Mr. Brijmohan Sharma, President, Institute of Cost and Works Accountants of India (ICWAI) is a well-known practicing cost and management accountant and an esteemed thought leader and the architect of several pioneering research publications. An FICWAI, Fellow member of the Institute of Public Accountants of Australia and Fellow Member of Institute of Certified Management Accountants of Sri Lanka, he has travelled extensively all over India and abroad representing the Institute and India at various summits and forums.
He shares his vision and mission for ICWAI in this exclusive tete-a-tete with Sudhir Raikar.
How do we define the unique value proposition of a cost accountant in today’s world of business, finance, trade and investment?
The Cost Accountancy profession in India has come a long way over the past fifty years - from a body of professionals ascertaining product and service cost for achieving profitability and cost-effectiveness to becoming a critical corporate tool for cost management and control, cost benchmarking, cost-consciousness, and strategic financial planning for achieving global competitiveness - particularly to industries highlighted by growth and competition. Cost accountants today are key decision makers in organizations in charge of critical cost and finance areas.
Which are the achievements in your ongoing tenure that you feel are milestones in the institute’s path towards progress and evolution?
I feel that the last twelve months as President of ICWAI have been truly fulfilling towards making our profession an effective enabler of nation building. Some of the noteworthy initiatives include:
- The Cost and Works Accountants (Amendment) Bill, 2010 enabling provision for LLP and Name Change as Institute of Cost and Management accountants. The Parliamentary Standing Committee has already submitted its report on the bill and we are sure that the Ministry of Corporate Affairs (MCA) shall resolve the issue in our favour. With the notifications issued by MCA during April, May and June, 2011 the profession of practice as Cost Accountants has become a sought after career option.
- The proposed Companies Bill, 2009 promises a much wider and better role for our members in corporate sector as a result of the restructured cost accounting records rules and the revised cost audit report rules structure.
- In the last one year, ICWAI has issued various research-based publications like revised editions of Guidance Notes on CENVAT Audit, Valuation Audit and Value Added Tax besides student work books on various study topics. The institute has launched courses on IFRS in both online and offline formats.
- New Chapter Bye-Laws have been implemented. We have introduced unified financial discipline across regional Councils and Chapters in line with the Head Quarters.
- Thanks to the all-round growth, we have been able to report a surplus of around Rs. 25 crore for this year.
Despite a rich history, the general perception is that ICWAI has failed to gain prominence in the same measure as its more well-known counterparts like the ICAI and ICSI? Do you agree? If yes, what could be the reasons for the same?
This is completely untrue and surely a misconception. Each statutory body has a different functional domain and there is no question of a competitive scenario. We hold utmost respect for ICAI and ICSI and work in close cooperation. All three institutes are governed by respective acts of parliament as well as the Ministry of Corporate Affairs. We collaborate and strive to uphold the dignity of the accounting profession at large. ICWAI has strong representation in corporate sector, both public and private. Most members occupy very high positions in industry, academics and even government bodies. Till date, our members have largely picked up employment opportunities rather than practicing as independent auditors and consultants. But the scenario is fast changing as we see a large number of members showing interest in attaining a certificate of practice from the ICWAI. We have won due recognition from the government, industry and society at large and our role is slated to become even more prominent in the years to come.
Can you throw some light on the institute’s global forays in terms of alliances, network spread and circle of influence?
ICWAI has entered into MoU with Institute of Professional Accountants (IPA), Russia; Institute of Public Accountants (IPA), Australia and ICMASL, Sri Lanka in the year 2010-11. These fresh MoUs as well as the earlier ones with CIMA, UK and IMA-USA have proved highly rewarding.
What are the key institute initiatives- current and planned - to promote its image, esp. among the younger generation, as a premier institute spelling a rewarding career option?
ICWAI has acknowledged the use of technology as a key enabler to meet students’ requirements as also members’ expectations. We plan to bring Head Quarter, Regional Councils and Chapters on a common IT platform to achieve inter connectivity. The link-up is nearing completion and will be put into effect before the end of the tenure of this Council. We have also designed special courses on Valuation and Foreign Exchange Risk Management.
Has the institute taken up any proactive measures to promote an academia-industry interaction aimed at measurable business value?
We have already signed MoUs with premier industry bodies and stock exchanges for launching training and certification programmes. We are an active crusader of Investor awareness programmes in the country and lend active support to the initiatives of Ministry of Corporate Affairs, CII, FICCI, ASSOCHAM and other industry associations. We are a partner at National Foundation for Corporate Governance (NFCG) for creating and disseminating information and research issues on corporate governance. We have conducted several educational and thought leadership programmes for middle and top management cadres of a large number of companies. Member working groups in the corporate sector have further helped us strengthen industry-academia relationship in a big way.
What would be your message to members and students of the institute across the globe?
Join ICWAI for a challenging and rewarding career as a cost and management accountant. Achieve personal and professional fulfillment as a member of one of the most prestigious academic and professional bodies with strong national and international recognition.
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