The following is the text of the revised Guidance Note on Independence of Auditors issued by the Council of the Institute of Chartered Accountants of India.
1.1 This Guidance Note aims to clarify the meaning of independence while performing their duties as Auditors. Professional integrity and independence is an essential characteristic of all the professions but is more so in the case of accountancy profession. Independence implies that the judgment of a person is not subordinate to the wishes or direction of another person who might have engaged him, or to his own self-interest. This document shall provide guidance to members about the specific circumstances and relationships that may create threats to independence. The Guidance Note also provides safeguards that should be employed by the auditors to mitigate the risk arising from such circumstances and relationship leading to the threats to independence.
1.2 It is not possible to define "independence" precisely. Rules of professional conduct dealing with independence are framed primarily with a certain objective. The rules themselves cannot create or ensure the existence of independence. Independence is a condition of mind as well as personal character and should not be confused with the superficial and visible standards of independence which are sometimes imposed by law. These legal standards may be relaxed or strengthened but the quality of independence remains unaltered.
1.3 There are two interlinked perspectives of independence of auditors, one, independence of mind; and two, independence in appearance.
The Code of Ethics for Professional Accountants, issued by International Federation of Accountants (IFAC) defines the term 'Independence' as follows:
- Independence of mind - the state of mind that permits the provision of an opinion without being affected by influences that compromise professional judgment, allowing an individual to act with integrity, and exercise objectivity and professional scepticism; and
- Independence in appearance - the avoidance of facts and circumstances that are so significant a reasonable and informed third party, having knowledge of all relevant information, including any safeguards applied, would reasonably conclude a firm's, or a member of the assurance team's, integrity, objectivity or professional scepticism had been compromised."
1.4 Independence of the auditor has not only to exist in fact, but also appear to so exist to all reasonable persons. The relationship between the auditor and his client should be such that firstly, he is himself satisfied about his independence and secondly, no unbiased person would be forced to the conclusion that, on an objective assessment of the circumstances, there is likely to be an abridgement of the auditors' independence.
1.5 In all phases of a Chartered Accountant's work, he is expected to be independent, but in particular in his work as auditor, independence has a special meaning and significance. Not only the client but also the stakeholders, prospective investors, bankers and government agencies rely upon the accounts of an enterprise when they are audited by a Chartered Accountant. As statutory auditor of a limited company, for example, the Chartered Accountant would cease to perform any useful function if the persons who rely upon the accounts of the company do not have any faith in the independence and integrity Of the Chartered Accountant. In such cases he is expected to be objective in his approach, fearless, and capable of expressing an honest opinion based upon the Performance of Work such as his training and experience enables him to do so.
1.6 The Objective of an audit of financial statements Prepared within a framework of recognized accounting Policies and Practices and relevant statutory requirements, if any, is to enable an auditor to express an Opinion on such financial statements. The auditor's opinion helps determination of the true and fair view of the financial Position and Operating results of an enterprise. The user, however, should not assume that the auditor's opinion is an assurance as to the future viability of the enterprise or the efficiency or effectiveness with which management has conducted the affairs of the enterprise.
1.7 The idea of independence is instilled in the minds of Chartered Accountants from the commencement of their training under articles or audit service. It has to be applied in their day-today work and their success is dependent entirely upon their integrity, competence and independence Of approach.
1.8 Dependent as it is on the state of mind and character of a person, independence, is a very subjective matter. One person might be independent in a particular set of circumstances, while another person might feel he is not independent in similar circumstances. It is therefore the duty of every Chartered Accountant to determine for himself whether or not he can act independently in the given circumstances of a case and quite apart from legal rules, in no case to place himself in a position which would compromise his independence.
1.9 The auditor should be straight-forward, honest and sincere in his approach to his professional work. He must be fair and must not allow prejudice or bias to override his objectivity. He should maintain an impartial attitude and both be and appear to be free of any Interest which might be regarded, whatever its actual effect, as being incompatible with integrity and objectivity. This is not self evident in the exercise of the reporting function but also applies to all other professional work. In determining whether a member in practice is or is not seen to be free of any interest which is incompatible with objectivity, the criterion should be whether a reasonable person, having knowledge of relevant facts and taking into account the conduct of the member and the member's behaviour under the circumstances, could conclude that the member has placed himself in a Position where his objectivity would or could be impaired.
1.10 While performing audit functions, maintaining quality control is the objective of the quality control and policies to be adopted by an Auditor shall ordinarily incorporate the following:
(a) Professional Requirements: Personnel in the firm are to adhere to the principles of Independence, Integrity, objectivity, Confidentiality and Professional Behaviours.
(b) Skills and Competence: The firm is to be staffed by personnel who have attained and maintained the Technical Standards and Professional Competence required to enable them to fulfill their responsibilities With Due Care.
(c) Assignment: Audit work is to be assigned to personnel who have the degree of technical training and proficiency required in the circumstances.
(d) Delegation: There is to be sufficient direction, supervision and review of work at all levels to Provide reasonable assurance that the work Performed meets appropriate standards of quality.
(e) Consultation: Whenever necessary, consultation within or outside the firm is to occur with those who have appropriate expertise.
(f) Acceptance and Retention of Clients: An evaluation of prospective clients and a review, on an ongoing basis of existing clients is to be conducted in making a decision to accept or retain a client, the firm's independence and ability to serve the client properly are to be considered.
(g) Monitoring: The continued adequacy and operational effectiveness of quality control policies and procedures is to be monitored.
1.11 A member not in practice has a duty to be objective in carrying out his or her professional work whether or not the appearance of professional independence is attainable. Thus a member performing professional work must recognize the problems created by personal relationships or financial involvement, which by reason of their nature or degree might threaten his independence.
1.12 Standing alone, the word "Independence" may lead observers to suppose that a person exercising professional judgment ought to be free from all economic, financial and other relationships. This is impossible, as every member of society has relationships with others. Therefore, the significance of economic, financial and other relationships should also be evaluated in the light of what a reasonable and informed third party having knowledge of all relevant information would reasonably conclude to be unacceptable.
1.13 Many different circumstances, or combination of circumstances, may be relevant and accordingly it is impossible to define every situation that creates threats to independence and specify the appropriate mitigating action that should be taken. In addition, the nature of assurance engagements may differ and consequently different threats may exist, requiring the application of different safeguards. A conceptual framework that requires chartered accountants to identify, evaluate and address threats to independence, rather than merely comply with a set of specific rules in the public interest.
2. THREATS TO INDEPENDENCE
2.1 The Code of Ethics for Professional Accountants, prepared by the International Federation of Accountants (IFAC) identifies five types of threats. These are:
- Self-interest threats, which occur when an auditing firm, its partner or associate could benefit from a financial interest in an audit client. Examples include (i) direct financial interest or materially significant indirect financial interest in a client, (ii) loan or guarantee to or from the concerned client, (iii) undue dependence on a client's fees and, hence, concerns about losing the engagement, (iv) close business relationship with an audit client, (v) potential employment with the client, and (vi) contingent fees for the audit engagement.
- Self-review threats, which occur when during a review of any judgment or conclusion reached in a previous audit or non-audit engagement, or when a member of the audit team was previously a director or senior employee of the client. Instances where such threats come into play are (i) when an auditor having recently been a director or senior officer of the company, and (ii) when auditors perform services that are themselves subject matters of audit.
- Advocacy threats, which occur when the auditor promotes, or is perceived to promote, a client's opinion to a point where people may believe that objectivity is getting compromised, e.g. when an auditor deals with shares or securities of the audited company, or becomes the client's advocate in litigation and third party disputes.
- Familiarity threats are self-evident, and occur when auditors form relationships with the client where they end up being too sympathetic to the client's interests. This can occur in many ways: (i) close relative of the audit team working in a senior position in the client company, (ii) former partner of the audit firm being a director or senior employee of the client, (iii) long association between specific auditors and their specific client counterparts, and (iv) acceptance of significant gifts or hospitality from the client company, its directors or employees.
- Intimidation threats, which occur when auditors are deterred from acting objectively with an adequate degree of professional scepticism. Basically, these could happen because of threat of replacement over disagreements with the application of accounting principles, or pressure to disproportionately reduce work in response to reduced audit fees.
3. SAFEGUARDS TO INDEPENDENCE
3.1 The Chartered Accountant has a responsibility to remain independent by taking into account the context in which they practice, the threats to independence and the safeguards available to eliminate the threats.
3.2 To address the issue, Members are advised to apply the following guiding principles: -
- For the public to have confidence in the quality of audit, it is essential that auditors should always be and appears to be independent of the entities that they are auditing.
- In the case of audit, the key fundamental principles are integrity, objectivity and professional scepticism, which necessarily require the auditor to be independent.
- Before taking on any work, an auditor must conscientiously consider whether it involves threats to his independence.
- When such threats exist, the auditor should either desist from the task or, at the very least, put in place safeguards that eliminate them. All such safeguards measure needs to be recorded in a form that can serve as evidence of compliance with due process.
- If the auditor is unable to fully implement credible and adequate safeguards, then he must not accept the work.
3.3 Provisions contained under the Companies Act, 1956
3.3.1 In order to ensure independence, the law has made certain provisions which either prohibit the appointment of a person as auditor in certain circumstances or place certain restrictions on his appointment as auditor or put third parties on guard against the possibility of an abridgement of independence by requiring certain disclosures to be made. These provisions are briefly outlined below:
3.3.2 Section 226 of the Companies Act, 1956 prohibits the appointment of a Chartered Accountant as auditor of a Company if he is:
(i) an officer or employee of the Company;
(ii) a partner of a person in the employment of an officer or of an employee of the Company;
(iii) a person who is indebted to the company for an amount exceeding Rs. 1000;
(iv) a person who has given any guarantee or provided any security in connection with the indebtedness of any third person to the company for an amount exceeding Rs. 1000;
(v) a person holding any security of that company.
3.3.3 A person who is disqualified from becoming auditor of any body corporate under the above rules is also disqualified from appointment as auditor of such body's subsidiary, co-subsidiary or holding company.
3.3.4 Section 314 of the Companies Act, 1956 makes separate provision for the case where an auditor of a Company (whether public or private) is a relative of a director, or manager of a private company of which the director of the company is a director or member. In the case of such a person he may be appointed as auditor of a company only if such appointment is approved with the consent of the company in general meeting obtained by a special resolution.
3.3.5 It will be observed from the above that the Act has specifically provided for cases where the independence of an auditor maybe affected by his connection with the company and prohibited or restricted him from acting as auditor under those circumstances.
3.3.6 A question often arises as to whether an indebtedness (as referred in para (iii) above) arises in cases where in accordance with the terms of his engagement by a client (e.g. resolution passed at the general meeting) the auditor recovers his fees on a progressive basis as and when a part of the work is done without waiting for the completion of the whole job. In these circumstances, where in accordance with such terms the auditor recovers his fees on a progressive basis he cannot be said to be indebted to the company at any stage.
3.3.7 A question of indebtedness may also be raised where an auditor of a company purchases goods or services from a company audited by him. In such a case, if the amount outstanding exceeds Rs.1 000/- irrespective of the nature of the purchase or period of credit allowed to other customers the provisions concerning disqualification of auditor as contained in Section 226 (3)(d) of the Companies Act, 1956 will be attracted.
3.3.8 Another question which 3.4.2 arises for consideration is whether a partner is disqualified from appointment as auditor when the firm of which he is a partner is indebted to the company in excess of the limit prescribed and whether the firm is disqualified from appointment as auditor when a partner of the firm is indebted in excess of the prescribed limit. In both cases, the disqualification will apply, because when a firm is appointed as auditor, each partner is deemed to be so appointed and when a firm is indebted, each partner is deemed to be indebted.
3.3.9 There may also be situations in which, though the appointment is in the individual name of a partner, the work, is, in fact, carried out by the firm and the fees are credited to the account of the firm. In such situations, the firm will be deemed to be acting as auditor and the disqualification will be attracted.
3.4 Provisions contained under the Chartered Accountants Act, 1949, Chartered Accountants Regulations, 1988 and under Code of Ethics to ensure Independence of Auditors
3.4.1 Clause (10) of Part I of the First Schedule to the Chartered Accountants Act, 1949 prohibits acceptance of, what have been described as contingent fees, i.e., fees, which are either based on percentage of profits or otherwise dependent on the finding or the results of employment.
3.4.2 What distinguishes a profession from a business is that professional service is not rendered with the sole purpose of a profit motive. Personal gain is one but not the main or the only objective. Professional opinion, therefore, frowns upon methods where payment is made to depend on the basis of results. It is obvious that a person who is to receive payment in direct proportion to the benefit received by his client, may be tempted to exaggerate the advantage of his service or may adopt means which are not ethical. It will have the effect of undermining his integrity and impairing his independence. Therefore, the members are prohibited from charging or accepting any remuneration based on a percentage of the profits or on the happening of a particular contingency such as, the successful outcome of an appeal in revenue proceedings.
3.4.3. Professional services should not be offered or rendered under an arrangement whereby no fee will be charged unless a specified finding or result is obtained or where the fee is otherwise contingent upon the findings or results of such services. However, fee should not be regarded as being contingent if fixed by a Court or other public authority.
3.4.4 The Council of the Institute has framed Regulation 192 which exempts members from the operation of this Clause in certain professional services. The said Regulation 192 is reproduced below: -
192. Restriction on fees
No chartered accountant in practice shall charge or offer to charge, accept or offer accept, in respect of any professional work, fees which are based on a percentage of profits, or which are contingent upon the findings, or results of such work:
(a) in the case of a receiver or a liquidator, the fees may be based on a percentage of the realisation or disbursement of the assets;
(b) in the case of an auditor of a co-operative society, the fees may be based on a percentage of the paid up capital or the working capital or the gross or net income or profits; and
(c) in the case of a valuer for the purposes of direct taxes and duties, the fees may be based on a percentage of the value of the property valued.
3.4.5 Attention of the members is invited to the provisions of Clause (4) of Part 1 of the Second Schedule to the Chartered Accountants Act, 1949 which provides that a Chartered Accountant in practice shall be deemed to be guilty of professional misconduct if he expresses his opinion on financial statements of any business or any enterprise in which he, his firm or a partner in his firm has a substantial interest, unless he discloses his interest also in his report.
3.4.6 If the opinion of auditors are to command respect and the confidence of the public, it is essential that they must disclose every factor which is likely to affect their independence. Since financial interest in the business can be one of the important factors, which may disturb independence, the clause provides that the existence of such an interest direct or indirect should be disclosed. This is intended to assure the public as regards the faith and confidences that could be reposed on the independent opinion expressed by the auditors.
3.4.7 The words "financial statements" used in this Clause would cover both reports and certificates usually given after an examination of the accounts or the financial statement or any attest function under any statutory enactment or for purposes of income-tax assessments. This would not however, apply to cases where such statements are prepared by members in employment purely for the information of their respective employers in the normal course of their duties and not meant to be submitted to any outside authority.
3.4.8 Public conscience is expected to be ahead of the law. Members, therefore, are expected to interpret the requirement as regards independence much more strictly than what the law requires and should not place themselves in positions which would either compromise or jeopardise their independence.
3.4.9 A Member must take care to see that he does not get into situations where there could be a conflict of interest and duty. For example, where a Chartered Accountant is appointed the liquidator of a company, he should not himself audit the Statement of Account to be filed under Section 551 (1) of the Companies Act, 1956. The audit in such circumstances should be done by a Chartered Accountant other than the one who is the liquidator of the company. Attention of the members is drawn to the audit assignments where appointment is done by the Comptroller & Auditor General of India (C&AG), Reserve Bank of India (RBI) and such other authorities. In addition to ensuring independence during the assignment, it is also essential to avoid any situation in near future which may be interpreted as a threat to independence, as for example, he or any other partner of his firm should not accept any other assignment such as internal audit, system audit and management consultancy services within one year from the completion of audit assignment.
3.4.10 A Chartered Accountant in employment should not certify the financial statements of the concern in which he is employed, or of a concern under the same management as the concern in which he is employed, even though he holds certificate of practice and that such certification can be done by any chartered accountant in practice. This restriction would not however apply where the certification is permitted by any law, e.g. Section 228 (iv) of the Companies Act, 1956 and the Companies (Branch Audit Exemption) Rules made thereunder. The Council has decided that a chartered accountant should not by himself or in his firm name:-
(i) accept the auditorship of a college, if he is working as a part-time lecturer in the college.
(ii) accept the auditorship of a trust where his partner is either an employee or a trustee of the trust.
3.4.11 Many new areas of professional work have been added, e.g., Special Audit under the Statutes, Tax Audit, Concurrent Audit of Banks, Concurrent Audit of Borrowers of Financial institutions, Audit of non-corporate borrowers of banks and financial institutions, audit of stock exchange, brokers etc. The Council wishes to emphasise that the requirement of Clause (4) of Part I of the Second Schedule to the Chartered Accountants Act, 1949 is equally applicable while performing all types of attest functions by the members.
3.4.12 Some of the situations which may arise in the applicability of Clause (4) of Part 1 of the Second Schedule to the Chartered Accountants Act, 1949 are discussed below for the guidance of members: -
1. Where the member, his firm or his partner or his relative has substantial interest in the business or enterprise.
The independence of mind is a fundamental concept of audit and/or expression of opinion on the financial statements in any form and, therefore, must always be maintained. Nothing can substitute for the essential and fundamental requirements of independence. Therefore, the Council's views are clarified in the following circumstances.
(i) An enterprise/concern of which a member is either an owner or a partner
The holding of interest in the business or enterprise by a member himself whether as sole-proprietor or partner in a firm, in the opinion of the Council, would affect his independence of mind in the performance of professional duties in conducting the audit and/or expressing an opinion on financial statements of such enterprise. Therefore, a member should not audit financial statements of such business or enterprise.
(ii) Where the partner or relative of a member has substantial interest
The holding of substantial interest by the partner or relative of the member in the business or enterprise of which the audit is to be carried out and opinion is to be expressed on the financial statement, may also affect the independence of mind of the member, in the opinion of Council, in the performance of professional duties. Therefore, the member may, for the same reasons as not to compromise his independence, desist from undertaking the audit of financial statements of such business or enterprise. However, where a member undertakes the audit of such business or enterprise, he should disclose such interest in his report while expressing his opinion on the financial statements of such business or enterprise.
(2) Where the member or his partner or relative is a director or in the employment of an officer or an employee of the company
Section 226 of the Companies Act, 1956 specifically prohibits a member from auditing the accounts of a company in which he is a director or in the employment of an officer or an employee of the company. Although the provisions of the aforesaid section are not specifically applicable in the context of audits performed under other statutes, e.g. tax audit, yet the underlying principle of independence of mind is equally applicable in those situations also. Therefore, the Council's views are clarified in the following situations.
(i) Where a member is a director
In cases where the member is a director of a company the financial statements of which are to be audited and/or opinion is to be expressed, he should not undertake such job and/or express opinion on the financial statements of that company.
(ii) Where a partner or relative of the member is a director in the company who has a substantial interest.
In such cases for the reason as not to compromise with the independence of mind, the member may desist from undertaking the audit of financial statements and/or expression of opinion thereon. However, if a member feels that his independence is not affected and undertakes the audit of such company, he should disclose such interest in his report while expressing his opinion on the financial statements of such company.
The meaning of the words "relative" and "substantial interest" shall be the same as are contained in the Resolution passed by the Council in pursuance to Regulation 190A of Chartered Accountants Regulations, 1988 (Appendix 9 of 2002 edition).
3.4.13 An accountant is expected to be no less independent in the discharge of his duties as a tax consultant or as a financial adviser than as auditor. In fact, it is necessary that he should bear the same degree of integrity and independence of mind in all spheres of his work. Unless this is done, the accounts of companies audited by Chartered Accountants or statements made by them during the course of assessment proceedings would not be relied upon as correct by the authorities.
3.4.14 The Members are not permitted to write the books of accounts of their auditee clients.
3.4.15 A statutory auditor of a company cannot also be its internal auditor, as it will not be possible for him to give independent and objective report issued under sub-Section 4A of Section 227 of the Companies Act, 1956 read with the Companies (Auditors' Report) Order, 2003.
3.4.16 The Council has issued a Notification No.1-CA(37) /70 dated 23rd May, 1970 whereby a member of the Institute in practice shall be deemed to be guilty of professional misconduct, if-
I. he accepts appointment as Cost auditor of Company under Section 233B of the Companies Act, 1956 while he -
(a) is an auditor of the company appointed under Section 224 of the Companies Act; or
(b) is an officer or employee of the company; or
(c) is a partner, or is in the employment of an officer or employee of the company; or
(d) is a partner or is in the employment of the Company's auditor appointed under Section 224 of the Companies Act, 1956; or
(e) is indebted to the company for an amount exceeding one thousand rupees, or has given any guarantee or provided any security in connection with the indebtedness of any third person to the company for an amount exceeding one thousand rupees;
II after his appointment as Cost Auditor, he becomes subject to any of the disabilities stated in items 1(a) to (e) above and continues to function as a cost auditor thereafter.
3.4.17 The Council has issued a Notification No. 1-CA(39)/70 dated 16th October, 1970 whereby a member of the Institute in practice shall be deemed to be guilty of professional misconduct, if he accepts the appointment as auditor of a company under Section 224 of the Companies Act, 1956, while he is an employee of the cost auditor of the Company appointed under Section 233B of the Companies Act, 1956.
3.4.18 The Council has issued a Notification No.1-CA(7)/ 63/2002 dated 8th March, 2002 whereby a member of the Institute in practice shall be deemed to be guilty of professional misconduct, if he accepts the appointment as statutory auditor of Public Sector Undertaking(s)/Government Company(ies)/Listed Company(ies) and other Public /company(ies) having turnover of Rs. 50 crores or more in a year and accepts any other work(s) or assignment(s) or service(s) in regard to the same Undertaking(s)/ Company(ies) on a remuneration which in on a remuneration which in total exceeds the fee payable for carrying out the statutory audit of the same Undertaking/company.
3.4.19 The Council has issued a Notification No.1-CA(7)/ 63/2002 dated 2nd August, 2002 whereby a member of the Institute in practice shall be deemed to be guilty of professional misconduct, if he accepts appointment as auditor of a concern while he is indebted to the concern or has given any guarantee or provided any security in connection with the indebtedness of any third person to the concern, for limits fixed in the statute and in other cases for amount exceeding Rs. 10,000/-.
3.4.20 To ensure that the professional independence of a member doing attest function does not appear to be jeopardized he should, as far as possible, take care to see that the professional fees for audit and other services received by the firm in which he is a partner, by him and his partners individually and by firm or firms in which he or his partner are partners from one or more clients or companies under the same management does not exceed 40% of the gross annual fees of the firm, firms and partners referred to above. 'Companies under the same management' here would refer to the definition of this expression as provided in section 370(1-13) of the Companies Act, 1956.
Provided that no such ceiling on the gross annual professional fees of a member would be applicable where such fees do not exceed two lakhs of rupees in respect of a member or firm including fees received by the member or firm for other services rendered through the medium of a different firm or firms in which such member or firm may be a partner or proprietor.
Provided further that no such ceiling on the gross annual professional fees of a member would be applicable in the case of audit of government companies, public undertakings, nationalized banks, public financial institutions or where appointments of auditors are made by the Government.
3.4.21 Members' attention is also drawn to Clauses (8) & (9) of Part 1 of the First Schedule to the Chartered Accountants Act, 1949:
"A Member shall be deemed to be guilty of professional misconduct, if he:
X XX XXX XXXX
(8) accepts a position as auditor previously held by another chartered accountant or a restricted state auditor without first communicating with him in writing;
(9) accepts an appointment as auditor of a company without first ascertaining from it whether the requirements of Section 225 of the Companies Act, 1956 in respect of such appointment have been duly complied with."
3.4.22 Clause (8) of Part 1 of First Schedule to the Chartered Accountants Act, 1949. emphasized the requirement of mandatory communication with the previous auditor in all types of audit viz., statutory audit, tax audit, internal audit, concurrent audit or any kind of audit and it is equally applicable to audits of both government and non-government entities.
3.4.23 Clause (9) of Part 1 of First Schedule to the Chartered Accountants Act, 1949 provided that an auditor of the company before accepting the appointment, should ascertain from the auditor whether the requirements of Section 225 of the Companies Act, 1956 in respect of such appointment have been duly complied with. Section 224 of the Companies Act, 1956 contains several provisions in the matter of appointment of auditors in different circumstances and situations whereas Section 225 laid down the procedure which must be followed whenever a company desires to change its auditor. Also that the validity of the appointment of an auditor is not challenged or objected to by shareholders or the retiring auditors at a later date, it has been made obligatory to ascertain from the company that the appropriate procedure in the matter of appointment has been faithfully followed. Independence of auditor is a concept to be addressed through its all the possible aspects and the message of Clause (8) & (9) is to ensure that an auditor should be conscious about this aspect from the very point of accepting the position of an auditor.
4.1 The Council feels that there are adequate safeguards provided in the Companies Act, 1956 as well as in the Chartered Accountants Act, 1949. The Council is of the view that independence, being a state of the mind, is not necessarily affected by the fact of mere relationship any more than it should be existence if the relationship did not exist. In any case, lest there may be any feeling in the public mind that relationship would affect the independence of auditors, the Council suggests that where, due to near relationship of an auditor, with a Managing or a Whole-Time Director the independence of an auditor is likely to be jeopardized, he should use his good sense, and acting in the best traditions of the profession, refrain from accepting the appointment.
4.2 If the opinion of chartered accountant is to command respect and the confidence of the public, it is essential that they must ensure their independence to assure the public as regards the faith and confidence that could be reposed on them. The Chartered Accountant should ensure his independence in all assurance services including concurrent audit, tax audit and internal audit. The chartered accountant should make it certain that his independence is not jeopardized. Where he feels that his independence is jeopardized, he should refrain from accepting the assignment.