CA Firms refusing Legal transfers of its article assistants
Chartered Accountancy from The Institute of Chartered Accountants of India (ICAI) is claimed to be one of the most prestigious professional courses.
It offers a vast knowledge of finance and opens up multiple windows of career opportunities.
However, it is also one of the hardest courses to get through, and we are not just talking about the exams.
I am Ishita Jindal, a CA Student from Delhi who did not have to worry about passing the exams though. Through hard work, I secured (All India Rank) AIR 21 in my CA Foundation examination and cleared my CA Intermediate examination in 2020, with of course good marks.
Now came the next phase, the CA articleship; a mandatory practical training of 3 years at any chartered accountancy firm.
I chose a well-known mid-sized CA Firm in Delhi for my articles, but 10 months later due to unforeseen circumstances, my family and I had to shift to Gurugram.
Since my CA firm is based in Delhi, that meant I had to travel 4 hours on a daily basis to get to my place of articles. You have to understand, that we have to also study for the CA Final exams alongside our articleship.
Well within my rights, I requested the firm to grant me a transfer in February of 2022.
(A transfer is a process where an article assistant can move from one CA firm to another CA.)
The ICAI Guidelines also mention that in terms of Regulation 56(1) of the Chartered Accountants Regulations, 1988 transfer /termination of articles is permitted without any restriction during the first year of articles.
To my dismay, they started delaying the process by making unreasonable excuses. And that was the moment when my CA journey started going downhill.
My principal is telling me that I promised to serve 3 years of articleship with them, then how can they let me go? or things like, “kismat ki baat hai CA banna toh” (In English – Becoming a CA is a matter of fate).
The CEO of the firm even told me to not give my CA Final attempt.
I have been visiting my firm and the ICAI Branch for the past 9 months but to no avail. At last, I asked for help in my LinkedIn post.
CA Firm making her life difficult
Recently the HR of the firm mailed me, asking for proof of my “financial incapability” of traveling 4 hrs daily from Gurgaon to Delhi, for a 9-hour shift in their office.
I was at a loss for words.
Furthermore, if I am not granted the transfer and a NOC (No Objection Certificate) from my principal, I won’t be able to fill out my examination form. This would render me incapable of giving the CA Final exam.
Please note once again, that I am an AIR and first-attempt IPCC student… so this really hurts as I have worked very hard.
It was my father’s dream and mine, to see the title CA in front of my name.
People say that the CA course is difficult but what I found to be even more difficult during my journey, was the lack of support and accountability from my peers and the Institute.
Why is this process of taking a transfer which is legal…turning into harassment?
Taking a transfer from a CA firm, or taking a gap during your articles should be a simple procedure, but they have made us believe that it is taboo and could hamper our career.
ICAI has vested all the power in these firms and members, making life miserable for us CA students.
What are the solutions?
- ICAI needs to ensure that these CA Firms be held more accountable for their actions, and don’t exploit their articles.
- The CA principals and firms need to be more considerate of their articles and not become a hurdle in their CA journey.
- ICAI needs to give a platform to the CA Students and articles and address their concerns more diligently.
Lastly, the question we have to ask ourselves as Chartered Accountants… if ICAI permits transfers, who are CA Firms to deny students? They should be held accountable.
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The article has been edited. The firm’s name has been removed on the grounds of empathy.