In order to keep up with the changing industry, the institute has proposed a change in syllabus.
The Institute of Chartered Accountants of India (ICAI) 2022 report revealed a 30 percent drop in enrollment from 2013. There has been a fall in demand for Chartered Accountant (CA) courses across India.
The number of total registrations for CA courses has dropped from 311,000 in 2013 to 224,000 in 2022, the report reveals.
In the aftermath of ChatGPT’s sudden boom, ICAI president Aniket Talati has recently announced a change of syllabus in the CA course. In a press conference, he has confirmed the new curriculum will include courses on AI, Data Science (DS), and Blockchain. The syllabus could be implemented from July 2023, subject to approval from the ministry.
Malikarjun, a student of ICAI, the proposal to change the CA curriculum is a sign of changing times. “We have been already learning Machine Learning as part of the previous curriculum, so things like AI and Data Science should be no rocket science. It will help us keep up to date with the industry,” he said.
Divya S, Chairperson of ICAI Bangalore, said, the implementation of the new syllabus, if approved by the ministry, should be smooth but teachers have to be trained first. “The existing teachers will be trained to teach the AI, and DS courses. Only then, they will receive the clearance to teach the students,” she said.
Despite the decline in enrolments, Divya added, “There should be no lack of demands in the CA industry going forward and the institute is not facing any shortage of demands in its enrolments.” The ICAI Bangalore chairperson also said the inclusion of AI and DS will make CAs even more efficient.
Jaydeep Vadher, Audit Executive at M.N Manvar& Co. Ltd, said ChatGPT can indeed be a valuable resource for CAs. “It will help them enhance their skills, improve their services, and stay ahead of the competition in the ever-changing accounting and financial landscape,” he said in a blog post on LinkedIn.
“I always felt that other options were lucrative but I had applied for the CA course because I never had the confidence of doing well in the Common Admission Test (CAT) or get into an Indian Institute of Management (IIM). But it is true that being a CA does not make you as diverse as someone with a management background,” said Shibraj, a student of ICAI.
According to the World Congress of Accountants 2022 report on ICAI, there are around 7.5 lakh students pursuing CA courses and the total membership count of the ICAI is around 3.5 lakhs.
The number of CAs as chief financial officers (CFOs) in the top 100 firms listed on the National Stock Exchange stood at 58 four years ago. However, this number has significantly dropped to 36, with MBA degree holders now breaking the monopoly CAs have enjoyed, reports The Ken.
Haifa, a prospective CA student who was enquiring about the CA course at ICAI Bengaluru, said she always had an interest in finance. Her father, Kareem, said he wanted her daughter to become a chartered accountant. Despite admitting the world of accountancy is changing, particularly with the infusion of AI, Kareem said CA remains a respectable profession.
“Being a chartered accountant demands respect, especially in Indian society. As for the infusion of AI, every field does change from time to time. It is part of life. I am sure the industry itself will change to keep up with the pace,” Kareem said.