Let us first segregate the words and then it relate it with our profession.
“EMPOWEREMENT” means” STRENGTHNING" and “VALUE ADDITION" in simple terms means -”ADDING VALUE”. So the basic argument is to strengthen the entire Chartered Accountancy profession through value addition of services which will not only help the CA Fraternity to grow but will eventually increase the market value of Chartered Accountants in the long term. Though traditionally Chartered Accountancy has been associated with accounting and auditing but after the coming of liberalisation, it has opened areas such as technology risk consulting, management consultancy, advisory services and many more. The cut throat competition not only requires every chartered accountant to have updated knowledge but to strengthen their work and services by providing them efficiently and effectively to their clients and thus creating and maintaining good client relationship.
As the industry world over brace itself to rapidly changing economic, political and technological business environment its mandatory for them to attract best talent to renew and prepare for future growth. But what is apparent is that the new generation of workforce is not exactly excited about or able to involve with existing business practices and old economy professional setup. No doubt that their presence in any organizational or professional set up is paramount to its managerial and strategic relevance without which it may lose their visibility and competitive edge.
As much as it may be prepared or not accountancy practice is and will be at the forefront of the impact of many of these changes. Business clients are no longer satisfied with same package of services which were traditionally offered to them as the business uncertainties are growing. As the clients are looking for value addition more and more accounting firms are "repackaging" themselves through use of technology which allows them to cut cost as well as time in service delivery process. But will this paradigm shift l make young talent comfortable to the professional environment. The answer is No.
A change in the culture of accountancy firms is what young talented recruits will expect if they are to be attracted to the profession. Just like big fours which are rated as most attractive places for young people to work, the smaller firms to can change their work culture and business model.
Technology is what we understand, is not there to reorganize our work but to allow the user to do the work more efficiently by freeing up his most valuable resource "Time" so that he become more available, improved and connected to the end customer. The major activity which any accounting firm practices is tax rules, regulations and legislations which through integral as always, are not enough. The best firms worldwide have grown by offering value added services that allowed them to leverage themselves into corporate consultancies offering services from M& A activities through re-engineering operational process.
Young people today-the Facebook generation-interacts in a virtual world. Mobility has become way of life for them and they are constantly sharing information ,communicating, interacting and commenting in their transparent virtual world through computers, mobiles, I pads and other latest techno gadgets. This is their world which they control by expressing opinions and mass activism on various issues that shape culture, trends, and world view. They expect the same transparency and opportunity to share in their professional lives which they are bound to continue lifelong. They have no inclination or patience for face to face interaction and in getting their task done.
Equally they live in an egalitarian world and have little time for hierarchy and authority.
If accounting practices are to be employers of "first choice" how they attract young talent? There is need to rebrand the profession for a new start. Though companies still need to adhere to compliance and regulation business model they need young people with creative and innovative ideas.
This can be done, as witnessed in number of new companies like Apple, Google and also the big fours. Yes, when it comes to changes of this nature and magnitude it comes down to leadership; a quality that often in short supply in any organization shifting from old world economy to new brave world. This is legacy factor and also results of profession seeing its core skills as advising clients on limited sphere of legislation and tax procedures. A culture of compliance encourages a culture of hierarchical management and that the one last thing the facebook generation looks in a dream company.
The future of practice - a globally unified accounting world which will offer broader based consultancy services as their core skill based on inspirational leadership and energizing cultures that attract the best talented young minds.
"The rest they say Dinosaurs never died they just failed to see the change."
And so when we say value added services they can be bifurcated into fields such as:
Firstly, the area of " TAXATION " which bifurcates into direct and indirect tax involving computation and assessment of income tax , wealth tax , tax deductible at source , VAT , Service Tax , The CA's are not only expected to assist clients in the said fields but also are required to assist in the fields of transfer pricing, procedure for obtaining Permanent account no. , tax deduction & collection account no. Guidance for the same is not only a CA's duty but also acts as an evidence that ethical professional duties are being carried out.
Secondly, is the area of “CORPORATE SERVICES” where the client can be provided with services such as:
a) Incorporation of public / private company.
b) Drafting of Memorandum of Association and Article of Association.
c) Alteration of main object of company.
d) Conversion of private company into public and vice - a - versa.
Such services broaden the horizon for the Ca's as these provide them a hold in the area of lawful services.
MOVING ON, I would like to put light on the value added services in the sector of “Finance". As Finance is the blood of finance, without it the business cannot survive. The additional services include:
a) Project Loan
b) Loan syndication from central & state FII's.
c) Project Financing
d) Domestic Factoring
e) Term Loan
f) Corporate Financial Services such as private placement of share, Inter- corporate deposit etc. and many more.
And finally, the blood service of our profession- “Accounting and Auditing”. Accounting is the backbone of any enterprise and auditing is the source to verify whether the backbone is operating correctly or not.
The audit should leverage in-depth knowledge of industry specific business processes along with most up to date benchmarking and leading practices information. For providing effect services we must make use of audit tools & computer aided audit techniques to capture deep knowledge throughout the audit process. It requires us to have deep knowledge and research of US GAAP, international accounting standard as well as important benchmarking accounting standard & practices and the recent updation is the adoption of International Financial Reporting System in our accounting system.
As I am half way down my topic, it is very important that my message is clear. Chartered Accountancy is not about restraining to a particular field but upgrading ourselves which actually empowers our knowledge because becoming a chartered accountant is not the end of our studies or a certificate that we are newton ' s of the field but is an ongoing learning process.
The Chartered Accountancy forum identified a no. of existing challenges based on future outcome that are desirable for sector as a whole but what matters is to overcome those problems in the dynamic environment where cut throat competition implements the principle of " Survival of the Fittest " -:
1) It requires to recognise the changes in economy / business environment such as focus on value dynamic business and organisation structures, developments in IT and telecommunication, globalisation of business & competitive pressures.
2) Recognise the path to success by adapting to the changes and acquiring skills to work with future environment challenges influenced by technological and other challenges.
3) The profession will need to reach a level where there is no difference between internationally established and Indian standard, in view of international move to adopt to internationally accounting standard.
4) The role of CA shall be changed from the past historical focus to more proactive role where finance professionals, strategic thinkers & value adders will succeed.
5) CA's are required to seek continual professional education relating to their areas of specialisation and members in small business will need to broaden their technology skills.
So friends how much I say are of no use unless you remember one thing what Anton Chekhov said- ' Knowledge is of no value unless you put it into practise.' I hope I and all of you will get all this into practise and one day we’ll see our fraternity to be the no. 1.
It would be a delight to see your suggestions and feedback.
The article has been compiled -
BY: HELINA MALANI (CA FINAL STUDENT- INSTITUTE OF CHARTERED ACCOUNTANTS OF INDIA)
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