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Mumbai, India
I run an IT Security consulting firm based out of India. We started off from scratch in 2001 when I was 21, and have offices in Mumbai, Bahrain, and UAE. The idea behind the blog is to share the stories of how we run the business, the deals we make, the deals that break, the heartburn, and the sheer joy.

The Ultimate Startup Guide

The Ultimate Startup Guide is an e-book that provides answers to all your questions related to starting and growing a business in India. Everything you wanted to know about entrepreneurship in India from ideation to registration to marketing to hiring. The book contains a large number of practical examples, anecdotes, interviews, and motivational material to help you get started, and to grow rapidly in a booming Indian economy. If you've got the idea, this book will help you through with the execution and realize your dreams. Here are some of the key questions you will find answered in this book:
  • When starting a business, what are the legal issues involved?
  • What form of incorporation is better suited to which type of business?
  • What tax issues are involved?
  • How do I start a business and what are the pitfalls?
  • How do I market my business in the absence of significant funding?
  • How do I get funded?
  • What are the basic accounting concepts I should be aware of?
  • What is a business plan and how should I build one?
The brief table of contents of the book is as follows:
  1. Getting started
  2. Ideation
  3. Forms of Enterprises
  4. Funding
  5. Basic Accounting and Taxation
  6. Import and Export Licensing
  7. Trademark and Patenting
  8. Rules for NRIs and Foreigners
  9. Building a Business Plan
  10. Marketing on a Shoestring
  11. Website and Branding
  12. Women Entrepreneurs
  13. Templates
To order the Ultimate Startup Guide - email me at kkmookhey@gmail.com.

Details of the book are:
Title: The Ultimate Startup Guide
Author: Kanwal Mookhey
Pages: 150
Additional: Companion CD contains numerous templates for building your business plan, calculating cashflow, preparing profit and loss, and balance sheets, preparing invoices, your resume and profile, marketing material, websites, contracts, and many other useful and motivational material.

Friday, October 06, 2006

Changing chartered accountants

I keep harping to everyone about getting a good CA when you start your business. Looks like I should have been taking my own advice.

When we started out, the first CA we got was someone who came in through family contacts. He had been doing the income tax returns for some family members, and we thought it's a good idea to give my company work to him as well. When we were running a small operation, and ledger entries were a dozen a month, it was all good. But as we started to grow, this person proved unequal to the task. Minor hassles such as taking all our files and papers over to his office suddenly became major hurdles in getting the work done. What used to be one box file, was now a dozen and then some.

We started to look around for another CA, and just when we found one, we were told that we needed a no-objection certificate from the first guy in order to start dealing with the new one! Sheesh! Now this was a really delicate matter. Not only was the first chap doing my accounts, but he was also doing those of many more family members now. This meant he was privy to a lot of accounting information.

Anyways, the break came recently and in a very unexpected manner. We moved a couple of family member accounts away from him, since he lives at one end of town, and we at the other. That was an excellent reason to tell him that the entire process of dealing with someone who rarely visits us at home or office was proving to be too cumbersome. The next day he called us to say that he was upset at this decision, and had therefore decided not to do the rest of our accounts either. Of course, this decision comes at a very precise moment - 31st October is the last date to file our company income tax returns.

Thankfully, we have a good accountant working for us. Recently when doing the returns for my father, his insight into some of the laws related to stock investments resulted in a significant tax savings. This was something the CA should have been doing! Again the fees of a CA or the salary to an accountant is usually well worth it in terms of the savings they bring in and the accounting discipline that helps keep a better handle on one's cash flow.

The same situation occured with the Company Secretary. After promising to bring our documents up to date (we had been very lax on this front), and even taking half his fees in advance, he never showed up again. This is the same guy who had done our initial registration. Finally, we got a new CS to work for us, and filed in all our returns with the Registrar of Companies, and ended up paying a lot of back arrears and penalties as well. Yikes!

14 comments:

apu said...

Interesting piece. I think sometimes, financials, documentation etc if not dealt with well, can become a serious issue.

Intrepid said...

Apu: Well thankfully, we don't have much to hide, but then again you don't want to mess with someone who knows probably more about the finances of your company than you do :)

Sanjeev Bedi said...

Hi Intrepid.

Nice post. Reading your post reminded me of G B Shaw's remark that all professions are a conspiracy against the laity.
No profession or field of activity is devoid of black sheep; the CA profession is no exception. No professional should ever take up a piece of work unless he/she is upto it in terms of infrastructure as well as intellect. The Institute of Chartered Accountants of India prescibes very strict punishment for professional misconduct. On umpteen occasions, members have been hauled over the coals for negligent conduct or incompetence.
On numerous occasions, I have been cheated out of my fee despite impeccable professional service. So, it cuts both ways!
Incidentally, I am a Chartered Accountant in practice!

Happy Diwali and Balance Sheet Finalisation!

Sanjeev

Intrepid said...

Hey Sanjeev, you're right, that the ICAI does have very strict rules about professional conduct. But we don't exactly want to haul anyone over the coals. :) I just wish there were an easier way to break away from an existing CA/CS to a new one.

Incidentally, if you're practicing in Mumbai, drop me a line, and maybe we can chat up.

Vera Bass said...

Well done. Record keeping, including accounting is, as you recognize, often an entrepreneur's achilles heel. I've seen self made wealthy men lose their companies, and even be forced to 'retire' to offshore homes as much due to lax practices as anything else.

Fine lines that define things like insider trading and corporate ethics are crossed every day, and excepting blatantly unethical or criminal behaviour, it really is frequently unintentional albeit a deliberate choice of ignorance as well. We can't personaly acquire a lifetime of experience in law and accounting and every other specialty and naturally rely on 'common practice', ie. this is the way everyone does it.

Record keeping, in any business larger than a simple sole proprietorship, should really be viewed on 2 levels. The first I think of as the basic transaction level, analogous to the things you do in the normal course of every day, from brushing your teeth to putting gas in your car. The second is the major transaction level, analogous to things like changing jobs or buying a house, getting married or having kids. In business record keeping, like in life, you never chisel (record) the second category of actions in granite until you've truly eliminated every alternative option. Really good accountants taught me this view.

Vera

Bigyan Satpathy said...

Hi,

I really wanted to ask this question.

What is consultancy??

I mean, I can understand what the BIG 4 do.. I can understand McK can pull up some real big time thing.. or even you call up CK Prahalad to suggest you the ways to improve your struggling business..

But what kind of consulting a 2 person firm can do... apart from say market research.. or making some reports..

I am being very naive in my assumptions and thats why my tone might be very silly... but I really wanted to know what small businesses do.. or to state in a different way, what I can do for a starter.. :-)

Regards,

Bigyan Satpathy
bigyan.satpathy@gmail.com

Intrepid said...

Vera, thanks for the wonderful comments, and apologies on the delayed response. I have been traveling the past week and just got back home. You are bang on target with what you say. And more the reason, one should view a good accountant's salary as an investment rather than an expense. Just yesterday I was sitting down with my accountant, and we were calculating the advance tax we need to pay up for the second quarter, and once again his insights helped us arrive at a more accurate estimate than I had come up with.

I like the distinction you make between counting beans and financial strategizing. And how the second requires every other alternative to be removed to leave the best one on the table. That's a brilliant insight :)

Intrepid said...

Bigyan, I define consultancy as solving problems. You go into a company, meet with the people, understand the problem, and often the real problem is quite different from the stated problem, and you help the organization arrive at a solution. The biggest advantage that larger firms have is the wealth of data they have at hand. Their knowledge repositories are amazing, and a good consultant can sift through them to arrive at similar cases and get clues to solving the problem at hand. But otherwise, it doesn't matter whether it's a 2-person firm or a 2000-person firm. What matters is the consultant who is providing the solution. I started off as a 1-person firm and we now compete with the biggest firms, and often deliver comparable or better results.

CA Ashish Ahuja said...

These are some things which only happen in India

Regards,

CA Ashish Ahuja
Indian Chartered Accountants New Delhi India

Mr. Amit Maheshwari said...

Hi,

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Chartered Accountants London said...

I think of as the basic transaction level, analogous to the things you do in the normal course of every day, from brushing your teeth to putting gas in your car. The second is the major transaction level, analogous to things like changing jobs or buying a house, getting married or having kids. In business record keeping,thanks

Company Formation India said...

Record keeping

Urvashi D. Maharshi said...

You should refer this popular article for CAs:
http://bit.ly/V9Z102

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Bangalore