In collaboration with the International Federation of Accountants (IFAC), the Institute of Chartered Accountants of India (ICAI) successfully hosted the World Congress of Accountants (WCOA) 2022, also known as the “Olympics of Accountants.”
The mega event was held at the Jio World Convention Centre at Mumbai, India in a hybrid format from the 18th to the 21st of November, 2022. About 10,000 delegates from more than 120 countries took part in the 21st World Congress, which was the most ever. More than 6,500 delegates were there in person, and more than 3,300 joined online through a specially designed virtual platform.
Over the course of its four days, the WCOA hosted approximately forty sessions that focused on the most pertinent and contextual issues of the time. These sessions were attended by over 150 of the most eminent international and national thought leaders.
The WCOA, which had the theme “Building Trust Enabling Sustainability,” focused on the continuous engagement and role that the accountancy profession plays in building trust to support communities and businesses and to construct the sustainable, resilient economies that we will need in the future. The WCOA also emphasised the importance of professional development in cutting-edge as well as developing fields.
The WCOA was held in India for the very first time, and it served as a celebration of India’s progress towards becoming the accounting centre of the world.
At the beginning of the inaugural session, the Chairman of the WCOA Executive Committee, CA Prafulla P. Chhajed, extended a warm welcome to the distinguished dignitaries, esteemed guests, and global delegates who were present at the WCOA 2022 and emphasised the significance of the event. He emphasised the responsibility that accountants have towards a more sustainable future and thanked all of the distinguished speakers who had agreed to share their vast experience during the conference.
The WCOA was inaugurated by the Honorable Speaker of the Lok Sabha, Shri Om Birla, and the keynote address was delivered by Mrs. Nirmala Sitharaman, the Honorable Union Minister for Finance and Corporate Affairs, in the presence of Mr. Alan Johnson, the outgoing President of IFAC; CA (Dr) Debashis Mitra, President of ICAI; and CA Aniket S. Talati, Vice President of ICAI.
Since 1904, the WCOA has served as a global forum for thought leadership and the exchange of views. Mr. Alan Johnson, the outgoing president of IFAC, extended a warm welcome to the delegates who attended the event. He stated that the WCOA will concentrate on six primary topics that are essential to the relevance of the accounting profession. First, the role that the accounting profession plays as a trusted partner in society and its sustainability based on their skills and expertise. The second step is to investigate different ways to construct an efficient ecosystem for high-quality, sustainable disclosures that are in line with international standards. Third, we should discuss the contribution of the accounting profession as a partner in the building of nations and the promotion of inclusive, sustainable, and equitable development. The fourth challenge is navigating the ongoing recovery of the world economy. Increasing trust and confidence in the information regarding sustainability is the fifth priority. And finally, the sixth point is championing an integrated mindset for the creation of sustainable value.
The President of the ICAI, CA (Dr.) Debashis Mitra, stated that the 21st WCOA will be an exceptional event that will generate new ideas, innovations, and strategies on the issues facing the global economy, as well as foster economic growth and development, which will ultimately lead to the creation of sustainable economies. He stated that the true measure of success for a profession is the respect and dignity that the profession commands, and the same has always been and will always be our objective in ICAI. He also stated that the respect and dignity that the profession commands are the true measures of success. He went on to elaborate that in his opinion, the “Garuda” in the ICAI emblem represents certain qualities of the profession, such as being innovative, being fearless, and being adaptable. These qualities will be the driving force behind this WCOA, which will showcase the potential of the profession as future leaders to the world at large.
In her keynote address, Mrs. Nirmala Sitharaman, the Hon’ble Union Minister for Finance and Corporate Affairs, stated that the WCOA is taking place at a time when the world is in the midst of numerous challenges. She expressed the hope that through the use of this forum, our discussions would revolve around issues of social, economic, and environmental sustainability, as well as the investigation of the incorporation of emerging technologies such as Web3, artificial intelligence, cloud computing, blockchain, and data analytics. She voiced her confidence that the WCOA will present takeaways that will provide solutions to the dominating problems of lack of transparency and accounting in India as well as in several other countries. In addition to this, she stated that “the independence of chartered accountants is extremely important and significant for the trust and integrity of financial statements.”
ICAI was congratulated by the Chief Guest at the event, Shri Om Birla, Honourable Speaker of Lok Sabha, for hosting such a grand event for the first time in India and South Asia. According to what he said, being a chartered accountant (CA) is considered to be one of the most prestigious professions in both our country and the rest of the world. CAs are not only making important contributions to the development of industries and the operation of businesses, but they are also playing an important part in the process of luring investment into the nation. He continued by saying, “The WCOA emphasises the significance of accounting at a global level as well as the significance of knowledge-based economies.” The WCOA was founded on the principle that “if accountants from all over the world collaborate, we will be able to build a brighter future for the entire world.”
CA Aniket S. Talati, vice president of ICAI, delivered the vote of thanks and stated that it is a source of great pride for ICAI and the entire country to host this prestigious event for the very first time. He stated that this conference will provide a platform to connect with the best-in-the-world from the accountancy and the finance profession and to deliberate issues of professional importance and economic development. He went on to say that, as part of their commitment to the environment, they will make the event completely carbon neutral. He expressed gratitude to all of the attendees, supporting organisations, the ICAI Council, regional councils, and branches, as well as the staff, for their unwavering support in ensuring that the WCOA was organised in an appropriate manner.