Chartered accountants are integral to a company's financial well-being. They ensure the company's survival by checking that the company follows all legal compliance, especially concerning taxes. In fact, in most small to medium enterprises, the CA is the go-to person for any legal clarification. This fact opens quite a few doors for the enterprising CA. With a shift in taxation policies and a dynamic business environment, CAs must constantly question their offerings and go a step further. They need to offer end-to-end solutions to clients to become an integral part of a company's functioning.
The new economy has been continuously throwing up challenges in the form of GST, demonetisation, cryptocurrency, smart contracts, blockchain, etc. With these developments, expanding your skill set beyond the traditional areas becomes imperative if you want to stay above the competition. Additionally, it would help if you had expertise in auditing, taxation, indirect tax, and corporate compliance.
Traditional areas for CA firms
Traditional areas have become somewhat redundant and seem to be losing monetary value. For example, the return filing fees in 1990 were Rs. 1,500, and even in 2013, a CA could not charge more than Rs. 2,000 for the same. Similarly, the cost for assessment proceedings has not changed much since the value of Rs. 2,000 that was in place in 1990. What's more, even with the increased risks in auditing, clients hate to increase the fee paid to CAs. All this is a major loss for CAs, especially with inflation coming to play.
Additional Read: How to start a CA firm
Emerging areas for CA firms
Developing skills in the emerging areas for CAs could help you improve your CA practice. You can invest in courses to learn about labour and employment laws, government tenders, CSR, and due diligence. You can also do courses in IT laws, intellectual property laws, and so on. Acquiring new skills helps you to offer more services to your clients, and therefore, increase revenue. For example, labour and employment laws protect the rights of the labour force and keep the interests of employers and employees in balance. Corporate social responsibility (CSR) refers to a corporate’s role in meeting the sustainable development agenda. And intellectual property law enforces legally binding rights to one's inventions, designs, literary, technological, and artistic creations.
IT laws and regulations exist to protect information technology used by a company against cyber threats and information distribution concerns. E-waste regulations and compliance is another area that comes under IT laws. CAs also become part of the financial and tax due diligence, which is a part of any business deal. Also, the rise in start-up culture has led to a requirement for CAs well versed in legal and due diligence.
The certification for all these is available online and quite affordable. If necessary, CAs can use professional CA loans to learn these skills and expand their practice, allowing them to take up larger projects in the corporate sector.
Additional Read: Opportunities and challenges faced by CA firms
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