Prafulla Chhajed, a Chartered Accountant by profession and also the former president of the Institute of Chartered Accountants of India (ICAI) had a quick (virtual) chat with us to not only talk about his journey but also managing finances in the current scenario along with his take on a post Covid-19 economy.
Mr. Chhajed a commerce graduate and belongs to a small town in Maharashtra. He reminisces his college days and tell us how he took a leap of faith by coming to Bombay to pursue his dream career as a CA. He took admission at a government college only so that he’d have a place to stay in Bombay – i.e. a government hostel. He started his professional journey with Bansi Mehta and Co. and was also studying law alongside. After becoming a Chartered Accountant and achieving the milestones he’d set for himself, he felt like it was only right to give something back to the Institute of Chartered Accountants, India. Which is when in the year 2000, he contested in the elections for the Western India Regional Council, when he was elected and served as a regional council member for 9 years and then served as the chairman in the year 2007. Post which he was elected in the central council as a member and was also elected President of the institute last year.
Side Note: The ICAI is a statuary body established by an Act of Parliament for regulating the profession of Chartered Accountancy in India – so we can only imagine the pedestal it would put one at, on being elected as the President of ICAI.
“In the current times, there’s an odd sense of comfort when I remember these days. As you millennials say, it’s great to ‘throwback’ to a time like that, however, as we must believe, I am certain better ones are coming” says Mr. Chhajed.
“Although, if I were to talk about the current times and how the economy is shaping up, it’s important to understand that with Covid, slowly the entire world economy is almost becoming one economy. So regardless of the country affected, we are all going to be affected and India by itself cannot be insulated from it. However, on the bright side, we’ll still continue to be a growing economy as compared to many other countries where the growth rate is close to a stagnant 1%. Given that we’ve still been able to control a mammoth like Covid in a densely populated country like ours, India will bounce back. All of this being said, of course with businesses taking a complete hit, we will see consequences, especially in the first financial quarter – but we will bounce back. As Indians, we are always taught, when it gets tough, you fight harder. So when we can fight back we’ll do everything in our capacity to be back on our feet,” he adds.
In a Post Covid Economy, there are 3 things we must keep in mind:
1. As far as personal finances are concerned, save more. India is a saving economy, and that’s helped us fight this battle better and stronger. But as generations have passed, the idea of ‘saving’ has changed. Maybe this is the reminder we all needed (especially you young ones, he says with a laugh), don’t only learn how to earn money – learn how to save it. Save for the future, always.
2. As business owners, entrepreneurs and corporates we need to relook at how businesses are run. It will require some restructuring of skill, finances & process. We must relook and reconsider large loans or going ‘all in’, post this. This doesn’t mean that slow down, it just means calculate your risk to opportunity ratio before taking these calls.
3. If you’re planning to invest, make sure it’s largely in Debt free companies or government bonds. Think of the long term and invest wisely.
Mr. Chhajed signs off by saying, “Use this time to become more financially literate – let’s all come out of this stronger, better and most importantly; together.”