In a recent address at the 90th Year Valedictory Celebrations of The Society of Auditors in Chennai, Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman emphasized the imperative for Chartered Accountants (CAs) to upgrade their skills, acknowledging the influence of technology-driven changes in the profession. Sitharaman highlighted the need for CAs to gain proficiency in deep tech and data mining, underscoring their significance in comprehending a company’s overall health.
During her address, Sitharaman emphasized the evolving role of CAs beyond traditional bookkeeping, urging them to explore new areas such as cross-border financial transactions. Drawing on her experience with Jet Airways, she cited instances where legal frameworks were lacking, necessitating subsequent amendments to address emerging challenges.
Sitharaman commended the expertise of Indian professionals and credited the government for swiftly implementing suggestions, noting that within a decade, significant strides had been made in Digital Public Infrastructure, a fact corroborated by the World Bank.
Addressing the gathering, Sitharaman stressed the importance of mature organizations like The Society of Auditors in meeting the challenges of the century and facilitating knowledge dissemination among small and medium-level businesses. She cited the government’s investment in initiatives like the Open Network for Digital Commerce as an exemplar of this commitment.
While urging CAs to align their identity and business models with national goals, Sitharaman recognized the critical role they play in the country’s development. She emphasized the narrow window of opportunity in the next 25 years, urging collective efforts to achieve goals that remained unfulfilled since 1947.
However, amidst these calls for collaboration, it’s essential to acknowledge challenges faced by the CA fraternity. Some members have raised concerns about the suboptimal functioning of government websites such as Income Tax and the Ministry of Corporate Affairs, causing significant disruptions. Critics argue that the government’s infrastructure inadequacies have created difficulties for CAs, who are now facing challenges in accessing necessary information and services.
Despite the existing challenges, Sitharaman’s call for CA responsibility in advising clients against tax evasion and advocating for transparent business practices resonates. She emphasized that, with the assistance of Artificial Intelligence, the system is equipped to address instances of evasion efficiently.
As the government encourages the CA fraternity to evolve in sync with technological advancements, there is a growing call for a simultaneous enhancement of government infrastructure to facilitate a smoother collaboration between professionals and administrative bodies.