The premium institute for chartered accountancy, Institute of Chartered
Accountant of India (ICAI), is adopting latest technologies in order to stay
abreast of international standards and foster development among its members. K
Raghu, newly appointed chairman of the Committee on Information Technology
(CIT), the IT unit of ICAI, has introduced around fourteen programs in a span of
six months to offer services to its team of more than 1.5 lakh members. In an
exclusive interview, he gives a detailed account of this drive. Excerpts:
What are the different initiatives taken recently for your team members?
We have introduced around fourteen initiatives, bringing a bigger role for
ICT in the organization. We have also launched a revamp of e-governance, in
association with Infosys Technologies. Apart from this, we are in the process of
forming an entirely separate body that would regulate all IT related
One of the initiatives is the revamp of our community portal, http://cit.icai.org,
with added feature of RSS feeds to provide regular updates to community members.
It also has an embedded video, special e-learning facility on industry security,
and a job center for the members. The new website is compliant to mobile
platforms and can be accessed over mobile phones as well. Other initiatives
include some international activities like the introduction of eXtensible
Business Reporting Language (XBRL), and international standards with the help of
US committee. But still, the majority of these initiatives are towards providing
training facilities through videos, online books and courses on our website. We
felt a need of improving the skills among members, which was missing either
because of the lack of proper training or facilities for training. We observed
that they were lacking behind in many standards from the global level, which
needed to be addressed.
ICAI already has a Committee of Information Technology. What would be the
role of the new body in IT? This new body will act as a full-fledged body called
IT Directorate. It will bring all IT activities under CIT of ICAI. It is made in
a way to function in a corporate fashion, wherein we would appoint a chief
technology officer (CTO) to roll out a roadmap for technology adoption and a
chief information officer (CIO) to supervise and ensure proper implementation of
the initiatives. This would include information about every individual member.
The IT directorate will facilitate co-ordination and optimum use of IT resources
and will also be responsible for conducting online tests, result, processing,
education, and training.
ICAI has tied up with Infosys Technologies to prepare a charter for your
e-governance program. Could you share more details on that?
We have partnered with Infosys to change the entire process of e-governance
at ICAI. The goal is to create a single integrated IT system for catering to the
entire community of chartered accountants and students, irrespective of their
geographical locations. In other words, it connects the entire network of ICAI,
which includes our five regional offices, 122 branches and more than 1.5 lakh
accountants. This project is named as Project Parivartan, which means change.
The project was flagged off on May 6, 2009. Since then, we have conducted
workshops in many cities like New Delhi, Kolkata, Chennai, Kanpur, Mumbai,
Bengaluru, and Jaipur. As mentioned before Infosys would guide us in this
Can you elaborate more on the steps taken under training and development?
I would start by giving a very simple example. Every year, after the
announcement of the union budget, we organize a special meeting of industry
specialists. This time we carried the webcast of this analyst talk on our
website. More than 2,000 members had accessed that video. Similarly, we uploaded
the videos of our recent events and seminars including the Agra summit. While
the footfall at the event was around 1000, the number of hits at the webcast
were phenomenally higher than that. This new feature will help our members and
students access information from anywhere in the country.
Another significant announcement has been regarding Information Systems Audit
(ISA). ISA is a mandatory practice globally, but is yet to catch up in India.
The Satyam story would not have happened, had there been ISA in the system. We
have asked the government to make it mandatory, so that all the filings are
monitored even if they are filed during midnight.
In India, this course was introduced in year 2004-05, but till date the
required study materials were not easily accessible for members. We have
introduced a post qualification course on ISA in the website for members. Our
mandate also includes organizing ISA meets to create a platform for knowledge
sharing on ISA audit and consultancy, ERP implementation, e-commerce
implementation, and many more.
Service tax course and IFRS have also been introduced on the site. With a
minimal fee of Rs 500, the member can now accrue the certification by filing for
online service tax course.
Members can register online and get access to an e-learning kit consisting of
a book on Service Tax, video presentation by the author and a Redeem Code for
six months. They can even prepare themselves for exams with mock tests provided
on the site.
You also conducted a Finacle program? Could you tell us more about that?
One of the biggest challenges faced by our members, especially in the
industry, is understanding core banking. We tied up with Infosys to educate our
members on Finacle (core banking system) that involved hands-on-training to
auditors on the basics of Finacle. We organized a pilot of this auditors
training program in the companys Bengaluru campus.
One of the initiatives that you mentioned above is promotion of XBRL
language. Could you elaborate on this and how will this benefit the members?
eXtensible Business Reporting Language is not a proprietary software
application; it is royalty-free, open specification for software that benefits
all members of the financial information supply chain.
In the next five years, all worldwide electronic business reporting and
exchange of financial information between machines, applications and people will
be made using XBRL. This language would make it easier to create and document
financial information by reducing manual work. It would help the chartered
accountants integrate disparate systems and apply, monitor, and regulate
Under the ICAI initiative, we would conduct technology events to educate
members about it and also highlight the opportunities open to them. We have set
up a team to develop taxonomy and XBRL tools to make financial statements XBRL
compliant. We are also establishing an Indian Jurisdiction for XBRL