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Institute of Chartered Accountants of India (ICAI) against exempting small firms from mandatory statutory audit

The Institute of Chartered Accountants of India (ICAI) has defended its stance, saying it is not for exempting micro, small, as well as medium firms from the mandatory statutory audit and that the National Fin­an­cial Regulatory Authority has no jurisdiction over MSMEs.

ICAI also said that the audit is a preventive check on companies, whether small or big, which enjoy limited liability of their shareholders.

“It is not within its purview to propose whether an audit of a particular class of companies is required or not. However, we may look at merits in having audits of these companies,” Nihar N Jambusaria, president, ICAI, in response to email queries. NFRA, on its part, felt that the audit standards should be aligned to the nature, size, and complexity of these companies and their commercial needs, business size, capacity to comply with the prescribed standards, and relevance to their primary users. Asking ICAI to revisit the requirement of compulsory statutory audit for all companies irrespective of their size, NFRA said: “...it is essential that the regulatory environment is conducive to support, and not burden, the growth in business and economic activities of these entities.”

It also said major economies of the world require statutory audits for small companies only in case some minimum criteria of public interest are satisfied. This is not the first time that the two audit regulators have been at loggerheads. ICAI has felt that NFRA’s disciplinary powers breach its area.

Recently, ICAI had also rejected the consultation paper of NFRA on “Enhancing engagement with stakeholders.” Jambusariya said the paper made fallacious circular argument analogies and was far from ground realities.

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