My Dear Member,
Ganpati Bappa Morya!
This communique will reach you when we are in the middle of Ganesha Celebrations. Lord Ganesha is one of the most popular and loved deity with a symbolic figurine of an elephant's head with curved trunk and big ears on a big human body and is popularly called “Ganpati Bappa”. He is always seen with Laddus or modaks as his favourite offering and a mouse is his chosen vehicle. Lord Ganesha, is also known as the Vighnaharta, which indicates Lord or destroyer of evils, problems and obstacles. He is also worshipped as the God of education, knowledge, wisdom and wealth. As per Hindu tradition, Lord Ganesha is considered very auspicious and beginning of any new venture, worships or activity is done with his blessings. May Ganpati Bappa Bless us all with his kindness and keep us away from troubles and difficulties.
Recently on September 13, 2018, the Central Board of Indirect Taxes and Customs released the format of GST Audit Report. It gives me immense pleasure and pride to inform you that many of the suggestions that our society had made to the finance ministry have been incorporated in this format. This move towards a simplified format is a step in the right direction for both the auditors and the auditees.
Over the years, our Society has been a pioneer in incubating novel and innovative educational programs for the benefit of members. One of them has been the long duration training course “Internal Audit Studies (IAS)” which has been conducted by the Society now for over a decade, starting in 2002-03 and I was one of the beneficiaries of the first batch. In the current year, a group Governance Risk Compliance Services (GRC Services) traditionally called Internal Audit (IA), has been constituted under the Accounting and Auditing Committee with an objective to give focused attention to this significant and growing area of professional practice. This group will concentrate on conceptualizing, designing and executing various events, seminars, workshops and publications, with the objective of connecting GRC professionals from the industry and from practice. So far there have been two events organized by this group and both have received overwhelming response from the profession and the industry. The recently concluded two-day intensive course on IA, covering all the basic concepts, provided a strong foundation to professionals. IA practitioners conducted the entire course in an interactive manner, supplemented by practical case studies and group exercises in real life situations. This event brought many non-members to the BCAS platform that will help in enhancing its goodwill and membership reach.
It is a fact that the Not for Profit, non-government and the public charitable organizations play a very important part in the field of philanthropy in India. This sector is highly regulated and unfortunately, the awareness towards compliance to laws is very low amongst various stakeholders. The constant changes in laws and procedures relating to the various laws governing this sector has made life difficult for those in charge of governance of various organisations from this sector. Be it the Maharashtra Public Trust Act, The Indian Trusts Act, 1882, Foreign Contribution (Regulation) Act, 2010 – FCRA, Income-tax Act, 1961 or the recent The Central Goods and Services Tax Act. Recent developments and practical issues faced in complying with all these laws were discussed at the Full Day Seminar on Charitable Trusts organized by our society. This event received super response as about 150 people participated including more than half from the sector itself. Members can take benefit by accessing this event from the e-learning platform of our Society. You may contact the Society office for further details.
Recently BCAS had carried out a dipstick survey on practice management to understand the challenges faced by the practising CAs and firms. Respondents to this survey included individuals and firms from a wide spectrum of practitioners with respect to size of the firm, experience, practice and geographical presence (like metro, non-metro etc.). Refer page 26 of September issue of the BCAJ to read the complete findings of this survey. Amongst the 12 challenges posted before the respondents, the biggest and the most challenging, according to the survey was “Finding and retaining staff” with 66% of the respondents ranking it as their topmost concern. What is the key to attract and retain the target next generation talent? How to adapt the firm’s culture to attract and retain talent? What is observed is that the next generation usually look for more than just money and perks. For them quality trumps quantity almost every time. Small and medium practising firms will never be able to match the muscle power of larger multinational firms in terms of salaries, perks, bonuses and financial incentives. So it becomes important for these firms that they offer other incentives like independence and flexibility that the larger multinational firms do not or cannot offer. What small and medium size firms can do is to give their staff a well charted career path. These firms should focus on building great team culture and politics free work environment. This coupled with flexibility at workplace can be a great motivation, providing better work life balance and happy stress free work place. We would have to offer these innovations to not only retain identified performers, but to also attach fresh and young talent from outside. This would also need us to be more inclusive and break away from our old traditional hierarchy structure. “Rather than being directive, we need to be more collaborative”
Earlier this month, the 18th Asian Games concluded in Jakarta, Indonesia and India finished eighth in the overall medals tally with 69 medals – Team India’s best ever medal haul in Asian Games history. Every medal tells a human story of grit and glory. A close look at the medal winners reveals two heartening aspects to this historical medal haul: One, age profile of medal winners, younger and younger sportspersons are bringing glory to our country. Two, excelling in new sporting disciplines which have traditionally not been in the limelight. As we congratulate all the winners for raising the India Flag at the Games, I would also like to correlate this with the fact that we should encourage younger members of our profession to rise from their routine deadline driven work schedule and take up greater challenges and leadership positions in their professional lives.
The Reserve Bank of India, recently released its annual report and has admitted that 99.3% of all demonetised notes came back to the banking system (not counting notes that have remained in Nepal and Bhutan). This raises very pertinent questions, Was demonetisation needed? Was it successful? Newspaper reports suggest that the Economic survey for 2016-17 and the said RBI annual report have also mentioned that demonetisation had an adverse impact on the GDP growth rate for a temporary period. Those against this move by the government will buy into these reports but those in favour, argue that the almost 70% surge in the number of Income Tax returns filed upto August 31 from 3.17 crore in the previous year to 5.42 crore in the current year is all due to this move by the government and implementation of GST. The political debate will continue on this but I feel it’s an event done and dusted and we should learn to move on in life.
On July 5, 2018 the Ministry of Corporate Affairs notified a drive for completing the KYC of all the directors of Indian Companies. This was done with the intention to update its registry. Accordingly, all directors who had been allotted DIN on or before a specified date and whose status was approved, had to mandatorily undergo the procedure on or before September 15, 2018 without a fee. As per the said notification all the DIN of the directors, who had not complied with the process, would get deactivated and further it would be reactivated only after payment of penalty of Rs. 5,000. As per reports 1.2 million directors were able to complete the KYC process and approximately 2.1 million directors are still to comply. Is it fair on the part of the MCA to have provided this window of a short period to get the entire KYC done for all the directors (including foreign directors) specially when the website wasn’t functioning properly and there were glitches in uploading the digital signatures towards the end. Will this help us in the “ease of doing business in India”.
I end this month’s communique by wishing all of you the very best for meeting the September tax-audit deadline well in time and without any stress.
With best regards
CA. Manish Sampat