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February - 2006 - issue > Company Profile
Accounts-is-Child's-Play
Sanjeev Jain
Tuesday, January 31, 2006
Accountants are often considered an odd lot. A good number of them scan through reams of papers, numbers, logbooks and so on. They are also odd men out because they literally control the company's money.

Accountants don't come cheap. They cannot be bargained and accounting work can't be outsourced. Right? Who else knows your company better than an accountant in your backyard. Again right? The answer is No. In this era of outsourcing where most things are done halfway around the world, accounting can't be immune to outsourcing.

Small businesses are now benefiting from a growing trend of outsourcing their bookkeeping to companies like Business Advisory Services (BAS). Based in Bangalore with offices in the U.S., Singapore and Australia, the company came into existence in its new form about one-and-half years back when a new set of promoters brought in Knowledge Process Outsourcing activity into a company which otherwise saw not much activity.

Working under the catchline ‘accountant to the world,’ “BAS has what it takes to be offshore accounting firm,” says Jayashree P. Kunju, President, BAS. “Bad production and financial management can wreck havoc with any company and that's where we come into the picture. I would always tell people-leave your accounting headache to us,” Kunju says.

Outsourcing some or all of their basic bookkeeping functions to a professional helps business owners avoid both inaccurate balances and employee “headaches” like help wanted ads, training costs, absenteeism. Outsourcing frees business owners to concentrate on building their businesses.

Increasing accounting jobs has spurred the company of 40 people to add 60 more - a growth of 150 percent. Just as BAS does accounting for companies located some 5000 miles away, it is seeking to tap the domestic markets.

BAS embodies the success of Indian BPO and KPO companies have achieved since the jobs started moving to India more than a decade ago. The company sees itself adding 200 people by 2007 when regulations like SoX become mandatory.

As the stringent SoX specifies that the auditor cannot function in the role of management and that the auditor cannot audit their own work, BAS sees a lot of companies turning to external service providers like it for internal control consulting and documentation services.

Bigger jobs mean bigger responsibility and bigger responsibility comes at a price. Kunju insists there is talent available within the country that can work on SoX. “As for talent in this area the rigorous training in a chartered accountant's firm does create the talent required for performing internal auditing services and the knowledge and skills to analyze, document and test internal control systems.”

Still, there is an undertow. Remaining anonymous means end of days. So BAS is looking at either merging or tying up with an existing software development teams. The objective is to account for larger projects in pairs - like Infosys does with Progeon, Wipro with Spectramind. The software company does software and we provide back office support for the same clients.

BAS supports new talents to enter this area by assigning them to an optimal team that has a team leader who is a financial practioner. The training methodology and practical experience gained at BAS helps a fresher to gain insight into the requirement to execute such an assignment in a short span of few months. But the most important step comes to making an employee love the job. “We nurture the individual, we respect each ones uniqueness and support a spirit of If-you-win-I-win, If-you-lose-I-lose culture,” Kunju adds. “It's been a wonderful experience working here. It's like a garden and we nurture all- top to bottom. We don't have a word called impossible. The team has been trained to walk the extra mile. Always proactive and never reactive,” says Padmini Rao, Assistant Manager, Domestic Accounts.

This has brought an amazing culture of sharing and support. The company believes in being responsible at all levels. “If my team leader does not perform, I hold myself responsible. We relate to each other from our hearts,” Kunju sums up.
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