The issues of governance, accountability and transparency in the affairs of the company, as well as about the rights of shareholders and role of Board of Directors have never been so prominent as it is today. The corporate governance has come to assume a centre stage in the Board room discussions.
India has become one of the fastest emerging nations to have aligned itself with the international trends in Corporate Governance. As a result, Indian companies have increasingly been able to access to newer and larger markets around the world; as well as able to acquire more businesses. The response of the Government and regulators have also been admirably quick to meet the challenges of corporate delinquency. But, as the global environment changing continuously, there is a greater need of adopting and sustaining good corporate governance practices for value creation and building corporations of the future.
It is true that the 'corporate governance' has no unique structure or design and is largely considered ambiguous. There is still lack of awareness about its various issues, like, quality and frequency of financial and managerial disclosure, compliance with the code of best practice, roles and responsibilities of Board of Directories, shareholders rights, etc. There have been many instances of failure and scams in the corporate sector, like collusion between companies and their accounting firms, presence of weak or ineffective internal audits, lack of required skills by managers, lack of proper disclosures, non-compliance with standards, etc. As a result, both management and auditors have come under greater scrutiny.
But, with the integration of Indian economy with global markets, industrialists and corporates in the country are being increasingly asked to adopt better and transparent corporate practices. The degree to which corporations observe basic principles of good corporate governance is an increasingly important factor for taking key investment decisions. If companies are to reap the full benefits of the global capital market, capture efficiency gains, benefit by economies of scale and attract long term capital, adoption of corporate governance standards must be credible, consistent, coherent and inspiring.
Quality of corporate governance primarily depends on following factors, namely:- integrity of the management; ability of the Board; adequacy of the processes; commitment level of individual Board members; quality of corporate reporting; participation of stakeholders in the management; etc. Since this is an important element affecting the long-term financial health of companies, good governance framework also calls for effective legal and institutional environment, business ethics and awareness of the environmental and societal interests.
Hence, in the years to come, corporate governance will become more relevant and a more acceptable practice worldwide. This is easily evident from the various activities undertaken by many companies in framing and enforcing codes of conduct and honest business practices; following more stringent norms for financial and non-financial disclosures, as mandated by law; accepting higher and appropriate accounting standards; enforcing tax reforms coupled with deregulation and competition; etc.
However, inapt application of corporate governance requirements can adversely affect the relationship amongst participants of the governance system. As owners of equity, institutional investors are increasingly demanding a decisive role in corporate governance. Individual shareholders, who usually do not exercise governance rights, are highly concerned about getting fair treatment from controlling shareholders and management. Creditors, especially banks, play a key role in governance systems, and serve as external monitors over corporate performance. Employees and other stakeholders also play an important role in contributing to the long term success and performance of the corporation. Thus, it is necessary to apply governance practices in a right manner for better growth of a company.