My Dear Members,
Wishing you all a very happy and prosperous New 2075 Samvat year!!!!!
All of us would have resumed office after a well-deserved Diwali break and would have got back into the groove of work. After a busy tax audit and filing season, some of us will get busy again preparing for the GST Audit. However, at our society, this is the most eventful and action packed period when we or-ganise many programs for the benefit of members.
The Corporate & Allied Laws committee of our society had organised a full day seminar on the ‘Burning Issues in Real Estate” jointly with the Indian Merchants’ Chamber. The real estate industry in India has been a very vital and important segment of the economy of our country. The recent regulatory changes and initiatives provided by the government have generated a lot of interest in the sector across various stakeholders including investors, regulators, industrialists, consumers and professionals alike. The thrust to get this sector organised and fully regulated has thrown open multiple professional opportunities for professionals like us. This full day seminar was specifically designed to cover the various important facets of advisory and consulting practice in the real estate sector including areas of Direct and Indirect Taxes, RERA, fund raising and joint venture/development opportunities. The seminar had five panel discussions with experts representing all the stakeholders as panellists. The seminar was a super success and had full enrolment.
The International Taxation Committee of our society had organised a full day seminar on GAAR and Anti-Avoidance provisions. GAAR has become part of the law now and it is important that the assessees and their advisors are kept updated with these laws and provisions. This seminar had a galaxy of star speakers including practitioners and regulators. Enrolment for this seminar had to be stopped well before the program date due to capacity restraints and sincere apologies to those who faced disappointment on this account. A unique publication titled “GAAR (including other anti-avoidance provisions) – A Compendium” was released at this seminar. This publication is the combined efforts of 40 eminent experts from the international taxation field. Some important aspects of the book were also discussed at the seminar. The Seminar was very well received and appreciated by the participants.
The above two Seminars generated a lot of interest from the non-members, members from the industry and outstation participants.
The society is well aware that technology is having a great influence on the way we conduct our practice and more specifically the way audits will be done in future. As technology improves efficiencies and productivity, organizations grapple with the complexity and unpredictability of a changing environment and the skills required to deal with these changes. According to an article by the World Economic Forum on ASEAN, only 25% of business leaders are highly confident that their workforce has the skill sets needed for the future, only 14% are highly confident in their ability to harness the changes associated with changing technology. Yet 86% of business leaders think they are doing all they can to build the right workforce. To deal with the challenges and disruptions that technology can pose and to remain relevant in our profession and continuously upgrade our skills, our society has planned a unique series of programs on use of technology in our profession. The GRC group of the Accounting and Auditing Committee had organized a unique class room type program spread over two days. This was restricted to a limited number of participants only who received practical hands on training in use of Data Analysis in internal audit and use of Microsoft Excel. The second series of this workshop will happen in December, which again is spread over two days, where hands on training on data analytics with the help of an advanced software tool “IDEA” will be imparted to the limited number of participants. The Technology Initiatives Committee of our society has also organised a seminar on “Accounting and Auditing in a SAP Environment – Issues in Process and Controls”. This workshop will cover the basic concept of ERP, impact areas of SAP in business, working in a SAP Environment, integrated accounting across various modules, auditing in a SAP Environment, IT controls, data mining and reporting.
After its initial success of organising and successfully completing a two day intensive study workshop on the basics of internal audit at Mumbai (in August), the GRC group now travels to Pune to replicate this workshop in cities outside Mumbai, for the benefit of its outstation members. This is a unique workshop wherein case studies and group exercises are conducted by the faculties. The uniqueness of this workshop will be the sharing of practical experiences in a storytelling format, with real life incidents and interaction between the participants and the faculty. Internal audit as an area of practice has gained significant importance in recent years and is creating new opportunities for our members. For the benefit of our outstation members and in order to reach out to a larger number of members, this workshop is being planned in other cities as well.
Our society is well known for the quality and innovative formats of various educational and technical programs. Our society also has a very important and significant committee namely ‘Human Resource Development Committee’ which deals with the non-technical side of our profession and organises exceptional events dealing with soft skills, leadership, motivation and communication skills etc. I am proud to say that I started my journey with the Bombay Chartered Accountants’ Society with this committee. One such program that this committee has planned is the heritage walk at Bhaje (near Lonavala), Karla, Bedse Caves and Visapur & Lohagad Fort, which is a UNESCO heritage site. These comprise a group of 22 rock-cut caves formed way back in the 2nd century at a high altitude where one can witness the lovely waterfalls striking the foothills. Beside the advantages of walking, this will provide an opportunity to be close to nature, enjoy the scenic beauty, enjoy the local cuisine and meet different people.
As you are aware, the Central Goods and Service Tax Act, contains provisions for carrying out audit of books of accounts of certain categories of registered persons having turnover exceeding the prescribed limit of Rs.2 Crore. The form of Reconciliation Statement and Audit Certification have been notified in September and the due date for filing of the audit certification for the period July 2017 to March 2018 is December 31, 2018. This has opened a new window for practice and a professional opportunity for new work for members. Though the government has explained the contents of the forms with detailed instructions and the ICAI has also come out with Technical Guide on Annual Return & GST Audit, members need to be aware of certain tricky issues and areas where there is lack of clarity. To deal with this, a workshop on GST Audit was organized by our Society. The workshop dealt with the practical issues arising in the course of execution of the actual audit and enrolment had to be stopped much before the event. Members can however take benefit of this program by subscribing to BCAS’s e-learning platform “Courseplay” and enjoy watching the event at a convenient time and place of their choice.
The GST audit season is in full gear now and all of us practising in this field might have started discussions with our clients and planning for the execution of GST audits. I appeal to all of you to quote fees which are commensurate with the work, effort and risk involved with the assignments. In order to ensure quality, it is essential not to under quote and agree to a lesser fee as may be demanded by the client. This is an opportunity to redeem our image and general public/client perception by agreeing for the assignment at our terms, provide quality service and not succumb to client pressure. Further, members also need to understand the scope of assignment and not over promise or take additional responsibility that cannot be fulfilled.
ICAI elections to the Central Council and the Regional Councils have been scheduled for December 7 and 8. It is our duty to vote and I would request all of you to come out in large numbers and exercise your right to vote by electing the right candidate. Let us all vote for the right and competent candidate and not vote based on area, region, religion, caste or any other such narrow considerations. The candidates that we will be electing will be our representatives at the councils and will have to keep the interest of the profession and its members at topmost in mind. They will be our spokespersons and their actions and deeds will reflect on the prestige of our profession. They will also be the spokespersons who will build credibility of the profession amongst the regulators, various government bodies, public and other professional bodies of the world. Electing a correct and capable candidate is our responsibility. So, let us be very diligent and send the most suitable and competent candidate to the councils.
VOTE I MUST
With best regards,
CA. Manish Sampat