India continues to work with a significant understaffing when it comes to chartered accountants. India’s 225,000 chartered accountants (compared to 335,000 CPAs in the United Kingdom – a country 20X smaller than India) is dwarfed by its overall population and is nowhere near the number needed to help India continue to grow into a global economic power.
In December 2013 the Institute of Chartered Accountants of India (ICAI), the world’s second largest accounting body, initiated a variety of measures designed to help attract more of India’s best and brightest to consider a career in accounting. The ICAI kicked off its initiative at a two-day national conference attended by 700 chartered accountants from all over India.
Moving forward India will continue to have to address its accountant shortage if it is to become a global economic power. Part of the challenge will be to educate and recruit accounting professionals willing to start their own practices as 80% of India’s chartered accountants now work for large companies. But whether the demand for accountants comes from public companies or private practices, India will continue to be an attractive market for Indians and expats with strong accounting backgrounds.