The Institute of Chartered Accountants of India (ICAI) has suggested a New Scheme of Education and Training in June 2023 via a notification to improve the education and training procedures for prospective Chartered Accountants (CAs). The new system has been designed to assist students minimize their workload while also making the course more effective, efficient, and relevant to industry standards, in order to prepare them for a successful career as professionals.
The ICAI has recommended revising the norms and regulations of the training method in the interest of the students as part of the modifications made in the new scheme. The suggested training procedure improvements, as well as their merits and cons, have been reviewed here.
Proposed Changes in CA Training Life Cycle
|Commencement of Articleship||Foundation Route: After passing either or both the groups of Intermediate along with completion of Integrated Course on Information Technology and Soft Skills (ICITSS).
Direct Entry Route: After registration to Intermediate Course and completion of ICITSS.
|Foundation and Direct Entry Route: After passing both the groups of Intermediate and completion of ICITSS.|
|Duration||3 years||2 years|
|Leave||1/7th of the period of Articleship.||12 leaves in a year.|
|Industrial Training||Last 9 to 18 months of Articleship.||Last 9 to 12 months of Articleship.|
|Eligibility to appear for CA Final Exams||After completion of 2.5 years of articleship.||After 6 months from the date of completion of articleship.|
|Training after CA Final Exams||6 months after attempting CA Final Exams if the period of 3 years of articleship is not completed before attempting CA Final Exams.||1 year under a Fellow CA in practice, after passing both groups of CA Final Exams, only if applying for Certificate of Practice.|
Reforms to Practical Training Proposed:
- Pros Examination Free Training: Articleship will begin only after completing both sets of Intermediate, and eligibility to sit in CA Final Exams will be determined after 6 months of articleship. As a result, students will be able to study without having to take exams and will be able to focus solely on practical training.
- Savior from Unnecessary Principal Exploitation: Due to the lengthy duration of three years of articleship, many times the principal merely delegated repetitious administrative labor to the article during his/her early phase of articleship. The shorter training period of two years will allow Articled Assistants to get more learning experience.
- Focused Academic Performance: The restriction on beginning articleship only after passing both groups of Intermediate and the eligibility criteria for appearing in CA Final exams only after completing 6 months of articleship shall enable a student to focus on the academic part without bearing any pressure from the Principal regarding study leaves or distracted attention in balancing the work-study lifestyle at both the Intermediate and Final levels.
- Sufficient Time for Exam Preparation: Because the proposed plan requires students to take the CA Final Exams only after completing a 6-month articleship, the student must have enough time to prepare for the exam. Because of the set study leave of 6 months, the student may effectively arrange his/her study program.
Reforms to Practical Training Proposed: Cons
- Restriction on Leaves: Because there will be no tests throughout the two years of articleship, the amount of leaves a student can take in a year has been limited to 12 days.
- Lack of Exposure Due to Time Constraints: As a career, Chartered Accountancy provides several fields of practice such as direct/indirect tax, audit (statutory/tax/forensic/stock/information systems audit, etc.), project financing, and many more avenues of employment. Articleships provide exposure to such fields, which eventually aids in understanding one’s own area of interest/specialization. Due to time constraints, it may be impossible to gather learning experience in a number of disciplines and choose the one that appears more enticing to follow as a career.
- Delayed Articleship Start: Restricting the start of articleship to only after passing both groups of Intermediate will result in a delay in the start of articleship in the case of repeated attempts at the Intermediate level, extending the time for attempting the CA Final examination and thus delaying overall course completion.
- Reduced Time to Learn Office Ethics: Articleship not only exposes you to different technical fields of work, but it also teaches you how to interact with customers, manage an office atmosphere, operate in a team, and so on. It trains students to tackle problems and seize opportunities in the real world. A shorter period of articleship will restrict one’s exposure to all such practical facets of the workplace.
Thus, the proposed new education and training program has its own set of benefits and downsides, most notably the reduction of the articleship length from three to two years. If the program is adopted, it would provide countless options for potential Chartered Accountants, but there will be a few drawbacks that young aspirants must adjust to in order to have a successful career.