Tuesday, 27 June 2017

Flow with flowers ...

Getting blues?
re-life with roses.

roses only 300x250

Let the fragrance of roses,
replace rows of sorrows!

Monday, 12 June 2017

Malware: What happens after my PC is infected?

The top challenge to web security, according to the cybersecurity firm Cyren, is the use of multiple devices, which create numerous entry points for malware to enter your life. Our desktops, laptops, tablets and smartphones all present added risk in today's gadget universe.

The mobility of these devices, plus the too-often unsecured nature of networks at restaurants, coffee shops and airports provides a perfect storm for cybercrime. And the "market," black as it is, shows it: nearly one million new malware threats are released every day.

Malevolent actors are getting faster and smarter by the second, making it more essential than ever for Windows users to protect their PCs with the best, most up-to-date antivirus software they can find. But what happens when a computer is already infected? To understand how insidiously malware can work, it helps to look at two common types that aren't even technically viruses: trojans and spyware.

Trojans are programs that appear to be useful, but they intentionally run destructive functions. Unlike viruses, trojans are not designed to make copies of themselves and spread to other users, but trojans can carry viruses and other malware within them.

Trojans can come from web downloads or email attachments, and it's all too easy to be tricked into installing one because it looks like it will serve a beneficial purpose. Trojans can even attach themselves to legitimate apps.

The effects of trojans can range from persistently annoying to permanently devastating. Users have reported everything from the constant display of ads, to the theft of their banking information, to the destruction of every file on their computer.

Spyware is tracking software that silently installs itself on your computer, monitors (or even controls) your internet activity, and then sends private information about you back to its creator. Spyware programs are commonly used for annoying, constant targeted advertising but can also be deployed for criminal identity theft. Either way, they compromise privacy and overburden your PC with needlessly running background programs that can grind PC function to a halt.

And consider what can happen beyond performance drain, for example with this new intelligent spyware recently discovered by Cyren, as described in its quarterly threat report:

"JS/IFrame.VJ.gen is a form of spyware launched in August 2015. It is found on compromised WordPress, Drupal, and Joomla pages containing injected JavaScript. The infection starts when a user visits a compromised site. The simplified JavaScript code contains an iframe that redirects to a malicious server location. Additional JavaScript is loaded, which then gathers information such as the operating system, timestamp, timezone, and existence of certain legitimate applications like Adobe Flash Player. The collected information is sent back to the original server and a series of redirects to fake sites follow, that look identical to or closely resemble Flash upgrade sites, Google Chrome plugins, or other fake application sites. Once on these fake sites, the victim is encouraged to download spyware or potentially unwanted applications (PUA) that pretend to be real applications."

Warning signs
A slow and unstable computer is one of the most common signs of a trojan or spyware infection. If your PC suddenly takes a lot more time to open programs or begins to crash frequently, it may be infected. Other signs include:
  • Pop-up windows appearing constantly
  • A change to your Chrome, Edge or Firefox homepage
  • Frequent website redirects after typing your intended destination into the browser
  • New and unwanted toolbars appear in your browser
  • New and unwanted icons appear in your PC system tray
What to do
If you think you may have a virus, spyware, worm, keylogger, trojan or other type of malware, consider calling iolo technologies' Premium Services (iPS) for a consultation with a tech expert. They can personally walk you through effective actions that will diagnose and hopefully remove the threat. This includes even re-installing Windows in the event the worst happens. iPS technicians can:
  • Remove destructive or annoying pop-ups, toolbars and plug-ins
  • Ferret out hidden malware including spyware and "malvertising"
  • Optimize needlessly sluggish internet connections
  • Diagnose software conflicts and errors to speed up your PC
  • Install or re-install Windows security patches and hardware driver updates

Disclaimer: The above article is courtesy iolo

Monday, 5 June 2017

Daughter is ...

To Get Her

Daughter is,
other of mother,
fat of father,

Tuesday, 2 May 2017

The new communitarian movement: What makes it so popular since 1990s

Continuing Erosion-Cum-Disintegration of Moral Order since 1960s

Statistics reveals that proportion of nuclear families in US had decreased from 42 percent in 1960 to 26 percent in 1990; rate of divorce doubled while rates of illegitimacy rose from 21 per 1000 births in 1960 to 42 in 1989. These, according to communitarian leaders, speak amply of gradual erosion-cum-disintegration of moral order in society during the period. Ordinary people find it hard to understand what family stands for; where a child stands in responsibility of parents. This has impacted family, building block of any society, the most. Renewed stress on communitarian movement from the 1990s targets rectifying such crises from families.

US Society during 1950s Marked by High Degree of Moral Suasion

Amitai Etzioni, renowned socialist and influential in making communitarian movement popular, did a study of communitarian trends in US dividing it under distinct time phases. He observes that US society during 1950s was marked by high degree of moral suasion. He recalls a fact that it was compulsory for college students to take a number of prescribed classes, which in his word ‘reflected unabashedly’ dominant set of values. Coercion, according to Etzioni, may be good at times but can be destructive if applied too generously. In Etzioni's view, low autonomy is not always a bad thing.

Emotional Crisis Because of Too Much Freedom and Dwindling Influence of Religion

At a time when most states do not prohibit abortion and are neutral on homosexual behavior, there is an emotional crisis on part of new-age citizens because of too much freedom. In pursuit of being secular, there is little motivation to adhere to strict lifestyle other than legal rulings by state. A vacuum is felt created in personal life because of failure to adhere to any strict norm of living, be it under banner of religion or any other moral philosophy. Amitai Etzioni observes that while the essence of 1950s was deep sense of obligation, 1960s to 1980s saw growing temptation to eschew from social responsibilities. One main reason cited is dwindling influence of religion in personal life.

Rise of Counter-Feminists

When it comes to laying foundation of a good family, women naturally takes center stage. Feminism has been a vocal movement over past decades which liberated women of many restrictions. Despite this, there are issues such as pregnancy that cannot be addressed in terms of equal rights for men and women. Huge success for women-rights activists through legal rulings led to so called counter-feminists such as Phyllis Schlafly fighting for against its excesses. The aim is to instill some form of order in family and justice for children who are victims of neglect due to divorce, indifference etc. This movement by counter feminists is often labeled as communitarian conservatism.

Nation One Large Community on Which Welfare Depends

According to communitarian leaders Maurice Mullard and Paul Spicker, revival of institutions of family, neighborhood, and community would once again lay foundation of a vibrant communal atmosphere. David Miller, another communitarian leader, opines that nation is one large community on which welfare of its people depends. This is in sharp contrast to so-called individualism of America.

Channel to Reform While Remaining Neutral on Religion

Elsewhere and in the western countries, there has also been a rise in religious fundamentalism. As a result, there is compulsion on part of policy makers to be neutral on religion while promoting good ethics. In a secular setup, only way to bring all people together and make them agree to adhere to good moral behavior is through channels that are religiously neutral. Communitarian movement promises one such powerful channel.

Future Possibility of Community-Based Social Work in International Context

After judging communitarian movement today and Labor’s distinct ways to project United Kingdom as welfare state, many predict a future possibility of community-based social work in an international context. Community as a basis for social work has attracted renewed interest with popularization of this movement. Community is seen as a point of care and support as well as conflict and discrimination. If one stretches concept of community, it can be all embracing from welfare of a single family to whole nation. The movement has suggestions on ways to improve family life, tackle feminist issues, protect rights of children, rights of mentally and physically challenged, and so on.

No Thin Line of Difference Between Justified Coercion by Communitarian Leaders and Excessive Coercion

There is, however, no thin line of difference between justified coercion bycommunitarian leaders like Etzioni and excessive coercion. It is feared that if parents and teachers start taking too proactive role in bringing children, the very interest might be counterproductive. It may curtail individual freedom of a child to grow and thrive in realistic ways. Western people are after all known and appreciated for being independent-minded. Experiences of close community in many Asian countries show how rigid their family and society became over time. There was little room for flexibility and society was intolerant to other religion or culture. There were few rights for women, who were exploited in the name of maintaining good family. Children were brainwashed to follow tradition.

Amish Community Model: Against for Diversity?

One concept of community as perceived by ordinary laymen is depicted through Amish community in the movie ‘The Witness,’ directed by Peter Weir, 20th Century Fox. The Amish have their ancestral roots to Switzerland of the 18th century. They live in close group and avoid strangers. Farming is their main source of sustenance. As Christians, they believe they should live as brethren, that their faith is distinct from State, and that they are committed to live peacefully. They live a simple life and wear modest clothes. Sunday evening ‘sing’ is attended by all teenagers. Men do outside work like farming while women do household work. Amish believe that their faith calls for good work. Children receive education in Amish schools. In the movie, they are seen taking care of each other. People in this water-tight community do not like police. They do not follow rules of any other community because they see their own rules well and sufficient. If this is one perception of community, it is only natural to have some form of skepticism while examining if communitarian movement can adequately recognize, support, and promote moral and cultural diversity. After all, it is one thing to recognize, support, and promote moral and cultural values, which, as we could see, is found in plenty in the Amish community model; and other, when question of diversity comes in. The same in Amish community model is found to be against for diversity.

Imposing Strict Guidelines May Backfire

One of the goals of communitarian leaders is to form an ideology where people adopt moral ethics in their day-to-day life without religious discourse. But any guideline which call in adopting good ethics may ultimately take a form of religion; even in a way of extreme religion which does not recognize any religion, as we see in case of socialism and communism in many countries empirically. If communitarian movement gets huge popularity, it is doubtful whether it can resist that trend.

Risk of Dictatorship When Intermixed with Politics and Economics

Giving importance to individual satisfaction and personal autonomy is important; otherwise, there will be tendency on part of communitarian leaders to dictate their own philosophy, which at some point, might restrict society to exercise diversity in thoughts, religion, and everything which such communitarian leaders will not be comfortable with. Empirically, this is found true with erstwhile USSR, which was formed on huge hopes of founding a big community where community goals will take precedence over individual interests. Over time, it ruthlessly sanctioned practice of religion and any philosophy which stood against its perception of ideal community. When intermixed with politics and economics, this has been a problem with traditional communitarian movements. Gradually, focus shifts on dictating ordinary people in community.

Communitarian Movement Overlaps with Other Initiatives in Society

The communitarian movement often overlaps with other initiatives in society such as welfare and applied ethics. Philosophers such as Tony Fitzpatrick have explored how ethical theories can be relevant to social policy in a welfare community. The economic concept of welfare state is not new. The same age-old concept of welfare state is approached by many philosophers in community setup, making a case for good family and increased happiness for all its members. This, however, makes its doctrine rather some form of wishful thinking than few practical things that can be done and delivered. While communitarian leaders address feminist issues keeping it under context of a good family, others like Johanna Brenner argue that they must be set in political and economic context.

Good Community: Gimmick to Woo Voters?

For many political leaders, talking about good community is just a gimmick to win audience and gain votes. We see in United Kingdom that this has become a battleground for political parties. It is important to discern facts from rhetoric without which this term can be open to lose interpretation and not help serve any meaningful community reform. For instance, the following Blair’s speech appears in its tone yet another of likes that he was used to while building a case for going to war in Iraq: At the heart of my beliefs is the idea of community. I don’t just mean the villages, towns and cities in which we live. I mean that our fulfillment as individuals lies in a decent society of others. My argument to you today is that the renewal of community is the answer to the challenges of a changing world.

Independent Standing Contested and Accused of Being Non-Inclusive

Whether communitarian movement has any independent standing or it is just a repeat of basic moral lessons that children have been taught during their primary classes over the years can be open to debate. What we see as examples of good community in Scotland, Wales, and Norway cited by communitarian leaders is perhaps result of refinement on part of citizens through a long history that started with the renaissance. The fact that these countries give asylum to political refugees may also be because of vested interests. If a state gives incentive to so-called ‘good people’ in community, it will obviously indirectly penalize those who do not match its version of definition. It could be predicted to be non-inclusive because anyone who will not be seen ‘good’ in this model will be left out of its benefits. Also, many of the notions put forward by communitarian leaders are fuzzy and cannot be taken without a grain of salt. For instance, intense obsession of Etzioni with US society before 1950s and sarcasm for decades that follow till 1990s appears to be a personal way of viewing things that old days were good days. The fact of the matter is that over the years US society has become more open, more diverse, and more receptive to new culture. If communitarian leaders have objection to that, then this may be because of some form of nostalgia: returning to old days where Church visit was an integral part of living. Communitarian leaders are not comfortable with mainstream economic culture of too much stress on individualism and Spencerism. They usually suggest a middle path. But this is nothing new.

Inspiring for Good Family and Good Community; Citizen Journalism Should Stop the Movement Taking Conservative Route

The new communitarian movement perhaps seeks to moderate aspirations of extreme socialists and prods those who are too individualistic in their personal life to take a family and community approach. By putting stress on moral responsibility of each individual, it appears that goal of current communitarian movement is to address some of excesses of human behavior which has made personal, family, and social life of modern citizens miserable in qualitative terms. There is no doubt that communitarian movement has become popular over the last decade or so. Right now, the movement broadly is not geared on changing any political structure. Repeated association of western philosophers like John Mcmurray and Christian socialism with this movement does, however, raise concern whether it is just that limited in scope or crossing its limit. Will it be another western crusade to revive its past culture which has been threatened by influx of mass arrival of immigrants over the years? This may be an exaggerated fear today. So long as it induces people for good moral behavior, there is little to be intimidated. Right now, it appears that communitarian movement is actually serving to make a case for good family and good community under a secular setup. New-age citizen journalism and disinterested scrutiny should stop the movement taking any conservative route that makes it vulnerable to faults like the one evident in the erstwhile USSR experience.

Thursday, 6 April 2017

Scope of accounting field and career prospects

For an individual or family, it is pertinent to know how much is spent on overheads like food, home rent, and traveling (taught as part of the home science curriculum, popular among girls to-be-future housewives). For a business house, similar overheads can be catering, office rent, and business travel. The big difference between accounting records kept by an individual or family and a business house is that business house and proprietor of the business house are two distinct entities: money invested by the proprietor is kind of a loan received by the business house (termed capital) from proprietor to be returned back. Otherwise, whether it is accounting for a small internet cafe or a large multinational company, the basic concept remains the same, while denomination changes from bookkeeping to accounting.

Basic knowledge of accounting is helpful to all: housewives, teachers, college students, and freelance professionals. For someone in a job, bookkeeping records help to avail tax rebates available for your income slab. For the money spent on overheads like charity, you can get deductions on annual tax payable by backing your claim with documents. Up-to-date maintenance of accounts by meeting your debts timely helps you in terms of higher credit score. For future needs like buying a new home, investing in a new business, such creditworthiness is crucial. You can get loans for your business or personal needs on better terms from banks and other lending institutions.

In case you are operating a business, maintaining income and expenditure account systematically is almost a necessity irrespective of the scale. For a family-owned business or business in partnership, keeping financial records up-to-date dispels doubt and so appreciated even when there is no legal compulsion. This is important in terms of maintaining goodwill and trust.

Each business house needs to have its accounting records kept as they meet obligations of vivid stakeholders including customers, suppliers, partners, and government (submission of direct and indirect taxes).  While most small proprietorship firms accomplish the task themselves, the rest and the larger partnership firms, societies, companies hire trained accountants. The article “Accounting Career Paths” in Monster, a popular job portal, reads, “If money is the language of business, then no one speaks it better than accountants”. According to Lisa Young, a partner at Ernst & Young, "When you come into public accounting, the most exciting thing is what you learn about commerce, the flow of business and understanding business overall.”

One of the most popular technical definitions of accounting is “Accounting is the art of recording, classifying and summarizing in a significant manner and in terms of money, transactions and events, which are, in part at least, of a financial character, and interpreting the result thereof” by The American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA). There are a number of esteemed universities offering Bachelors, Honors, and Masters courses in Commerce that specialize in finance and accounting. The salary depends on the level of responsibility and the qualification of the accountants starting from bookkeeping clerks (who can be trained in-house with zero qualification or commerce undergraduates) to accounts managers, CFOs or Chief Financial Officers (commerce graduates, professional qualification holders including chartered accountants, cost accountants, company secretaries, MBAs in finance).

It makes sense to go for professional qualifications (CA, ICWA, CS) as there are areas where only qualified professionals are allowed to work.  Just like medical profession has bars, so is the case here when it comes to submission of annual reports of listed entities. Unlike other fields like software development where your work speaks, it is not possible to enter into the domain of certain types of auditing related with accounting without a qualification. As per the prevailing law, only CAs are allowed to sign off on the financial statements of companies. Chartered Accountants are finance professionals who have cleared examinations conducted by The Institute of Chartered Accountants of India, Cost Accountants are finance professionals who have cleared exam conducted by The Institute of Cost Accountants of India, Company Secretaries are finance professionals who have cleared the exam conducted by The Institute of Company Secretaries of India.

It is usual and often mandatory for manufacturing industries to hire a qualified cost accountant who takes care of controlling the cost of production. The designation can be cost controller, commercial manager. It is more often a CA who leads the role as finance manager taking care of preparing final accounts for the whole firm. As per Companies Act 2013, it is mandatory for a company to appoint a full-time company secretary in respect of a certain class of companies. A company secretary is responsible for making sure if the company adheres to the legal requirements, improving corporate governance and compliance.

Section 14A and 14AA of the Central Excise Act, 1944, related to special audits leading to detailed investigations on companies, put chartered accountants and cost accountants at par. However, according to an income tax office involved in the preparation of now abandoned draft direct tax code, “Especially in direct tax matters, chartered accountants have always had additional rights.” These CAs have the option to either start their own independent practice usually as auditing firm helping the government meet accounting norms or pursue job. The same goes with the cost accountants and company secretaries whereby cost accountants get involved as independent cost auditor and company secretaries as independent secretarial auditors. Not surprisingly, choosing to start your own auditing firm needs entrepreneurial spirit where failure rate is high.

The recent change in name of ICWAI (The Institute of Cost & Works Accountants of India) to ICAI (The Institute of Cost Accountants of India) in 2011 reflects their desperation to compete with The Institute of Chartered Accountants of India when it comes to lobbying the government for the accounting and auditing jobs. Not far is ICSI which too seeks statutory recognition for undertaking income tax-related work. According to news report dated April 23, 2014, in Business Line, R. Sridharan, President of the Institute of Company Secretaries of India is quoted as saying, “They (ICAI) should not feel we are competition.We should leave it to the market to decide who could do the tax audit work. If we (company secretaries) show competency, then we should also be allowed to doincome tax-related work.”

Also, there are a number of entry-level courses like Certificate in Accounting Technicians (CAT) Course of one year for 12th (10+2) passed and undergraduates by The Institute of Cost Accountants of India. CAT is claimed to be designed “to equip students to become well versed with the maintenance of accounts, preparation of income tax return, service tax return, filling of return under Companies Act, filling of returns under Income Tax, VAT, Service Tax, Central Excise Custom Act, export & import documentation etc .”

Then there is V skills (A Govt. of India & Govt. of NCT Delhi JV Co.initiative) that hosts a number of courses (41 at the time of writing) under Accounting, Banking & Finance including Certified Business Accountant, Certified Financial Management Professional, Certified Financial Services Marketing Professional, Certified Tally ERP 9 Professional, Certified Wealth Manager, Certified Basel III Professional, Certified Corporate Financial Analyst, Certified Cost Accountant, Certified Financial Investment Professional, Certified GAAP (Generally Accepted Accounting Principles), Professional, Certified IFRS (International Financial Reporting Standards) Professional, Certified GST Professional. Here the charges are nominal starting with 4000 Rs.

A research report by PayScale states that the average salary for an accountant in India is Rs.2,33,899 per year. A Cost Accountant earns an average salary of Rs 448,913 per year, Corporate Secretary earns an average salary of Rs 519,620 per year. The average salary of CAs vary from Rs.3,67,035 for an entry-level CA upto Rs. 1,244,983 as Financial Analyst. Experience and SAP skill (enterprise software) increase their pay.

According to CFA Institute, “Our goal is to motivate and empower the world of finance to become an environment where investor interests come first, markets function at their best, and economies grow. Our Future of Finance work focuses on opportunities for change.” This should be true for any finance professional irrespective of his or her qualification. To conclude, as observed in the article “Career in Accounting” on indiaeducation.net, “Accounting deals with analyzing and summarizing financial records along with auditing and strenuous bookkeeping. It’s really the backbone of any organization so that they know where they’re headed in the financial scheme of things,” which is why “career in accounting holds high potential for a profitable future.”

The role of Income Tax Department of India and how effectively it played its role during and after demonetization

Direct taxes are computed directly on the income of a person, rates depending on the level of income. These include income tax, real property tax, personal property tax, taxes on assets. It’s charged to individuals, co-operative societies, firms, companies, Hindu Undivided Families (HUFs), trusts and any artificial judicial person. The Income Tax Department or IT Department is a government body monitoring the income tax collection by the Government of India.

Central Board of Direct Taxes is a judicial body formed under the Central Board of Revenue Act, 1963 dealing with the collection of direct taxes. As an arm of CBDT, Income tax department is responsible for
following direct taxation acts passed by Parliament of India.

The income tax department has the power to inspect books of accounts, carry search operations if it suspects a case of tax avoidance or tax evasion.

In the context of the demonetization of the two high denomination currencies (500 Rs and 1000 Rs) on November 8, 2016, the Income Tax department issued hundreds of notices under section 133 (6) of the Income Tax Act for explaining the source of money deposited from individuals and firms who deposited large amounts of scrapped Rs 500 and Rs 100 currency notes. This was part of the vigil to check instances of tax evasions, money laundering and black money The IT department also carried out operations against real estate players, bullion traders and suspected hawala operatives to stop illegal use of the old currency with raids like the one on a cooperative bank in Mangalore where it was detected that five societies exchanged with a local cooperative bank account in Mangalore currency amounting to Rs eight crore.

The IT department asked NGOs availing tax exemptions about their cash balances as on November 8. These were to check suspected black money in old currency paving to be converted white under the head charitable contributions or donations.

According to a PTI report dated December 22, 2016, the raids carried out by the IT department uncovered Rs 3,185 crore of undisclosed income since demonetization. New notes worth Rs 86 crore (mostly 2000 Rs denomination) were seized by the Income Tax department. The department conducted 677 searches, survey and inquiry operations, issued more than 3,100 notices to various entities on charges of tax evasion and hawala-like dealings, seized cash and jewellery worth over Rs 428 crore, referred over 220 cases to CBI and the Enforcement Directorate (ED) to probe other financial crimes.

According to a research report by Wharton dated January 5, 2017, Wharton Emeritus professor of management Jitendra Singh opined that while it is too early to assess the impact of November 8, 2016, demonetization, the move raised long-term questions. “What will have been gained from this step, and at what cost and mostly borne by whom?” he asked, suggesting rival political parties protesting against demonetization could “broaden their tactical agenda to harm or even derail the GST implementation.”

There were so many senior citizens, housewives, small traders and businessmen finding it difficult exchanging their current 500 Rs/1000 Rs note. It was an attack on their right to lead a peaceful life. In the short run, we have seen liquidity crunch, which was termed by pro-government camp equivalent to labor pain painful in the short term but good for the long term.

As the media reported daily of currency crunch faced by the ordinary citizens throughout the length and breadth of the country with many deaths because of stress standing in the queue, it was appearing that PM Narendra Modi had caught the wrath of masses. What infuriated most was the people with the right connections could access crores of rupees in the new currency. The credibility of the banking industry was at stake with a number of instances of banking personnel from bank managers to security guards involved in hoarding new currency notes. Prof.  Jitendra Singh said in the January 5 report that it remained to be seen how the negative sentiment against demonetization could hurt the BJP and its allies in assembly elections in Uttar Pradesh in February-March.  Now, the news from the election held 11 February to 8 March in 7 phases is that the BJP won the three-quarter majority of 325 seats. In other words, it negated the claim of public unrest against the demonetization and that the demonetization drive went well with the general public despite claims of unrest from the media.

It appears that there is widespread tax evasion and tax avoidance still happening. For  instance, while collection of direct taxes nearly doubled from 3.7 lakh crore rupees in 2009-10 to 7.4 lakh crore rupees in 2015-16, its share as a percentage of total taxes has dropped by 10 percentage points over the same time.  Residents of Gujarat (a highly industrialized state) and Tamil Nadu appear to pay a lot less tax when compared to the economic clout the state enjoys. While the state of Karnataka with a state GDP of 7.02 made contribution of Rs 60,595 crores in direct taxes for the fiscal year 2014-15 and Delhi with GDP of 4.51 made contribution of Rs 91,247 crores, the corresponding figures of Gujarat are GDP 7.66, direct taxes Rs 35,912 and Tamil Nadu 9.76 GDP and direct taxes Rs 44,732. This is not good news for those who volunteer direct taxes as a means to address income inequity.

Initiatives by the Income Tax department to reward loyal income taxpayers with certificates  - "bronze" category, paying income tax in the range of Rs 1 lakh to Rs 10 lakh a year, between Rs 10 lakh to Rs 50 lakh silver category, between Rs 50 lakh to Rs 1 crore, gold category -  is a  step in the due direction. Income tax department plays a role in helping equitable distribution of wealth. As we progress towards a more responsible society, it is expected that more and more people will disclose their true income and wealth thereby building a foundation for a just society.  In order to simplify the tax system, the Direct Taxes Code or DTC was proposed in 2009 to replace the existing Indian Income Tax Act of 1961. However, the present regime has decided to abandon as it feels that the objectives of DTC are well taken care with the present integration.

The demonetization exercise can be hailed for trying to put a check on counterfeit currency given how our neighboring country Pakistan was utilizing the same for funding terrorist groups. Also laudable is an attempt to move towards a cashless society. However, it is foolish to ban a prevailing currency just because of a suspicion that many individuals are holding the same unaccounted. Those guys who are holding now will do the same with the new 500 Rs and 2000 Rs. This step is an acknowledgment by the system of its inefficiency to detect the so-called black money when it is generated in the first place. Also, drive towards a cashless society should be a gradual process with individuals having the right to exercise their choice of transacting in cash or not. As a 75-year-old if I am comfortable with cash, why should the government dictate me to open a new bank account and embrace the cashless way of living?

Skills required/helpful and trending in Accounting

Preparing sales and cash flow reports, payroll reports, balance sheets, administering billings, managing budgets and inventory, forecasting future income are some of the common duties of an accountant while filing taxes for a company. The first skill required for an accountant is that he or she should feel comfortable crunching numbers, irrespective of the tools in possession from a basic calculator to advanced ERP (Enterprise Resource Planning) software.

Presenting financial reports in an easy-to-understand manner while following Generally Accepted Accounting Principles (GAAP) / International Financial Reporting Standards (IFRS) requires training for which candidates enroll for professional courses including CA and CFA. 

An accountant of today should adapt working under relevant accounting software like Intuit (US) or Tally (India). Ability to use Excel worksheets is almost a must. According to payscale.com survey for accountants in India, experience strongly influences pay for this job and the skills that increase pay for this job the most is SAP FICO.

Expertise in data analytics, advanced modeling techniques and SQL are rare to find in accounting professionals. According to a March 2016 joint report Building aTeam to Capitalize on the Promise of Big Data by Robert Half and the Institute of Management Accountants (IMA), among technical skills what is missing the most are identifying key data trends (29 percent), data mining and extraction (28 percent), operational analysis (28 percent), technological acumen (27 percent), statistical modeling and data analysis (27 percent). Those who can integrate these into accounting models can bring a new perspective adding immense value to a business.

The same view is echoed in the article The Top 7 Trends in Management Accounting by Gary Cokins wherein it is mentioned that trend number 2 is about integration. The various components of EPM (Enterprise Project Management) are like gears in a machine – they are interconnected.

The course titled Quantitative Methods for Accounting by RMIT University aims to introduce statistical and quantitative techniques used by business managers to aid in decision-making. According to RMIT, “The focus of this course is the application of statistical and mathematical techniques to problems in accounting and finance.” While making use of Microsoft Excel for the analysis of problems, this course concentrates on the analysis and interpretation of results of statistical testing. It is claimed that this should help accountants use quantitative techniques to help them make better decisions, apply mathematical skills to real life problems, undertake estimation and hypothesis testing using knowledge of probability theory and probability distributions, and analyse and interpret numerical and graphical outputs.

In the article ‘The no. 1 reason small business clients leave’ in AccountingToday,  Sue Bosevich, vice president of support at Padgett Business Services, is quoted as saying that citing increased costs is a commonly stated reason, but usually, when you get down to it, it’s the easiest excuse they can come up with. He observes, “Most often, clients leave because there is little correlation between the fee they're paying and the service offered — they simply don’t understand the value they're receiving. Bottom line: it has to be important to them and it's your responsibility to show them that.”

According to the research report titled “Enterprise Performance Management: Not That Popular But Still Bloody Relevant” dated February 22, 2017, “As new technologies make their way into the enterprise world, a core fact remains: organizations still have basic business problems to solve, including budget and sales planning, and financial consolidation and reporting.”  The author of this report Jorge Garcia points that financial reporting, performance monitoring, and strategy planning are still crucial for any business when it comes to improving its performance and operational efficiency.

Trend no. 1 in opinion of the article Top 7 Trends in Management Accounting by Gary Cokins is management accounting must help the sales and marketing functions. A company needs to know the best types of customers to retain, grow, win back, and acquire – and those who aren’t.

Soft skills while communicating with customers, colleagues, and other stakeholders is important throughout. This is more so for independent accountants and auditors who need to do their own sales and marketing as well. For them, advise by Howard M. Rosen, CPA, in the article The no. 1 reason small business clients leave by Kali Geldis is small business clients are looking for value and the best way to make a client loyal to you is to expand your services beyond just the one thing that client may come in looking for. Rosen believes that the more services you provide the more loyal the client becomes. Once you are providing three or more services it is very difficult for a client to leave. It is advised to do more than just generating tax returns or financial statements, take on a role of business advisor and not just tax professional. In this context, courses such as Certified Financial Planner should help take in-charge of financial planning aspect of your client as well while providing accounting-related services and make a seamless combination.

The same view is resonated by Gerri Detweiler, head of market education for Nav when she observes that demand for more knowledge around how to help clients manage and build their business credit is huge. According to Gerri, understanding business credit and financing is often complicated and time-consuming and accounting professionals are hungry for information on how to make that process easier. In the same article by Geldis, Sue Bosevich is quoted as saying, “There is software that helps to manage client work internally and to ensure that deadlines are not missed.” He stresses on using apps like Skype for face-to-face meeting with clients.

In India, investors trust a company believing that its financial reports are strictly supervised by The Institute of Chartered Accountants of India or in some cases when it comes to cost audit by The Institute of Cost Accountants of India. But despite this, time and again, there are lapses (like PwC auditors failing to prevent the 2009 Satyam scam wherein auditors could not make out that bank statements presented to them by its founder Ramalinga Raju were forged), calling for a more strict vigilance. As part of tax reforms, GST or goods and services tax is set to be soon implemented in India (tentatively by July 2017). The move will change the way how taxes are levied and existing accountants need to brush up their know-how on GST to stay relevant with the changing times.

How to start preparing for making a successful career in accounting and professional courses to look for

A bachelor of commerce degree is the minimum requirement to get your first job as an accountant. A post graduate degree or certificate is helpful for management positions or specialized financial analysis job.

The three most popular professional degrees in India related to accounting, commerce and finance are CA or Chartered Accountancy (by The Institute of Chartered Accountants of India), ICMA or The Cost and Management Accountancy (by The Institute of Cost Accountants of India), and CS or Company Secretaryship (by The Institute of Company Secretaries of India).

As per the prevailing law, only CAs are allowed to sign off on the financial statements of companies. Chartered Accountants are finance professionals who have cleared examinations conducted by the Institute of Chartered Accountants of India, CMAs are finance professionals who have cleared exam conducted by the Institute of Cost Accountants of India, Company Secretaries are finance professionals who have cleared the exam conducted by The Institute of Company Secretaries of India. The CA equivalent is CPA in the US, Cost Accountant equivalent ICMA, CMA granted by IMA (US). For CS there is no US equivalent although UK has ICSA (Institute of Chartered Secretaries and Administrators). There are many memorandum of understandings between these professional institutes in India and global counterparts for reciprocal membership recognition which is in accordance with increased globalization. 

Only a CA can perform statutory auditing of an Indian company under the Companies Act, 2013. The sub-section (3) of section 148 of the Companies Act, 2013 separates cost audits from standards applicable for audit of financial records and stipulates cost audit be complied with the cost auditing standards issued by the Institute of Cost Accountants of India. Section 14A and 14AA of the Central Excise Act, 1944, related to special audits leading to detailed investigations on companies, put chartered accountants and cost accountants at par. However, according to an income tax office involved in the preparation of now abandoned draft direct tax code, “Especially in direct tax matters, chartered accountants have always had additional rights.” As per Companies Act 2013, it is mandatory for a company to appoint a full-time company secretary in respect of a certain class of companies. A company secretary is responsible for making sure the company maintains mandatory corporate records, improving corporate governance and compliance.

The path to CA after higher secondary is Common Proficiency Test. (CPT), Three years Articleship / Training under a Practicing Chartered accountant, CA Final. One can appear Chartered Accountancy Final examination during last six months of articleship and pass CA final exams of both groups. CPT registration fee is Rs.6,000 and exam fee Rs.500. IPCC registration fee Rs.9,000 and exam fee Rs.1,600. Articled training registration fee Rs.2,000. Final course registration fee Rs.10,000, and exam fee Rs.2,250. The fee for 100 hours Information Technology Training (ITT) Rs.4,000 and 35 hours orientation programme Rs. 3,000. GMCS-1 fee Rs.5,500 to be undergone during the 1st year of articled training & GMCS-II fee Rs.5,500 after completion of 18 months of training. So, in total it costs Rs. 49,350 (additional cost of books and private tuition excluded). There are also post qualification certificate courses for members like Certificate Course on Enterprise Risk Management, Certificate Course on Concurrent Audit of Banks.

Interestingly, there is now also Accounting Technician Course by ICAI for which one can enrol after Class X. One still needs to appear and pass CPT after completing senior secondary (10+2) before registering for ATC. Complete 8 months of study course, 35 hours orientation course spanning over one week, 100 hours of Information Technology Training (ITT), pass ATE (Group I of Intermediate Exam), complete one-year work experience under chartered accountant. The Accounting Technician Course is a stand-alone course by itself which can also be used as a gateway to becoming a CA.

All the three above said professional institutes now also offer BCom and commerce-related degrees for the enrolled candidates. As per ICAI –IGNOU memorandum of understanding dated March 15, 2007, “IGNOU shall launch a specialized B.Com Course majoring in Accountancy and Finance for the students of chartered accountancy course by which exemption be granted in certain common subjects such that these students can improve their learning process by acquiring knowledge in new areas rather than concentrating in the same subject, which are covered in the theoretical education scheme of the chartered accountancy.” At present, there is also Bharathiar University –ICAI and ICAI- University of Madras Joint Education Programme. 

For CMA or degree by The Institute of Cost Accountants of India, the cost of prospectus is Rs.250. The fee structure is Rs.4,000 for Foundation, Rs.20,000 for Intermediate, and Rs.17,000 for Final. For Foundation, there are four papers, Intermediate eight papers, and Final eight.  Every student is required to undergo practical training for a period of 3 years on whole time basis to the satisfaction of council.

Just like CA is the flagship course of The Institute of Chartered Accountants of India, but they have standalone program Accounting Technician Course, so is the case with The Institute of Cost Accountants of India whose flagship professional course is CMA but also now have entry-level Certificate in Accounting Technicians (CAT). The students who have passed/appearing 12th (10+2) examination are eligible to take admission in Foundation (Entry Level) Part-I of CAT Course. The course fee is Rs.8,600. There are two groups.: A) Foundation Course (Entry Level) Part-1 with Fundamentals of Financial Accounting, Applied Business and Industrial Laws, Financial Accounting-2, Statutory Compliance; B) Competency Level – Part-II with Fundamentals of Computers, Filling of Statutory Returns, Introduction to Costing Principles and Preparation of Cost Statements, 5-days Orientation Programme. The internship will be for 3 months from organizations prescribed under the scheme. Further, there are one year diploma courses for CMA members like One Year Diploma in Business Valuation and Post Graduate Diploma in Management Accounting.

The student who would like to join the Course after 10+2 pass or equivalent has to undergo three stages to pursue the Company Secretaries Course i.e. Foundation Programme, Executive Programme, Professional Programme. There are 4 papers in CS Foundation Programme, 7 papers divided into 2 modules in CS Executive Programme, and 8 papers divided into 4 modules in CS Professional Programme. Foundation Programme which is of eight months duration can be pursued by 10+2 pass or equivalent students of Arts, Science or Commerce stream (Excluding Fine Arts). Executive Programme can be pursued by a Graduate of all streams except Fine Arts. Fee for enrolment to CS Foundation is Rs.4,500 and examination fee Rs.1,200. For CS Executive Programme, Rs.9,000 for commerce graduates, Rs.12,500 for CPT passed of ICAI /Foundation passed of ICAI-CMA; Rs.10,000 for non commerce graduates, Rs.8,500 for CS Foundation passed students. CS Professional Programme fee is Rs.12,000 and examination fee per module Rs.1,200. Professional Programme can be pursued only after clearing the Executive Programme.

Like The Institute of Chartered Accountants of India, The Institute of Cost Accountants of India and The Institute of Company Secretaries of India have also MOU with IGNOU for students pursuing graduation.

Indian Civil Accounts Service was formed in 1976 as part of reforms in India's public financial management system. The government is in need of trained accountants to look after its departments. For instance, Indian Railway Accounts Service is a Group A central service officers managing the accounts and finance of the Indian Railways. About 10–15 IRAS officers are recruited each year through UPSC Civil Services Examination .

International Financial Reporting Standard (IFRS) is a globally accepted language for presenting accounting reports, making reports comparable globally. The Ministry of Corporate Affairs has committed to converge to IFRS. One can create a niche in IFRS consultancy, personal wealth advisory, planning for college, retirement, estate planning, etc., forensic accounting,, environmental accounting, etc. V skills certificates under Accounting, Banking, and Finance category should be helpful as the idea is to gain exposure and apply in real life setting by demonstrating to your employer or private clients. Prices are low with Rs.4,000 – Rs.4,500 for most of the 42 courses under this category by V skills and admission is open to all. The fee for Certified IFRS Professional certificate course is Rs.6,000.

Knowledge should be open to all. The good news is that there is now an option even for school leavers to excel in the field of accounting and finance pursuing online courses/distance courses like by V skills.  These courses are aimed to improve grasp on the subject and may not be always recognized by universities or governments. Four years of professional work experience is all that is required to register for the CFA course, one of the most respected and recognized investment management designations in the world!

Tuesday, 21 March 2017


C-Shaped Cover,
on Over,
to Discover.

C-Shaped Lock,
over Clock,
to Unlock,
without which,
 a Block.

Uncovering is,
Removing the Disk,
from the Cover,
Ring by Ring,
Layer by Layer.

Monday, 20 March 2017

Visualization tip for improving relationship with your colleagues

Starting with dog in search of God
Start with an assumption that one human being is equal to 10 dogs. Now, whenever in front of your colleagues, visualize 10 dogs for each of your colleague.You obviously will start behaving in a disciplined manner. This is because dogs almost never bite/bark when human beings appear to them in moderated tone. As you are already visualizing 10 dogs for each of your colleague, you will not be taking risk of 10 dogs (for each of your colleague) biting/barking you simultaneously together. In this way, your relationship with your colleagues will start improving over a period of time.

Tuesday, 7 March 2017

Yash Raj Chopra: Reading between lines

Yash  Raj Chopra (September 27, 1932 - October 21, 2012) had of the both worlds, action movies (1975 Deewar) and romantic movies (1976 Kabhi Kabhie), at the same time. Born in Lahore (now in Pakistan), he was a witness to horrors of partition (reflected in 1961 Dharmaputra) and the growth story (albeit chaotic) that India recorded since.

Deewar portrays what it meant growing in a city that was fast getting divided between ultrarich and impoverished.

Kabhi Kabhie released just one year later in 1976 focuses on the lifestyle of a group of educated urban people amid hits and misses in love and relationships. The movie propels audience to get proper education and be liberal. Kabhi Kabhie in that sense appears to be solution of Yashji for agony of masses in a system that was at least democratic despite corruption. The same is somewhat true for 1988 Vijay which salutes entrepreneurship.

While economic environment in India improved somewhat only from the 1990s after adoption of globalization and open economy, it appears at first look that Yashji became somewhat indifferent to day-to-day hardships faced by ordinary Indians in towns and villages ahead of time! Or maybe, that was intentional: one of the purposes of Indian movies during the 1970s and 1980s was to make ordinary people forget their pain by taking them to the world of dream.

Yash Chopra is credited for experimenting with romantic movies, Silsila (1981), Chandni (1989), Dil To Pagal Ha (1997), Veer-Zaara (2004), which indirectly reduced the culture of violence from Bollywood movies. Darr (1993), however, was the brainchild of a creative mind gone fugitive.