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Thursday, Jun 06, 2002

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Miffed member

D. Murali

THERE is a mail in my inbox from a reader, Mr S. Natarajan of Bangalore. He has cited at least three instances that merit the attention of the CA Institute. In brief, these relate to the language of fee reminder notice, empanelment for bank audit, and delay in response.

According to the reader, the letter sent to members who have not paid their fees makes one feel that one has "committed a crime deserving capital punishment, nothing less". Why can't it be "elegant and polite", he wonders.

While there could be differences on the fineness of the words, a common problem — with many societies and other bodies that rely on member contribution as a source of funding — is the money spent to collect the fee. To take a parallel, the cost of collecting direct taxes during the first 11 months of the past fiscal is stated to be 1.64 paise per rupee collected, as against 1.58 paise during the same period last fiscal. One wonders whether any serious exercise has been carried out by the accounting body to measure its cost of revenue-gathering, even if it were to ignore the cost of compliance by its members.

On the "religious exercise" of empanelment, Mr Natarajan points out that "the same info is required to be given year after year." He laments: "Just imagine the time spent by members in preparing (typing!) this out, and the number of man-hours spent by the Institute in accepting this, opening the covers and tabulation, and so on, year after year. Totally unproductive work. And we are a professional body!"

A better alternative would be to place the filed data on Web servers and allow access to members, authorised through passwords, and permit changes, in the same way that one changes one's user profile in an e-mail provider's database.

Third, the reader is upset, like many others, about the absence of promptness in replying to members, be it an application for "research assignments" or queries about annual accounts. "But we advise our corporate clients about corporate governance," he says, plainly miffed.

Perhaps, they are pushing such things into `suspense' account.

hindubusinessline@hotmail.com

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