From Home to Global: Meet the Indian CA and Her Team of 5 Providing Reliable Accounting and Payroll Services to US Clients
The Indian outsourcing industry offers a significant amount of opportunities. See how this CA provides accounting and payroll services to US CPA firms through Upwork. And she is doing it from home.
- Meet CA Khyati Raichura, who provides outsourced Accounting, Payroll services, and more to US CPA Firms.
- The idea of working from an office, or the Indian taxation never appealed to her.
- Today she has a team of 5 professionals working with her, remotely.
- Here’s how Khyati leads her entrepreneurial journey from the comfort of her home.
Growing up, finance as a subject attracted me the most.
Also, it was my dad’s dream to become a Chartered Accountant. So from a very young age, I wanted to be a CA.
Since my birthplace (Porbandar in Gujarat, India) didn’t have any CA coaching classes available, I relocated to Ahmedabad to pursue the same.
I qualified as a CA in 2015.
After qualifying as a CA, like many other freshers, I too joined a CA firm. But I was not happy with the traditional tax and audit work, crazy deadlines, and meetings that came with it.
I had recently gotten married and had a responsibility towards my family. I wanted to do something on my own, that would fit my lifestyle. I felt that going to the office was not a fit scenario for me.
I started my own CA practice, but the frequent updates in Indian tax laws were too much for me.
Finding my niche
I was searching for something that I would enjoy.
One fine day a friend asked me, “Do you want to work with a US CPA firm?” It was an outsourcing opportunity.
Without a second thought, I accepted the offer.
Along with my CA practice, I started working as a freelancer in January 2019.
I was handling the CPA firm’s outsourced accounting, bookkeeping, and payroll functions. But it wasn’t as easy as it sounds.
US Taxation Laws are completely different from their Indian counterpart.
The basics of accounting were the same but each of my clients had a different concern that I had to cater to. And the same goes for the payroll function in the US. There are about three-four types of payroll taxes alone.
Over the next one and a half years I learned:
- The nuances of US taxation law
- How to file tax returns
- How to operate QuickBooks and other relevant software applications
Once I gained a few more clients, I decided to rent an office, and hire professionals.
Restarting on Upwork: How US CPA Firms became my clients
Everything was going well until the Covid 19 pandemic started.
Lockdown started in different parts of the world, and my workload increased. Clients demanded that I finish a large amount of work in a day, which was next to impossible for any person.
The clients were not satisfied and started leaving one by one. After renting an office for six months I resorted to closing it down and letting all my team members go.
But it wasn't the end.
Failure is a part of our journey. You can either accept and move on or you can gather all the experience you have acquired and bounce back.
In 2020 I decided to start all over again.
I analyzed the kind of work my prospective clients could expect from me and then approached them through Upwork.
For those who don’t know, Upwork is a freelancing platform that connects businesses with independent professionals around the globe.
One of my friends, who is also a CA helped me navigate the complexities of Upwork.
It can be hard to find clients on the platform. People propose a bid on a certain project often, but rarely do they hear from the client. That’s why the way we represent our skills to them is crucial.
(Bidding on Upwork is the process of submitting a proposal in response to a job posting.)
Luckily I made the cut.
I don’t operate out of an office anymore, and have strictly chosen to work from home; a strategy I adopted after the pandemic.
All of my team members work remotely. The best part is that now I can hire experienced professionals from anywhere in India, be it from Mumbai, Hyderabad, or Delhi, as well as from a small village.
The best part about working from home is the flexibility of time I get. It has allowed me to grow in my profession, all the while feeling more comfortable than ever.
Currently, I am handling everything from marketing, and emailing, to convincing CPAs.
With a team of five people and a good client base including mid-sized and small-sized US CPA firms, I am doing something that I enjoy.
Negotiating payment rates for Bookkeeping Services
There is no fixed amount of fees that would suit everyone.
It depends on the CPA firm and the format of the service you are providing.
Additionally, the amount would vary depending on whether you are working solo, or have a team. You would want to get as many clients as possible for the latter part.
Overall it can be counted on the basis of:
- Hourly work
- Monthly fixed work
- Contract-based: If I allocate one of my team members to a client, or if they want to work with us during only the tax season, then it would be a contract-based payment.
Starting out on Upwork, I was initially charging a client USD 10 per hour. But as you gather more work experience and clients, you can quote more.
This may not work for everyone but I tend to be very flexible with them regarding this part.
How to find outsourced work from US CPA firms
Not everybody was familiar with outsourcing, back when I started in 2018-2019.
There was a question of security and trust.
When you are starting out in this field and approaching a US client with, “I am providing this kind of service, would you be interested in working with me?” Would he/she agree in the first meeting?
I didn’t know anyone overseas at first. None of those first few CPAs believed in me when I was pitching my services to them.
But today the scenario has changed. Outsourcing has become very popular. Just recently I heard on the news that there is a scarcity of accountants in the USA.
There are a lot of opportunities and here are some tips on how you can get started:
- Build your online presence: Having a website and social media presence is crucial in today's digital age. It is essential to showcase your services and portfolio to potential clients. Platforms like LinkedIn, Upwork, Fiverr, and Freelancer are great places to start building your network and finding work.
- Focus on quality service: Once you get a client, it is important to provide quality service. Delivering work on time can help build trust with clients. Once I got a client I provided them with good quality service, hence they stayed with me. Over a period, I was able to earn their trust.
- Be flexible: Since all of my clients are in the US, there is an issue of time zone differences. That is why I learned the importance of being flexible with my work hours. Sometimes I even worked late at night to meet deadlines.
- Prioritize security: Data security is a top concern for clients that outsource. Implementing measures to protect clients’ information and complying with regulations is important.
- Apart from these pointers, you should focus on work ethics and communication. These two are key when providing outsourced services remotely.
There are many educated women who want to work but also want to prioritize their time with family and kids.
I want to encourage them to consider working from home. It can be a blessing.
Who said that we have to sacrifice our careers for our families?
The Indian outsourcing industry has been growing rapidly in the past few years, with India being one of the biggest outsourcing destinations globally. The Indian outsourcing industry accounts for about 56% of the global outsourcing market and is expected to reach $343 billion by 2025.
In terms of accounting and bookkeeping services, the outsourcing industry in India has been gaining momentum in recent years, with many US CPA firms outsourcing their accounting and bookkeeping functions to Indian firms.
Moreover, the outsourcing industry in India provides a significant amount of employment opportunities, with over 4.36 million people employed in the sector as of 2021.
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