Remember one thing, when we prepare for exams we think it’s the most difficult part in the life of CA but in fact it is not. To be very frank it is the easiest part in the career of CA.

Why because, either to start your OWN practice or to get placed in a top company with fancy packages are more difficult than exams.

First thing you need to do is talk to people – even people who you think might not add any value to your decision making. You never know – you might get a different perspective, you might get a new connection, etc.

Talk to people who are practicing, talk to people who are in industry, and talk to people who have started practice straight away, talk to people who have worked for a few years in industry and then set up their own practice.

The Future CA 2025

Job Vs Practice and difficulties in making choice

Even before you start your article ship one has to decide the career in terms of joining job or starting your own practice.  The early you decide it is better. If one is keen to join practice then joining big four firms will not provide exposure in areas of small and medium practicing firm. Ideally a person should join small and medium size firm where he learns everything from audit to taxation from executing to handling client.

In case your family members are already in professional practice it becomes easier to carry on legacy, as you get years of experience and ready clients to serve. Starting your own practice without any family background is challenging and that too if your area of expertise in article ship is different from area you chose in practice.

COP Vs NON COP

So, how should you start your own practice?

If you have decided to practice, start filing IT returns, GST returns, tds returns even at the time of your articles , on your own for your friends , relatives, neighbors. That is the first circle of your professional work. First you need to get out of the fear of doing works on your own.

Then slowly the above people will start referring more people for you. First recognize yourself as a CA in your area Whatever work comes to you , be it getting PAN card, filing of simple salary return , take that and do it in a sincere manner.

Some important key points to be taken care before your go ahead.

1. In early stages don’t expect too much fees. It’s like filing return for 3 guys for 1500rs is better than filing return for 1 guy for 1000 rs. The point is you have 2 more clients and he could bring some more clients.

2. If you want to be prudent, join in a practicing firm as an employee after you have become a CA so that a regular income is assured, then start doing the above activities parallely. But you should manage both parallely.

3. Always try to add value to clients. As much as possible advice your client as to how to run business effectively, how to manage funds effectively. If possible arrange him some loans and tell him that he can claim interest as an expense (tax savings on that) instead of running business on his own funds. Like that I say.

4. If you want to establish the name of your firm or proprietorship in the society , just put an article assistant under you. He will take care of the rest. The moment he starts learning, he will tell his friends about his office and in many cases he recommends people for professional works to your office.

5. Wherever you go, whomsoever you meet , shake your hands confidentially and give your visiting card.

6. Attend as many social functions as possible. Don’t speak unnecessarily anywhere and try to make as many new friends as possible. Never underestimate anyone. Even a car driver could bring his wealthy boss as client to you.

7. To the extent possible wear dress formally. That adds value as a professional.

8. Approach banks for concurrent audits, start registering in empanelment sites for audits of C and AG , banks etc.

Once you have survived for a year, you could have considerable amount of tax audits, statutory audit as per companies Act and probably you could have started doing certification works also. Remember one thing; 10 years down the line, your one month earning will be equal to your one year earnings at the initial stages. So just survive till that time. At last, till the time you establish yourself, relax your own set of policies and listen to what the client requires.

Being updated: You aren’t required to know everything but make sure that you are updated at least for the sake of conversation with your clients or to be clients. For eg. You meet a PR consultant. You know nothing about it then you won’t be to make a conversation with her so you lose your client here. Instead you should know what is branding, how PR plays role for it, which are famous PR agencies in India, etc.

Networking: I will be joining Rotary club and Lions club of my town for the purpose of networking so that I can meet new people, get new clients and improve my overall personality.

Collaboration: You need to understand that you can’t be an expert in everything when you are into practice. You should try for collaborations with other professionals so that faster services are provided to your clients.

Try to understand client’s mentality: You can’t be strict at each and everything whenever you are into practice. So if there is any mistake from client’s end you need to understand the issues and solve them.

You should be able to show your clients that the fees paid by him are worth.

We as professionals first need to focus on building goodwill for 1st 5 years rather than just earning money.

As immense are the opportunities for CAs to grow and excel in practice, as daunting is the idea of establishing one. There is no denying that like any business, it would require patience, planning and process. So where do you start?

Before starting your practice, it is important to do your research and ask yourself questions so that you can gain a sense of direction and purpose.

Some things that you should ponder over include:

1. Do I have the experience to handle a business and employees?

2. Do I have the capital needed to start a firm?

3. Do I have a clear vision for my accounting business?

4. Do I have the motivation required to succeed?

5. Do I have support from family members?

6. How will I set my practice apart from those of other entrepreneurs like me?

Making your cash flow grid:

As a CA, you understand the importance of documenting finances and projecting cash flows. Prepare a cash flow grid that predicts the long-term profitability of your firm and allow you to better plan for the following years. A specimen of the same is presented hereunder.

Year Cash Outflows(A) Cash Inflows(B) Net Cash Flow(B-A)
1 Furniture  Rs. 2,00,000
Rent Rs. 1,00,000
Staff  Rs. 30,000
Miscellaneous ₹ 20,000
Rs. 2,00,000 ₹ (-1,50,000)
2 Rent  Rs. 1,00,000
Staff  Rs. 40,000
Miscellaneous Rs. 30,000
Rs. 3,50,000 Rs. 1,80,000
3 Rent Rs. 1,50,000
Staff  Rs. 50,000
Miscellaneous Rs. 50,000
Rs. 6,00,000 Rs. 3,50,000
4 Rent   Rs. 2,50,000
Staff  Rs. 1,00,000
Miscellaneous Rs. 1,00,000
Rs. 10,00,000 Rs. 5,50,000
5 Rent Rs. 3,00,000
Staff Rs. 2,00,000
Miscellaneous Rs. 1,00,000
Rs. 15,00,000 Rs. 9,00,000

A 5-year projection of the cash flows, as illustrated above, reflects the financial viability of your firm, helps plan capital and regular expenses better and thereby, assures you that the actual returns stay in line with the projected returns.

Solo versus partnership

In deciding whether to open your own practice or to go into partnership with another, consider it from all angles. Think about the positives and negatives of each.

Partnership: the balance sheet

Positives Negatives 
Collaboration –  Using your collective knowledge and judgment can make yours a stronger practice Compromise will be required from time to time – you are not simply your own boss
Support – You can cover holidays, sickness, etc. between you Differing levels of competence and motivation could lead to frustration
Companionship – It’s natural for humans to want to share experiences with others Conflict – some partnerships don’t last, and the end may not be amicable.
Costs – Economies of scale from shared resources Different time frames and objectives – Compromise will help but sometimes these need careful negotiation to resolve
Image – The public may view a partnership better than a solo practice Risk – Your partner’s actions expose you to risk.
Different strengths – Beyond the technical, think about business development and client and staff management.

 Better opportunity compared with other professions like Lawyer and Company Secretary

Our profession provides better opportunities in practice than that of Lawyers and Company Secretaries. In case of Legal professional though areas of practice is huge, however if we see number of Lawyers in India are more than 17 Lakhs. In CS the area of practice is limited towards compliance in relation to MCA, however most of it can be even done by CA barring few certification which is mandatory by CS.

Creating Expertise Vs General Practice

Initially it is advisable to go for general practice, so that you learn and explore each area. No point when you are jack of all but master of none. So in long run it is always better to specialize in some area. However it comes with its own risk. Imagine government to abolish Income Tax Act! Then all those who has specialize in Income Tax Field will find it difficult to start something new.

Pursuing your dreams

Do not forget in practice you are your own boss. You can always have a work life balance. You can always fulfill your dreams. Yes in beginning you have cash flow issues and may have to take monetary hit, however the self-satisfaction you get is immeasurable. I personally had that opportunities to explore many new desires which would have been difficult if I would have been employed, as you have to give at least 10 to 12 hours to job. In summary there are challenges to start your own practice but the real fruits you get only with patience and trusting oneself.

Lessons for Individual Professionals.

Lesson One

What you know now and are able to do now, what your current success is built on, will unavoidably depreciate in value unless you actively work on learning new things and building new skills. Continual professional development is a lifelong requirement, not an option. There may have been a time when once you got good at something, may be “made partner”, you could live off that for the rest of your career. If those times ever existed, they are gone now. The minute you start thinking you know how things work, you are dead.

Lesson Two

The health of your career is not dependent so much on the volume of business you do, but the type of work you do (whether or not it helps you learn, grow, and develop) and who you do it for (whether or not you are increasingly earning the trust of some key clients). In any profession, the pattern of assignments you work on is the professional development process – you just have to learn how to manage it.

Lesson Three

No matter how busy you are, you still owe it to yourself and to your career to get involved with and take charge of your own practice development activities (marketing and selling). If you let others in your firm generate the business you work on, you are putting your career development in other people’s hands – a risky move at best. If you rely on business flowing to you unsolicited, then, with high probability, it is going to be “asset milking” rather than “asset building”. What marketing and selling are about is truly practice development: Influencing the qualitative nature of what you work on, so that you use your work experience to continue to build your career.

Lesson Four

Since asset building is about managing your affairs for the long-term health of your career, you would better take charge of it yourself. Do not wait for your firm to establish formal policies to reflect concern about the balance sheet as well as the income statement. It probably should, but whether it does or not, it is in your own interest to get started yourself.

Lesson Five

Also you cannot automatically assume that what your firm “asks you to do” will always be the right thing to build your asset. For example, if you are already experienced in a certain area, chances are that others in the firm will turn to you every time an issue comes up in that area. If you don’t take charge, others will exploit your asset. You have got to be a good corporate citizen, but you have also got to learn to balance that with what makes sense for your own development.

Lesson Six

Among the worst mistakes a professional can make is under investing in marketing to existing clients. Existing clients are not only more likely to give you new business, but the business they will give you (if you work to earn) is likely to promote the value both of your skill asset and your client relationships asset.

CA.Rohit Ruwatia Agarwal
{B.Com, FCA, CCCA, FAFP (ICAI)}
Vice-Chairman, CIRC, ICAI
(Setup by an act of parliament)
Mobile – 9571799999,
E Mail – chartered_ruwatia@yahoo.in

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