Know Your Services | The Indian Audit and Accounts Service

This blog is a part of the series – Know Your Services @Intro to Civil Services


 

  • Indian Audit and Accounts Service (IAAS) is a Central Service, free of control from any executive authority, under the Comptroller and Auditor General of India
  • The officers of the Indian Audit and Accounts Department serve in an audit managerial capacity
  • IAAS is responsible for auditing the accounts of the Union and State governments and public sector organizations, and for maintaining the accounts of State governments
  • It role is somewhat similar to the National Audit Office (United Kingdom)

Recruitment & Training:

  • Recruitment to the IAAS is through the joint competitive examinations (the Civil Services Examination) and through promotion from the subordinate cadre
  • Once recruited to IAAS, the directly recruited officers are trained mainly at the National Academy of Audit and Accounts, Shimla for one and half year training

 

The training is split into two phases:

  • Phase- I involves giving a theoretical background to the students on concepts of Government and commercial auditing and accounting
  • Phase- II gives emphasis on practical training

The training involves modules where Officer Trainees are attached to the Reserve Bank of India, the National Institute of Public Finance and Policy, the Bureau of Parliamentary Studies and the Indian Institute of Management, Lucknow.

The Officer Trainees are also given an international exposure through attachment with London School of Economics and Political Science.

Career Progression:

  • After training, the Officer Trainees are posted as Deputy Accountants General (DAsG) or Deputy Directors (DDs). Subsequent to their promotion, they become Senior Deputy Accountants General (Sr. DAsG) or Directors
  • All officers below the rank of AG/PD are also called Group Officers as they are generally in charge of a group in the office

The service can be divided into officers looking after State accounts and the officers at Headquarters: 

  • The state accounts and audit offices are headed by Accountants General or Principal Accountants General. They are functionally equivalent, only the designations vary
  • Major states have three Principal Accountants General (PAsG) or Accountants General (AsG), each heading Accounts and Entitlement (i.e., compiling state accounts, maintaining pension accounts, loan accounts, etc.), General and Social Sector Audit (GSSA) or Economic and Revenue Sector Audit (ERSA)
  • The equivalent officers at the Central level are Principal Directors (PDs) or Directors General (DsG)
  • The PDs, DsG, AsG and PAsG report to Additional Deputy CAG (also called ADAI, for historical reasons) or Deputy CAG (called DAI, again for historical reasons)
  • The Deputy CAGs are the highest-ranked officers in the service

IA&AS officers mainly go abroad to conduct embassy audit i.e. audit of Embassies and High Commissions of India situated all over the world. They are also deputed regularly to conduct audit of international institutions like UN. Some of the officers are doing long term foreign assignments in United Nations, UNOPS, Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons, UNRWA, etc.

Why IAAS?

IAAS, over its long history, has evolved as a premier central service, owing to several positives that the service offers. IAAS works under CAG of India, a constitutional body, which makes it aloof from any undue political interference.

The service is good for people with professional bend of mind, as it’s a knowledge oriented department. Auditing some entity requires a thorough understanding of that entity. So one needs to constantly update oneself. Hence, the IAAS Officers are valued in the bureaucracy for their multi-faceted experience and expertise in the area of Audit, Accounts and finance.

Not surprisingly, several of them have stints in key positions in the union ministries of Government of India.

The service is known for most timely promotions amongst all the civil services. It is said that the entire government setup is similar to huge elephant. Owing to its mammoth size, people working under it, get to feel only a part of it. IAAS is one such service which offers to understand this elephant in entirety, as it works in close contact with all the departments of government, be it for accounting function or auditing.

As years pass by, bureaucrats often complaint about monotone of their job. IAAS offers varied opportunities for its officers, to work in several domains such as Accounts, Entitlements and Audit. Within audit itself, the number of sectors covered, makes work refreshing and challenging.

In a recently conducted survey by the Government of India, amongst 3 All India Services and 7 Central Services, IAAS emerged as the service with highest percentage of job satisfaction amongst its officers. It is known to be an employee friendly service. IAAS also allows an optimal work life balance, as also evident from the mentioned survey.

  • With increasing international exposure due to collaborative working framework of Supreme Audit Institutions of the world, auditing international bodies like the UN, WHO, and bilateral/ multilateral assignments with other countries, the IAAS officers get continuous exposure of international assignments.
  • IAAS Officers have been borrowed out to international organizations like the United Nations, IDI and various other countries for their expertise and skills.

Indian Audit & Accounts Service, thus, offers very challenging and satisfying career avenues to the bureaucrats of this country.


Published with inputs from Swapnil

By Root

Caretaker @civilsdaily

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