In 27th GST Council meeting government has clearly hinted to simplify GST compliance to meet their promise of “ease of doing business”. Our friends in application service provider ( ASP) industry are worried about the future of their “Sandbox” products with minimal value added features and business model created from the Total available market theory are falling.
Chartered Accountants who are in practice have seen and suffered the GST transition phase wherein they witnessed hard time of change management within their organization and client organization. On the top of it , continuous evolution of GST law made them work day and night to keep pace with it.
Now with compliance simplification, it is time to introspect the Client business needs to develop a strong professional practice which will grow and grow only with the time. Formalization of economy will change the client needs very fast and their expectation for compliance will also change. Success can happen if chartered accountants are geared up with 3 essential elements
- Robust knowledge of GST , you know more than your client
- Credible Tools, people & Technology used by your office to deliver
- Clear Goal setting and communication to your potential clients
Most of the time, we do not integrate learning of our past for the success of future.
Anil, a young and bright CA of 4 years post qualification experience in Taxation, quit his job to start practice in Gurgaon. He joined as partner in a small boutique firm started by one Ex-Big 4 Partner who was good in Transaction Advisory. He got 5 clients to serve on day one he joined the firm, but to prove himself, he brought 5 more in next months and started burning midnight oil to service them all alone.
As he was new to practice, he accepted work at a professional fees which was very low and not aligned with the time it consumed and he didn’t bother about hiring right resource to support him, ignoring advice of his senior partner.
After 6 month of servicing clients day and night , Anil was sitting on the outstanding fees from 50% of his client, who were complaining that he didn’t bother to respond their queries during GST implementation, he didn’t turn up for crucial meetings with their core teams as promised. Some of them even withdrew their other services also due to performance issues.
Lesson learnt from this case study is that role of chartered accountant is like a Business Advisor for both his /her own practice and their client’s business. Planning, Integrating the learning from failure and course correction is required to succeed on daily basis.
Now GST is moving into stabilizing phase and new opportunities and areas where your clients will need support are
- GST Health Checks and advising how to fix the gaps ?
- GST Expert advisory on ticklish issues, yet to be resolved by GST Council ?
- Advance ruling and representation route to help clients / industry.
- Dispute resolution for Input mismatch.
- Process automation and optimizing ERP / ASP systems by correcting masters & chart of accounts.
- Reconciliation of GST returns with Financial books of accounts before GST Audits.
- Plan – Design and review robust EWB system to avoid movement mis-matches with GST returns and handle vehicle detentions with technical due diligence.
If you are in GST practice or want to start afresh, it is right time to deep dive into the subject, read latest development through the Law itself ( not through unsolicited googling or browsing media ). Start creating your own communication channel with your potential clients, use social media like Linkedin and twitter to reach establish yourself as trusted thought leader who can think and see beyond visible to guide the business about best practices.
A deep understanding of your client’s business will help you applying the GST principle and optimize his/her value chain, prevent Input Credit loss and fix common reasons of non-compliance. Merely uploading and reporting your client data in GST returns will never garner professional service fees because all repetitive tasks will vanish from client’s service wishlist , as it can be done by any graduate with little knowledge of computer tools.
If you wish to start compliance practice , then think of creating process automation wherein you can manage volumes by putting Processes and not People on the job to deliver flawless service and review is done by experts to fix the aberration. It will also require a design disruption thinking at your end to see through the pain points of your clients / industry segment you are catering and then work with Industry veterans to create customized service offerings .
There is no scarcity of professional opportunities for chartered accountants but just a re-focus to the right opportunity, Collaborate with right partners and use of right tools should be targeted. Shotgun approach to win client may not work, you have to follow sniper approach to make your aim clear and deliver best results to your clients to gain their trust with authenticity, integrity and quality of service.
I, CA Sanjay Kumar Agrawal, am available to assist fellow chartered accountants who are interested to seek guidance on how to grow their practice and you can reach out to me for any professional assistance or collaboration.
#MCQ_Self_Challenge – an effective way of updating professional knowledge