Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman on Thursday said that financial literacy is the biggest opportunity which chartered accountants (CAs) can derive out of digitisation.
Addressing CAs at the National CA Conference 2023, organised by the Institute of Chartered Accountants of India (ICAI) in Bhubaneshwar, Sitharaman highlighted the increased participation of retail investors in the stock market on account of timely and transparent publishing of financial statements by the listed companies.
The CAs helped the companies to prepare their accounts in time, and an ordinary retail investor had all the information at the tip of his finger to take a call in the stock market, said Sitharaman.
The minister acknowledged the role of CAs and said that it was possible because the guidance given by CAs helped the listed companies to remain transparent, which in turn boosted investor confidence in the equity market.
When all such information is available digitally, the ordinary public builds trust, and when trust gets built about companies, the image of a country which invites investments from abroad strengthens, said Sitharaman.
Flexibility Of NEP
Sitharaman also underscored the massive presence of ICAI in about 17,000 postal codes in the country and said that they are better positioned to utilise digital access to the students of this profession and be readily available for them.
She also lauded the ICAI for undertaking financial and tax literacy campaigns and acknowledged their credibility, as many people still get carried away by misinformation campaigns.
Appreciating ICAI’s ‘Vitiyagyan’ initiative, undertaken in 12 regional languages, the minister highlighted the flexibility the National Education Policy (NEP) offers.
“So however much you want to align yourself with the global accountancy practices and be able to communicate effectively with all your MoU signed countries, it is important for us to have regional languages cultivating so that you recognise and honour the members who belong to different states,” said Sitharaman.
Keeping Abreast With Global Developments
She also lauded the ICAI for its active role in ensuring the smooth implementation of the GST and commended them for their various capacity-building initiatives for SMEs and Startups.
Sitharaman also urged CAs to familiarise themselves with global developments to advise their clients on new greenfield areas better.
“Whether it is carbon accounting, CSR (Corporate Social Responsibility) accounting and auditing or ESG (Environmental, Social, Governance)…. In each of these areas, you must set up best practices and put in the best efforts,” Sitharaman said.
Sitharaman said that startups and new-age industries are driving India’s economy, and they require the accountancy professionals’ handholding and nudging to move towards greater technology.
“All this is going to be possible only if you are on top of technology for your perfection,” she added.