The term ‘CA Firms Networking’ refers to a group of Indian CA Firms joining together for mutual benefits by pooling resources, showcasing their combined strength, and having uniform policies, technology, and collaterals, with the intent to create a ‘Networking’ under a written arrangement as per ICAI guidelines. The Networking Guidelines of ICAI are meant to provide a framework for CA Firms seeking networking benefits like:
i) wider professional cooperation;
ii) common name to highlight their combined strength in securing professional work;
iii) pooling of knowledge, guidance, training, resources, and infrastructure;
iv) wider professional reach;
v) shared methodologies, practises, strategies, etc. in domestic and international markets;
vi) referrals; and
vii) global reach.
ICAI Members can choose from a variety of approved professional practise models, such as practising as an individual CA, as a sole proprietary CA firm, as a partnership/LLLP CA firm, as a Merger of two or more CA firms, or as a Network of CA firms.
The networking model of CA practise is widely regarded as the most effective platform for capacity building, as it allows network firms to have a multi-locational presence, strengthen partnerships, and function more effectively.
Because the networking model is one of the preferred options, the Council of ICAI has issued Guidelines for CA Firms Networking in order to assist Indian CA firms in developing a solid Network of Firms. It should be noted that foreign firms are not yet permitted to join as networking partners. As a result, these guidelines are primarily intended for networking among domestic CA firms.
These guidelines have been revised/modified to make it easier for Indian CA firms to form networks and to remove any impediments and bottlenecks that prevent firms from growing larger by joining a network, which not only protects the professional practise of small and medium firms but also helps them retain their identity.
Further ICAI has announced on 01/04/2022 that online process has been launched for formation of Networking of CA firms, as per new networking guidelines approved by the Council in 2021. The ‘Networking’ tab is available under Firm Module in Self Service Portal (SSP) and members can now directly apply through Portal for approval and registration of Network.