21st Century Smart Chartered Accountant


  • Did you meet him/her?
  • Do you know what he/she does differently?
  • Are you interested to become like him/her?


Indian economy is on the cusp of growth is undoubtedly true statement supported by our demand, demography and robust democracy. Indian Chartered Accountants are going to grow from 285000+ today to One million soon is also unchallenged because we have healthy student pipeline with us.


50% or even more CAs will be absorbed by Industry is also true but are we going to give the desired growth and placement to members in Industry? Are we promising them 5 year journey from CA to CFO or at least enabling them to target it after 3-4 years of hard work of apprenticeship even before becoming a qualified accountant?


Okay, let’s examine what are the type of tasks and jobs for 21st Century Smart Chartered Accountants in making  ?

Type of Task Task Description Example
Routine Rule Based



Recording & Reporting

Filling up Tax Forms & Proof reading

Preparing Standard Report by plugging data in table / charts

Working like Assembly line

Manual Interpersonal



Client & Tax Department visit

Preparing Contracts & Proposals

Visiting Courts / Tribunals carrying loads of files

Doing Secondary research on internet and Drafting

Complex thinking and Communicating Abstract problem solving and Mental flexibility Interpretation

Drawing inferences

Making & giving presentation

Leading Team & Project Management

Designing Structures

Business Advisory

M&A work

Implementing Process Automation

Finding Bugs in Software & process workflow

Forensic audit & fraud detection using technology and tools


With above matrix it is very clear that in most of the developed countries, focus is more on research, creativity and solving problems which are not considered as problem yet. Finding innovative solutions where human brain is not just used in repetitive tasks but machines are put in place to scale up and find right solutions by challenging status quo.


No invention would have happened if we accept what we are and what we have today.


I believe that to produce smart CAs we need to focus on 4 things immediately


  1. Align CA Syllabus to meet the evolving needs of Industry 4.0 and Technology 2.0
  2. Make Industrial Training of 1 Year compulsory to fast track journey of CA to CFO
  3. Create Short term re-skilling courses in emerging areas for Members both in Industry and Practice
  4. Create smart programs in life skill coaching, Time & Goal Management, Stress Management and how to improve memory and focus on prioritizing tasks in hand and professional growth.


Let’s understand from this case study how journey from CA to CFO can be made easy by adopting few best practices in real life.


Anant was financial controller managing a large team of 60 people in Gurgaon’s congested Cyber City area. His primary goals was to ensure all delivery to his HQ happens on time , his staff morale is on high and they are able to deliver 110% of their capacity. His quarterly reviews were excellent but his health was deteriorating every day. He skipped lunches for huddle room meetings and deprived of sleep because of US timing for most of his important HQ calls. Anant’s CFO John was an Expat and one day he called him to declare that he wants to go back to his country and company has decided not to replace CFO position with another Expat. He wanted to hear from Anant whether he see this an opportunity?


Anant was happy inside but worried due to his work pressure and not sure of who will take over his position. He replied, “John, What you say?” John put his hand on the shoulder of Anant and said , Why don’t you go for a weeks off and let’s meet next week to discuss and decide. Next week Anant returned to office completely rejuvenated and met John in his room. John called Mukesh , Deputy of Anant and introduced him as new CFO company has decided and Anant will be given new role of HR with promotion as President -HR. Seema was made Financial Controller replacing Anant.  It was shocking to Anant because he always aspired to become CFO replacing John. So why company decided to make Mukesh, the new CFO and shunted Anant into HR role?


John took him for a lunch out meeting as planned already and revealed that company sees more potential in Anant to become CEO of the company in next 3 years because of 3 good things in him.

  1. Honesty
  2. Commitment to work and good team player developing leaders
  3. Good command over business numbers


But he also told him about 3 things he should be working on to become a successful CEO 3 year later and why he missed the race to become CFO

  1. Inability to make work-life balance for himself and immediate team leaders
  2. Good with Numbers but not so good with Business Strategy and Decision making
  3. Lack of personal motivation to learn new skills


Anant got impressed with John’s candid approach of showing him path of bigger success and he determined to improve in those areas to become “Good to Great”.


Friends , today there are many Anants inside and outside corporate world , aspiring for bigger and larger growth but missing out something big in their life. My aim is to make ICAI a continuous enabling platform for members in Industry also to connect with and find a rock solid mentor ecosystem where they get hundreds of John helping them achieve personal and professional success.


Jai Hind !!!


CA Sanjay Kumar Agrawal

#CASanjay #MrCA #MsCA #MCQ #CharteredAccountants  #CharteredAccountant #CA #India #SmartCA #BrandCA