Tech-based CA education to ensure equitable spread of knowledge – Times of India

With technology impacting every aspect of education, it has become imperative for the Institute of Charted Accountants in India (ICAI) to ensure that a CA student learns every aspect of technology on the course and is able to implement it during his/her practice. “There has been advancement in the adoption of technology and change in ways of doing business. In line with these changes, ICAI, in its new scheme, proposes to integrate technology with every core subject at the Final level,” says CA Debashis Mitra, president, ICAI, elaborating that even in the existing scheme of education and training, there is a dedicated subject on Enterprise Information Systems at the intermediate level to make students tech-savvy.

New-age learning


Citing cases of how tech integration has introduced newer ways of learning, Mitra explains, “Forensic Accounting, Data Analytics and online filing of income-tax and GST returns, for example, are covered within the syllabi of the second level information technology training (ITT) course. Students also get hands-on experience in filing such returns and other forms in course of their practical training. In the new scheme, technology-enabled learning through simulator /sandbox approach with a chatbot has also been proposed,” Mitra says.


Bridging the gap


As part of its recent digital initiatives under the Board of Studies (BoS), Mitra highlights the use of ICAI’s audio enabled E-books available on the digital learning hub (that acts as a central repository of publications, guidance notes and courses for members and students), and the launch of BoS Mobile App.

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“Earlier, students attended physical coaching classes for which they had to spend time and money. Now, the ICAI is organising free virtual coaching classes, wherein experts in different subjects are selected who deliver online lectures to students both across the country and abroad. The students can view these lectures in the comfort of their homes and raise their queries in real-time through chat boxes and have them resolved. Since these virtual coaching classes are free of cost, their cost of learning has also come down. Also, through the Mobile App, a student can access all learning material of BoS, virtual coaching classes, and recorded lectures and also have their queries resolved. All of these measures have helped bridge the distance learning gap in CA education,” Mitra says.

Keeping pace


CA Murtuza Onali Kachwala, chairman, Western India Regional Council (WIRC) of ICAI, emphasises that while ICAI has taken useful initiatives to train the students and members with various technology, however, continuing practice is a must as the tools and technology are fast changing. Pointing to tech integration in areas such as audit, taxation, compliance and even the litigation practice of the CA profession, he says, “In mid-sized firms and above, the administration activities like sales pipeline, project management, time sheet management, etc are being done using various technological tools. Since almost all the areas of CA profession are embedded with technology, it becomes necessary to upskill the students.”

Attributing the changing paradigm of the accounting profession to partly the productivity optimisation available through newer technologies, CA Kishore Peshori, principal, MMK College, Mumbai, explains, “Today’s accountant is no longer burdened with task-oriented projects. Instead, accounting software programmes are becoming more automated and the role of the accountant is changing to that of a business advisor. Considering the focus on technology and data in the post-Covid phase, ICAI’s recent draft proposing changes in the curriculum will, we hope, empower CA education with a technological edge.”



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