Independence of chartered accountants (CA) is key to the trust and integrity of financial statements, Nirmala Sitharaman, Union Minister for Finance and Corporate Affairs has said. Asking CAs to adhere to fair and transparent practices, the minister said that their responsibility is not limited to shareholders because statutory filings and audit reports are public documents and are relied on by various stakeholders including financial institutions, governments and common retail investors.

Delivering the keynote address at the inaugural function of the 21st World Congress of Accountants (WCOA) in Mumbai on November 18, Sitharaman said that technology can play a big role in bringing transparency and accountability to financial information. “When we look at technology and adaptation of technology, web 3.0 is overtaking our lives and the manner in which financial information is gathered, processed, and reported. "

"Innovations and web 3.0 utilities like blockchain, artificial intelligence (AI), data analytics, and cloud computing are all of this going to give us this advantage. Machine learning is also going to assist us and improvise the process itself. Meaningful generation of information to meaningful decisions is going to be much more machine-driven”, she added.

The minister said that the whole world is going through a complete reset due to newer challenges. “Multinational organisations whether they are United Nations or multinational development banks, all of them are looking to reset themselves for a 21st-century world which is full of challenges. India seems to be an island of stability with policy consistency and a stable government, and also because we seem to be growing at a very fast rate. Trust and ethics, diversity and sustainability and new technologies which are so necessary for a transparent accounting system are the need of the hour”, she explained.

The four-day hybrid World Congress of Accountants hosted by the Institute of Chartered Accountants of India (ICAI) is attended by more than 9000 accountants, economists, global CEOs/CFOs, academicians, industry Leaders etc from over 100 countries.

“We have got a large number of accounting bodies from Africa and Europe in the Congress. More than 60 accounting institutes across the globe including the UK, Australia, and Japan, will be attending this Congress,” MurtuzaKachwala, Chairman, of the Western India Regional Council of Institute of Chartered Accountants of India (WIRC of ICAI) said.

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