SMEs' go-to expert for all accounting woes

SMEs go-to expert for all accounting woes
Don't try to become an entrepreneur because it's the new cool thing, says Divya Bhagtani.

dubai - Divya Bhagtani's business helps keep track of cash flow and comply with VAT


Sandhya D'Mello

Published: Sat 23 Jun 2018, 5:59 PM

Last updated: Sat 23 Jun 2018, 8:04 PM

Women are increasingly taking up the entrepreneurial path in the UAE and they derive lot of confidence from the nation's open and safe society, says Divya Bhagtani, founder, Accountant's Box.

"The UAE government is encouraging women to participate more and more in business. Seeing so many women in business is a discovery. There are more and more inquiries from women each day to tap Accountant's Box services," adds Divya.

Accountant's Box is an outsourced accounting and VAT consulting firm. The company supports SME clients who do not have in-house accounting and tax teams in understanding financial performance, keeping track of cash flows and ensure compliance with VAT law.

"I am the founding partner at Accountant's Box. We mainly cater to small and medium-sized entrepreneurs. We specialise in advising clients on accounting plus VAT-related matters. Our clients are in diverse business, including e-commerce companies, law firms, adventure parks, digital and marketing companies, restaurants, retail businesses and nurseries to name a few," says Divya, who is an MBA with a focus on shipping and logistics management.

Divya admits to having changed her career path many times. "When I landed in Dubai after marriage, my situation changed again. A job was not proving to be good option for me and I also had to travel back home frequently. I decided to start a small business to keep myself busy and make some money. I used to work in a small shipping agency where an external accounting expert helped us keep track of financial progress. I could see our employer see a lot of value in his offering. Inspired by this, I started our accounting advisory practice with support from my husband, who is a professional accountant."

Leveraging VAT
The UAE recently implemented value-added tax (VAT) beginning January 1, 2018. Divya and her firm reached out to small businesses, creating awareness on the importance of maintaining proper accounting records to not only understand business progress but also comply with the VAT law.

On the family front, Divya is a mother to a one-year-old infant. "I have always been treated equally, gender-wise. From my parents to my in-laws, none of them have treated me differently because I am a woman. I do not really have to balance work and home because they understand that if I am doing work, it's not possible for me to take care of home simultaneously. Also, no points in guessing that I am fully backed and supported by my husband."

Divya is part of Toastmasters Club and BNI Champions in Dubai. She says: "Don't lose faith in yourself. Someone someday will have faith in your faith. Stay nimble, agile and progressive. We are constantly understanding changes around us. Evaluate ways in which we could serve our clients more efficiently and remain price-sensitive. Our continued focus on delivery and efficiency is the key to remain competitive."

Accountant's Box was started two years ago and it took a few months for Divya to understand the licensing requirements, various options and their pros and cons, location, setting up, etc. "I learnt a lot in this process and some interesting people helped me make the right decisions. I have worked with smaller businesses in the UAE and been part of organisations supporting entrepreneurs such as BNI and TiE. A lot of smaller businesses fail because they do not keep focus on keeping track of accounting and finances. They struggle to run a business with clarity on finances and sometime they crashland."

With the introduction of VAT on the horizon, it was clear that maintaining proper accounting records would no longer be an option. Growing awareness and mandatory accounting requirements were clear indicators of a successful business case. Divya's firm advises clients on how to maintain proper books of accounts and support them in complying with VAT law. It also helps clients read their financial records, understand their business progress, see potential issues well in advance, analyse profitability and identify areas of cost reduction. "We complement our client's business understanding with a layer of financial review and planning," she observes.

Does Accountant's Box help in reducing costs since most businesses would outsource their key function? Says Divya: "Our approach is focused on helping our clients understand their financial performance, optimise cost structure and handle financial issues before they get bigger and dent business performance. We believe in adding value and allowing businesses to focus on core functions."


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