Chartered Accountants in India offer a bevy of services of a specialised and general nature.
Specialised services fall under categories such as accounting, auditing, taxation, cost accountancy, trusteeship, directorship work, company secretarial work, managerial accounting and share valuation.
Apart from these specialised functions there are management consultancy services that are offered by CA firms. Such services include developing a management information system, designing a budgetary control system, assisting management in effective utilisation of working capital, assisting in enhancing productivity, advising management on effective delegation and planning of work, offering advice on international taxation and joint ventures, offering advice on Corporate Law, helping with mergers and acquisitions, advice on system analysis and design, acting as registrar for transfer of shares and so on.
Considering the fact that management consultancy is a $150 billion market, it seems to make economic sense to step into general consultancy.
A specialised consultancy offers you several advantages:
- You become an expert in your field
- Once you have established yourself in the field, it is easy to retain your clientele
- The work process becomes very streamlined
- As a specialist, you can charge more for your services
However, a specialised consultancy may run out of work when there is an economic slowdown. It is too risky to rely on a narrow client base. You are also limiting your growth opportunities by refusing to explore newer areas.
A general consultancy would be ideal if you are looking at expanding your business and having a wider client base.
Some of the advantages of running a generalised consultancy are as follows:
- As a generalist you can cater to a larger client base, this would mean higher revenues
- Since you have more services to offer, the same clients may approach you for other services as well
- You have the flexibility to add on more services according to the market demand
- Due to the variety of services offered and broader client base, a generalised consultancy can survive economic slowdown
Though a general consultancy seems to be a sounder business proposition, you need to make provision for the following before you move forward:
- You could adopt the “Master of one, and jack of all” approach. With this, you always have a deep know-how of that one skill which helps you differentiate yourself from other firms and make your clients return you for that specialised consultancy you give. Whereas, you also diversify your services into different fields of accounting and finance rather than banking on just one area of expertise
- Implementing such an approach, would come at a cost
- You need to have the right resources, hire people from diverse areas or be ready to outsource certain services. For example, hiring a corporate legal consultant can add an additional cost of over Rs. 10 Lakh annually
- You may need to employ a client servicing team to cater to the requirements of your customers. Choose the right financing option like a Chartered Accountant Loan to minimise your cost of lending and getting the most out of your borrowing operations
- You need to have a wider professional network to step into general consultancy
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