The contemporary era is typified by substantial changes taking place globally, urging all professionals to be accountable for their efficiency and productivity. The accountancy profession reflects such expectations, with the professionals’ roles evolving to become the stewards of the business world, safeguarding public interests and contributing to the economy and societal welfare.
The Institute of Chartered Accountants of India (ICAI) has been a significant contributor in this regard, steering the Indian economy through the ongoing reforms and legislations introduced by the Government from time to time. A signature from a Chartered Accountant carries immense value, personifying the independence, credibility, and integrity of a professional. The ICAI, the world’s first accountancy body, has introduced the transformative concept of Unique Document Identification Number (UDIN) to authenticate documents certified by CAs.
Understanding the Concept of UDIN
UDIN was conceived to curtail misrepresentation of Chartered Accountants and forgery of their signatures, thereby misleading authorities and stakeholders that rely on such documents or certificates. It is now mandatory for all practising CAs to generate UDINs for any document issued or certified by them. This innovative approach also enables online verification of documents anytime and anywhere through the UDIN portal.
So far, over 3 crore UDINs have been generated by practising Chartered Accountants. Additionally, the UDIN has been actively used by regulators, banks, and state governments to verify document authenticity.
A Guide to UDIN FAQs
The ICAI has recently released a revised set of FAQs on UDINs, providing an informative and practical guide for everyone. Continued improvements have been seen in the UDIN system. This year, for instance, witnessed further enhancements towards professional advancement.
One of the significant updates pertains to the time limit for generating a UDIN, increased to 60 days from the date of signing documents, compared to the previous 15 days. This change, effective from 17th September 2021, aligns the UDIN generation with Standard on Quality Control (SQC 1) and Standard on Auditing (SA-230) on Audit Documentation. Both standards require firms to establish policies and procedures for the timely completion of audit files, ordinarily no more than 60 days from the auditor’s report date.
Accordingly, the ICAI has thoughtfully curated this comprehensive guide, which presents a set of Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) on various facets and dimensions concerning the UDINs. This guide is organized around several key categories, each honing in on specific aspects of UDINs. To simplify understanding and enhance usability, these categories include –
i) Introductory Concepts and Overview: A section that provides a basic understanding or an introduction to the Unique Document Identification Numbers (UDINs).
ii) Registration Process: Detailed guidelines and information about the registration procedure for UDINs.
iii) Stakeholder Relations and Third-Party Verification: Insights into how stakeholders and third-party verification entities interact with the UDINs.
iv) Certification Matters: Coverage of certificates, their implications, and how they are interlinked with UDINs.
v) Relevance to GST and Tax Audit: An exploration of the role and importance of UDINs in the context of GST and Tax Audits.
vi) Navigation through the e-filing Portal: A quick guide to understanding the e-filing process, which is integral to the handling of UDINs.
vii) Bank Auditing: A deep dive into how UDINs affect bank audits, especially with regards to conformance and compliance.
viii) Audit and Assurance Functions: Detailed examination on the role UDINs play in audit and assurance functions.
ix) Revocation or Cancellation Policies: Guidelines on what leads to, and the effects of, the revocation or cancellation of UDINs.
x) Other Miscellaneous Aspects: A collection of various other relevant topics and questions that do not strictly fall under the above categories, but are integral to the understanding of UDINs.
ICAI’s Handbook on UDIN-related FAQs (September 2023 Edition)
Recognition and Approval
The UDIN system has been well-received by regulators such as SEBI, IBA, CBDT, RERA, who have mandated UDIN in their formats. Additionally, it is finding acceptance by various State Governments, who are using its services to verify document authenticity.
The ICAI’s UDIN Directorate also issues periodic advisories and FAQs, sensitizing its members on UDIN-related matters. With recent developments on the e-filing portal for UDIN updates, and common queries, this new edition includes additional questions to guide the members. This proves the ICAI’s commitment towards bettering the accountancy profession through continuous improvement and innovation.
The adoption and implementation of ICAI’s UDIN system signify a vital progression in ensuring the authenticity and credibility of Chartered Accountants’ work. The system, bolstered by ongoing modifications, benefits various stakeholders – regulators, governments, and the CAs themselves. The revised and expanded set of FAQs on UDIN demonstrates ICAI’s commitment to providing clear, accurate, and updated information to its members, solidifying its leading role in shaping the landscape of the accountancy profession in India.