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.

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In both cases, after completing the technicians course, students
will have the choice of continuing on to complete the full
professional qualification.