“We strive to build a global outsourced accounting and payroll organization that is recognized as a Trusted Growth Partners for its clients and employees,” shared Shalaka Joshi, on what drives her to jump out of bed every morning.
For decades now, traditional accounting has been replaced with digitized solutions. In parallel, for the longest time, women limited in certain roles have eventually broken the glass ceiling to transform into fierce, focused, and fabulous businesswoman. One such woman, who has revolutionized a historically male-dominated industry of numbers, is Shalaka Joshi.
Finsmart Solutions, an incredible business in her own right, entered the Indian outsourced accounting landscape in 2006, to revolutionize the industry as one of its kind. Offering dedicated finance and accounting services when outsourcing accounting was not familiar to most mid-sized and small-sized brands, the brand successfully carved a reputation for itself as a single destination for accounting, taxation, and payroll compliances for various business entities.
An insight into Shalaka’s journey, born and brought up in Pune nestled in a business family; Joshi grew up being encouraged to choose a career of her choice and ventured into Chartered Accountancy. Once graduated, she started her career with her father’s company Electronica Group, although that was not the final destination in Shalaka’s journey. The visionary eventually ventured into entrepreneurship breaking the boundaries of the job role unable to satisfy her passion for numbers and accounting.
Today, Shalaka Joshi led Finsmart Solutions is a brand synonymous with a reputed and trusted outsourced accounting partner for many brands in major countries like India, USA, UK, Australia, etc. With an exclusive portfolio rendering customer-centric Bookkeeping service models and updated domain expertise, Finsmart’s success is also crafted with a diligent team.
Spearheaded by the wise leader, Joshi, the Finsmart team has imbibed the core values of comprehensive customer care by approaching business relationships with the focal point of providing them with ease to focus on core business operations and maintaining camaraderie.
“Difficult is done at once, the impossible takes a little longer.” On the lines of one of favorite motivational steering quotes, Shalaka has built a brand with patience, focus, and perseverance to create an unique platform unrivaled by peers and travelling promptly towards global success.
To grasp more candid parts of her journey, the evolution of her company, plans, team building and values, useful insights on the woman leadership, The CEO Magazine grabbed a chance to have an enlightening conversation with power woman Shalaka Joshi:
The CEO: Shalaka, first of all, thanks for your time from the suitcase of your busy schedule. Enlighten us, as a businesswoman, what was your mission at the outset?
Shalaka: As I continued to evolve in my career, I observed that an accounting function in any business is an area of concern for any businessman. The attrition rate of accountants adds to the challenges of maintaining the brand’s good financial health.
Hence, I decided to take upon myself the task of building an organization that would provide an efficient and reliable accounting and payroll solution to an organization. The mission was and continues to be providing a comprehensive accounting and payroll solution to a client. Wherein it focuses on taking away the burden of running an accounting function from the shoulders of a businessman and giving him more bandwidth to focus on business growth.
The CEO: What is the change you are bringing with your brand today? Tell us about the clientele that can benefit from Finsmart Solutions?
Shalaka: Technology will lead the future. Today, we are working on integrating this game-changing element of the modern world, technology like AI, IOT and Cloud models in our service offerings to give a more seamless experience to clients.
The change we are bringing with our brand in the industry today is exemplifying the premium level of outsourcing accounting services designed to ensure data confidentiality, efficiency, and flexibility through a virtual team, scalability, and smooth business continuity.
Finsmart leverages its core strengths of experienced accounts to different scales of businesses from start-up businesses, SME, MSME to MNCs, and one of our key client portfolios are subsidiaries of MNCs in India where we have an edge as we are very conversant with Global Reporting standards. Our clientele expands across various businesses seeking to outsource accounting and bookkeeping services at Finsmart Solutions from across the world.
The CEO: Tell us more about the exclusive portfolio you encompass?
Shalaka: Our first solution is bookkeeping is an area where most business owners struggle while focusing on their day-to-day operations to meet the organizational goals. Outsourcing bookkeeping to a trusted partner like Finsmart allows businessmen to achieve their planned status without hustling.
Accounting & MIS: our pro accountants are experts in assisting brands who struggle with mismanaged, untimely and inaccurate reporting in accounts. Our process oriented approach and qualified accountants ensure business to see right kind of profit & loss account and management reports
Payroll : Payroll is another crucial area of business to ensure employees get timely salaries, taxes are planned well and business remains Payroll Compliant in terms of PF, ESIC and other taxes. Our Payroll Service helps businesses to efficiently manage their Payroll, Employee queries and update on ever changing tax regime.
Statutory Compliances: This is the most important area for any business is to remain Tax Compliant and adhere to all Regulations applicable to that business. Finsmart team consisting of Chartered Accountants, Company Secretaries and Tax professionals ensures timely adherence to all compliances like GST, TDS, TCS, FEMA and Company Secretarial Compliances
Accounts Payable Outsourcing: This is another upcoming outsourcing area where business wants to outsource their Accounts Payable Services, at Finsmart we bring a lot of efficiency, accuracy and timeliness in processing Accounts Payable whereby it helps brands to establish goodwill with their Partners and Vendors. This helps them to leverage on their buying power thereby reduce cost and increase profitability
The CEO: In the journey, did you deal with the challenge of acceptance? If not, what were the other challenges you overcame?
Shalaka: In 2007, when we started our journey to reach our mission, outsourcing of accounting service was still a new and unfamiliar concept in India. Outsourcing was a term associated usually with the solutions availed by the big-size companies and multinationals.
Most of our target audience had a difficult time grasping the fact that they could also benefit from and it was meant for them. In those days, I had to go through a cumbersome process of explaining to each one of the clients I came across how accounting outsourcing can work even in the case of smaller companies and start-ups. We did navigate through the time where we came across many people who hesitated and refused.
The CEO: What are the mistakes you wish you could’ve avoided as an entrepreneur?
Shalaka: Mistakes are inevitable to every leader’s journey. In our case, we believe we should have embraced technology much earlier than today. It is indeed a game-changer, however, the awareness about its importance is just a recent endeavor.
Deployment of few tools in operations backed with technology would have helped us to manage operations more efficiently. At the same time, the adoption of the right marketing techniques and social media presence since initial years would have helped us to grow at a faster pace.
The CEO: How did you differentiate yourself and your brand from the competition?
Shalaka: We are dedicated and focussed only into Accounting, Payroll and Compliance Outsourcing our exclusive approach to our service domain differentiates Finsmart Solutions from the rest of the accounting solutions providers in the industry. We target and specialize in every element of outsourced accounting and payroll solutions and can iterate the latest trends of the industry to ensure a satisfied clientele.
We do not endeavour to cater a broad bouquet of services in terms of audits and assessments and it helps us to remain focused on our service offerings as promised to the client.
The CEO: Tell us about your team? How did you build your team?
Shalaka: Finsmart team personifies the trustworthy and experienced team of accountants updated with the knowledge about changing tax laws, accounting standards, etc and are equipped with the ability to manage your complete day-to-day accounting matters on-site or off-site under outsourcing accounting and bookkeeping services model
Our success is attributed to the core values imbibed by each of Finsmart’s team members. Customers, the heart of our business, are prioritized at Finsmart Solutions as we always consider serving them with top-quality solutions, despite their size. We proudly walk an extra mile with client and Delivering MIS on agreed TAT remains our absolute priority with our customers
Integrity follows as a second value and a practice we imbibe by being honest, consistent, and uncompromising adherence to our strong moral, ethical principles and values. We always act professionally and remain true to our core values and principles.
Accuracy in numbers is a non-negotiable value. Finsmart ensures transparency throughout our solutions. With committed performance, we exemplify our commitment to providing high-quality and insightful services that are incomparable. Last but not the least, the value of teamwork ensures that the strength of our people and their expertise is leveraged together to achieve something great.
The CEO: How did you build your team?
Shalaka: To build the Finsmart Solutions team, we worked closely with our people to make them understand what kind of services we intend to offer to our clients. We are robust supporters of caring for our employees, helping them in their matters, and look at them as human beings and not mere resources.
Hence, following the first crucial step of coming on the same page in terms of our goals, we focused on retaining our sound relations by ensuring fruitful personal relationships with employees. These relationships allowed us to build a strong team that is connected with our clientele.
The CEO: What are the activities that allow you to keep your team motivated?
Shalaka: At Finsmart Solutions, we engage in regular review meetings. These review meetings involve conversations wherein we ensure that work-related feedback is shared and good work is appreciated.
We source our motivation by appreciating positive feedback or appreciation by the customer and resolving an employee’s raised concern in terms of required training and handholding to deal with it. I believe this creates a strong foundation for our dynamic team’s constant motivation.
The CEO: How did you handle adversity and doubt?
Shalaka: In the initial years, there were a lot of eyebrows raised towards the existence of our brand, and everyone around doubted the viability of this business model. However, we strongly believed that outsourcing accounting is going to be a norm of the new business era. Hence, we moved ahead with the same devotion and deep-rooted belief to remain focused on bringing it to various potential clients.
Slowly and steadily, the new form of accounting function was accepted in the industry. Of course, there were ups and downs during these years of an adventurous journey in the industry, but I would say that finally, our belief in this business concept and perseverance helped us to reach where we are today
The CEO: How do you plan on growing your business in the upcoming years? What does success look like in the current role and for the company?
Shalaka: From where we stand today, we plan to structure our service offerings in such a way that our business becomes scalable. We are working on integrating newer technology to bring more efficiency in operations, desired speed, and uncompromised accuracy in deliverables.
From the marketing lens, we are focused on adopting various marketing techniques to reach our potential clients PAN India and also, outside India. To define success in the role and for Finsmart Solutions, I must emphasize, we are focused on building a strong team, technology-enabled service offerings, and global reach to potential clients.
The CEO: What are the questions you ask after each breakthrough?
Shalaka: In usual scenarios, leaders spend a lot of time analysing what went wrong . However, at our end, our approach to every success is to introspect and understand what went right, what worked for us.
Focusing on the positive and becoming better at your best gives us that edge to create differentiation.as we grow.
The CEO: Do you believe in giving back to society, if yes, how?
Shalaka: The answer is definitely positive. Personally, I am a dog lover and they are a major part of my social responsibility initiatives. I work for dog rescues and adoptions. I am one of the volunteers in a Pune-based team who focus on providing food, shelter, and care to street dogs who are either malnourished or injured. In the last 5 years I have rescued and fostered over 350 puppies.
My little contribution to society is achieved as I work for rehabilitation and rehoming of homeless puppies that are either abandoned or have lost their dog mother to an accident.
The CEO: If you were to answer a young female executive’s question of ‘How can I be a good leader?’, what would you advise?
Shalaka: To a young female executive who is aiming at leadership, I would share my ideology of leadership. I believe, to become a good leader, one should first understand what he/she is passionate about and then work towards it.
Leadership is about sharing your vision with others and enabling them to work towards it. This can happen only if you are passionate about it and can work persistently for your vision.