Tuesday, August 3, 2010

IFRS training market hots up

Do you have a few spare rooms? Can you do them up as classrooms and rent them out? If you can, welcome to a new business – IFRS training.
With some 1,500 Indian companies needing to do their accounts in accordance with the principles of International Financial Reporting Standards (IFRS) from April 1, 2011 – and thousands more to follow thereafter – the demand for training accountants in IFRS is a huge business.
It can only grow, given at least two distinct factors. One, IFRS standards are dynamic and hence professionals have to keep pace with the changes. Two, more importantly, the world is opening up to Indian professionals for IFRS-related work.
Today, the community of Indian accountants cleaves into two – those who welcome IFRS and those who don't. The former class feels that the system (which mandates over 2,000 points of disclosure) is transparent, investor-friendly. The latter feels the need for IFRS is not well-founded, the regime is not preceded by any market demand for it.
The latter largely believes that the new accounting regime is the handiwork of the Big Four – the global accounting firms, E&Y, KPMG, Deloitte and PricewaterhouseCoopers – who will get lucrative assignments for helping Indian companies migrate to IFRS system and training accounts professionals. The Big Four are very active in the training market. KPMG has a tie-up with NIIT Imperia, PwC with IIM Calcutta, among others, for IFRS training.
The Big Four seem to have a huge slice of the training market. But Indian entrepreneurs have spotted this opportunity too.
Mr Kanagaraj Antonysamy is among the few who have seized upon the opportunity. His Thonus Training in Chennai has been conducting workshops for companies, will begin next week to offer diploma courses – the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants of the UK (ACCA) will awards the diplomas. Mr Antonysamy estimates that the market for IFRS training at Rs 700 crore, leaving out the value of the training provided by the Big Four as part of their 'conversion assignments'.
The market is hotting up. Among the better known names in the business is PIRON India of Delhi, which has been training accountants in IFRS for the past three years. Mr Abhishek Asthana, Director, PIRON India, is more conservative in his estimate of the market – Rs 200-crore, he says – but admits the size of business is growing exponentially.
New Ecosystem
Regardless of the size, a point that clearly emerges from talking to Thonus and PIRON is that the market is far from discovered. "We have been getting enquiries from Bangalore and Hyderabad, which indicates that there is demand in these places," says Mr Antonysamy.
PIRON is coming south. It has trained a few south Indian companies, including a large Chennai-based automotive major, but that was under 'corporate training model'. Now PIRON intends to offer courses, again diplomas awarded by ACCA, UK, on classroom basis. On Thursday, PIRON tied up with the Chennai-based Careers Junction, a firm that has been offering finishing-school training for a variety of industries such insurance, retail and IT.
"I know the demand for IFRS is very big," says Mr P.V. Krishna Rao, who founded Careers Junction. He believes that PIRON's Internet-based classroom model will be hugely in demand and is expanding Careers Junction to meet it.
A whole ecosystem is developing – training companies, trainers, providers of services such as infrastructure and marketing support and providers of IT support (Reliance Web World Ltd is PIRON's partner). And, this is just the incipient stages of the market.
Possibly, another big opportunity awaits Indian trainers – the US. Come 2014, the US will migrate to IFRS system and, hopefully, a lot of work will flow to India. Indian firms are already wetting their feet in overseas waters. PIRON already has a presence in the US and Thonus has been getting overtures from West Asia.
A regulatory change has spawned such a huge market. John Maynard Keynes must be smiling.

Posted By: S Rahul
Source: Thehindubusinessline.com


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