- Hi, I am Chirag Agarwal, a Chartered Accountant, and the Founder of Earningo Accounting and Tax Consultancy based in the UAE.
- While in Dubai, I noticed many firms struggling with client retention and turnaround time.
- Upon identifying a chance to bridge these gaps, my wife, and I founded our practice, Earningo.
- Here is my journey.
Moving to the UAE: A desire to witness its growth up close
I qualified as a Chartered Accountant in 2013 and began my career with one of the top 10 firms BDO in Mumbai, India.
During my time at BDO, I gained valuable experience in the audit process and audited various listed companies. The practical concepts I learned firsthand continued to benefit me throughout my career.
After working with the firm for a while, I was keen to discover career opportunities overseas.
The big question was… Which country should I consider?
I had always been fascinated by the UAE, particularly Dubai, which is often referred to as the city of dreams.
Witnessing the significant transformation of the UAE from 1970 until now, I wondered, what it would look like in the next 30-40 years. Decision made, Dubai it is.
I shared my resume with a few companies and received a job offer from an accounting firm in Dubai. It seemed like a nice opportunity.
In 2016, I relocated to Dubai, and here started an exciting journey.
Taking the entrepreneurial leap in the UAE
When I became a Chartered Accountant, I always desired to be an entrepreneur. However, I wasn’t certain about the exact timeline of when I would start my own
During the two years while working at the firm in Dubai, I noticed that many Accounting and Tax Consultancy firms had trouble with client retention and turnaround time.
It became evident to me that there was a chance to bridge these gaps and bring positive change to the accounting sector.
My wife, Shikha Agarwal, who is also a Chartered Accountant, believed in my idea. Guess what? She too decided to leave her job to join me on this entrepreneurial journey.
In 2018, a mere two years after relocating to Dubai, we bravely founded our practice, Earningo Accounting and Tax Consultancy.
Building a client base from scratch in the UAE
The next step – finding the right clients who we could serve.
During the initial stages of the business, we initiated email campaigns as a cost-effective marketing strategy.
We did not hire any marketing or business development professionals as we had limited capital and resources.
We compiled the database of our potential clients and independently launched the email campaigns.
Surprisingly, within two months, we received a few leads. However, persuading them that we could deliver high-quality services as a newly established firm was undoubtedly a challenge.
Many of them trusted us; they eventually became our long-term clients.
We only accept the clients that we can genuinely help and not just for the sake of it. (This was a game-changer!).
When meeting potential clients, our approach focused on,
- Understanding their pain points
- Provide services beyond accounting or consultancy tasks like strategies to increase profitability, cost-cutting techniques, cash flow improvement strategies, and identification of key performance indicators.
- Educate clients and build trust.
- Aligning expectations upfront helped us manage client satisfaction and avoid any discrepancies during the delivery of work.
Challenges on the way
The initial two to three years proved to be the most demanding we had to develop policies, establish step-by-step processes, and implement technology to ensure a system-driven approach.
- When we started, all we had was some savings and a backup plan, in case the company didn’t take off in the first six months.
- We rented a small 150-square-foot office in Deira, a business center in Dubai.
- During the initial months, my wife and I managed all the tasks ourselves, as we did not hire any employees yet.
- Building a firm in a country where we had no prior connections, was tough.
- Navigating diverse market dynamics, compliance requisites, nationalities, organizational approaches, and cultures presented a significant challenge, but we successfully overcame it.
Building a client base:
- There are numerous Chartered Accountants with established practices in the UAE. Acquiring clients and persuading them that we could provide excellent quality services as a recently established firm presented a challenge.
- But what helped us what a positive mindset and confidence.
- Consultants in the same industry can charge significantly varying fees for similar services.
- Determining the optimal rate that accurately reflects our company’s value proposition while remaining competitive was of paramount importance to us.
Building the right team
- Securing the right talent is arguably one of the most daunting tasks when initiating a business.
- We actively participate in the hiring process and go through a bunch of resumes to find the right team members.
- We have specific criteria for potential candidates: Share our vision, which is of utmost importance. Strong technical knowledge. Must demonstrate integrity
Do you want to start an Accounting and Tax Consultancy in Dubai?
The business environment in the UAE, especially for the accounting industry, is vast, and experts predict it will continue to grow.
As per the Federal Tax Authority (FTA) in the UAE, more than 300,000 companies are presently registered for VAT (Value Added Tax), and approximately 1000 companies are registered for Excise Tax. (These businesses are our target audience.)
If you are also contemplating establishing your firm in the Accounting and Tax sector, it is crucial to define your target audience and align your services accordingly.
Staying up-to-date with the perpetually evolving laws and compliance regulations in the UAE and keeping your clients informed about new developments is imperative.
For anyone embarking on the journey of entrepreneurship, it’s not just about how talented you are, what matters the most is how hungry you are for success.
I feel proud to say that we have expanded our team, our client base, and our services.
Today at Earningo, we offer a range of services, which encompasses,
- Accounting and Outsourced CFO services.
- As certified tax agents with FTA (Federal Tax Authority), UAE, we provide a wide range of tax-related services, including VAT, excise, and Corporate Tax.
- In the Audit and Assurance vertical, we assist our clients with internal audits, external audits, and due diligence.
- Our Management Consulting Services include PRO services, implementation of accounting software, business valuations, and feasibility studies.
Earningo has grown quite significantly by providing the right kind of services and carefully investing in the business.
We have shifted to a bigger office of a thousand square feet in Business Bay in Dubai.
But I believe that there is no finish line on the road to success, as our goal is to expand even more in the future and provide better services to our clients.
Do you also want to start an Accounting and Tax Consultancy in Dubai? Let us know in the comments.