As of 1st April 2021, there are 3,27,081 members of The Institute of Chartered Accountants of India (ICAI). Out of these, only 1,26,892 members are in practice.
The CA firms face some major hurdles. The International Federation of Accountants’ 2015 IFAC Global SMP Survey involved 6,725 small and medium-sized accounting practices SMPs from 169 countries.
The major roadblocks of SMPs were:
- Attracting new clients
- Keeping up with new standards and regulations
- Standing out from competitors
- Being pressured to reduce their fees
However, there are other hurdles for CA firms too, which include:
- Shift from the role of an auditor to business advisor and strategist
- Serving international clients
- Keeping up with new technology
- Attracting new and retaining existing staff
- Attracting new and retaining existing clients
Solutions to implement
1. Expand practice
Given the intense competition, it is important to ensure organic growth by generating new clients. Getting new clients can be a slow but steady process. CAs need to increase their visibility and reach. This can be done by publishing problems or industry-specific quality content. The expert opinion and the knowledge bank of CAs will help to build their domain authority. ICAI members can be speakers in various seminars and webinars. The delegate fees of various ICAI seminars is Rs. 1,000 to Rs. 1,500, on average. Visits and cold calling are still a critical part of networking. The existing clients can get you referrals. Quality service and fee benefits can delight them.
CAs are required to shift their role from mere accountants to being strategists and business advisors.
2. Increase your learning quotient
In order to render exceptional service to the client, all the members of the CA firm should continuously learn new skills. Some of the conventional skills are:
- Company secretarial services
- Taxation: national and international
- Consultancy for insolvency, share evaluation and others
ICAI offers several courses that can help enhance the knowledge quotient. Some of these courses are Information Systems Audit (ISA), ERP courses, Certification Course on Forensic Accounting and Fraud Prevention, etc. Qualifications like US GAAP will help members to serve international clients.
3. New technology
CA firms need to be tech-savvy to beat the competition. Adoption of software programs such as accountancy software, accounting tools, and client management software will help boost the firm's efficiency. These can be further aligned on a CA-ERP platform. For example, Gen GST software installation costs Rs. 5,000 with a per year updating of Rs. 2,000. For the enterprises, the application charges are Rs. 79,999, and the standard hosting price (India) is Rs. 39,999 per year. CAs can avail of a chartered accountant loan to absorb these costs.
These ways will help CA firms circumvent various roadblocks.
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