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Outgoing President's Speech by CA Abhay Mehta
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Office Bearers on the dais, President Mihirbhai Sheth, Vice President Chirag Doshi, Joint Secretaries Anand Bathiya and Kinjal Shah and Treasurer Zubin Billimoria. Respected Past Presidents of BCAS, torch bearers of other Professional Associations, seniors, fellow Professionals and other invitees.

A very Good Evening to all.

I extend a warm welcome to you all at the 73rd AGM and the 74th Founding Day celebration. It is after a gap of two years that we are having a physical AGM and Founding Day. I can say that personal interaction cannot be substituted by virtual meetings. We lose out on the warmth and impromptu discussions.

This will be my last address to this august crowd as the President of the Temple of Knowledge – known as BCAS.

My journey throughout the year has been with lots of learnings which has refined me as a professional and as a human being too. The experiences which I have gained shall be etched in my memory forever.

I was guided through this journey with constant reminder of my GURU Mahatria Ra’s following sentence:

What should we do to inherit the fragrance of the rose?
Just be in the rose garden long enough.

For me BCAS has been like a garden of rose and the longer one is inside the garden one will be able to inculcate qualities preached at BCAS.

There were manifold responsibilities with which I commenced my journey as the President. I had to ensure that the confidence which was reposed in me by the torchbearers of BCAS is not belied by my performance. I was also conscious of the rich legacy of BCAS which was not to be compromised in any manner by any of the action initiated at my or my committee’s behest.

I cannot judge and comment as to whether I have been able to perform and execute my duties in a diligent manner. I shall leave that judgment to the wisdom of the seniors and my colleagues on various committees, who have been pillars of strength in each initiative conceptualized and executed at BCAS.

I embarked on this journey with an aim to implement some of the initiatives which I had visualized for the profession and which would be able to contribute to the development of the profession thereby enhancing the image of BCAS.

BCAS has always played the role of spotting the upcoming areas of professional opportunities and acting as a transformational association, training pool of professionals to serve the trade, industry and government as part of Nation Building.

Keeping all the above aspects in mind the theme for the year was finalized with the acronym “ESG”. This acronym is a fancied one of late for the businesses, professionals, capital markets and economists as part of Sustainability Opportunities, Compliance and Reporting. I too am very much focused to assimilate knowledge on the Sustainability themed ESG. However, the theme ESG for us at BCAS was with a different meaning and purpose. Individually, each word in the acronym is of critical importance to our profession as well as country as a whole. For us, ESG stood for:

EMPOWERING

SCALING

GLOBALISING

To meet the objectives of Empowering, there were concerted efforts during the year at BCAS to be an enabler of showcasing latest knowledge on the upcoming areas of professional opportunities to the SMPs and young CAs. Efforts were also steered in the direction of creating platform for networking amongst members of BCAS from all over India.

Under objective of Scaling, the approach during the year was to bring professionals who are considered thought leaders in their domain on BCAS platform. This enables to guide SMPs by providing vision for scaling up their offerings. A concerted effort was also made to bring on board CA chapters from other parts of the country on a common platform for seminars and representations. This has ensured dissemination of knowledge to remote areas of India through BCAS. The participants from such regions have benefitted from rich content and experts in enriching their knowledge and vision. Another mode of scaling up services was to make the professional aware of the latest technologies available for effective execution of services.

To meet the objectives of Globalising, the efforts were initiated to create awareness of the professional services which can be offered by members at a global level. Speakers of international repute have also been invited to deliver lectures and share their views with our members thereby increasing their horizon for services.

I have purposely restricted myself to provide a broad indication of the theme based activities which were carried out during the year by BCAS. The reason for the same is that I presume that the detailed listing of the activities which are considered to be carried out under each theme have been read by the members from the Annual Report. If not, then I request members to please go through the Annual Report, as it provides a bird’s eye view of the humongous efforts put in through the ten committees for organizing events throughout the year.

Another reason is that I want to keep my message brief (though many of you may not feel so) and provide enough time to the Incoming President Mihirbhai to share his vision for the next year and ahead. It is the future in which members would be interested more than what has already been executed.

Along with the theme for the year, there was a conscious call taken by the Office Bearers to have an effort towards Internal Goal Setting for the BCAS as an Organisation. This was coined as LEAP.

Leadership for BCAS

Excellence at BCAS

Accountability to BCAS members

Professionalism in BCAS

Again to save on time I am not elaborating the various projects and initiatives which have enabled us to progress quite satisfactorily to achieve the objectives of internal goal setting. They have been elaborately described in the Annual Report. The unfinished agenda, I am sure will be executed with equal zeal during the ensuing year.

However, I would like to make a particular reference to the initiative to professionalise the organisation was a step in the direction of implementing Quality Management System (ISO 9001-2015). The first round of internal audit by the consultants before inviting the certification authorities to test the implemented processes has been completed and they have provided observations which have to be complied or addressed. I am hopeful that by 15th August, 2022, BCAS should be an ISO 9001-2015 compliant Organisation. I should acknowledge the efforts of Anand Bathiya, Zubin Billimoria and Staff of BCAS in driving this initiative diligently.

There are some memorable events which I consider landmark events during the year. These shall be remembered by me for my lifetime.

• Hon. CBDT Chairman Mr. J B Mohapatra giving BCAS an opportunity to visit his office to discuss Post Budget Representation on Direct Tax Provisions of Finance Bill, 2022.

• Hon. Chairman, CBDT, Shri. J B Mohapatra addressing from BCAS platform on the topic “Direction of Tax Policy in India”.

• Recognition by BMC of BCAS’ contribution of disseminating knowledge and adding values in professionals by naming the junction where BCAS office is situated as “BCAS Chowk”.

• BCAS got an opportunity to share views on the upcoming budget and post budget views on ET Now Swadesh Channel.

• Diamond Jubilee Edition of BCAS Referencer 2022-23 was released with much fanfare. This event was made even more memorable by felicitating Past President Mr. Pranay Marfatia for his passionate contribution for more than two decades in ensuring quality content and printing of the BCAS Referencer.

• Release of “Law and Practice of Transfer Pricing in India – A Compendium”. This Compendium has contribution from more than 150 authors. This Compendium has Foreword by Mr.Pascal Saint –Amans, Director, Centre for Tax Policy & Administration at the OECD

• Revival of TAXCON, after a gap of 7 years, with 6 professional associations coming on a common platform. This was the first event held in Hybrid Mode.

• Revival of physical events with there being 55th RRC, 16th GST RSC and 11th IndAS RSC

• The event for youth and students - 9th YRRC and Tarang 2022, were really electrifying.

Whatever I have stated as the progress or efforts in the direction of progress at BCAS has been made possible due to efforts of many whom I would like to acknowledge.

First of all the rock solid support of the Chairmen, Co-Chairpersons and Convenors of the Ten Sub-Committees has ensured delivering more than 5,00,000 hours of education during the year through its seminars, workshops, residential courses, lecture meetings and study circle meetings.

BCAS’ vibrancy is also due to the active involvement of the Past Presidents. Throughout the year, they were easily accessible for any guidance for the new initiatives and resolving vexatious issues. They with their vast experience come up with many suggestions for the image building initiatives of BCAS. Their contribution in making representations to various regulatory authorities for the better governance and easing of difficulties faced by the citizens and tax payers is tremendous.

I was truly blessed to have a very dynamic and young Managing Committee, where each and every member had taken up individually or jointly projects identified at the commencement of the year for effective execution. Some have already reached its fruition and I am sure the unfinished ones will be executed during the term of Mihirbhai.

My team of Office Bearers also provided tremendous support in all the suggestions put forth for execution and they were the real back bones for the co-ordination and monitoring of the events and projects under ESG theme as well as LEAP initiative.

In Vice President, Mihirbhai, I had an ever charming person who along with the Joint. Secretary Kinjal Shah, ensured to fine tune the ERP and accounting software integration. Mihirbhai, also ensured smooth functioning and effective allocation of work within the BCAS staff.

Joint Secretary Chirag Doshi is the go to person for the young members and he ensured that we get enough mileage and visibility through Social Media coverage. His contribution in designing programs for young CAs is worth appreciating.

Joint Secretary Kinjal Shah, along with ERP related work also effectively ensured digitization of journals and other website related developments. In Treasurer Anand Bathiya, we had an able vendor selector for various projects undertaken as well as a tough negotiator for the rates. He meticulously monitored progress of various projects with effective co-ordination with the respective teams.

I would take this opportunity to thank the Heads of Departments at BCAS as well as all the staff members, who have always stood with me over the journey of five years as Office Bearer and provided unstinted support at every point of time.

On my professional life front too there had been lot of adjustments to be made for the professional commitments. I am fortunate to have understanding partners who ensured that my absence did not have much difference. A special mention of my partner Chetan Shah, with whom there are many joint projects we work on. He ensured to deal on many of them most effectively in my absence too. Looking at the way, they have handled the assignments, I am worried that they would be thinking “Arre iske bagair to kaam chal raha hai. Ab kya jaroorat hai iski?” Well, I eagerly await to resume full-fledged and then wait for their reactions!!!!

Lastly, turning to my personal life, the year has been full of adjustments for my wife Nipa and my son Udit. They are the real energy boosters for my journey. They ensured that whenever I had some meeting clashing with some social commitments, they tried to defer or accommodated by relieving me from attending those functions. At residence also there were times when I would be drafting some messages, announcements or checking emails of BCAS. They would ensure that I was provided my space to carry out work diligently. I am sure, now they would be ready with the demand for the time which has been sacrificed for BCAS be returned “Sud Samet”. Yes I also feel they deserve more time and attention from my end after the end of the Founding Day Celebrations.

Before I end, I will bow to Lord Shriji Bawa and thank him for giving me a chance to serve the Society and profession. I am sure my Father and Mother wherever they are will shower their blessings to continue to serve the Society and be on the righteous path in my life.

I will end with a gujarati quote relating to dream by noted poet & writer Shri. Ankit Trivedi. I had dreamt of becoming President of this august Society and when I have lived the dream, I can say:

So I have taken satisfaction of my dream even if it may be partly successful.

Thank you all.

I bid adieu.

 

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