Whether you are just starting in your accounting and finance career or you have had a lifetime of experience, there are always benefits to seeking extra knowledge.
Kshitij Patel FCPA (Aust.) began the CPA Program with a wealth of practical experience already accumulated over 25 years.
"The CPA Australia designation has helped me to enhance my technical and analytical skills, helped my firm provide value-added services and boosted our credibility when serving international clients."
With an undergraduate degree from Gujarat University in accounting and business management and a degree in Law, Patel completed his course in chartered accountancy in India in 1992. He then went on to gain tremendous experience working hands-on in his firm.
Patel first learnt about the CPA Program in the CA journal in India and later at an information session event in Mumbai conducted by CPA Australia.
"Learning about the CPA Program at the event helped me decide to pursue the program," says Patel. "I completed my CPA Program through the Mutual Recognition Agreement pathway and was awarded the CPA designation in 2014."
CPA Australia and the Institute of Chartered Accountants of India (ICAI) entered a Mutual Recognition Agreement (MRA) in 2009. This pathway has benefited many qualified professionals with career advancements locally and internationally.
Building a credible global firm
Patel's firm, Manubhai & Shah LLP, has one of the business models that is centred on offering outsourced accounting and taxation services. Since making the move to expand globally, Patel has been able to build a credible professional firm.
"In the early 1990s, I followed in my father's footsteps to join the profession. However, I was keen to take up a new challenge, so I decided to launch our firm's outsourcing practice."
The reasoning was simple.
"At that time Silicon Valley was a major source of software development outsourcing to India," Patel says. "I thought that if software was being outsourced to India, why not accounting and tax?"
After a trip to the US to study the market and training on taxation laws and accounting methodologies, Patel launched his outsourcing practice in 2000.
"Today we provide services to CPA firms in Australia for their accounting and taxation needs. We also serve clients in the USA, UK, Australia, New Zealand and various other countries."
Honing leadership skills
The post-graduate CPA designation provides a globally recognised avenue for business leaders looking for professional development opportunities and skills needed to become an effective leader.
"Being the co-managing partner of a firm, you need certain skills to deal with the employees as well as your co-partners, and the Global Strategy and Leadership capstone subject was beneficial in building my leadership skills and developing a strategy for the firm."
The capstone subject provides the vital pieces of information that link together all the previous knowledge gained through the course's subjects: Ethics and Governance, Financial Reporting and Strategic Management Accounting. It places the information on a broader scale and integrates it into real-life examples through case studies.
Understanding the importance of providing a well-rounded service to his international clients, Patel says, "I think it's so important that we are not just looking at the finance side, but also building credibility for our firm's future clients by enhancing our global knowledge."
"The CPA designation has increased my efficiency and broadened my thinking, so now as a firm we are able to provide proactive and value-added services to our local and international clients."
Network your way to success
Patel credits networking and building connections as a key component of building his clientele. Forming these connections was made possible through his existing networks, business referrals and to some extent the opportunities provided by CPA Australia's virtual events and networking platforms.
"In the present circumstances, I have attended virtual meetings and seminars primarily to connect with people," he says.
Before COVID-19, Patel says, he attended events for networking rather than seminar topics to align with requirements of his role as a co-managing partner.
For highly experienced professionals, Patel has access to limited networking opportunities in his local city, however, he maintains that networking in larger cities such as Mumbai can be helpful for CPA members in India.
Opening doors to new avenues
Patel has encouraged his team to pursue the CPA Program to build on their skills. "Of around 200 chartered accountants working for us, 10 of them have already completed their CPA Program," he says.
"The CPA Program is a beneficial course to build skills for the future for any accounting and finance professional, says Patel. "A key reason I recommend the program is because it is based on case studies which provide an opportunity to think and analyse, which builds on analytical skills for professionals."
He adds that there are few people with his experience who have done the CPA Program, with a vast majority of students from the younger generation undertaking the program.
"Most people take up the CPA Program if they want to migrate to Australia, get a second degree or enhance their global knowledge, says Patel."
Patel adds that the MRA between CPA Australia and the ICAI provides the right set of information and a recognised designation needed for Indian professionals looking to practice in Australia or anywhere in the world.
"It can be extremely rewarding for those who are setting their sights beyond their borders," says Patel.
The CPA designation can help you open global business opportunities. Find out more by hearing what CPA Australia members from around the globe have to say or attending a "Become a CPA" information webinar.