Tag Archives: Multidisciplinary Firms

Welcome Multidisciplinary Firms


Co-existence is the key to survival. The legal ecosystem for corporate India is no exception. For better survival, we need the help of numerous professionals who, in turn, have multiple qualifications. Chartered Advocates, Accountants, Company Secretaries, Cost Accountants, Insolvency professionals and Registered Valuers and other professionals work together. However, their contractual relationship had no formal legal structure.

8 July 2021 shall be a memorable day for professionals when multidisciplinary firms become legally possible.

There was a beginning when the Institute of Company Secretaries of India (ICSI), on 3 February 2020, amended its regulations (The Company Secretaries Regulations, 1982).

Regulations 165A of CS Regulations permits company secretaries to form multidisciplinary firms:
A member in practice may form a multidisciplinary firm with the member of other professional bodies as prescribed under regulations 168A and 168B in accordance with the regulating guidelines of the Council for functioning and regulation of such multidisciplinary firm.

Regulations of professionals like the Institute of Chartered Accountants of India have similar provisions.

A Company Secretary may share or accept fee, commission, a brokerage in the fee or profit or enter into partnership, or accept work only from members of particular professional bodies or person having specific qualifications. [Clause (2)-(5) of Part I of the First Schedule to Act – ICSI Act and ICAI Act] According to Regulation168B of CS Regulations, A company secretary, other than any other Company Secretary, may enter into a partnership with a member of any of the following professional bodies, namely:

(a)   The Institute of Chartered Accountants of India;

(b)   The Institute of Cost Accountants of India;

(c)   Bar Council of India;

(d)   The Institute of Engineers or Engineering from a University established by law;

(e)   The Indian Institute of Architects;

(f)    The Institute of Actuaries of India; and (g)   Professional bodies or institutions outside India whose qualifications relating to Company Secretary recognized by the Council under Sub-section (2) of Section 38 of the (ICSI) Act.

There is a similar provision in Regulation 53B of CA Regulations. A Chartered Accountants, other than any other Chartered Accountants, may enter into a partnership with a member of any of the following professional bodies, namely:

(a)   The Institute of Company Secretaries of India;

(b)   The Institute of Cost Accountants of India;

(c)   Bar Council of India;

(d)   The Institute of Engineers or Engineering from a University established by law;

(e)   The Indian Institute of Architects;

(f)    The Institute of Actuaries of India; and

(g)   Professional bodies or institutions outside India whose qualifications relating to Company Secretary recognized by the Council under Sub-section (2) of Section 29 of the (ICAI) Act.

The Institute of Chartered Accountants of India has on 8 July 2021, notified a form to establish multidisciplinary firms by substituting its existing Form 18 in Schedule A of its Regulations. This form comes into force from 8 July 2021.

The Institute of Company Secretaries is in the process to finalize relevant forms and guidelines. Present Form1 does not support multidisciplinary firms.

S.No. 3 of Form 18 have two tables: the first for members having qualifications like Chartered Accountants, Company Secretaries and Cost Accountants and the second table for partners holding other qualifications.

Such multidisciplinary firms shall have a name with prior approval of the councils of all institutes or regulatory bodies. This requirement may be a real challenge if all governing bodies require approval of trade name or firm name from these bodies.