CA Education: With technology influencing every element of education, the Institute of Charted Accountants in India (ICAI) has made it a priority to guarantee that a CA student understands all aspects of technology during the course and is able to apply it during his or her profession. “There has been progress in the adoption of technology as well as changes in business practises. In response to these changes, the ICAI proposes to integrate technology into every core subject at the Final level in its new scheme,” says CA Debashis Mitra, president of the ICAI, adding that even in the existing scheme of education and training, there is a dedicated subject on Enterprise Information Systems at the intermediate level to help students become more tech-savvy.
Learning in the digital age
“Forensic Accounting, Data Analytics, and online filing of income-tax and GST reports, for example, are taught within the syllabi of the second level information technology training (ITT) course,” Mitra notes, citing examples of how tech integration has introduced innovative means of learning. During their practical instruction, students also acquire hands-on experience filing such returns and other documents. Technology-enabled learning via a simulator/sandbox approach with a chatbot is also envisaged in the new concept, according to Mitra.
Creating a connection
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 the BoS Mobile App as part of its recent digital initiatives under the Board of Studies (BoS).
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“Previously, pupils were required to attend physical coaching classes for which they had to pay both time and money. The ICAI is now offering free virtual coaching programmes, in which professionals from various fields are chosen to conduct online lectures to students from all around the country and beyond. Students can watch these lectures from the convenience of their own homes and ask questions in real time via chat boxes, which will be answered. Because these virtual coaching programmes are free, the cost of learning has decreased as well. A student can also use the Mobile App to access all BoS learning materials, virtual coaching classes, and recorded lectures, as well as get their questions answered. “All of these initiatives have aided in bridging the distance learning gap in California education,” says Mitra.
Maintaining the flow
While ICAI has taken useful measures to train students and members with diverse technology, CA Murtuza Onali Kachwala, chairman of the Western India Regional Council (WIRC), emphasises that continual practise is a requirement because tools and technology are rapidly evolving. “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,” he says, referring to tech integration in areas such as audit, taxation, compliance, and even the litigation practise of the CA profession. Because technology is interwoven in practically every aspect of the CA profession, students must be upskilled.”
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 saddled with task-oriented projects, Rather, accounting software is becoming more automated, and the accountant’s position is shifting to that of a business advisor. Given the post-Covid phase’s focus on technology and data, the ICAI’s new draught suggesting curricular revisions will, we believe, give CA education a technological edge.”