oppn parties Accounting Scandals Keep Tumbling Out

News Snippets

  • T20 WC: USA enter Super Eights as their last match against Ireland gets washed out. They were ahead of Pakistan in the points tally. Pakistan were eliminated
  • T20 WC: USA enter Super Eights as their last match against Ireland gets washed out. They were ahead of Pakistan in the points tally. Pakistan were eliminated
  • BJD leader and former Odisha CM Naveen Patnaik said that the criticism of his aide V K Pandian is "regrettable"
  • As more than 20 BJP ministers lost in the recent elections, the new Union cabinet will have many new faces from the party
  • Congress Working committee asks Rahul Gandhi to take up the position of Leader of Opposition in Lok Sabha. Gandhi says he will consider the request
  • RBI governor Shaktikanta Das said that gold was shifted to India as the quantum of RBI gold abroad had increased due to recent purchases
  • Delhi HC rules that submitting photographic evidence of adultery will not be enough, they will have to be proved as authentic in the age of deepfakes
  • A four-member panel will review NEET-UG results of 1563 candidates to check if they were given extra marks for exam time loss
  • Mamata Banerjee says her party will not join Modi's oath-taking ceremony. Also says INDIA bloc might stake claim to form government later
  • K C Tyagi of the JD(U) dropped a bombshell when he said that Nitish Kumar was offered the post of prime minister for switching sides. Opposition leaders rubbished the claim
  • This May was India's hottest month in 36 years says IMD
  • T20 WC: India take on Pakistan today. Telecast to begin at 8pm IST
  • T20 WC: Afghanistan stun New Zealand and Bangladesh win against Sri Lanka
  • T20 World Cup: Australia beat England by 36 runs. This spoils England's chances of making the playoffs as they have lost both their matches till now
  • Heat wave continues in the country as monsoon moves slow
G7 commits to promote India-Europe corridor
oppn parties
Accounting Scandals Keep Tumbling Out

By Sunil Garodia

About the Author

Sunil Garodia Editor-in-Chief of indiacommentary.com. Current Affairs analyst and political commentator.

The chartered accountancy profession in India is passing through troubled times. With the regulatory body, Institute of Chartered Accountants of India (ICAI), acting like a spineless and mute spectator, the reputation of most accounting firms, including the big four, is taking a severe beating as audit scandals come tumbling out of the cupboard.

PwC had to endure a two-year ban as it 'failed' to detect the fraud in the books of Satyam Computer Services. More recently, Ernst and Young were suspended from bank audits as they 'failed' to detect the Yes Bank fraud. Now, the Enforcement Directorate has summoned executives of Deloitte and BSR & Associates (they work for KPMG in India) for the multiple frauds detected in IL& FS scam.

There is a growing perception in financial circles that these are not 'failures'. Experienced auditors like PwC, Ernst & Young, Deloitte & KPMG can point out cooked-up books in a flash. It is being alleged that auditors are colluding with managements to allow cooking-up of books. Auditors are turning a blind eye to accounting malpractices being indulged into by companies. From allowing concealment of losses and related-party transactions to ignoring fund diversion and even leaking insider information, accounting firms stand accused of unethical behaviour of all kinds.

The big four accounting firms have a firm grip on the profession all over the world. In India, they audit more than 70 percent of the big companies including groups like Tata. Since the government wants foreign investments to flow to India, it needs the backing of these audit firms. Hence, it has till now gone soft on them, despite their involvement in big-ticket scandals abroad and an increasing number of scandals in India. But with more and more scandals emerging, SEBI and the Serious Fraud Investigation Office, along with the ED, are examining the role of these auditors with a fine toothcomb.

The problem is that the profession in India is dominated by small players (audit firms with less than 5 partners) and they do not have the wherewithal to take on these global giants. Most Indian firms are also not interested in joining hands and merging to form a big firm to take on these giants, here and in other countries too. In fact, some of them are more interested to get the work palmed off by these giants in sub-contract. The ICAI is also dominated by these small players and they are more interested in retaining their turf rather than bringing discipline in the profession or ensuring that members perform their duties honestly and ethically. The National Financial Reporting Authority (NFRA), established with much fanfare in the aftermath of the Satyam scandal, remains a moribund body. Since the ICAI is either unwilling or unable to play the desired role in regulating the profession, the government must activate the NFRA, provide it with the required infrastructure and give it powers to ensure that audit firms maintain ethical standards and report all issues, even the smallest ones, with due diligence.

Pic courtesy: big4accountingfirms.com