Unprecedented student numbers and the
introduction of second-tier accounting qualifications are helping
alleviate a skills shortage in India that is predicted to double
during the next five years.

Industry figures speaking with International Accounting
sister publication The Accountant for the
2008 India survey estimated the nation had a shortage of 500,000

In this year’s survey, Kunal Banerjee, the president of the
Institute of Cost and Works Accountants of India, estimated that
within five years the shortage will reach one million.

Institute of Chartered Accountants of India (ICAI) president Ved
Jain was more optimistic and was backed by student figures.

Jain said the average number of Indian students beginning the
ICAI course each year between 2000 and 2005 was about 25,000. That
jumped to about 99,000 in 2006 and 151,000 in 2007. Indications are
the trend is continuing into 2008.

“I am now confident by the year 2011, because it is a four-year
course, the number of chartered accountants registered with our
institute will be more than double of what we are at present,” Jain
predicted. The institute currently has almost 150,000 members.

The Indian accounting profession’s skills shortage is also being
tackled by the creation of second-tier accounting qualifications.
The ICWAI is launching an accounting technicians qualification next
month and the ICAI is hoping to start its own by December.

In both cases, after completing the technicians course, students
will have the choice of continuing on to complete the full
professional qualification. Likewise, if a student studying for the
full qualification cannot continue, they can still obtain the
technicians title.