As a chartered accountant, you might face numerous challenges when you try expanding your firm and its scale of services.
It may be challenging because you cannot advertise your firm and obtain clients. You can’t form a company and have to limit your entity to a partnership firm or LLP. If you try getting business through referrals, it will involve huge referral commissions and affect profitability. Such challenges hinder your practice’s growth. Here, we address such difficulties to help you expand your reach to a broader client base.
1. Cash in on the GST market
The indirect taxation system has increased the number of tax-paying businesses as unorganised businesses now fall under the ambit of taxation. With constantly revised tax rate slabs, clients look to CAs for financial advice, compliances, and reporting. Every CA firm can build and grow its indirect tax practice and provide GST consultancy services to existing and potential clients.
You can also cater to bigger clientele by offering GST consultancy with a Business Loan for Chartered Accountants
2. Tap new and emerging markets
In India, the number of CAs is far lower than required. As per the 68th annual report of The Institute of Chartered Accountants of India for 2016-17, CAs in the country are a little over 2.7 lakh. The number hasn’t increased much since. Thus, it’s a perfect platform for those in business to expand to newer markets and offer their services.
Going beyond offering consultancy in the traditional areas of audit, taxation, financial reporting, etc. foster your firm’s growth by providing services in the emerging areas like:
- Setting up GST practices and compliance with the rules
- Companies Bill, 2012
- International taxation
- Forensic accounting
- Entry strategies for overseas companies
You can fund your firm’s expansion plans with a business loan for chartered accountants.
Additional read: Roadblocks for CA firms and how to solve them
3. Adopt a ‘Jack of all and master of one’ approach
Providing multi-disciplinary services will help you increase your client base. However, you should retain your specialisation area since that is what your clients have known you for. Diversifying your services by offering consultancy in allied areas hedges the risk of losing your clients and helps build a long-term relationship with them, where you become their go-to person for all accounting and financial matters.
4. Update yourself
Keeping oneself updated warrants knowledge about the latest developments in the world of finance, audit and technology. According to a survey conducted by online accounting software company Xero on 1,000 UK accountants in 2016, 83% believed that understanding technology would be as relevant as traditional accounting skills for future CAs. At least 22% of the respondents believed that failure to adapt to new technology would result in falling behind the competition.
Technologies like cloud accounting software help you:
- Serve clients across different locations
- Increase monthly cash flow by offering accounting services remotely
- Reduce travel expenses of visiting client’s location to examine their accounts
You can also stay ahead of the curve by enrolling for post-qualification courses such as information system audit and concurrent audit of banks. These courses are a prerequisite for banking clients.
Additional read: 5 things that should top your CA firm's to-do list
5. Hire quality and specialised staff
For any organisation, the quality of its workforce determines its success. To deliver outstanding client service, you need to hire worthy people, especially for projects that warrant professionals. This will help you meet tight deadlines even in peak filing seasons with ease.
6. Provide value-added services
As market competition grows, many CA firms find it difficult to acquire clients and retain them. To solve this, firms can consider getting into bank financing, helping clients procure the right loans, preparing feasibility reports for them, assisting them in business valuation, cash flow management, strategic business planning, succession planning, new business formation, etc. These end-to-end services will make clients depend on you for multiple functions, thereby increasing their retention.
7. Network with the right people
CA firms get a majority of their work through referrals, which makes reputation management and networking vital. As a CA, you must regularly connect with relatives and other professionals across domains and with the CAG, RBI, NHAI and other regulatory bodies. Having discussions with peers and seniors can also better your outlook.
In today’s digital age, leverage the power of social media to boost your professional networking. It will come in handy if you plan to expand to a new city with space, infrastructure, and regulatory norms. It will also help you merge or partner with other practices so that together, you can provide better fees and increase combined earnings, making the firm more sustainable.
8. Add partners
New partners bring in potential clients, expertise in new areas (helping your firm diversify its offerings), increased visibility and a fresh outlook. This is a quick-fix business development solution. Prepare a revenue-sharing model based on your firm’s experience and the quantum/ nature of work while you add new members. There are a couple of ways of doing this.
- If your firm is new, you might not be able to pay the new partner a remuneration. Therefore, you should have a profit-sharing agreement. It should clearly define the revenue of each partner for the business they bring to the firm. This also keeps partners motivated to take the firm to the next level
- If your firm is old and has a retained client base to cater to, the revenue-sharing agreement can be a mix of fixed income and profits
Both these cases need finance. Consider an external source of finance if you’ve parked your savings in the stock market. Loans for chartered accountants are meant to aid professionals like you. Use them as per your requirement and boost your ROI.
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