oppn parties Accounting Scandals Keep Tumbling Out

News Snippets

  • India's sovereign green bonds were oversubscribed four times as the RBI received 266 bids worth Rs 32892cr agaisnt the target of Rs 8000cr
  • Google tweaks its Android and India app store policy to allow manufacturers and users to choose certain things instead of compulsorily using Google apps after the CCI order and fine for unfairly dominating the market
  • Former US secretary of state calls former Indian external affairs minister Sushma Swaraj a "goofback" and a "hinterland political hack". MEA S Jaishankar slams him
  • Jamia screening of BBC documentary on Gujarat riots cancelled after the university was turned into a fortress and later 13 students were detained by the police
  • Supreme Court grants conditional interim bail for eight weeks to Lakhimpur Kheri accused Ashish Mishra. The bail can be further extended based on his conduct. He was asked to stay outside Delhi-NCR and UP and surrender his passport
  • After the JNU administration tried to thwart the students from screening the BBC documentary on the Gujarat riots and PM Modi, now students of Presidency and Jadavpur universities in Kolkata have decided to screen it 5 times next week
  • While a US research frim Hindenburg says its analysis found the Adani group overleveraged and claimed that its bubble will burst very soon and that sent the price of group companies crashing (Adani companies lost a combined Rs 55000cr), Adani group said the report was 'baseless' and 'malicious'
  • This time Enforcement Directorate arrests TMC spokesperson Saket Gokhale under PMLA for money laundering
  • Padma awards announced on Republic Day: Mulayam Singh Yadav, architect Balkrishna Doshi and ORS pioneer Dilip Mahalanobis get Padma Bibhushan posthumously, Padma Bhushan ius awarded to Kumar Mangalam Birla and 8 others and 91 get Padma Shri
  • Stocks fall big time on Wednesday on F&O expiry, finalncial and banks take big hit: Sensex tumbles 773 points to 60205 and Nifty 226 points to 17892 even as the market volatility meter shoots up by 8.51%
  • World Cup hockey: Germany stun England 4-3 to reach semifinals; Netherlands beat Korea 5-1 to enter last four
  • Australian Open: Sania Mirza and Rohan Bopanna reach the finals
  • Suryakumar Yadav is named ICC Cricketer of the Year 2022 and Renuka Singh gets the ICC Emerging Cricketer of the Year 2022 award
  • BCCI gets a whopping Rs 4670cr in the auctions for the 5 teams in WIPL or as it will be known now, WPL. Adani Sportline gets Ahmedabad for Rs 1289cr while Mumbai Indians get Mumbai for 913cr
  • Calcutta HC overturns the hookah bar ban in Kolkata by saying that it is not an illegal trade
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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