The wide mandate of the Comptroller & Auditor General of India requires the officers of IA&AS who occupy the senior managerial positions in the IA&AD to acquire professional skills of the highest order in accounting, auditing and governance. The emergence of the Supreme Audit Institution of India as an important member of the International Organization of Supreme Audit Institutions mandates the IA&AS officers to imbibe the best professional practices in discharge of their responsibilities. The Academy is the nursery where these professional skills are imparted and updated.
The Officer Trainees (OTs) join the Academy for professional training after their Foundation Course at other Central Training Institutes. The professional training, spanned across 94 weeks, consists of (a) Phase I (54 weeks) – theoretical training and grooming of trainees into professionals, (b) On the job training (32+2 weeks) – practical training in AG offices, and (c) Phase II (6 weeks) – reinforcement of training after the OJT and before their posting to the field as Deputy Accountant General. These training components have been elaborated below.
The objective of phase-I of the training, consisting of two semesters, is to impart theoretical knowledge on accounting, auditing and personnel administration. Consisting substantially of classroom sessions on different academic subjects, this phase also focuses on development of interpersonal skills and personality development through sports, culture and other extracurricular activities. Another important objective of this training is to expose the Officer Trainees to the societal concerns, a necessary input in the formation of a public servant. The subjects covered in Semester-I include Public Finance with introductory Economics, Government Accounts, Commercial Accounting (Book Keeping in Private Sector), Principles of Public Sector Auditing, Public Expenditure, Revenue and Resource Management, Information Systems Audit and Hindi. The subjects in Semester-II are Private Sector Financial Reporting, Public Sector Financial Reporting, Cost and Management Accounting, Compliance & Performance Auditing, Financial Auditing and Information Systems Audit.
The training is imparted during Phase-I not only at the Academy but also at professional academic institutes of excellence such as National Institute of Public Finance & Policy (NIPFP), Bureau of Parliamentary Studies and Training (BPST), Reserve Bank of India (RBI), Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI), Tata Institute of Social Sciences (TISS) and Indian Institute of Management (IIM), Ahmedabad apart from IA&AD’s own premier training institutes, i.e., International Centre for Information Systems Audit (iCISA) and International Centre for Environmental Audit and Sustainable Development (iCED).
During this Phase, the creative literary skills of the Officer Trainees are developed through two in-house magazines named ‘Yarrows Dew’ and ‘Academy Calling’ published by them and through a documentary film on a socially relevant theme that they make. The Officer Trainees are also expected to participate in environment protection programs and to interact with the under privileged sections of the society through structured programs organized by the Academy. At the end of Semester-II the trainees are sent on a study tour of three weeks during which they are given exposure to the functioning of important Public Sector Undertakings and Bodies and places of cultural and historical importance located in different parts of the country.
On The Job Training (OJT)
The on-the-job part of training which lasts for around eight months attempts to bridge the gap between theory and practice. The Officer Trainees are attached to offices of the Accountants General in various states. The training is divided into separate audit and accounts & entitlements components. At the end of each component of 16 weeks, the trainees return to the Academy for experience sharing sessions.
It is an opportunity for hands on learning as the trainees are exposed to the functioning of all divisions and levels of the office and administrative and personnel issues. They are assigned specific responsibilities such as heading audit teams and acting as Branch Officers and Assistant Public Information Officers. The Directors of the academy act as counsellors for the trainees and are in constant touch with the trainees providing guidance when required.
The trainees are sent to the field with audit teams to gain practical experience. An effort is made to involve them in various meetings with the executive and the Public Accounts Committee. The training is aimed at imparting a detailed and holistic understanding of the working of the offices of the Accountants General in the States. It also serves as an opportunity to understand the dynamics of working with the various wings of the Government and the role of the department in the process of governance.
Apart from the individual knowledge gained, the experience sharing sessions at the end of different components serve as a forum for collective learning and debate about issues in the field. The on-the-job training is a crucial part of the process by which an Officer Trainee emerges an officer.
The end of the on-the-job training marks the beginning of the Phase II of training following the sandwich pattern of training. The Officer Trainees return to the academy to share their experiences and to brainstorm creative solutions and innovative ideas to tackle field issues. The lectures, activities and assignments in Phase II are oriented toward consolidating and reinforcing the knowledge and experience of audit and accounting functions gained during Phase I and on-the-job training. Issues like administrative and personnel issues that are likely to confront the trainees once they take charge at various offices at the end of the training are also discussed. The focus is on exchange of ideas and experiences through the medium of group presentations, case studies and discussions. Continued emphasis is placed on fostering leadership qualities in the trainees. The trainees also get to interact extensively with the next batch of trainees at the Academy; hold sports meet with them and forge a bonding and camaraderie with service colleagues.
The overseas attachment is a component of Phase II where the trainees are sent on a study tour to a foreign supreme audit institution in order to widen their horizons and enrich their knowledge while gaining an international perspective.
The Academy has instituted the Scheme of Award of Medals and Certificate starting from the 1990 batch in recognition of holistic performance of the trainees based on a system of continuous assessment. The three best trainees are felicitated at the valediction ceremony. The valediction marks the end of Phase II after which the trainees proceed to take charge at their respective stations as Deputy Accountants General.