Date posted: 12/10/2022 5 min read

What you need to know to do business in India

The World Congress of Accountants (WCOA 2022) in Mumbai, India, will offer outstanding opportunities for CAs to acquire the insights and contacts to do business with India. Plus, as a partner, CA ANZ has some discounts on offer for members wishing to attend.

In Brief

  • Having the right skills, support and networks is essential for doing business in India.
  • ‘For India, you need to do your homework so that when you go in, you’re operating at a sophisticated level’.
  • CA delegates to WCOA 2022 can take advantage of Doing in Business in India online program and related Masterclasses delivered by Asialink Business.

Chief executive of Asialink Business, Leigh Howard has no doubt as to where CAs and other Australian finance professionals should look for opportunities in the near future.

“India epitomises Australia’s international business outlook,” he tells Acuity. “If there is a single serious long-term rival to China as an economic powerhouse in Asia, India is it.”

“Investing in the capabilities to succeed in India is no longer a nice-to-have but a necessity for Australia’s enterprises looking to this strategically important market,” he adds.

Asialink Business is Australia’s centre for building capabilities and helping businesses and their people develop insights, skills and confidence to do business in India and the wider Asia region.

Asialink Business is partnering with Chartered Accountants Australia and New Zealand (CA ANZ) at the World Congress of Accountants (WCOA 2022) to be held in Mumbai on 18–21 November 2022 and is hosting a special masterclass program on doing business in India (see link at the end of the story).

A compelling economy

India is one of the world’s fastest-growing economies and if you go by the numbers, the case for doing business in India is compelling.

The United Nations (UN) says India’s population will soon exceed China’s, with India having an estimated population of 1.51 billion people by 2030.

But it’s another figure that Howard has his eye on.

“There are many statistics about the size of India and its growth trajectory, but the fact that struck me as one of the most strategically significant for us is that the UN predicts India’s urban population will reach 675 million by 2035,” he says.

That’s a lot of people in cities – or looking at it another way, a lot of potential customers.

More importantly, perhaps, is that a considerable portion of those people will comprise India’s affluent middle class.

India is enticing for other reasons: it has much in common with Australia and New Zealand. It is the world’s largest democracy, English is widely spoken, it’s a member of the Commonwealth with a legacy of common law that local organisations may find familiar.

It’s also a friendly front door to doing business with the rest of Asia.

“Over the next 10 years, Asia will deliver two-thirds of global growth,” says Howard.

“The IMF [International Monetary Fund] predicts that in 2023 the growth rates of India, Vietnam and Indonesia will be among the highest in the world, and higher than that of China.”

A right way and a wrong way to do business

But Howard says there’s a right way and a not-so-right way to do business with India.

The right way involves doing your homework, building your contacts, seeking out partners and learning the Indian way of doing business. Having the right skills, support and networks is essential – as doing business in India is not without challenges.

Language and cultural barriers, a complex regulatory framework and diverse markets may all seem like impediments to success.

But Australian organisations willing to invest the time and energy required can reap considerable rewards. For instance, the Asialink Business team of insiders says that, unlike other parts of the world, direct questioning is common in India. So don’t be miffed in business talks if you’re asked some pretty blunt questions.

And the wrong way to do business?

Well, the first is just showing up on the subcontinent confident that success will be a sure or instantaneous thing.

“I think that any company that goes on a single trade mission or visit and expects to find success without having done their planning and preparation will be disappointed,” says Howard.

“Doing baseline discovery on a market mission is a very expensive way to approach it.

“It’s what I call a turning-up strategy: ‘Here I am, I’ve arrived!’”

Likewise, you need to put in the time and get your strategy right.

“I lament sometimes Australian businesses would spend more effort, planning and preparation for opening a new office in Brisbane than they would for an office in Mumbai,” Howard says.

Opportunities at WCOA 2022

So how can CAs and others make the most of the opportunities on offer at WCOA 2022?

CA ANZ is a gold plus sponsor of WCOA 2022 and in partnership with Asialink Business it’s offering CA delegates a special chance to maximise business opportunities at WCOA 2022.

The benefits include:

  • Taking part in the Introduction to Doing Business in India online program run by Asialink Business, a three-part program starting on 20 October 2022]
  • A masterclass for WCOA 2022 participants on key topics including ecommerce and fintech in Asia, and Australia’s role in Asia’s decarbonisation journey
  • Access to resources such as the authoritative India Country Starter Pack available at Asialink Business’s website.

Special offers for CA ANZ members

CAs registered to attend WCOA 2022 in Mumbai, either in person or online/virtually, are eligible for the special deals in relation to WCOA 2022.

By using the promo codes CAANZINTL30 or CAANZ as part of the registration there are opportunities to participate in the Asialink Business Introduction to Doing Business in India online program, a three-part program that begins on 20 October 2022.

For more information, go to the CA ANZ World Congress page.

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