered Accountant from Chennai went to Sri Aurobindo and requested him through a letter to give an emblem to the newly formed Institute of which he was an elected member from the Southern India. In reply to this request, Sri Aurobindo gave him the emblem with a Garuda, the mythical eagle in the center and a quotation from the Upanishad: Ya Aeshu Suptaeshu Jagruti. The emblem along with the motto was placed at the first meeting of the Council of the Institute and was accepted amongst many other emblems placed by other members of the Council.
Apart from its emblem, ICAI also has a separate logo for its members. As a part of a brand building exercise, ICAI introduced this separate new CA logo for the use of its members in 2007. The logo is free for use by all members of ICAI subject to certain conditions. The logo was launched by the then Minister of Corporate Affairs, Prem Chand Gupta at the occasion of the Chartered Accountant Day (1 July) in the presence of the then President of ICAI Sunil Talati. Members of ICAI cannot use the ICAI emblem, but they are encouraged to use the CA logo instead on their official stationery.
The Mission of the ICAI as stated by it is: “The Indian Chartered Accountancy profession will be the Valued Trustees of World Class Financial Competencies, Good Governance, and Competitiveness.”
The Companies Act, 1913 passed in pre-independent India prescribed various books which had to be maintained by a Company registered under that Act. It also required the appointment of a formal Auditor with prescribed qualifications to audit such records. In order to act as an auditor, a person had to acquire a restricted certificate from the local government upon such conditions as may be prescribed. The holder of a restricted certificate was allowed to practice only within the province of an issue and in the language specified in the restricted certificate. In 1918 a course called Government Diploma in Accountancy was launched in Sydenham College of Commerce and Economics of Bombay (now known as Mumbai). On passing this diploma and completion of three years of articled training under an approved accountant, a person was held eligible for grant of an unrestricted certificate. This certificate entitling the holder to practice as an auditor throughout India. Later on, the issue of restricted certificates was discontinued in the year 1920.
In the year 1930, it was decided that the Government of India should maintain a register called the Register of Accountants. Any person whose name was entered in such register was called a Registered Accountant. Later on a board called the Indian Accountancy Board was established to advise the Governor General of India on accountancy and the qualifications for auditors. However it was felt that the accountancy profession was largely unregulated, and this caused lots of confusion as regards the qualifications of auditors. Hence in the year 1948, just after independence in 1947, an expert committee was created to look into the matter. This expert committee recommended that a separate autonomous association of accountants should be formed to regulate the profession. The Government of India accepted the recommendation and passed the Chartered Accountants Act in 1949 even before India became a republic. Under section 3 of the said Act, ICAI is established as a body corporate with perpetual succession and a common seal.
Unlike most other commonwealth countries, the word chartered does not refer to a royal charter, since India is a republic. At the time of passing the Chartered Accountants Act, various titles used for similar professionals in other countries were considered, such as Certified Public Accountant. However, many accountants had already acquired membership of the Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales and other Chartered Societies of Great Britain and were practicing as Chartered Accountants. This had created some sort of brand value. This designation inherited a public impression that Chartered Accountants had better qualifications than Registered Accountants. Hence the accountants were very stern in their stand that, the Indian accountancy professionals should be designated only as Chartered Accountants. After much debate in the Indian Constituent Assembly, the controversial term, chartered was accepted. When the Chartered Accountants Act, 1949 came into force on 1 July 1949, the term Chartered Accountant superseded the title of Registered Accountant. This day is celebrated as Chartered Accountants day every year.
Members of the Institute are known as Chartered Accountants. Becoming a member requires passing the prescribed examinations, three years of practical training (known as articleship) and meeting other requirements under the Act and Regulations. A member of ICAI can use the title CA before his/her name. A member of ICAI may either be an Associate Chartered Accountant (A.C.A.) or a Fellow Chartered Accountant (F.C.A.) based on his experience. Further based on holding Certificate of Practice, they may also be classified as practicing and non-practicing Chartered Accountants. As of December 2017, the Institute has 2,80,221 members out of which 1,89,707 are Associates and 90,514 are Fellows. The B.N. Chaturvedi Family is credited to be the only family in India to be Chartered Accountants in 5 Generations.
Any person who is granted membership of the Institute becomes an Associate Chartered Accountant and is entitled to use the letters A.C.A. after his name. Generally, associates are members of the Institute with less than 5 years of membership after which they become entitled to apply for being a fellow member. Some associate members, particularly those not in practice, often voluntarily chose not to apply to be a fellow due to a variety of reasons.
An associate member who has been in continuous practice in India or has worked for a commercial or government organization for at least five years and meets other conditions as prescribed can apply to the Institute to get designated as a "Fellow". A fellow Chartered Accountant is entitled to use the letters FCA. after his name. Responsibilities and voting rights of both types of members remain the same but only fellows can be elected to the Council and Regional Councils of ICAI. Fellows are perceived as enjoying a higher status due to their long professional experience.
Any member wanting to engage in public practice has to first apply for and obtain a Certificate of Practice from the Council of ICAI. Only members holding a Certificate of Practice may act as auditors or certify documents required by various tax and financial regulatory authorities in India. Once a member obtains a Certificate of Practice, his responsibility to the society increases manifold. The ethical principles applicable to a practicing CA provided in the first and second schedule of the Chartered Accountants Act, 1949 are more rigorous than the ones applicable to non-practicing CAs or both.
Chartered Accountants enjoy a statutory monopoly in audit of financial statements under the Companies Act, 2013, Income Tax Act, 1961 and various other statutes in India. Financial statements audited by a chartered accountant are presumed to have been prepared according to GAAP in India (otherwise the audit report should be modified). However, not all Chartered Accountants work in audit. Firms of accountants provide varied business services, and many accountants are employed in commerce and industry. Their areas of expertise include financial reporting, auditing and assurance, corporate finance, investment banking, financial modelling, equity research. fund management, credit analysis, capital markets, arbitration, risk management, economics, strategic/management consultancy, management accounting, information systems audit, corporate law, direct tax, indirect tax and valuation of businesses.[importance?] Apart from the field of professional practice, many CAs work in the industry and commerce in financial and general management positions such as CFO and CEO. Prime Minister Narendra Modi has regarded CAs as "partners in nation building."
The management of the affairs of the institute is undertaken by a council constituted under the Chartered Accountants Act, 1949. The council consists of 32 elected fellow members and up to 8 members nominated by the Government of India. The elected members of the council are elected under the single transferable vote system by the members of the institute. The council is re-elected every three years. The council elects two of its members to be president and vice-president who hold office for one year. The president is the chief executive authority of the council.
ICAI has five regions: Eastern, Western, Northern, Southern and Central.
ICAI's first president was CA G.P. Kapadia (1949 to 1952). CA Prafulla P Chajjed is the current president. CA Atul Gupta is the current vice president of the council, and will be the next president of the council after the vacation of office by the current president.
The institute has a detailed code of ethics and actions in contravention of such code results in disciplinary action against the erring members. The institute publishes a members' handbook containing the Chartered Accountants Act 1949, Chartered Accountants Regulation 1988, Professional Opportunities for Members – an Appraisal, Code of Ethics and Manual for members. These together form the basis of regulation of the profession. The Council also has a Peer Review Board that ensures that in carrying out their professional attestation services assignments, the members of the institute (a) comply with the Technical Standards laid down by the institute and (b) have in place proper systems (including documentation systems) for maintaining the quality of the attestation services work they perform.
The Disciplinary Directorate, the Board of Discipline, and the Disciplinary Committee form the foundation of the disciplinary process of the institute. These entities are quasi-judicial and have substantial powers like that of a Civil Court to summon and enforce attendance or require discovery and production of documents on affidavit or otherwise. The Disciplinary Directorate is headed by an officer designated as Director (Discipline). On receipt of any information or complaint that a member has allegedly engaged in any misconduct, the Director (Discipline) shall arrive at a prima facie opinion whether or not there is any misconduct. If the Director (Discipline) is of the opinion that the misconduct is covered by the items listed in the first schedule of the Chartered Accountants Act, 1949, he shall refer the case to the Board of Discipline. If he is of the Opinion that the case is covered by the Second Schedule or both schedules of the CA Act, he will refer the case to the Disciplinary Committee. If the Board of Discipline finds a member guilty of professional or other misconduct, it may at its discretion reprimand the member, remove the name of the member from the register of members for up to three months or impose a fine up to ?1,00,000/-. If the Disciplinary Committee finds a member guilty of professional or other misconduct, it may at its discretion reprimand the member, remove the name of the member from the register of members permanently or impose a fine up to ?5,000/-. Any member aggrieved by any order may approach the Appellate Authority.
It should be born in mind that this disciplinary proceeding is not in lieu of or an alternative for criminal proceedings in a court. Criminal proceedings against a Chartered Accountant and disciplinary action by ICAI are two separate issues and one need not wait for another to be completed first.
One of the most recent (2009–10) public actions of The ICAI Disciplinary Committee was proceedings for professional misconduct against two auditors from the firm Price Waterhouse partners for wrongly auditing and inflating the financial statements of Satyam Computer Services Limited. The Supreme Court of India (November 2010) rejected a plea by the two charged auditors to stay the proceedings by the ICAI Disciplinary committee. The court's order came in response to the pleas of the charged auditors seeking a stay on the disciplinary proceedings against them on the ground that it violated their fundamental right against self-incrimination under Article 20 (3) of the Constitution of India.
Other publicized actions included, the SEBI referred case of a brokerage firm, Karvy, in which the internal auditors, Haribhakti & Co (an associate of BDO). were held guilty of negligence for failing to detect thousands of demat accounts being opened with the same address. The Committee has also taken action against members for alleged irregularities in the books of Maytas Properties and Maytas Infra and the role played by their auditors. The names of the members found guilty of misconduct are published on ICAI's website. The ICAI website lists 35 as the number of cases in which inquiry was completed by the Disciplinary Committee in the past one year since February 2010. The list of members held guilty of professional or other misconduct is published periodically.
Many of the recent financial frauds and scams related to organizations that had multinational accounting firms as their auditors. These multinational firms cannot legally practice in India but they are practicing in India by surrogate means, operating through tie-ups with local firms, though the partners involved are from India, since only a member of the institute can be an auditor of an Indian entity. The example for this is an elaborate list, Price Waterhouse in case of Global Trust Bank Scam, again Price Waterhouse in Satyam Computer Services Limited scam, Ernst and Young in the Maytas case. ICAI lacks jurisdictional powers to punish these or for that matter any firm, as under its current regulations it only has the power to proceed against individual members. The institute has asked the Ministry of Corporate Affairs, Government of India to grant additional powers so that it may proceed against firms whose partners or employees are frequent offenders. ICAI also has sent a proposal to the Government of India to amend the Chartered Accountants Act, 1949 in order to enable to it to impose a fine of ?1,00,00,000/- on audit firms if they are found guilty of colluding with companies to commit a fraud.
A person is eligible to apply for membership either by passing all three levels of examinations prescribed by ICAI and completing three years of practical training or by availing themselves of exemptions under mutual recognition agreement (MRAs).
The ICAI has recently revised its Scheme of Education and Training. The scheme became applicable on 1 July 2017. The first examination under the New Scheme was held in May 2018.
The ICAI allows Commerce graduates/post-graduates (with minimum 55% marks) or other graduates/post-graduates (with minimum 60% marks) and Intermediate level passed students of Institute of Company Secretaries of India and Institute of Cost Accountants of India to enter directly to its Intermediate Course.
Students undergoing Practical training shall be required to do AICITSS during the last 2 years of Practical training but to complete the same before being eligible to appear in the Final Examination.
ICAI also introduced the Accounting Technician Course. Any person who passed Group-I of IPCC and completed one year of practical training under a member could apply for an Accounting Technician Certification. After obtaining the certificate the person could designate himself as an Accounting Technician. This Certification was introduced to help a large number of students who were unable to complete the CA Final Examinations and obtain membership.
ICAI has entered into an agreement with Indira Gandhi National Open University, to help CA students acquire a Bachelor's degree by writing a few papers. For example, a bachelor's degree in Commerce can be obtained from IGNOU with a major in Accounting and Finance provided the student is able to provide the grades received in CPT and IPCC and pass the term end examination conducted by IGNOU. This initiative has helped a lot of students attain both the degrees without any duplication of subjects and credits.
ICAI offers study materials and describes the syllabus in great detail via a prospectus. While ICAI claims that this study material on the website is sufficient for motivated students to study, most students opt to attend oral coaching classes or learn from e-learning portals.
The second method of obtaining membership is through mutual recognition agreements or MRAs. ICAI has entered into MRAs with several institutes globally, of equivalent standing, to enable members of those institutes to acquire membership of ICAI and to enable the members of ICAI to gain membership of its counterpart in other countries.This is done by granting some exemptions in the regular scheme of examination and training.
ICAI currently has MRAs with following professional accounting bodies:
MoUs with the following are on the anvil
ICAI is also in the process of negotiating MRAs with Hong Kong Institute of Certified Public Accountants and Certified General Accountants Association of Canada.
The ICAI has signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with professional accounting bodies of various countries. These MOUs aim at establishing mutual co-operation between the two institutions for the advancement of accounting knowledge, professional and intellectual development, advancing the interests of their respective members and positively contributing to the development of the accounting profession.
AI has MOUs with following professional accounting bodies:
The MoUs with CPA Afghanistan and Saudi Organization for Certified Public Accountants (SOCPA) are in pipeline.
ICAI provides various professional certifications for its members. Some of them are as follows:
The Institute maintains a placement portal on its web site for qualified members and partially qualified students. This is supplemented with campus placement events and advertising through its professional journals and website.
ICAI formulates and issues technical standards to be followed by Chartered Accountants and others. Non-compliance of these standards by the members will lead to disciplinary action against them. The technical standards issued by ICAI include Accounting Standards, Engagement, and Quality Control Standards, Standards on Internal Audit, Corporate Affairs Standard, Accounting Standards for Local Bodies, etc.
As of 2010, the Institute of Chartered Accountants of India has issued 32 Accounting Standards. These are numbered AS-1 to AS-7 and AS-9 to AS-32 (AS-8 & AS-6 is no longer in force since it was merged with AS-26 and AS-10). Compliance with accounting standards issued by ICAI has become a statutory requirement with the notification of Companies (Accounting Standards) Rules, 2006 by the Government of India. Before the constitution of the National Advisory Committee on Accounting Standards (NACAS), the institute was the sole accounting standard setter in India. However NACAS is not an independent body. It can only consider accounting standards recommended by ICAI and advise the Government of India to notify them under the Companies Act, 2013. Further, the Accounting Standards so notified are applicable only to companies registered under the companies act, 2013. For all other entities, the accounting standards issued the ICAI continue to apply.
The inception of the idea of convergence of Indian GAAP with IFRS was made by the Prime Minister of India Dr. Manmohan Singh by committing in G20 to align Indian accounting standards with IFRS. As per the original roadmap for implementation of IFRS-converged Ind AS issued by the Government of India, initially, Ind AS were expected to be implemented from the year 2011. However, keeping in view the fact that certain issues including tax issues were still to be addressed, the Ministry of Corporate Affairs decided to postpone the date of implementation of Ind AS. For a smooth transition to IFRS, ICAI has taken up the matter of convergence with the National Advisory Committee on Accounting Standards and various regulators such as the RBI, SEBI and IRDA, CBDT. IASB, the issuer of IFRS, is also supporting the ICAI in its endeavors towards convergence. ICAI has revised/formulated Ind AS on the basis of the amendments and new IFRS issued by the IASB subsequent to February 2011. IFRS-converged Indian Accounting Standards (Ind AS) has been implemented in India in a phased manner from 1 April 2015 being the voluntary date of adoption of Ind AS. The mandatory application of Ind AS has been restricted to listed and unlisted companies with a net worth of Rs. 500 crore and above from the accounting year beginning on or after 1 April 2016. With effect on 1 April 2017, all listed companies and unlisted companies having a net worth of Rs. 250 crore and above would be required to prepare their financial statements in accordance with the applicable Ind AS. Banks and NBFCs are also required to implement Ind AS on 1 April 2018 onwards based on the criteria of net worth.
In order to ensure that these standards are implemented in the same spirit in which these have been formulated, ICAI has been providing guidance to members through its various initiatives such as the issuance of Educational Materials on Ind AS containing Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs). For addressing transition and implementation related queries clarifications on a timely basis are also being issued by the ICAI. Queries raised are also addressed through Support-desk for implementation of Ind AS. Apart from this, Certificate Course on Ind AS, In-house training programmes on Ind AS for corporate and regulatory bodies are also being organized to educate and train the members on these standards
gagements, as may be specified by the ICAI. The aforesaid Standards are collectively known as Engagement Standards. 5. Standards on Quality Control (SQCs) – These Standards are to be applied for all services covered by the Engagement Standards as described above. As of October 2017 ICAI has issued 46 Engagement and Quality Control Standards (formerly known as Auditing and Assurance Standards) covering various topics relating to auditing and other engagements. These standards have been harmonized with the International Standards issued by the IAASB of the IFAC except for two standards i.e. ISA 600 and ISAE 3000.