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BCAS President CA Chirag Doshi’s Message for the Month of March 2024

Future Ready – Finance Professionals

“If you don’t want to be like everybody, then you have to do what nobody has done. Walk a different path, and you’ll create a new destination for yourself.” – Mahatria Ra –

The future awaits with loads of opportunities for persons/entities who want to be different. If we accept that “knowing what we are and what we are not” is critical, then the time for change is now. The pace at which transformation is taking place in our profession and industries across the world, will not wait for anyone, a person or a firm. Firms that fail to define their identity will have the risk of being overtaken by more disciplined firms or watching their own relevance to clients decline. Whereas the firms that embrace the discipline and have the courage to define what they are and what they do will enjoy growth and success.

Traditionally, strategies have always been a fundamental trade-off between scale and relations. Now, technology allows firms to have both, no matter their size. Along with a new wave of cloud-based services, which are available for rent-based or subscription-based models, it is possible for even small firms to access the benefits of scale without investing heavily in assets themselves. Firms of the future will also need innovative and flexible methods of working that support their teams to solve specific problems and move on quickly.

Traditional firms were defined by the assets they owned and controlled. Future firms will be defined by the ecosystems they create, the partnerships and the global reach they possess. The Firms of the Future will see the emergence of new ownership models, too.

The new era demands very different skillet and leadership approaches than what has prevailed for the past 40 years. The leaders of the firms of the Future will not only have to run their current engine-as efficiently as possible, but also create new avenues-tomorrow’s engine-that aligns with dynamic client needs, new competitors and new global economics.

Working for a firm of the future will be very different. Many times, it will feel like an investment banking firm more focused on mission-critical roles. At other times, it will feel like a professional services firm, with its ability to rapidly mobilise its resources.

If anything is true of the last ten years in India, it’s that the mountains of change we’ve experienced which have left a big mark on the way corporates do business. Accounting firms have seen notable shifts in how they operate and deliver services.

Various elements are impacting the future age firms:

1: Global resourcing

Global resourcing allows accounting firms to access specialised expertise and talent without local or even national talent constraints and provide better service to their clients. By leveraging global talent, firms can increase efficiency and provide more innovative services to their clients.

2: New service offerings and delivery models

Clients now have new needs and firms have to continuously upgrade their skills and talents to stay competitive and adapt to new models of delivering better and more efficient services. Changes will be seen in the near future as to how firms provide their various advisory services, technology consultancy, data analytics, and other value-added services. Firms may also witness changes in their pricing models.

3: Specialization

Steve Jobs was known for saying, “Do not try to do everything. Do one thing well.” Professional firms will also need to adopt this approach whereby they specialise by industry, region, service, and other niches to secure a competitive advantage over their competitors.

4: Client experience

A stronger client-centric approach that focuses on meeting every client’s unique needs is the path forward for the firms now. Firms might have to increase their team sizes and skills in the area of client relationships and experience.

5: Work-life balance

With parts of the world experimenting with 4-day work weeks, Firms need to understand their human resources capacity, have transparent agreements with staff, and be able to distribute work in a more balanced manner.

6: Partnership and collaboration

Markets are changing with clients expecting inputs for strategic vision, forward-thinking opinions, thought-provoking solutions and more. It will be difficult for firms to meet these needs. Your clients’ needs will continue evolving, and you must stay relevant. You will have to remember that you cannot do everything by yourself and will have to find partners who can help you solve problems for your clients that you can’t.

The firms in denial about the need for change should examine the following six characteristics.

  1. Partner/manager comfort zones
  2. Artificial harmony
  3. Overconfidence
  4. Herding instinct
  5. Banking on good intentions
  6. Vested anchoring

To be on the growth path and lead the professional career with confidence and success, I am providing various questions which Practitioners should plan to address:

  • Have you defined who you are, in terms of clients or industries served, services offered and specialities? Also, define who you are not.
  • Have you reviewed your list of clients to verify that only “ideal client” are being onboarded?
  • Of the services listed on your profiles/website, which ones represent areas in which you have critical clients? In which are you truly differentiator, so much so that you distinguish yourself in the marketplace?
  • Any work you transitioned out of your firm because it does not fit your long-term strategy or skills requirements?
  • Are you aware of the services of your firm that will continue to have reduced profitability because they offer no real competitive advantage?
  • Does your services produce data and information but create no real value?
  • Are your team members specifically aligned with your areas of focus so that they quickly grow?
  • Do you hold partners accountable for your core strategies? Are they working towards a common goal that is in the firm’s best long-term interest or working to meet individual goals?

In the professional services industry, technology has accelerated the pace of change and enabled faster, more flexible service delivery. Firms of the future will have to embrace the change in every aspect from enhanced client experiences and leveraging technology for efficiency to building a more balanced workplace and innovating around service offerings, which will be critical for firms to adapt if they want to stay competitive and grow. Otherwise, experts predict that by 2025, firms that remain loyal to old ways of working will likely have fallen by the wayside

Leadership Retreat

Our Society organised the Leadership Camp at the Deolali Military Camp area at The Leslie Sawhney Training Centre on “Empowering Relationship”. The major takeaway for me was the 4A principle to resolve various professional and personal conflicts. Avoidance, Acceptance, Analysis and Activation. I would recommend members to look forward to more such events by the Human Resource Development Committee.

57th Residential Refresher Course (RRC)

Our Society just witnessed a remarkable 57th RRC on the theme of “Back to Roots”, which had a traditional flavour with new energies. The nostalgic 18+ RRC’s held earlier at the same location were remembered by our various Past Presidents sharing their views on the concept of RRC. Intense Group and Panel discussions, and the Presentation Papers set the academics rolling. This RRC also set the flavour of the future, with around 50% of participants being youth, bringing new energies and enthusiasm through various ice-breaking activities and team building games, treasure hunts in the midst of mountains of Mahabaleshwar, discussion of global opportunities and much more.

I have shared my thoughts on how to be future-ready for professionals with just one desire: we have to be in control of our journey as a professional.

I would like to conclude with a relevant quote from Manu Smriti, which is apt for attaining happiness:

सर्वं परवशं दुःखं सर्वमात्मवशं सुखम्। एतद् विद्यात् समासेन लक्षणं सुखदुःखयोः॥

Everything that is in another’s control is painful. All that is in self-control is happiness.

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Thank You!

With Best Regards,

CA Chirag Doshi

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