Setting up my own CA firm and leading it to where it is now!
I started Neeraj Bhagat & Co. in 1997 immediately after
qualifying as a Chartered Accountant. I started with a single-room office and with two employees,
desperate for revenue…. trust me it wasn’t simple at all! What kept me going?
Passion and determination!
I knew that if I was able to manage my growing pains and
stick to my guns, I would last the longest and shine brightest and here I am
now, having 4 Branch Offices with more than 100 representatives in total….so
yes, I have come a long way!
Did this happen overnight? No!
Rome was not built in a day…and it took me more than 20
years to reach this position, so patience is the key.
Dealing with challenges and emerging stronger
In my practice of more than 2 decades, I have faced many
challenges, but my attitude has always been – to stay optimistic and see
opportunities in adversity.
Some of the challenges faced by me were:
How do I measure the health of my business?
What are the three most important metrics that I can use to confirm that my business is successful? Am I hiring the right professionals? How do I retain my clients? (Learning what to do to retain my clients for the long term – this was my biggest challenge!) However, these 3 qualities have really helped me succeed:
- Taking Ownership: Most people who perform well take complete ownership of what they do. They take initiatives. I too did the same and still do!
- Managing Cash Flow: Successful businesses understand
the importance of cash flow and make sure to keep a healthy cash balance to
address any unexpected expenses or situations. This ability to have a good cash
flow has helped me today!
- Positivity: Successful people focus only on positives; they don’t complain or criticize. They don’t talk about problems but about solutions. They focus on Positive ENERGY. I always keep myself motivated by not worrying even during tough times…I try to think outside the box for solutions for any problems.
When we first got to know about the complete lockdown because of COVID-19, it didn’t scare me at all as we all know it’s a short-term change. Also, most of our team managers and article assistants work remotely whenever they are on audits…so they are used to working remotely. With the help of technology, they are given remote access to all the software, online subscriptions, access to dropbox, zoom, etc. However, transitioning to working 100% remotely from home (not clients place) that too in a short span of time did come with its own challenges. But we knew the only way to succeed in a situation like this is to ‘Adapt Quickly’. Also, this experience will open doors for new and better strategies of collaborative working and some successful mergers!
Practices that helped us cope in this tough time:
- Good Communication
- Collaborative Working
- Understanding and trusting each other
- Establishing a remote leadership team
- Adopting and Adapting to Technology
Do you want to start adopting ‘remote work’ as well? Here are a few pointers.
1. Communication through technology
Real-time communication is very pertinent to a daily routine for any business. Zoom, Skype, and WhatsApp have helped us transforming in-person meetings to dynamic video conference calls.
2. IT Backup and support 24*7
Remote Desktop and Net Extender has helped all our 100 employees work remotely! (A big Thanks to our IT team who have been working day in and out so we all can work!) We created an open remote desktop to ensure that we all were helping one another always. Our IT team has made this possible for us in the current situation. Also, we always had ‘Team Viewer ‘and ‘Any Desk’ to support the team members.
3. Partners and Top Management
All the partners and top management are continuously communicating with clients and Managers. They are guiding them on problems faced, guidance on resolutions, and giving them the necessary motivations.
4. Remote HR
HR Manager has been calling employees and asking about their wellbeing and that of their family members, continuously motivating them for collaborative working. We are strong believers in Remote Empowerment! A few words to conclude… All I can say is, what we are facing now in the form of lockdown is a tough phase but a short one. However, we can adopt a new style of working with a new style of communication. Let’s drive this cultural change on a long-term basis. Let’s contribute to the remote working model by trust, support, communication.
Most importantly, I would like to thank all my articles and junior staff whom I consider as silent heroes in this hour of need. Their contribution to the smooth working cannot be ignored and they are the real soldiers on the ground.