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How CPA Australia and the CPA Program can act as a stepping stone for serving international clients

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The Economic Times
27th May, 2022 11:35 IST

When Mayur Panchal, founder and CEO of MultiQo Fintech Pvt Ltd, a Gandhinagar-based knowledge process outsourcing company, stumbled across the CPA Australia program in July 2020, he was sure it was what he needed to further his career prospects.

“The motivation to pursue the CPA Program was that as a chartered accountant, I could pass the CPA Australia examination by appearing for only one examination. Secondly, the CPA Australia designation was an internationally recognised degree, and I was looking forward to this opportunity to gain international credentials,” says Panchal.

Immediately after applying, Panchal, an experienced Chartered Accountant and insolvency professional, passed the exam on his first attempt and became a CPA before the year was over. Late last year, Panchal started a knowledge outsourcing company, MultiQo Fintech Pvt Ltd.

“I'm humbled and proud to say it's been growing rapidly.” Panchal says. He further added, “Without the CPA Program and the credentials, I wouldn’t have the knowledge or the international exposure to build a global business. I would probably be limited to serving clients in India only.”

Global portability is becoming increasingly important for professional accountants around the world. This is where the CPA Program comes in as it provides the accounting and finance professionals with the required knowledge and network to take the first step toward their international careers.

CPA Australia and the Institute of Chartered Accountants India (ICAI) have entered into a Mutual Recognition Agreement since 2009. It has been a source of learning, development, collaboration, and the foundation for many career advancements for CPAs around the world.

A trusted advisor to businesses
CPAs are considered trusted advisors and are viewed as having obtained a high level of success. “The CPA Program is more than an accounting and finance course. It gives you a management level mindset that has helped my personal growth and build strong business relationships,” said Panchal.

Panchal explains from his experience that international clients have higher expectations of accountants. They want someone who is not only an expert in the field of accounting but also familiar with business management in general.

Explaining the pain points of one of his clients, Panchal said, “I have a client in the US who was looking for an accountant who understands her specific business needs, without overwhelming her with accounting information. She has a thriving business but was not good at understanding the accounting and finance part of her business. When I spoke to her, I got to know her bad experience with previous accountants, understood her pain points, and what she requires from an accountant.”

Panchal tailored his services to her unique requirement after learning more about what she was looking for in an accountant. He believes that being able to differentiate your services as an accountant is what sets apart an expert accountant from an average one.

“In terms of strategy, I provided a simplified version of the accounting summary reports and kept all the technical parts away from her, so she felt in control of her finances. The CPA course was instrumental in building my knowledge of clients' business environments and how to develop tailored strategies such as this one,” explained Panchal.

Other examples where Panchal has had to step outside of bookkeeping were when he helped companies through different phases of growth and when he provided start-ups registered in the limited liability company (LLC) structure in the US with advice on tax and finance compliances so that they could continue focusing on their business while simultaneously avoiding high penalties.

“I also advise big businesses through detailed reporting on where their business is going, highlight areas where expenses can be moderated and much more,” shared Panchal.

Adopting the innovation mindset

“Having an internationally recognised degree gave them the confidence to trust my knowledge and experience,” said Mayur Panchal.

CPA Australia places great importance on keeping up with accounting and finance trends and sharing this knowledge through its programs and networks.

Mayur Panchal believes in keeping himself updated on the advances in the digital space that can be incorporated into accounting. “In today’s world, only people who master both finance and technology can survive. Being an expert in accounting and finance knowledge is not enough because technology will take over some finance parts,” said Panchal.

“CPA Australia played a role in giving me a glimpse of technology culture in Australia. I noticed that in India, we were still using on-premise accounting systems until the pandemic. In contrast, in Australia, everyone was using cloud-based software like QuickBooks and Xero for accounting,” he added.

Panchal believes updating to safe and reliable cloud technology in India will help accounting firms manage clients in the US, Australia and the UK. Internally, it would help teams work more effectively if they can collaborate on the same projects at the same time.

“Today, I provide global accounting and tax-related services using technology to my clients. If there is no technology, I would not be able to provide my financial services to my global clients,” said Panchal. He also shared that bite-sized micro-credentials such as Digital Finance are well-suited for busy finance professionals and have helped him find better solutions to specific situations.

“The quality of articles in the member magazine INTHEBLACK and the experiences people share in these articles are really of high value because when you’re sitting in one place, you don't get international level exposure,” said Panchal. “Some of the topics I have found interesting and valuable are digital money, neo banking, data analysis, digital accounting and the future of accounting and finance,” he added.

Set up a thriving global practice

Mayur Panchal believes updating to safe and reliable cloud technology in India will help accounting firms manage clients in the US, Australia and the UK.

After a few months of gaining the CPA international accreditation, Panchal explored avenues to utilise his new knowledge and credentials. One of these was CPAs' extensive network with more than 170,000 members working in 100 countries and regions across the globe.

“I reached out to many CPAs based in Australia and the US and got great responses. Having an internationally recognised degree gave them the confidence to trust my knowledge and experience,” said Mayur Panchal.

A significant turning point for Panchal was when he got his first client based in the US. The client was a management consultant who was looking for a trusted accountant to manage tax and book-keeping for his international clients. Now, this management consultant is currently Panchal’s biggest client among all the clients he serves in both Australia and the US.

While doing the CPA course, Panchal found the subject Global Strategy and Leadership particularly interesting because it elevated his thinking beyond just technical finance. He also learnt about the importance of workplace culture and how to draw out the benefits of having a multicultural workforce.

“The course has given me insights into managing work culture and environment to get the maximum value out of a team and work better with employees. The subject also gives the right tools to analyse problems and to come up with the solution,” said Panchal.

Today, CPA Australia works with over 30 Recognised Employer Partners in India to provide members with access to learning and development opportunities.

Find out more about CPA Australia and how to become a member in an upcoming information seminar.

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