We celebrated our founding day on July 6 where we bid farewell, with a huge cheer, to the outgoing president and warmly welcomed the incoming President along with his team of office bearers. In the immediate Past President Narayan Pasari we saw an enthusiastic and energetic worker and an able administrator and now in the current president Sunil Gabhawalla we see a perfectionist and composed leader.
Year-on-year every president betters the achievements of his predecessor by turning around high impact enlightening programs and quality publications. This raises the bar of performance expectation of our society every year. Our Society remains committed to its members by ‘Harnessing Talent and providing Quality Services’ for imparting knowledge. With every passing year, the team at the helm has been able to deliver quality educational programs, publications resulting in dissemination of knowledge to its 9000+ members. This I believe is only because of the commitment and trust of all our members and the dedication of the core group. That is the strength of our Society, which remains young and vibrant as it celebrates its 70th anniversary.
It is indeed an honour and a matter of personal pride to be elected to serve as the Vice President of our esteemed and admired Society, but along with position also comes profound responsibilities. I am confident that with the your continuing support, guidance of seniors and cooperation from the entire team of the office bearers, managing committee and core group members I will be able to live up to all your expectations. I look forward to my journey as the Vice President with excitement and enthusiasm and will cherish the opportunity to communicate with you over the next twelve months regularly.
Like every year this year too, our founding day lecture meeting was highly inspiring as the eminent speaker CA Nilesh Shah delivered an insightful lecture on “India – 2019 & Beyond”. He spoke about the outlook of the Indian economy and the capital markets performance in the coming years. He was very bullish and confident about India’s consumption story in the coming years. He spoke with conviction, in his own unassuming but inimitable style, driving home his point with various facts and statistics. In the case of those members who have missed this lecture, I commend you to visit our Society’s YouTube page and witness this enthusing speech.
July also happens to be the founding month of our Institute of Chartered Accountants of India (ICAI) and it is now just a little over one year since Prime Minister Narendra Modi addressed our Institute on its founding day on July 1, 2017. As we complete the first anniversary of this hard hitting speech, it is time to introspect and look back as to what impact his speech has made to the conduct of the members, the profession and the general perception about chartered accountants. A lot of water has flown under the bridge since then and our profession is perhaps now facing the severest challenge in its history of its existence. It is at the cross road, a critical juncture and our conduct and professional behaviour will decide which direction our profession will take. The last one year has not been kind to our profession and many recent events have tarnished the public perception of our profession. Events in the past year, like SEBI banning a firm from assurance services, scam that rocked the banking industry in India, the spate of arrests of chartered accountants, the resignation of auditors midway through their term from (perceived) high risk audits, the withdrawal of powers to undertake valuation services in some instance, the RBI’s framework for bank auditors that proposes enforcement actions on defaulting auditors, the constitution of National Financial Regulatory Authority (NFRA) and its draft rules in the current form have all been unprecedented and should be a wake-up call for us. We have been at the receiving end and have been subject to a lot of public and media bashing. However, I am sure that all of us will unite, perform our functions diligently, fight fearlessly for our rights and emerge stronger. Now it is the time to introspect, let us all ask questions to our conscience and be true to ourselves. Friends I believe that only if we learn to respect ourselves, others will respect us. So let’s work towards raising our standards of ethics, improving our quality of service, let us act with independence and without fear to win back the confidence and respect that the Government, Regulators and public have always had towards our profession.
It is a rule that whatever rises comes down and whatever goes down has to rise. Seasons change and so must we. Let us also remember the July 1, 2017 speech by the PM for the wish he expressed that by the year 2022 when India celebrates 75 years of Independence there should be four firms from India in the Big 8. This shows his confidence in our competencies and abilities.
This July also marks the first anniversary of India’s greatest economic reform post liberalization, the introduction of Goods and Service Tax (GST). Some features that are unique to India’s GST model have made the law complex as compared to other nations. The hasty implementation of GST initially hit the businesses but now things seem to have settled and the monthly collection figures of GST are also on a steady rise. Yet I believe India has miles to go to match with global best practices and I am sure that our profession will be partnering and participating with the government in fulfilment of this goal.
The Annual plan of our society for the year 2018-19 is focused towards meeting members’ expectations and this will be the sole priority of our society. The four pillars of this annual plan are reengineering the profession, rekindling the passion of its members, restoring the pride of the profession and rejuvenating the administration and working of the society. The committees of the society along with its staff members are committed to the members and students and are geared to organize innovative and relevant programs and events, bring out publications, make timely representations to various regulators and provide networking opportunities. The new year has begun in right earnest and I am happy to announce that all committees have enthusiastically kick started this year with detailed plans for the entire year. So keep an eye on the announcements.
The BCAS brand today has an active and thriving social media presence on all the leading social media platforms like Linkedin, Twitter, YouTube and Facebook. All members are invited to become followers and stay updated with the posts on events and other regulatory information.
The jewel in the crown of our Society is our Journal. The Bombay Chartered Accountant Journal (BCAJ) is celebrating its Golden Jubilee with a series of special issues throughout the year. The full issue for July 2018 is available digitally in a special e-flipbook format on all the above-mentioned social media platforms free and without any log in requirements. Members are requested to take benefit of this facility, which is available for a limited period.
The membership strength of our society has remained at around the 9000 mark for a long time and we would like to reach a membership base of 10,000 members soon so that the reach of our BCAS can be expanded to benefit a larger number of chartered accountants across the globe. All members are urged to become brand ambassadors of our society and help our society in achieving this target.
I would like to end this communiqué by wishing you all the very best for the upcoming July tax filing season and until next month ‘au revoir’.
With warm regards
CA. Manish Sampat