India’s Commerce Minister Piyush Goyal launches six new ICAI regions in the US

Ritu Jha-

It was a historic moment for the San Francisco Region of the Institute of Chartered Accountants of India, when Piyush Goyal, India’s Minister of Commerce and Industry launched the Institute of Chartered Accountants of India (ICAI) in six regions in the United States. He inaugurated the regions at the Four Seasons Hotel Silicon Valley at East Palo Alto, California.

With the addition of six new regions Los Angeles, Arizona, Michigan, Austin, North Carolina, Ohio, ICAI now has a presence in 17 states.

The nonprofit ICAI is a statutory body and was established by an Act of Parliament. The first chapter in the US was set up in New York in 2008 and the San Francisco chapter was established in 2017.

“Since 2020, we have expanded our footprint in the US to 17 locations,” Vish Arunachalam, founder chairman, and director of ICAI San Francisco told indica.

Addressing the by-invitation-only chartered accountants over the “Unite in America” luncheon in the heart of Silicon Valley, Goyal, who himself is a qualified chartered accountant, lauded the value that chartered accountants hold when they sign company documents.

“I look forward to the institute growing to 100 international offices soon,” Goyal said. “Being a qualified CA and also the fact that you have chosen to remain connected with the motherland, chosen to be active in the institute and you are involved in the future of India. That gives me a lot of hope and confidence.”

In his speech, Arunachalam urged support from the Indian government to get the American government to consider a reciprocity arrangement with the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA). The Indian CA degree is not recognized in the US.

Goyal said, “We should look for mutual recognition, but doing a CA is far tougher than doing CPA course. I would think twice before starting to negotiate with Katherine Tai [United States Trade Representative], but would be happy to take it forward if it’s the collective decision and wisdom of the Institute.”

Arunachalam told indica that other similar organizations around the world had mutual reciprocity arrangements with ICAI, but not the US. “We would like to have the reciprocity arrangement with the AICPA with the USA and need cooperation and active engagement with the Indian government to negotiate with the US government to make this happen.” Asked whether it varies from state to state, Arunachalam said, “Yes it varies from state to state and our people are ready to work on this and we just need the Indian government to dedicate a team to work with us and reach out to their counterparts in the US government. We have local ICAI facilitators. We need to make it happen and it’s most important. That is what we want from the Indian government.”

When indica spoke to Goyal about the recognition, he said he heard this demand for the first time, so there is no framework yet. Goyal said he is likely to meet with Tai at the Indo-Pacific Economic Framework (Sept 8-9) and cannot further comment on this subject.

Arunachalam shared that over five percent of CA professionals are in the US. He also stated proudly, “Each of our ICAI offices in the USA has women in leadership. At ICAI San Francisco, we’ve had 50 percent women leaders at all times.”

Arunachalam during his speech also acknowledged the ICAI San Francisco chapter’s past chairperson, late Geetha Ramakrishnan said, “I take this opportunity to acknowledge the contributions made by the late past chairperson, dear friend, and colleague CA Geetha Ramakrishnan. She was a leader and she helped us greatly in getting to where we are today.”

Goyal, who landed in California on September 5, lauded Arunachalam’s stand on gender equality and asked ICAI president to do something similar.

During his speech, Goyal said that, for the first time in 118 years, the World Congress of Accountants will be held in Mumbai in November this year.

“We will surely make India one of the top two or three countries in the world, and we all have to play an important role in designing the future of India’s economy, prosperity and wellbeing of 1.3 billion people,” Goyal said.

He said professional CAs are custodians of integrity, and the signature that a CA puts on a document is recognition that the statement is true and fair and speaks the right thing, gives confidence to stakeholders whether its shareholders or owners, the public at large, government creditors and debtors, and international investors.

“With great power comes great responsibility,” Goyal said. During his 30-minute speech, he urged the Indian diaspora to be ambassadors of ‘Brand India’. “Spread the message of One District One Product,” he said, adding, “I appeal to all of you to choose ‘Made in India’ goods for gifting.”

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