Ethical Standards for Chartered Accountants 2024: Recent Decisions of Ethical Standards Board

The Ethical Standards Board develops and issues ethical standards for Chartered Accountants. Converge with the International best practices on ethics.

Introduction

In order to uphold the integrity and professionalism of the accounting profession, the Ethical Standards Board develops and issues ethical standards for Chartered Accountants. These standards aim to enhance the quality and consistency of services provided by Chartered Accountants and strengthen public confidence in the profession. In this article, we will discuss some recent decisions made by the Ethical Standards Board regarding ethical standards for Chartered Accountants in 2024.

The ethical standards for Chartered Accountants (CAs) are a crucial cornerstone of the profession, upholding trust and integrity in the financial world. Here are some key principles:

Integrity: CAs must prioritize honesty and truthfulness in all their dealings, maintaining objectivity and avoiding conflicts of interest. They should be transparent in their actions and uphold the highest ethical standards even when faced with challenges.

Professional Competence and Due Care: CAs are expected to possess the necessary knowledge, skills, and experience to perform their duties effectively. They must exercise due care in all their engagements, staying updated with professional developments and continuously enhancing their skills.

Confidentiality: CAs have a duty to maintain the confidentiality of client information, unless there are legal or ethical obligations to disclose it. They should be mindful of data privacy regulations and take appropriate measures to protect sensitive information.

Independence: CAs must be independent in their judgment and avoid any compromising relationships or situations that could influence their objectivity. They should be able to provide impartial advice and act in the best interests of their clients and the public.

Public Interest: CAs have a responsibility to serve the public interest by upholding the integrity of the financial reporting system and promoting trust in the profession. They should contribute to the development of sound accounting practices and standards, and be active in promoting ethical behavior in the business community.

Clarification on the Appointment of an Auditor in Case of Indebtedness

The Ethical Standards Board of the Institute of Chartered Accountants of India (ICAI) has provided clarification on the appointment of an auditor in case of indebtedness. According to the board, the term “auditor” does not include internal auditors, concurrent auditors, or auditors giving reports to the management. This means that the criteria and limits of indebtedness apply only to statutory audits and not to these other categories of auditors.

Fees Charged by CA on Percentage Basis

Members in practice are permitted to charge fees on a percentage basis for certifying the amount spent by an educational institute out of a grant. This practice is permissible and allows Chartered Accountants to align their fees with the utilization amount of the educational institute.

Appointment of Statutory Audit of the Society

Members in practice are not allowed to accept the appointment of statutory audit of a society if their immediate family members, such as their spouse or dependents, hold honorary positions in the managing committee of the institutes governed by the society. This restriction aims to avoid any conflict of interest or bias in the audit process.

Member of Trust as Auditor

There is generally no conflict of interest if a Chartered Accountant, who is a member of a trust, acts as the auditor of that trust. However, there may be exceptions if a particular statute governing the trust prohibits the member from being the auditor or if there is a conflict of interest as per the provisions of the Code of Ethics.

Using Messaging App by CA

Using messaging applications to promote and advertise one’s practice and services as a Chartered Accountant is not permissible. The Ethical Standards Board prohibits the use of messaging apps for solicitation purposes.

‘Board of Management’ in Primary (Urban) Co-operative Banks

A practicing Chartered Accountant holding a Certificate of Practice is allowed to become a member of the ‘Board of Management’ in Primary (Urban) Co-operative Banks. The role and responsibilities attached to this position are similar to that of a director-simplicitor and do not involve day-to-day functioning or signatory authority.

Member in Practice Cannot Act as Trademark or Patent Attorney

While a Chartered Accountant in practice can provide professional advice in relation to Intellectual Property Rights (IPR), they are not permitted to act as a trademark or patent attorney. This restriction ensures that Chartered Accountants focus on their core areas of expertise within the accounting profession.

Prohibition on Internal Auditor Acquiring Shares of the Company

The internal auditor of a company is not prohibited from acquiring or purchasing shares of that company. This allows internal auditors to have a vested interest in the company’s performance and align their goals with those of the organization.

CA Firm Registration on Udyog Aadhar Portal

A CA Firm is permitted to register itself on the Udyog Aadhar web portal of the Ministry of Micro, Small, and Medium Enterprises. This registration enables CA Firms to avail of various benefits and support provided to micro, small, and medium enterprises.

Services Through Kiosk

A Chartered Accountant in practice can provide services through a kiosk, but only if the services rendered are professional activities of a practicing Chartered Accountant permitted under the Chartered Accountants Act. This allows Chartered Accountants to reach a wider audience and provide their expertise through innovative means.

Joint Training Sessions on GST

Two or more Chartered Accountants in practice are allowed to collectively conduct joint training sessions for their clients on Goods and Services Tax (GST). They can also share the fees collected from these clients. This collaboration promotes knowledge-sharing and expertise in the field of taxation.

Non-executive/Independent Director in a Co-operative Bank

A member in practice may hold the position of a non-executive or independent director in a co-operative bank, as long as they are not involved in the day-to-day activities of the bank. Additionally, the member or any of their partners should not have any interest in the bank as an auditor to maintain independence.

Conclusion

The recent decisions made by the Ethical Standards Board for Chartered Accountants in 2024 highlight the importance of upholding ethical standards and maintaining professionalism in the accounting profession. These decisions provide clarity on various aspects, such as the appointment of auditors, fees charged by Chartered Accountants, and their involvement in different roles. By adhering to these ethical standards, Chartered Accountants can build trust and confidence in their clients and the public at large.


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