ICWAI Professional Body & Professionalism - 5

April 1st, 2009

This is part 5 of the topic Professional Body and Professionalism by CMA B V Prabhakar. He discusses on how accounting bodies IMA-USA, ICWAI-INDIA & ICSI-INDIA apply the above principles.

View CMA B V Prabhakar's LinkedIn profileView CMA B V Prabhakar’s profile

STATEMENTS ON STANDARD AUDITING PRACTICES

The Cost Accounting Standards, Statements on Standard Auditing Practices and Guidance Notes establish standards which have to be complied with to ensure that costing statements are prepared in accordance with generally accepted Cost accounting standards and that auditors carry out their audits in accordance with the generally accepted auditing practices.

They become mandatory on the dates specified in the respective document or notified by the Council.

Cost Accounting Standards (CAS)

Cost Accounting Standards are formulated by the Cost Accounting Standards Board and issued by the Council of the Institute.

The Cost Accounting Standards are issued for use in the presentation of Cost statements. They become mandatory on the dates specified in the respective Accounting Standards or notified by the Council in this behalf.

Every Cost Statement shall comply with the cost accounting standards.
Where the Cost Statements of the company do not comply with the Cost Accounting standards, such companies shall disclose the deviation from the standards, the reasons for such deviation; and the effect, if any, arising due to such deviation.

ICWAI issued the following CAS so far:

CAS 1 : “CLASSIFICATION OF COST”
CAS 2 : “CAPACITY DETERMINATION”
CAS 3 : “OVERHEADS”
CAS 4 : “COST OF PRODUCTION FOR CAPTIVE CONSUMPTION”
CAS 5 : “COST OF TRANSPORTATION”
CAS 6: “ DETERMINATION OF ARM’S LENGTH PRICE
CAS 7 : “MATERIAL COST”

GUIDANCE NOTES

‘Guidance Notes’ are primarily designed to provide guidance to members on matters which may arise in the course of their professional work and on which they may desire assistance in resolving issues which may pose difficulty.

Guidance Notes are recommendatory in nature. A member should ordinarily follow recommendations in a guidance note .

“If the same have not been followed, the member should consider whether keeping in view the circumstances of the case, a disclosure in his report is necessary”

ICWAI has recently issued two guidance notes:

GUIDANCE NOTE ON INTERNAL AUDIT

The Guidance Note on Internal Audit describes it as an independent and objective oriented assurance and consulting activity designed to add value and improve an organisation’s operations. It helps an organisation accomplish its objectives by bringing in the systematic and disciplined approach to evaluate and improve the effectiveness of the operations of an organisation in totality.”

GUIDANCE NOTE ON COST OF PRODUCTION FOR CAPTIVE CONSUMPTION

The Guidance Note on Cost of Production for Captive Consumption addresses the need of the Cost Practitioners in the field to have an authoritative guidance on various aspects involved in the valuation process and takes into consideration the methodology prescribed by the Cost Accounting Standard-4 issued by the Institute earlier.

Self regulation guidelines

Self Regulation Guidelines/directions are given in the context of use of designation etc. and manner of printing letter-heads and visiting cards, of the President, Vice-President of the Institute, Members of the Council, Chairmen of various Non-­Standing Committees of the Institute; Chairmen, other office ­bearers and Members of the Regional Councils; Chairmen, other office bearers and Members of the Managing Committees of Chapters

A.QUALITY REVIEW BOARD

CWA Act provides for establishment of Quality Review Board to perform the following functions:

a) to make recommendations to the Council with regard to the quality of services provided by the members of the Institute
b) to review the quality of services provided by the members of the Institute including cost audit services; and
c) to guide the members of the Institute to improve the quality of services and adherence to the various statutory and other regulatory requirements

B.CONTINUOUS EDUCATION REQUIREMENT

To meet the requirement of professional skills in the current changing dynamic economic scenario, Cost Accountants in practice and service (members of our Institute) should equip themselves with the new skills and concepts to meet the challenges and render yeomen’s services to trade, commerce and industry. Therefore, ICWAI prescribes mandatory training to the members in practice and service under Continuing Education Programme as under:

For Members in Practice

(i) The member should undergo minimum mandatory training for 20 hrs. in a period of 3 years.
(ii) The minimum hours of training in a year is 6 hrs.
(iii) The certificate of attendance for training have to be enclosed with the application for renewal of Certificate of Practice.

For Members in Service

(i) The member should undergo minimum mandatory training for 12 hrs. in a period of 3 years.
(ii) The minimum hours of training in a year is 4 hrs.
(iii) The certificate of attendance for training have to be enclosed with the application for renewal of membership.

The attendance of members in National Cost Convention, Regional Cost Convention, Seminars/Workshops conducted by the Institute/Regional Councils/Chapters (both paid/unpaid programme) will be reckoned against the requirement of mandatory training period under this scheme.

The requirement specified above will not apply to a member who has attained the age of 65 years.

SEMINARS, MANAGEMENT DEVELOPMENT PROGRAMS, PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMENT PROGRAMS, REGIONAL & NATIONAL CONVENTIONS

ICWAI regularly conducts seminars, MDP, PDP, Regional & National conventions to enable Members participate in the same and update their knowledge in the areas of Cost Management, Performance Management, Management Accounting concepts like Lean, ABC, JIT etc., Direct & Indirect Taxation, Accounting Standards, Management Audit and Financial Management.

A.PUBLICATIONS

The Management Accountant Journal

The Management Accountant is one of the most valued professional journals in India on Cost and Management Accounting, Cost management, Economics, Finance, Management, Corporate Laws and other relevant subjects. It is the official organ of ICWAI.

The Journal has an active circulation of around 25,000 copies per month circulating among the students and members of the Institute - most of them holding key positions in corporate and government sectors, education, consultancy, trade and services etc. Besides, it circulates among various other subscribers in India and abroad – most of them are institutional subscribers consisting of leading corporate houses, Universities and Institutes, professional and regulatory bodies in India and abroad.

The journal has been acclaimed widely not only in India but abroad also and many of its articles, features and editorials are extensively quoted in the national and international media. Two articles published in 1996-97 have also ranked among the best 10 articles on Management Accounting published in the world by International Federation Of Accountants.
Industry-Wise Publications

ICWAI has published Cost Accounting Record Rules And Cost Audit (Report) Rules for more than 30 industries – such as – Cycle, Cement, Automobile Battery, Tyre & Tube, Tractor, Aluminium, Vanaspati, Sugar, Paper, Fertilizer, Milk Food, etc.

B.RESEARCH PUBLICATIONS

ICWAI has brought out the following Research publications:

- Financing Asset Replacement
- Inflation Accounting As A Tool to Fight Inflation
- Management Accounting Problems in Small Scale Industries
- Inflation Accounting Tools and Techniques
- Glossary Of Management Accounting Terms
- Corporate Capital Structure and Cost Of Capital
- Cost and Quality Control
- Management Information Reports for Operating Managers
- Cost Accounting in Commercial Banking Industry
- Farm Management Accounting And control
- Management Accountant and The Computer
- An Introduction to Cost Accounting in Commercial Banking Industry
- Management And Accounting for Research and Development - The Indian Praxis
- Research Bulletin ( Biannual each issue )
- Guidelines On Management Accounting: Capacity Determination
- Profit Planning
- Mutual Funds In India
- Human Resources Accounting

C. MANAGEMENT ACCOUNTING GUIDELINES

ICWAI has so far brought out four Management Accounting Guidelines to provide guidance to its Members, Industries and Regulatory bodies in the area of Management Accounting.

MAG-I
IMPLEMENTING BENCHMARKING

MAG - II
VALUATIONS MANAGEMENT – A TOOL OF MANAGEMENT ACCOUNTANT

MAG – III
IMPLEMENTING CORPORATE ENVIRONMENTAL STRATEGIES

MAG-IV
TOOLS AND TECHNIQUES FOR ENVIRONMENTAL ACCOUNTING FOR BUSINESS

D.RESEARCH CENTRES

ICWAI has taken initiative to set up Research & Training Centres by laying the foundation stone for the Hyderabad Centre of Excellence, which will be the first in a series of such centres to be set up by ICWAI for research and training in the country.

It will be the state-of-the-art facility spread across 2,000 square metres with five floors which would primarily focus on research activities in services sector.

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ICWAI Professional Body & Professionalism - 4

March 22nd, 2009
This is part 4 of the topic Professional Body and Professionalism by CMA B V Prabhakar. He discusses on how accounting bodies IMA-USA, ICWAI-INDIA & ICSI-INDIA apply the above principles.

View CMA B V Prabhakar's LinkedIn profileView CMA B V Prabhakar’s profile

II. INSTITUTE OF COST & WORKS ACCOUNTANTS OF INDIA (ICWAI)

(www.icwai.org)

ICWAI is a premier statutory accounting body established by an Act of Indian Parliament, namely, Cost & Works Accountants Act, 1959 (CWA Act) to impart and develop cost & management accountancy profession in India. It operates under jurisdiction of Ministry of Corporate Affairs of Central (Federal) Government of India. It has chapters all over India and also in Middle East.

Vision Statement

“ICWAI would be the preferred source of resources and professionals for the financial leadership of enterprises globally “

Mission Statement

“ICWAI professionals would ethically drive enterprises globally by creating value to stakeholders in the socio-economic context through competencies drawn from the integration of strategy, management and accounting.”

COST ACCOUNTING RULES & STATUTORY COST AUDIT

One of the salient features of the Indian Companies Act is the provision for mandatory requirement of maintenance of Cost accounting records for certain industries and ordering of cost audit by Central Government for certain companies covered by such provision.

Section 209(1) (d) of the Companies Act, 1956 prescribes mandatory maintenance of cost accounting records for certain class of manufacturing industries .

Section 233B of the Act empowers Central Government to order Cost Audit for the Companies required to maintain cost accounting records by a notification. Such audits are conducted by Members of ICWAI in practice.

A. ETHICS & PROFESSIONAL CONDUCT:

According to ICWAI Guidelines, as professionals in the field of Cost and Management Accounting, the members of the Institute are bound by a code of professional ethics. This code stipulates and binds them to the highest level of care, duty and responsibility to their employers and clients, the public and their fellow professionals.

Cost accountants have to observe fundamental principles, which are:

(a) Integrity

A cost accountant should be straightforward and honest in performing his services.

(b) Objectivity

A cost accountant should be fair and should not allow prejudice or bias or the influence of others to override objectivity.

(c) Competence

A cost accountant must refrain from performing any service which he is not competent to carry out unless proper advice and assistance is obtained to ensure that the service is performed to the satisfaction.

(d) Confidentiality

A cost accountant must not disclose information acquired during the course of his engagement and should not use or disclose any such information without proper and specific authority or unless there is a legal or professional right or duty to disclose.

(e) Professional Behaviour

A cost accountant should act in a manner consistent with the good reputation of the profession.

THE CWA ACT, 1959

ICWAI, being a statutory body is regulated by the CWA Act and for the management of the affairs and for discharging the functions assigned to it by the Cost and Works Accountants Act, there is a Council of the Institute.

Every member of the Institute is entitled to designate himself as a Cost Accountant.

There are two classes of members,

a)those who are in practice and
b)those who are otherwise occupied.

The practising members conduct statutory cost audits, excise audits and certifications. Conducting of such statutory audits and certifications require high degree of competence and proper professional conduct.

The Council has been empowered to institute any enquiry into cases where it is prima facie of the opinion that a member is guilty of professional or other misconduct.

Professional misconduct defined

Section 22 of the Act read with the Schedules to the Act , contains an illustrative, though not exhaustive definition of “Professional misconduct”. These constitute the Code of professional conduct applicable to Cost Accountants.

Professional Misconduct falls under the following categories:

FIRST SCHEDULE:

Part I : Professional misconduct in relation to Cost Accountants in Practice
Part II : Professional misconduct in relation to Members of the Institute in service
Part III: Professional misconduct in relation to Members of the Institute in generally
Part IV: Other misconduct in relation to Members of the Institute generally

SECOND SCHEDULE:

Part I : Professional misconduct in relation to Cost Accountants in Practice
Part II : Professional misconduct in relation to Members of the Institute in service
Part III: Other misconduct in relation to Members of the Institute generally

“Other Misconduct”

A member is liable to disciplinary action under the CWA Act, if he is found guilty of any professional or “other misconduct”.

“Other misconduct” as listed in Part III to the Second Schedule has not been defined in the Act but this provision empowers the Council to enquire into any misconduct of a member even if it does not arise out of its professional work. This is considered necessary because a Cost Accountant is expected to maintain the highest standards of integrity even in his personal affairs and any deviation from these standards, even in his non-professional work, would expose him to disciplinary action.

For example, a member who is found to have forged the will of a relative, would be liable to disciplinary action even though the forgery may not have been done in the course of his professional duty.

“Other misconduct” would also relate to conviction by a competent court for an offence involving moral turpitude punishable with transportation or imprisonment or to an offence not of a technical nature committed by the member in his professional capacity.

DISCIPLINARY ACTION AGAINST PROFESSIONAL MISCONDUCT

ICWAI has a three-tier mechanism to deal with Professional misconduct of its members – Disciplinary Directorate, Board of Discipline & Disciplinary Committee.

Disciplinary Directorate makes investigations in respect of any information or complaint received by it.

1)If the member is guilty of any professional or other misconduct mentioned in the First Schedule, Disciplinary Directorate places the matter before the Board of Discipline.

2)If the members is guilty of any professional or other misconduct mentioned in the Second Schedule or in both the Schedules, Disciplinary Directorate places the matter before the Disciplinary Committee.

The Board of Discipline and Disciplinary Committee on referral by Disciplinary Directorate, after affording the member an opportunity of being heard make an order and take any one or more of the following actions:

a)reprimand the member
b)remove the name of the member from the Register
c)impose fine

For the purpose of an inquiry under the provisions of CWA Act, the Disciplinary Directorate, Board of Discipline & Disciplinary Committee have the same powers as are vested in a civil court.

To be continued….

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Professional Body & Professionalism - 3

March 13th, 2009
This is part 3 of the topic Professional Body and Professionalism by CMA B V Prabhakar. He discusses on how accounting bodies IMA-USA, ICWAI-INDIA & ICSI-INDIA apply the above principles.

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PROFESSIONAL LEARNING CENTER

IMA has an online Professional Learning Center with access to Programs designed for Continuing education courses for Certified Management Accountants (CMAs) and professional development programs designed to help management accountants and finance professionals build their careers.

All IMA professional development programs relate to one or more of the five core competencies of management accounting:

WEBINARS

Webinars are designed to actively engage members in the latest trends and thinking in the profession without having to leave the office or home. IMA conducts webinars session at least a month on latest topics conducted by experts in the field.

CONVENTIONS

IMA regularly conducts seminars, get-togethers, and conventions, with educational sessions, speakers, workshops and valuable networking opportunities to build members skills and capabilities to become a valuable, strategic business partner, and a champion to their company’s bottom line.

C. RESEARCH SUPPORT

i) Foundation for Applied Research

The IMA Foundation for Applied Research, Inc. (FAR) was formed to ensure sufficient resources, both human and financial, to sustain and augment IMA’s role as a valued center of research on the most important practice issues of the day while also identifying financial management trends to meet the challenges of the next millennium.

The Trustees who oversee FAR’s research activities represent management accountants and financial professionals from Corporate America to academe. Collectively, they have established research priorities to address the following questions:

  1. How can management accounting and finance best contribute to improving competitiveness and achieving continuous improvement in the enterprise?
  2. How does management accounting affect management behavior?
  3. What are important emerging cost management and performance measurement techniques and issues?
  4. How is globalization affecting management accounting and finance?
  5. How is emerging technology being used to improve the effectiveness of management accounting?
FAR’s Mission

FAR’s mission is to develop and disseminate timely management accounting and financial management research findings that can be applied to current and emerging business issues.

Research Process

Topics are identified with input from FAR’s constituency base. A call for research is issued to the research community. FAR trustees select the research team and establish a project committee of subject matter experts to work with the researchers in developing FAR’s research. Representatives of FAR maintain relationships with various standard-setting and regulatory bodies as well as other professional accounting organizations to monitor and influence proposals and participate in cooperative studies. Findings are presented at conferences and seminars and are published as monographs or books.

IMA’s Foundation for Applied Research goal is to create discussion papers, Statements on Management Accounting and practitioner-oriented articles based on complete research for publication in Strategic Finance magazine and/or Management Accounting Quarterly.

ii) The IMA Research Center of Excellence

The IMA Research Center of Excellence (COE) is focused on delivering research, best practices, and tools for practitioners in accounting and finance who are involved in decision support, planning, budgeting, forecasting, risk management, and internal control over financial reporting.

In addition to the Foundation for Applied Research (FAR), the CoE is composed of five research practices:

  • Leadership Strategies and Ethics
  • Technology Enablement
  • Strategic Cost Management
  • Business Performance Management
  • Finance Governance, Risk, and Compliance
The COE is dedicated to advancing the management accounting and finance profession and the careers of practitioners, enabling them to build sustainable value within their operations.

iii) Ventana Research Studies

IMA has signed a cross-marketing and research agreement with Ventana Research, a research and advisory services firm focused on performance management and the integration of finance and IT. Under the agreement, IMA members will have access to Ventana Research syndicated research reports, publications and research analysts. IMA members can participate in research studies and receive the results of those studies on topics like performance management and technology.

iv) Research Library

The McLeod information Center covers the fields of Management Accounting and Financial Management.

Custom Bibliographies

If Members need information on a specific topic, a tailor-made reading list can be prepared , based upon key concepts provided by E-mail, Regular mail, or Fax.

Full-text Articles

Copies of articles published in IMA or non-IMA periodicals can be sent to the members by E-mail, Regular mail, or Fax on request.

Internet Research

Should members need research services, the Center can scout Internet databases for journal & news articles, case studies, and other research of the Business and Management resources, producing up-to-date, austive bibliographies, as well as full-text-article sets, to meet the member’s specifications.

D. PUBLICATIONS

i) Strategic Finance is the flagship publication of the Institute of Management Accountants (IMA®). An award-winning monthly magazine, it provides the latest information about practices and trends in finance, accounting, and information management that will impact members (mostly controllers, CFOs, and their staffs) and their jobs. The thought-provoking articles offer advice that will help financial professionals perform their jobs more effectively, advance their careers, grow personally and professionally, and make their organizations more profitable.

ii) Management Accounting Quarterly is a quarterly, refereed online journal that contains in-depth articles by and for academics and practitioners of corporate (management) accounting and financial management.

Some of the subjects covered are cost/management accounting techniques, ABC/ABM, RCA, GPK, statistical process controls, target costing, theory of constraints, methods of calculating stock options, techniques to improve accounting and finance education, new theories in finance and accounting, and much more.

iii) Statements on Management Accounting (SMAs) present the views of IMA regarding management accounting and financial management issues. In their development, the Statements are subjected to a rigorous exposure process.

SMAs are classified based on the following IMA research practice areas:

  • Leadership Strategies and Ethics
  • Technology Enablement
  • Strategic Cost Management
  • Business Performance Management
  • Finance Governance, Risk, and Compliance (FGRC)
  • Practice of Management Accounting
iv) IMA Educational Case Journal (IECJ®),

IMA® launched the IMA Educational Case Journal (IECJ®), a quarterly, on-line journal. The mission of the Journal is to publish teaching cases and research related to case writing or teaching with cases in management accounting and related fields.

The journal accepts cases covering a wide range of topics, reflecting the diverse skill set required of management accountants today. International submissions are welcome and encouraged. The IECJ is listed in the Cabell’s Directory of Publishing Opportunities.

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Professional Body & Professionalism - 2

March 4th, 2009
This is part 2 of the topic Professional Body and Professionalism by CMA B V Prabhakar. He discusses on how accounting bodies IMA-USA, ICWAI-INDIA & ICSI-INDIA apply the above principles.

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Efforts of different professional bodies to promote professionalism.

Let us now see the case of three Professional Bodies, IMA-USA, ICWAI-INDIA & ICSI-INDIA, and compile how these Professional Accounting Bodies ensure, build and promote Professionalism among its members.

I. INSTITUTE OF MANAGEMENT ACCOUNTANTS , USA (www.imanet.org)

The Institute of Management Accountants (IMA®) is the world’s leading organization dedicated to empowering management accounting and finance professionals to drive business performance.

With a network of about 60,000 professionals, IMA provides a dynamic forum for management accounting and financial professionals to develop and advance their careers through its Certified Management Accountant (CMA®) program, cutting-edge professional research and practice development, education, networking, and the advocacy of the highest ethical and professional practices.

Vision Statement

The world’s leading association for management accounting and finance professionals.

Mission Statement

To provide a dynamic forum for management accounting and finance professionals to develop and advance their careers through certification, research and practice development, education, networking, and the advocacy of the highest ethical and professional practices.

A. Statement of Ethical Professional Practice as issued by IMA:

Members of IMA shall behave ethically. A commitment to ethical professional practice includes overarching principles that express our values, and standards that guide our conduct.

PRINCIPLES

IMA’s overarching ethical principles include: Honesty, Fairness, Objectivity, and Responsibility.

Members shall act in accordance with these principles and shall encourage others within their organizations to adhere to them.

STANDARDS

A member’s failure to comply with the following standards may result in disciplinary action.

I. COMPETENCE

Each member has a responsibility to:

  1. Maintain an appropriate level of professional expertise by continually developing knowledge and skills.
  2. Perform professional duties in accordance with relevant laws, regulations, and technical standards.
  3. Provide decision support information and recommendations that are accurate, clear, concise, and timely.
  4. Recognize and communicate professional limitations or other constraints that would preclude responsible judgement or successful performance of an activity.
II. CONFIDENTIALITY

Each member has a responsibility to:

  1. Keep information confidential except when disclosure is authorized or legally required.
  2. Inform all relevant parties regarding appropriate use of confidential information. Monitor subordinates’ activities to ensure compliance.
  3. Refrain from using confidential information for unethical or illegal advantage.
III. INTEGRITY

Each member has a responsibility to:

  1. Mitigate actual conflicts of interest, regularly communicate with business associates to avoid apparent conflicts of interest. Advise all parties of any potential conflicts.
  2. Refrain from engaging in any conduct that would prejudice carrying out duties ethically.
  3. Abstain from engaging in or supporting any activity that might discredit the profession.
IV. CREDIBILITY

Each member has a responsibility to:

  1. Communicate information fairly and objectively.
  2. Disclose all relevant information that could reasonably be expected to influence an intended user’s understanding of the reports, analyses, or recommendations.
  3. Disclose delays or deficiencies in information, timeliness, processing, or internal controls in conformance with organization policy and/or applicable law.
RESOLUTION OF ETHICAL CONFLICT

In applying the Standards of Ethical Professional Practice, members may encounter problems identifying unethical behaviour or resolving an ethical conflict.

When faced with ethical issues, members should follow their organization’s established policies on the resolution of such conflict.

If these policies do not resolve the ethical conflict, then members should consider the following courses of action:

  1. Discuss the issue with the immediate supervisor except when it appears that the supervisor is involved. In that case, present the issue to the next level. If a satisfactory resolution is not achieved, submit the issue to the next management level. If the immediate superior is the chief executive officer or equivalent, the acceptable reviewing authority may be a group such as the audit committee, executive committee, board of directors, board of trustees, or owners. Contact with levels above the immediate superior should be initiated only with the superior’s knowledge, assuming he or she is not involved.
  2. Clarify relevant ethical issues by initiating a confidential discussion with an IMA Ethics Counsellor or other impartial advisor to obtain a better understanding of possible courses of action.
  3. Consult own attorney as to legal obligations and rights concerning the ethical conflict.
Mission of the Ethics Program

Encourage organizations and individuals to adopt, promote and execute business practices consistent with high ethical standards, by providing valuable insight into the complexities that result from social and technological change.

The following definition of ethics is provided as a foundation for IMA members.

“Ethics in its broader sense, deals with human conduct in relation to what is morally good and bad, right and wrong. It is the application of values to decision making. These values include honesty, fairness, responsibility, respect and compassion.” - Rushworth Kidder, President, Institute for Global Ethics

As already explained above, IMA offers an ethics helpline service. Members of IMA as well as other financial professionals may contact this helpline for free, confidential guidance on ethical issues.

The purpose of the helpline is to provide guidance to those in the profession that find themselves in an ethical dilemma.

After a preliminary discussion of the problem to determine the kind of ethics matter being reported, an ethics counsellor will respond to the caller. Confidentiality is maintained at all times. The counsellor will not provide a specific resolution but will explain how the dilemma relates to the provisions of IMA’s Statement of Ethical Professional Practice.

B. CONTINUING EDUCATION REQUIREMENTS

CMAs are required to maintain their proficiency in the fields of management accounting and financial management. This includes knowledge of new concepts and techniques as well as their application in the management accounting and financial management professions. The objective is to maintain the professional competence of the individual and to enhance one’s ability to perform job-related requirements. The continuing education requirement is 30 hours per year.

A broad range of subjects may be included in the programs for which hours of credit will be given

- all aspects of accounting, financial management, business applications of mathematics and statistics, computer science, economics, management, production, marketing, business law, and organizational behaviour.

All CMAs are required to complete a minimum 2 hours of continuing education on the subject of ethics as part of their 30-hour annual CPE requirement.

IMA’s Statement of Ethical Professional Practice as depicted above, is an excellent framework for determining the types of ethical topics that are acceptable. The focus of the ethics education should be principally in the area of management accounting and financial management.

Topics should include ethical considerations in the area of decision support, planning and control for accounting and finance professionals working inside organizations. Members are encouraged to address specific scenarios such as fraud in financial reporting, manipulation of budgets for personal gain, disclosure of confidential financial information and coverage of ethics within general business environment.

To be continued….

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Professional Body & Professionalism - 1

February 26th, 2009
Profession, Professional, Professional Body & Professionalism is a guest post by CMA B V Prabhakar. He will discuss on how accounting bodies IMA-USA, ICWAI-INDIA & ICSI-INDIA apply the above principles.

View CMA B V Prabhakar's LinkedIn profileView CMA B V Prabhakar’s profile

PROFESSION & PROFESSIONAL

Profession has different meanings – employment or trade that everyone has and exercises in public. The professions are occupations that require specialized knowledge, educational training, high-level control over the content of work, organization, self, altruism, the spirit of community service and high ethical standards.

Thus, Profession is a specialized activity of labour in a society, and the person who performs it is called : professional.

The essentials of a Professional are:

  • gains the expertise through training/certification more often through college or graduate degree such as psychology, law, medicine, nursing, architecture, accounting or engineering
  • who provides a service ensuring the result with a specified quality consistently
  • maintains high ethical standards

PROFESSIONALISM & PROFESSIONAL BODY

Professional Body

A professional body is a group of people in a learned occupation who are entrusted with maintaining control or oversight of the legitimate practice of the occupation.

Professional bodies play the following roles:

  1. They impart the necessary training and professional certification to indicate a person possesses qualifications in the subject area and often membership in a professional body is synonymous with certification.
  2. They act as a learned society contributing to continuous professional development so that they update their knowledge with latest techniques to ensure they deliver a service with a specified quality consistently.
  3. They are set up to safeguard the public interest. This is what gives them their legitimacy.
  4. Professional bodies enforce standards of ethics in their profession and have disciplinary mechanism to correct any deviations from the acceptable behaviour or conduct
  5. They act as a professional association (including legitimating restrictive practices) and represent the interest of their members
  6. They provide network opportunities among its members to share their knowledge and experiences for further uplifting of the profession. This could be through conducting regular seminars, professional development programs, and conventions.
  7. They conduct research in the area of their specialisation and help members in conducting the research activities
  8. They make publications in the areas of their specialisation such as Journals, Case studies, and articles.

In other words, Professional body strive to embody and enforce professionalism among its members.

PROFESSIONALISM

Professionalism means just not possessing skills and competence to perform the professional duties but also meticulous adherence to undeviating courtesy, honesty, integrity, objectivity and responsibility in one’s dealings with clients/customers and associates, plus a level of excellence that goes over and above the commercial considerations and legal requirements.

This series will explore how different bodies continue to promote professionalism. Part 2

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Do markets have a DNA

February 13th, 2009

I was reading the news article “Former banking bosses say ’sorry’ ” on the BBC website.

On being pushed by the Treasury committee, Lord Stevenson, former chairman of HBOS, said the mistake the bank made was a failure to predict the credit crunch, which effectively froze access to new funds.

“The fundamental mistake of HBOS was the failure to predict the wholesale collapse of the wholesale markets,” he said.

Till now I have been reading of credit crunch and recession in the economy.

Where’s the money gone ?

I can relate the credit crunch chain of events to the Oyster Card system in London Underground when it fails due to a technical problem. It results in total chaos . There is no ticket checks since the system has failed and the gates where the card reader is installed kept open. Then there is no difference between passengers with tickets or without tickets and everyone takes a free ride.

I occasionally watch Jeremy Kylie show or Maury Show. The have gradually moved from lie detector to a DNA test to determine the truth. Today DNA test is a precise way to determine the paternity, solve crime and also trace the roots of the family.

What about the markets ? Is there no way trace the money where it has disappeared !!!

Mr Hornby conceded to the the Treasury Committee that the culture, where bankers can receive many times their salary in cash bonuses, did need to be looked at.

“The bonus system has proved to be wrong. Substantial cash bonuses do not reward the right kind of behaviour,” he said.

What has happened to the Corporate Governance Standard where there the remuneration committee decides on the pay of executive directors ? Who pays the price for the excessive risk that the executives take for the bank ?

The most appalling case is that of Satyam Computers where the Auditors (Big 4 firm) failed to notice the Cash balances on the Balance Sheet of Satyam does not exist in the bank accounts.

In all the cases, these are best of banks or auditors !!!

The questions I would like to ask:

  • Is the current laws and regulators geared to determine the source of the problem ?
  • Do we require techniques and technology for the market as sophisticated as DNA Tests.
Please share your thoughts on the subject and whether you are affected by the credit crunch.

Regards,

Santosh Puthran

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  1. Ethics on ACCA website 11-Feb-2008
  2. Combined of Corporate Governance UK 20-April-08
  3. Strategic Drift
  4. Are you following a tractor
  5. Corporate Governance and Audit in India - BS
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Are you following a tractor

January 31st, 2009
A couple of days ago, when I was at the roundabout, I saw a tractor entering on the right. Since it was on my right, it had the priority on the road. Then I entered the road and was behind it. The road was a A road - single carraige way. The tractor was driving at a speed of 20m per hour and I had no choice but to follow it. My vision was blocked by the tractor, I could not overtake since there was a oncoming traffic on the other road. All the traffic behind was driving at 20 miles per hour and the queue of cars was building up. We had to follow it for another 1 mile till the road become a dual carriage lane.

The question I would ask is, “Are we following trends in real life and accepting them ? ” Or can we change them or look issues in a different perspective.

  1. Accounting Body: Being a member of a particular accounting body, your institute would be advising you on latest happenings through various medium like seminars, internet and journal. As a professional, you should be asking yourself, “Is my accounting body re they doing enough for the membership fees I pay?” If not, start communicating with your accounting body on what you need from your accounting body as tools for your knowledge and how your accounting body should interact with business. A positive public image of the accounting body and “Can do” approach helps the members in the profession. You are not there to drive your career at 20 miles per hour. Do you ?
  2. Business Models: Most of us read a lot of books to understand the business models. And acquire a ready made recipe directly from the brains of management gurus without any effort. Don’t you feel we are restricting ourselves to think. Just find out any business that is different and analyse why it is successful E.g. I pondered when I picked up copy of Friday-Ad for free ads, how does it make money. And one of thing that caught my attention was the 070 telephone number on every ad. This looked to be a premium telephone number. So when the buyer calls the seller, he is being charged at a higher rate and Friday Ad must getting a cut. More the callers, more the revenue. !!! Did you notice on Amazon website, there are sponsored links of their competitors selling the same products amazon is selling ? How does it help Amazon ? … Amazon does follow trend, it creates them.
  3. Corporate Governance: Recently the word “Corporate Governance” have taken a beating. Satyam scam (and banks going bust all over the world.) The company decorated with all the honours for good governance and numerous awards both locally and internationally. Today everyone is questioning, “Is audited financial statements reliable to judge a company ?” Our training in accountancy taught us to look at the financial statements along with non financial indicators like the directors report and then judge how the company is doing. I am wondering, whether Porter Diamond, be a good tool to analyse corporate governance ? E.g. MS Office is a expensive product but it is widely used. In developing countries, where the legal protection is not strong, piracy is a problem. So whether small business can afford it ? If we apply Porter’s diamond, our analysis for corporate governance would be under heading “Social” to arrive at any conclusion. A change in perspective would help to analyse the business. Analyse Satyam Computers using Porter’s Daimond for Corporate Governance for last seven years and see whether you get right answers.
  4. Tail Wagging the Dog: You buy a laptop and then you subscribe for a broadband. The competition is so intense in the market that the broadband companies are offering laptop for free, if you subscribe to their broadband for a 18 months contract. You must have noticed, a song is available £0.99 for download and the ring tone for a whopping £1.50.!!! So people who are selling ancilliary products are making more than money than people who sell the originals. They are ahead of the tractor.
  5. Knowledge from books: We generally tend to believe that all the knowledge is gained from books. It is true to some extent but sharing views in the forum would refine what you gained so far. When my views are challenged with proper arguments, I tend to view them from a different perspective. So participating in forums, social networking, comments on articles / blogs or start your own website are ways to break the trend. As a management accountant you have more to gain by doing new things rather than reading books.

Following a tractors may not be a good idea. Either make the tractor run faster or drive past before it comes.

Please share your views by commenting on this article ? Also let me know whether you are following any tractor ? May be we can discuss how you can drive ahead of it.

Regards,

Santosh Puthran

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  2. Combined of Corporate Governance UK 20-April-08
  3. MOU With CIMA ICWAI a historic agreement 12-Jan-09
  4. Resistance to Change - Kotter and Schleinger
  5. Strategic Drift
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Alternative Office Applications for Small Firms and Cloud

January 25th, 2009
Small accountancy firms and indivdual management accountants may have tight budgets and find it difficult to spend on software applications like Microsoft Office or individual email ids for their employees. However there are good alternatives available in the market which either free or cheap. You must read the End-user license agreements (EULA) before downloading the application to ascertain whether it is available free for individual and commercial purpose.
The top software free applications are
  1. Open Office / Star Office: They are very good alternative to MS Office since they have all the applications similar to Word, Excel and Powerpoint. Star Office has the ability to convert the document into pdf. This is now a industry standard which could be your standard for sending soft copies to your clients. Star Office 8 is available for free with google pack. The latest release is Star Office 9 which is available for $ 34.95 as opposed to MS Office Small Business Edition $ 449.95.
  2. Website / Personal Domain/ Email ids: You have to make yourselves known in the internet world. When someone asks you for your address, 4 line address will not impress them the most but one line www….. Google Apps Standard Edition is an affordable alternative. Google started with unlimited accounts initially and now they have restricted to upto 50 accounts. So you have to watch the space for the change in end user agreements. You should register your own domain, and then use google apps for email ids upto 50 for you and your employees and collaborative features like calendar, sites and chat. You may spend $10 p.a. for domain registeration. You can design your own simple website in few minutes. But if you need professional help, then you should negotiate with the web designers.
  3. Free Antivirus: The most popular free antivirus software is AVG free http://free.avg.com. The free version provides an excellent protection to your PC and it is value for money. Free Norton anti virus is available on google pack. Sometimes you get McAfee free when you buy laptop or PC. My personal experience with McAfee is it slows down your computer and that could affect your work. My suggestion is to use AVG and avoid McAfee.
  4. Internet Browsers: Almost all the browsers available in the market is free and most dominant is Internet Explorer. The question is which browser is open, collaborative. and makes your task easier The answer is Firefox which is a open source application. It has most number of add-ons for a browser.
  5. Email Client: The email clients were primarily designed to download the emails on your computer and read mails offline. Google Apps offers 7 GB space for your emails. So I do not see the need for you to have an email client unless you are paying for your broadband on a hourly rate. Mozilla Thunderbird is a popular choice.
  6. Social Networking: Linkedin and Xanga are free professional networking sites that are very popular which you should extensively. Facebook is for keeping in touch with your friends. Facebook Pages is a useful application to promote. You need to check guidelines from your accounting body for website whether Facebook pages is acceptable for use for your firm.
  7. Accounting Softwares: You need to shop around to find good accounting software. It would be difficult to find any accounting software available free on the internet.

Cloud Computing - A emerging concept

According to Wikipedia,

Cloud computing is Internet (”cloud”) based development and use of computer technology (”computing”). It is a style of computing in which typically real-time scalable resources are provided “as a service” over the Internet to users who need not have knowledge of, expertise in, or control over the technology infrastructure (”in the cloud”) that supports them.

It is a general concept that incorporates software as a service (SaaS), Web 2.0 and other recent, well-known technology trends, in which the common theme is reliance on the Internet for satisfying the computing needs of the users. An often-quoted example is Google Apps, which provides common business applications online that are accessed from a web browser, while the software and data are stored on Google servers.

The cloud is a metaphor for the Internet, based on how it is depicted in computer network diagrams, and is an abstraction for the complex infrastructure it conceals.

A good example would be Google Apps. “Software-as-a-service for business email, information sharing and security”

With the advances in the technology, the relationship with the Service Provider changes. Earlier the business had to manage the procurement of software and its IT department and now it has to manage relationship with its software service providers or BPOs or KPOs. Companies have to get the best services to keep its business running smoothly since the business revolves round use of technology. Services will become expensive and so do Service Level Agreements (SLAs).

The vendors that provides the best and affordable ervices to the companies are the ones who will continue in the long run.

Please share your view by positng comments. Don’t forget to tick “Email Follow on Comments” so that you are always in loop when this article is commented by others.

Regards,

Santosh Puthran

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MOU With CIMA ICWAI a historic agreement

January 17th, 2009
CIMA has signed an “historic” agreement with the Institute of Cost and Works Accountants of India (ICWAI) on 12-Jan-09.

This agreement will serve to both strengthen the professional accounting links between two of the world’s leading economies and provide highly skilled professional accountants for the global labour market enabling both institutes to work together to enhance recognition of the profession and their professional bodies.

Glynn Lowth, President of CIMA, explained that the agreement will strengthen links between the British and Indian economies, as well as creating highly-skilled accountants.

ICWAI members Accelerated Route to CIMA Membership

Members and passed finalists of the Institute of Cost and Works Accountants of India (ICWAI) who have completed the ICWAI Final Examination are eligible for exemptions from all CIMA’s certificate and managerial level exams. There are 11 exemptions in total.

CIMA Professional Gateway Assessment Examination

Candidates must pass the CIMA Professional Gateway Assessment (CPGA) Examination before they are eligible to begin studying for CIMA’s strategic level exams.

The examination is three hours long and consists of :

* three compulsory questions worth 25 marks each
* a series of objective test questions worth a total of 25 marks.

A student must score at least 50 marks to pass the examination.

The first sitting of the CPGA Examination will take place on 20 May 2009 at regular CIMA exam centres in India. More details about enrolling for the examination will be available when CIMA exam entry opens on 2 February 2009. Click here for details.

CIMA members Accelerated Route to ICWAI membership

CIMA passed finalist and members will also have a fast track route to ICWAI membership. Details on ICWAI website.

Two years back both the institutes were in loggerhead about CIMA conducting examinations in India. I had posed a question on the Management Accountant Blog “Does CIMA add value to ICWAI member” ? The opinion poll was majority “Yes” whereas I had a different opinion. My opinion is still remains the same.

Does the MOU benefit ICWAI member to gain membership to CIMA ? The answer is Yes.

  • ICWAI passed finalist and members has now most number of exemptions with CIMA as compared to any other accounting body. This was not the case earlier.
  • They will not be required to pay exemption fees for the eleven exempted papers. The student registration fee and annual subscription fee are the same as for all CIMA students.
  • CIMA membership is widely recognised in the world. So one does have to do any explaining about your qualification.

The passed finalist and graduate of ICWAI will have to apply for membership of ICWAI. Then they will be able to gain membership of CIMA under the MOU. So members of ICWAI is going to increase and the institute has to provide improved services to its members.

Looking at MOU between ICWAI - CIMA, CIMA website does not seem have details on how a CIMA member would become member of ICWAI. Their focus is working with business rather than practise accountancy in India.

The entry requirement will prompt ICWAI members to go for CIMA qualification which in long run would increase membership of CIMA. A growing membership will fund CIMA to promote itself and influence the business in the long run through its members.

On November 20, 2008, ICAI signed a MOU with ICAEW, UK and terms of agreements are more favourable to ICAEW, UK. The entry requirement for ICAI members are more stringent and expensive ( £1,990 to start with). ICAEW, UK member has an easier route to become a member of ICAI and start practice in India.

Recent controversy on Satyam has taken ICAI off guard. The statements in the press by ICAI President is very surprising.

According to Hindu Businessline

The ICAI President, Mr Ved Jain, said, “KPMG cannot be an auditor for Satyam as it is not registered with ICAI. It is not subject to the code of conduct prescribed for CAs. They are also not subject to disciplinary proceedings.”

He said ICAI will take up the issue of KPMG with Satyam and also the Government. On Price Waterhouse, he noted that ICAI could issue a notice in the wake of the Satyam fiasco as it was registered with ICAI, but in the case of KPMG, it could not do anything. A KPMG spokesperson said, “We are working with the board of Satyam. The scope of work and terms of reference are being discussed.”

When contacted by Economic Times, a KPMG spokesperson said: “We are working with the new board of Satyam Computers. The scope of work and terms of reference are being discussed with a view to their finalisation . It is our understanding that the scope of work to be finalised is not reserved for chartered accountants registered with the ICAI.”

President should have gathered facts first before making statements in the press. And in any case, the Companies Act is very specific on who can be appointed as an Auditor of the company. Read the comments of Readers of ET.

So you have to watch the space on MOU of ICAI-ICAEW . Whether ICAEW members will pursue ICAI membership for a slice of share in accountancy practise in India.

Post your comments on the article and always choose the option “Email follow-up comments to”. You will be able to track the discussions.

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New Year Resolution 2009

January 11th, 2009
I was reviewing my New Year resolution for the year 2008 and  taking stock of whether I have achieved of what I thought in 2008. My focus last year was on networking management accountants across the globe and also make them known in the industry.

With help, advise and efforts of active management accountants, we were able to achieve the following:
  1. CMA India Portal: The CMA Portal was given the final shape with the efforts of CMA B V Prabhakar, RV, Ramesh Joshi, Devarajan, Ashutosh and many more. Today the portal has 770 members which includes members from other profession and business. The focus of the portal has been quality discussions and actions, particularly discussing business events in India and globe. The members who are active are likely to be known in the accounting fraternity. Readers will be benefitted from the discussions.
  2. CMA India Portal on Linkedin: This was suggested by CMA Devarajan so that we would be able to connect to other professionals. A profile on linkedin is a passport for networking. and ideal substitute for a website. I would suggest you create your profile on linkedin and join CMA India Portal Linkedin. Today the membership is 29 and will definitely grow. This will ensure that you are always connected with us some way or other.
  3. Management Accountant Blog: The blog moved on to it own domain www.managementaccountant.in and I have a personalised email id associated with the domain name. The alexa ranking today is 678,162. I will strive for ranking around 100,000 which is an indicator of how the blog is ranked in the search engine results. I will look forward to your support to use various social networking tools like digg, stumbleupon or yahoo buzz on the articles posted.

Being a member of ICWAI, I am proud to say ICWAI has achieved a lot in the last year. Some of them are

  1. Number of seminars hosted by ICWAI has increased and this should bring our institute closer with the industry,  members and other stakeholders.
  2. ICWAI website has been improved a lot. Few suggestions I have made are implemented. I would sending them suggestions on a regular basis.
  3. ICWAI signs MOU with CIMA, UK: This is a good indicator of qualification going global. The MOU will definitely help to the members to work globally without being to explain everytime who they are. This agreement will serve to both strengthen the professional accounting links between two of the world’s leading economies and provide highly skilled professional accountants for the global labour market enabling both institutes to work together to enhance recognition of the profession and their professional bodies.

My New Year Resolution 2009

  1. iPhone and look alikes: The reason iPhone/iPod is a marketing success is because it does what you want with the touch on its screen. It is user friendly, innovative and people like it because of positive experience using it. I would be focussing on articles that will bring you more closer to business.
  2. Business and Social Networking: This resolution will continue. My efforts will be to connect all the management accountants with the business. The objective is the management accountants should be the first choice for the business.
  3. New Technologies on the internet: It is said, one who controls the technology ,controls the world. Romans dominated the world because they built roads, British dominated because they built ships and Americans dominate the world as they have advanced technology on weapons. Management Accountant of today has to follow a similar route in  the workplace. This will include in depth knowledge on ERP solution, Business Processes, Office applications and usage of tools on the internet to gain knowledge and provide solutions to the business . E.g. Social networking sites Twitter, Facebook and linkedin were considered to be joke on the internet when they started. They are now  a disruptive technologies which are very popular. Join me on Twitter . Use add-on on your Firefox browser to keep in tune with the latest. I will be focussing on some of the technologies on the internet.

Just as last year, please post your comments and views.

Wish You and Your Family a Very Happy and Prosperous New Year 2009

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