As I started gathering my thoughts to pen down my last President’s Page, I felt humbled as I realized the honour and privilege bestowed upon me to lead this great voluntary society and communicate with all of you for the last 12 months. It was a rare and valuable opportunity to contribute to the profession and the public at large and one had to take it as gracefully as possible.
My memories go back to my early years as a volunteer at BCAS in various capacities. It was an unbelievably satisfying journey with reasonably smooth sailing. In the course of this journey, I was the beneficiary of the mentorship of several seniors and past presidents, and often even learning from juniors and youngsters, and the consequential personal development.
As President of the Society, I had occasion to interact with many senior professionals and experts, government officials, members, students, etc. The common thread in the different interactions was the respect that I could feel for BCAS. The selfless dedication of all of us, the volunteers, was truly a humbling experience.
I could correlate this to the santwani (an extract) by Tukaram Maharaj dedicated to Lord Vitthal and sung by none other than the Maestro Bhimsen Joshi:
The year started on a rather cautious note with a slightly negative bias. How will we remain relevant without physical events? How will we cover the fixed cost of running the BCAS? There were many unanswered questions. But at the back of our minds, the intrinsic superpower of brand BCAS, its dedicated and committed volunteers and the ‘never say die’ spirit engendered by the founders and forebears, kept me, my office-bearers and managing committee members motivated, all of it leading up to the point of satisfaction now and consigning all those unknown fears to the past.
The BCAS motto,
The theme of BCAS for the year Tradition - Transition- Transformation kept on reminding us that this year will be the year of new directions, a new way of life and new opportunities. The BCAS platform provided us with the power to perform at every stage. It was an opportunity to increase visibility for the BCAS with higher reach – territorially and with faculties from different parts of the world, joining hands with sister and regional organisations for events and representations to government and statutory bodies, and with publications on various live and relevant subjects. All the chairmen and members of the different comm.ittees took the opportunity to its fullest. I would like to thank all of them and also the speakers, authors, compilers, conveners, course coordinators and numerous well-wishers for their sincere efforts to take BCAS to the next level.
In the history of BCAS, the current year is a pioneering one, one that turned this managing committee into the first-ever virtual MC with almost all events, meetings and programmes being conducted on a digital platform. ZOOM, TEAMS, MEETS and so on became the lifeline of our events and meetings. Of course, all of us missed personal interactions, fellowship and bonding. To compensate for the lack of physical action caused by the pandemic, I planned three initiatives at the beginning of the year to create some permanent physical and long-term benchmarks by the otherwise virtual committee. The new initiatives were as under:
(1) ‘Project BCAS Chowk’: The ‘naming’ of the area of the BCAS office in Mumbai is getting visibility now; it will soon achieve reality and become a permanent physical landmark of the city and for the BCAS. This would be a dream-come-true for the BCAS family and its well-wishers.
(2) Formation of the ‘Project Management Committee of the BCAS Foundation’ with the help of Trustees and to fast-forward the execution of social initiatives undertaken by the Foundation and actual implementation of certain projects jointly with like-minded organisations.
(3) Fellowship, joint programmes and representations with sister organisations, regional CA associations, all due to the ease facilitated by the digitalisation of almost everything.
All the office-bearers actively participated in all these and other initiatives. Words are not enough to thank Abhay, Mihir, Samir and Chirag who stood by me, guided me and motivated me to do more. I wish the new team under the leadership of Abhay and Mihir an enriching and fulfilling term with the gradual commencement of physical activity. Team BCAS is the backbone and permanent resource for every President. I can’t thank them enough for their contribution. My family, partners and staff members stood behind me throughout the year with rock-solid support which I acknowledge and appreciate.
In all the good things that have happened, we should not forget the scars of the pandemic – the shocking and painful loss of some seniors and colleagues in the CA profession, including some very young members. This is a permanent loss to their families and the BCAS family which has created a deep void. BCAS will miss them forever. I take this opportunity to record our heartfelt condolences to the bereaved families in this hour of extreme distress to them.
The road ahead for BCAS is long and winding, with several challenges to the role of Chartered Accountants with, among others, the introduction of a special portal by the Income-tax Department, the fast-changing ways of accounting with Artificial Intelligence-aided digitalisation, the emphasis placed by SEBI with the introduction of Risk Management focus in corporates, and the efforts of the Government to lead the economy to $5 trillion GDP.
At this point of expectation of profound changes, I am taking my leave with great satisfaction and confidence that BCAS with its glorious tradition of adapting to all changes in its journey of the last 72 years, will stand up and hold its flag high and flying while marching towards the diamond jubilee mark – 75 years of uninterrupted voluntary service.
I thank all of you once again for your love, affection and respect and for giving me the opportunity to serve you to the best of my ability.