An unlikely impact of the COVID-19 pandemic has been that accounting jobs that would require physical presence in workplace are now going offshore.
Consultants are now seeing offshore accounting jobs come to India with remote working becoming the new normal. This would mean that entry-level chartered accountants who have cleared CA Intermediate or second level of the examination could become eligible for applying for these roles.
Shalin Parikh, President and CEO Entigrity Group, said that accounting firms would have high levels of client confidentiality and remote offshore roles would not have been a preferred option earlier. But this stigma was removed amid the pandemic.
Entigrity Group is an offshore staffing solutions providers to more than 550 accounting and tax firms situated across the United States and Canada.
"It is still initial days but the numbers are slowly growing. The stigma around building offshore accounting firm is going away. The pandemic has helped make the shift," Parikh added.
The companies that are hiring include large, mid-sized and small companies, especially from markets like the US and Canada.
India has a good talent pool in the accounting space. When it comes to CA Inter, close to 3,500 pass the Group I exam every year. About 5,400 pass the Group II. Both groups put together, about 1,200 clear the exam.
Delhi-based hiring consultant Gizelle Lobo told Moneycontrol that while there are always job roles open for qualified CA professionals, the pandemic has forced companies to go cautious.
"While CAs would be consider the crème de la crème in India, not everyone is hiring. So, offshore accounting jobs are a good fit for such candidates," she added.
The pass percentage for the CA exam conducted by ICAI is close to 10 percent making it the toughest examinations in the country. Every year, about 4.50 lakh candidates give the examination.
Considering the talent pool available in India with this qualification, global accounting firms are now eyeing candidates from this market.
Parikh explained that for the mid-sized and small international firms, it is not feasible to set up physical presence in India.
"These firms don't have the wherewithal to set up offices in India to access the global talent pool. So, the structure of offshore jobs work well for them," he added.
For Indian candidates, the only thing to remember is that while salaries would be at par with the Indian firms or even better, there could be time-zone differences.
For instances, if you are employed with a US-based company, you will be required to follow their time zone which could impact your work-life balance.
As cloud technology is being strengthened to protect data theft and cyber security, Parikh added that more companies will be open to hiring remotely.
"We have just scratched the surface for offshore accounting roles. The market will boom over the next few years," he added.