Government should give sufficient support to ICAB

ICAB – The Institute of Chartered Accountants of Bangladesh, the highest professional institution of accounting in Bangladesh, came into formal existence in 1973 with the mission to provide leadership in the development, enhancement and coordination of the accountancy profession in Bangladesh, keeping in view providing high quality services in the public interest. Importantly, relevant aims and objectives were set and started working to reach the desired goal.

Now, the time has come to appraise the role of ICAB, since in a rapidly changing circumstance of the present-day world, when new challenges in the financial sector are being emerged everyday, and since the ICAB is the only accounting body of the country, it has to play more dynamic role in facing the emerging challenges in the financial sector of Bangladesh. As a result, the role of ICAB as well as of the chartered accountants should be redefined to meet the growing demand of the nation as a whole.

Though the ICAB is making remarkable contribution in guiding the financial sector through holding continuous seminars, symposiums, conferences, imparting training and providing continuous professional education for CA professionals and accounting-related persons across the country, but its success in producing required number of CA for meeting the growing demand of the country is insignificant. At the beginning, the Institute started with 78 members and over 40 years of its successful journey it has now 1416 members, of whom 155 are now working abroad. Present number of CA available in Bangladesh is very less in comparison to present national demand of the country’s financial sector.

The financial sector is not only a large sector but also a very delicate sector. The main problem of the sector is the crisis of trained people with adequate professional knowledge, know-how and expertise to maintain the management of the sector properly as well as to implement the accounting standards rightly.

Whether it is a public or a private organization, or even in an individual case there is no alternative to accounting method to ensure accountability and transparency. Like Chartered Accountancy, the financial sector is a highly technical subject. So, only the CA professionals can maintain the financial sector activities smoothly.

At present in Bangladesh everyday we  read the news of financial corruptions and irregularities of various public as well as of private organizations, including banking institutions. Our public sector corporations are giving loss of a huge amount of money every year and the government is sanctioning a big amount of money as subsidy to them. Most of these corruptions and irregularities are happening in crisis of proper financial management. If proper financial management can be ensured, only then the accountability and transparency can be ensured. For performing this delicate task perfectly, we need to have the required number of CAs and only then we can be able to fill out the vacuum of qualified accounting professionals in the financial sector.

Apart from specialized traditional accounting and auditing services, the CAs now render many  other important services like taxation, management consultancy, business information and advisory services, business process re-engineering, management selection and recruitment, disinvestment of public enterprises, financial policy planning along with their implementation issues in achieving the sustainable development at both private and public levels. Everywhere, from individual to national budget making process, the CAs  have a dominant role. This is why, a CA is called an all-round professional.

So, ICAB is doing a very great job for the development of CA profession and serving the nation as a whole. ICAB is producing high quality accounting professionals who are not simply accountants, rather financial leaders and advisers in financial planning and nation building. ICAB also acts as training provider to government, Bangladesh Bank, NRB, MFIs, NGOs, OCAG and etc. round the year. It provides consultation, volunteer service and works to adopt technical accounting and auditing in the country.

Side by side this, ICAB works as supervisory body to regulate the CA Firms who are involved in conducting audit in the country and also works with the World Bank Project under Public Private Partnership in Bangladesh. Alongside this, ICAB works closely with the government, different other regulatory bodies of the government, accounting bodies, corporate world, commercial  and non-commercial bodies and different other sectors and local or foreign organizations, aiming at ensuring transparency and accountability in every respect of society and the accounting profession.

Today, CA profession emerges as one of the most significant and demanding professions, not only in Bangladesh but also across the world. Despite such an outstanding importance of CA profession, still ICAB suffers the crisis of sufficient facilities for accommodating more students  for CA education in our country. Even, CA students in our country are not getting any sort of support from the government as provided to the students of other professions. If sufficient support is extended from the government to ICAB for development and expansion of its facilities, ICAB must reach its target to produce the required number of CA each year and be able to bring in a new dynamism into the overall activities of the financial sector in Bangladesh.

In this context, it is to mention that the Audit and Accounts Department in our country is also manned by mostly non-professionals of accounting with inadequate training in accountancy, insufficient knowledge and know-how and such a practice also prevails in almost everywhere in the public offices across the country. This has to be discouraged. The government should employ professional accountants at every level of the public offices in the financial sector across the country. Alongside this, step should be taken to frame necessary laws immediately to ensure more support to the CA profession as well as to implement the decisions of the accountancy authorities.

It is a laudable initiative that present president of ICAB, Showkat Hossain FCA, a high profile chartered accountant of international repute, along with  his worthy chartered accountant colleagues of ICAB, is working to build a better Bangladesh towards making a sustainable position of the nation in the world and has called upon the government and other stakeholders to come forward to strengthen and empower ICAB, so that ICAB can be able to attain the goal of better Bangladesh.

We, along with the ICAB authorities, cordially urge the government to look into all the vital issues of the CA profession, especially of ICAB seriously and give sufficient support to ICAB for  development  and expansion of its facilities, so that ICAB can be able to help the government to fulfil the cherished dream of the people of Bangladesh in ensuring accountability and transparency, especially in the financial sector of the country. Let us conclude with the hope that ICAB must usher in a new era in Bangladesh.