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Indian industry fights skills shortage

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

kIndustry figures speaking with The Accountant for the 2007 India survey (see: Patners in nation building) estimated the nation had a shortage of 500,000 accountants. Kunal Banerjee, the president of the Institute of Cost and Works Accountants of India, said that within five years the shortage will reach one million.

Institute of Chartered Accountants of India (ICAI) president Ved Jain is more optimistic and is backed by recent 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 99,000 in 2006 and 151,000 in 2007. Indications suggest the trend is continuing.

“I am confident that by the year 2011, because it is a four-year course, the number of CAs registered with our institute will more than double,” Jain predicts. 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.

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