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Emerging opportunities for CAs in the industry

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

A Chartered Accountant’s  profession is generally considered to be very prosperous but is also stressful. With globalisation, technological advancements, complex regulatory framework, evolution of exciting business models and emergence of entrepreneurship as a viable career option, the options for Chartered Accountants today are wider and more exciting.

By Deepak Narayanan, Co-founder & Director, MYCFO

Times have changed, right? Gone are the days when almost every Qualified CA spent his/her initial years with an audit firm believing that this was needed to strengthen their ‘basics’ and gain the requisite experience before they make their next moves as well. Remember jobs were also not easy to come by and the ones with the entrepreneurial bug would almost invariably slip into ‘practice’. There were others who opted for industrial training in their formative years where they trained with a large company, continued with the company to move up the ranks.

‘Boring’, ‘money-minded’ and ‘obsessed with numbers’ are few of the epithets that are often used to describe a chartered accountant. In fact, more often people associate a CA with people who help them file returns, plan taxes; auditors or with people working in accounts department of an organization.

The growth in the domestic economy has lead to growth in almost every sector and the emergence of new age sectors. With the entrepreneurial boom, the ecosystem now looks at the role of Chartered Accountants from a different dimension including Chartered Accountants themselves. The opportunities have opened up in not only once considered traditional sectors like Banking, Insurance, Manufacturing but also in new age sectors like modern retail, Healthcare, Information Technology, Education, E-Commerce, Logistics including segments like Investment Banking, Venture Capital/Private Equity. Chartered Accountants are also partnering with businesses like never before to increasingly move up the corporate ladder to occupy positions of a Chief Financial Officer (CFO) or a Chief Executive Officer (CEO).

An increasing number of CA’s today are willing to take the ‘risk’ and join new age, exciting businesses which are not brands as yet; joining them to purely satisfy their urge to try something new and quench their entrepreneurial thirst by being close to how things work in an ‘entrepreneurial set up’.

This category of people are willing to give a few years of their life to build and scale these businesses knowing fully well that they can get back to ‘established companies’ if things don’t work out. Venture Capital/Private Equity once considered to be the domain of management graduates from Ivy league schools is also seeing a fair share of Chartered Accountants evaluating deals, raising funds, working with entrepreneurs and being a part of company boards.

A stint with a large accounting/audit firm itself today has undergone changes with areas like Mergers & Acquisitions, International Tax, Consulting, Risk Management, Corporate Finance opening up new vistas for CA’s. Many CA’s consider entrepreneurship itself as a viable career option today.

The Institute of Chartered Accountants of India (ICAI) needs to take a large part of the credit since they have managed to retain the standards of the course fairly high, which has ensured that largely the quality of the Chartered Accountants is good and they are sought after by prospective employers.

The number of people who are registering for the course has gone up significantly over the years; students and parents are able to see the opportunities that a career as a CA offers. However, with the increase in demand, the institute needs to ensure that the supply of CA’s is not a bottleneck while ensuring that it works closely with companies to ensure that the gap between academics and expectations from companies is narrowed down.

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