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BCAS President CA Chirag Doshi’s Message for the Month of December 2023

Dear BCAS Family,

“Financial literacy is an essential part of knowing how to avoid financial mistakes and devising plans for a secure and strong financial future” – Tim Pawlenty.

Financial Literacy is a topic that is extremely important to just about everyone these days. It’s important not only because it impacts everyone, but also because those who lack a sound financial education risk a future of unnecessary instability and hardship.

Chartered Accountants can bring a big change in the nation’s future by contributing towards increasing financial literacy.

In a tweet, PM Modi said, “On #CharteredAccountantsDay, we honour a professional community that is among our nation’s key financial architects. Their analytical acumen and steadfast commitment are crucial to strengthening our economy. Their expertise helps build a prosperous and self-reliant India.”

Measuring Financial Literacy essentially involves measuring a combination of awareness, knowledge, skill, attitude, and behaviour necessary to make sound financial decisions and ultimately achieve individual financial well-being. According to the Standard & Poor’s Global Financial Literacy Survey, which is the world’s largest and most comprehensive global measurement of financial literacy, India ranks 73rd out of 144 countries. In India, only 27% of the population is financially literate, meaning only one out of every five Indians is equipped to deal with one of the most crucial aspects of human well-being.

A survey of “Financial Literacy among Students, Young Employees and the Retired in India” conducted by IIM-A supported by CITI Foundation reveals that” high financial literacy is not widespread among Indians where less than a quarter of the population have adequate knowledge on financial matters. There is a lack of understanding among Indians about the basic principles of money and household finance, such as compound interest, the impact of inflation on rates of return and prices, and the role of diversification in investments.”

In India, many rural communities lack access to financial services and education. As per ‘Deciphering Financial Literacy in India’ and article published in the Economic & Political Weekly, India also deals with tremendous inter-state differences within the country itself. Metropolitan areas like Maharashtra, Delhi, and West Bengal have financial literacy rates of 17%, 32%, and 21%, respectively. At the same time, states like Bihar, Rajasthan, Jharkhand and Uttar Pradesh, where poverty is rampant, suffer from low financial literacy rates. On the one hand, Goa as a state has the highest financial literacy rate of 50 per cent, whereas Chhattisgarh lacks financial education and has the lowest literacy rate of 4 per cent.

Chartered Accountants can play a vital role in bridging this gap by providing financial education to these communities. By teaching individuals about savings, investments, and budgeting, Chartered Accountants can empower them to make better financial decisions and improve their standard of living.
Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) are the backbone of the Indian economy, but they often face financial challenges that can hinder their growth. We can help SMEs overcome these challenges by providing financial and accounting advice, including tax planning and compliance, financial forecasting, and budgeting.

Many non-profits in India struggle to manage their finances, which can hamper their ability to deliver services to those in need. Chartered Accountants can provide pro bono services to these organisations to help them manage their finances and improve their operations. In fact, it is heartening to note that many CAs are indeed rendering such noble services.

Digital financial literacy is also crucial to empower individuals to navigate these digital financial landscapes securely and make informed decisions. The masses should understand online banking, digital payments, online trading, financial apps for expense management and budgeting, e-commerce, digital documentation, and more to achieve more financial inclusion.

There is also a growing recognition of the need to incorporate financial education into the school and college curriculum. Integrating basic financial concepts into the education system can help build a foundation for financial literacy from an early age. Our Society has also been working on a financial literacy drive at schools and colleges in Mumbai.

The Indian government has launched several financial inclusion initiatives aimed at bringing financial services to all citizens, especially those in rural areas. Our Society intends to take various initiatives to promote Financial and Tax Literacy amongst the different sections of society, namely Employee Workforce, Police, Doctors, Technocrats, Housewives, Senior citizens, Teachers and professors, Students, Farmers and Rural Households, MSMEs, Entrepreneurs, Start-ups, and  Businessmen.

Promoting financial literacy is essential to empower individuals, reduce financial vulnerabilities, and foster economic growth.

To take further steps in this direction, members are requested to take Resolution and volunteer themselves to achieve the mission of making citizens around them financially literate.

Chartered Accountant for Change
Past President – Shri Pradyumna Natvarlal Shah

Shri Pradyumna Natvarlal Shah, a revered figure in the annals of the Bombay Chartered Accountants’ Society, left for his heavenly abode on November 15, 2023. Fondly known as Pradyumna Bhai, he served as the BCAS President during the year 1968-69 and was the visionary behind BCAS’ esteemed flagship event, the “General RRC.” BCAS lost one of its founding leaders, a mentor to many, and one of the pioneers in the 75 years of BCAS history. During his professional journey, he has also been President of the Institute of Chartered Accountants of India and the Chamber of Tax Consultants. BCAS bows to the yeoman services rendered by the noble soul.

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Events

ReImagine
On 4th, 5th, and 6th of January 2024, BCAS will organise       a mega-conference ReImagine. The conference deals with      Reimagining the Profession in this      Changing      Technological      Environment. A total of 15+ thought-provoking sessions impacting the current state of professionals in practice or in industry are planned. Thought leaders from all over India and      abroad are going to be there sharing their thoughts on topics like Startups,      New      Age      Professional      Firms,      One      World      One      Tax, Capital      Markets, the impact of  Technology on Tax, Audit, and other service areas,      Changing      Corporate      Landscape, New      Age Economic      Wars, the changing roles of CA, and many more. I am glad to inform you that Padma Bhushan Shri Kumar Mangalam Birla, Chairman of Aditya Birla Group, has consented to deliver the Keynote address. There will also be a Leadership talk by Padma Vibhushan Shri Viswanathan Anand (Indian Chess Grandmaster).

Participants from more than 100+ cities/towns, youth, and seniors from Practice and Industry have registered for this event, providing every participant with a 365-day networking opportunity in just three days. Interaction with various CFOs from the industry over the CFO roundtable dinner and much more will be an additional takeaway.

I would urge the readers not to miss this one-of-a-kind event, which will be extremely beneficial for their professional journeys. It is an Event where History meets the Future, Vision meets Thoughts, Network meets Net Worth, and I meet We!

To learn more about the conference and our thought leaders, visit https://reimagine.bcasonline.org.

I will eagerly await at the Reimagine to welcome you on 4th January 2024.

Thank You!

With Best Regards,

CA Chirag Doshi
President

Please feel free to write to me at president@bcasonline.org |