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Guidelines for Posting Particulars on Website by Chartered Accountants and Firms of Chartered Accountants

The Institute of Chartered Accountants of India (ICAI) has issued guidelines for Chartered Accountants (CAs) and Firms of CAs to follow when posting particulars on their websites. These guidelines aim to ensure that CAs and Firms of CAs maintain professional standards and ethics while promoting their services online.

Key Guidelines

  1. Independence: CAs and Firms of CAs are free to create their own websites, but they must ensure that the website is not a “push” model, where information is pushed to users without their request. Instead, the website should be a “pull” model, where users request information.
  2. Information Display: The following information may be displayed on the website:
    • Member/Firm name
    • Year of establishment
    • Member/Firm’s address (including head office and branches)
    • Tel. No(s), Fax No(s), E-mail ID(s)
    • Nature of services rendered (only on specific “pull” request)
    • Partners’ details, including year of qualification, area of experience, and mobile number
    • Details of employees, including professional and other qualifications
    • Job vacancies for articled clerks
    • Number of articled clerks
    • Nature of assignments handled (only on specific “pull” request)
  3. Logo: CAs and Firms of CAs are not permitted to use logos on their websites.
  4. Display of Passport-Size Photograph: Display of passport-size photographs is permitted.
  5. Articles and Professional Information: CAs and Firms of CAs may include articles, professional information, and other matters of professional interest on their websites.
  6. Bulletin Boards and Chat Rooms: CAs and Firms of CAs may provide bulletin boards and chat rooms on their websites, but they must ensure that confidentiality protocols are observed.
  7. Online Advice: CAs and Firms of CAs may provide online advice to clients who specifically request it, whether for free or on payment.
  8. Search Engine Listings: CAs and Firms of CAs may list their websites on suitable search engines, but the field of search should be restricted to the field of “Chartered Accountants” or “CA” or “Indian CA” or any permutation or combination related thereto.
  9. Website Design: The website should be designed to ensure that it does not amount to soliciting clients or professional work.
  10. Secrecy: CAs and Firms of CAs must ensure that the matters of clients handled through their websites are kept secret.
  11. Listing: CAs and Firms of CAs may be listed on other websites or databases, but they must ensure that the listing is accurate and up-to-date.
  12. Website Updates: CAs and Firms of CAs must update their websites regularly to ensure that the information is accurate and current.
  13. Ethical Standards: CAs and Firms of CAs must ensure that their websites comply with the Ethical Standards Board (ESB) of ICAI.
  14. Website Address: The website address should be as near as possible to the individual name/trade name, firm name of the Chartered Accountant in practice or firm of Chartered Accountants in practice. The Institute of Chartered Accountants of India (ICAI) requires members to provide their website address on an annual basis in the annual form required to be filed while paying the fee. The website address will be taken as an entry on record and will be provided to members as part of the membership record.

Websites of Non-Chartered Accountants’ Firms

A number of non-Chartered Accountants’ firms, corporate, including banks, finance companies, and newspapers, have set up their own websites providing advisory services on taxation and other areas where Chartered Accountants are rendering professional services.

Request for Consultation and Advice

Some of these websites may request Chartered Accountants or Chartered Accountants’ firms to provide consultation and advice through their websites. This will be permitted subject to the condition that:

  1. The website does not provide the contact address of the Chartered Accountant concerned.
  2. The website does not contain any material that advertises professional achievements or status of the Chartered Accountant.
  3. The website only makes a statement that the Chartered Accountant is a Chartered Accountant.

Restrictions on Firm Name

The name of the Chartered Accountants’ firm with the suffix “Chartered Accountants” will not be permitted.

Conclusion

The ICAI requires members to provide their website address on an annual basis and will take suitable action against non-compliant members. Non-Chartered Accountants’ firms may request Chartered Accountants to provide consultation and advice through their websites, subject to certain conditions.

Penalties for Non-Compliance

CAs and Firms of CAs must comply with these guidelines. Failure to comply may result in disciplinary action, including suspension or cancellation

30/05/2024

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