It is that wonderful time of the year when the sizzling summer sun gets subdued by the dark moisture-laden clouds. A cool refreshing breeze blows in from over the sea and swirls away from the sweaty stillness of summer. To the shrill trill of the cuckoo, the rains pour down in full gusto. The layers of dust and pollution get washed away from the buildings and trees, and the air smells ‘clean.' The parched yellow landscape is now carpeted with lush green foliage.
When you are finished changing, you are finished
Yes, there is CHANGE all around us and not only because of the arrival of the monsoon. There have been sweeping changes on various fronts, and their impact is now being felt in ever widening circles and in a positive manner. It's often been said that change is the only constant in life, yet we are sometimes so averse to change and the hidden risks that come with it. Let’s face and embrace change with a spirit of challenge and adventure or else… as Benjamin Franklin once said, “When you are finished changing, you are finished!”
For the last three years, India has been experiencing a ‘season’ of change. The NDA government propelled by the seemingly inexhaustible energy and enthusiasm of the Prime Minister has ushered in numerous programs and laws. The many initiatives have met with widespread criticism and appreciation and have in some measure transformed India. Jan Dhan Yojana, Make in India, Digital India, Stand-Up India, Startup India and Swacch Bharat Abhiyan have strived to empower Indians and add greater momentum to our economy and society at large. India’s gift to the world, yoga, was celebrated throughout the globe on June 21 as International Yoga Day.
We have also seen swift and bold strikes against the perpetrators of the black money economy and counterfeiting, with demonetization and income declaration schemes. Consciously indifferent to the strident calls to defer the implementation of GST, the government has pushed ahead but has decided to be lenient with procedural non-compliance in the first few months. Ensuring that GST is properly implemented will be a huge challenge for the government keeping in mind a large number of small businesses which are scattered in the rural hinterland that are plagued by infrastructural constraints and low awareness.
Change before you have to
Jack Welch, who led General Electric to this scale of success, once said, “Change before you have to.” This wisdom is visible on the numerous changes that you now see at BCAS. Keeping pace with geographically scattered and technologically savvy members, the activities of the society can now be easily accessed in the digital arena. Investments have been prudently poured into live streaming technology especially for the many outstation members. YouTube, Facebook, and LinkedIn are actively used to ensure anytime, anywhere access to the many activities of BCAS. Online payment facility has been activated for greater convenience, and a knowledge portal with multi-device connectivity is being set up. Even the website has been revamped to make it more user-friendly. BCAS is also tying up with regional institutions to offer more local events to its outstation members. Even in Mumbai, it is stepping out by having joint programs with other organizations. With its strong commitment to disseminating knowledge, BCAS is organizing many more programs by reaching out to fulfill the diverse needs of its many members.
Publications are the agents of any knowledge based organization and BCAS publications are always cut above the rest and much sought after. During the year there was a renewed thrust for quality publications on diverse topics. BCAS committees brought out sixteen publications, a record of sorts, on varied subjects of interest to the profession, industry, and public at large which received an overwhelming response. It is indeed a matter of pride that some of the publications are already out of print. This prestigious publication, BCAJ, will be entering its 50th year and this itself speaks volumes of the quality and technical contents of the Journal over the years. I am sure that this Journal (which is also having a change of guard from 6th July 2017) will reach many more milestones in terms of quality and its reach.
To improve is to change; to be perfect is to change often
Now that we have witnessed a change in India and the BCAS; it’s time to share some thoughts on how we as CAs can change to effectively capitalize on the changing national and global scenario.
In the recent past, the government has come with a wide spectrum of laws and compliances to streamline business operations and control. The single most game changer GST itself is an ocean of opportunity as corporates, SME businesses and traders all are looking upon professionals to navigate them through the fine print and provisions. Clearly, with the burgeoning of the Indian economy, there is a new paradigm of sophistication and complexity in our quiver of services. In this newly defined arena, we are now called to deliver incredible and awesome services.
Small practices will increasingly find themselves fighting for survival. We will all need to think big and even bigger! It’s time to scale up! To consolidate operations and boldly venture into unchartered territories. In addition to up-scaling operations, we will also need to up-skill human resources to tackle the comprehensive new laws and compliances with all their intricate details. Mindsets too would need to be changed so that we are motivated and enabled to deliver consistently to higher standards with more demanding deadlines.
Chartered Accountants need to graduate to take up the mantle of trusted business advisors to their clients. Staffed by committed, enthusiastic professionals with a high level of energy and integrity, we should be able to suggest constructive ideas within the realms of the legal framework and meticulous plans that will revitalize our clients’ business. And at the end, we should get a merciless performance appraisal from our clients. How did we perform? Are we pushing the limits? Are our suggestions path-breaking or middle-of-the-road?
I truly believe that we need to re-invent ourselves as Chartered Accountants. We need to be able to see beyond today’s horizons and stay one step ahead. We should assimilate and actualize what Winston Churchill said, “To improve is to change; to be perfect is to change often.”
Change is a new beginning
When I penned my first thoughts in this prestigious Journal and took over the reins as the President, I was aware that my journey would be exciting, invigorating and stimulating. Yet, at the end of the journey, I can only confess that BCAS has given me much more in return that what I could possibly do during my tenure. The positive responses that I have received from my members on the various initiatives taken during the year are the testament of the committed core group who worked so dedicatedly as a team. During the year, we have strived to work towards fulfilling the Vision of the Society. The 69th Annual Report, which details the various activities of the Society, is already in your hands, and I do not intend to reiterate the same. The Report is a testimony to the amazing level of work done by all sub-committees. In the end, BCAS is a clear winner because it has been uncompromising in maintaining the quality of its programs.
It has been an eventful and very pleasant tenure as BCAS President, and before I sign off, I would like to take this opportunity to express my deep gratitude to the Chairmen, Past Presidents, Core group members, faculties, authors, BCAS staff, members and various associations. Thank you all very much for the unstinted support you have extended to me and all the confidence you have had in me. And last but not the least my office bearers who untiringly worked alongwith me to keep the flag of this great institution BCAS flying high. I look forward to continuing serving you all in the years ahead in different capacities. Let me end with this very relevant sloka which personifies team BCAS;
Trees stand in the sun and give shade to others. Their fruits are also for others. Similarly, good people go through all hardships for the welfare of others.
I had started this message with stating that change is in the air, at BCAS also there is a change of guard at the helm and my colleague Narayan Pasari takes up the coveted position as President of BCAS from 7th July 2017. I am sure that this change will also take BCAS to newer heights of excellence and he shall bring the fresh thoughts to fruition. I convey my best wishes to him and the new team of Office Bearers for the ensuing year.
Thank You once again