What you need to know:
- Some of the multinationals that did not consider Anjli Thakrar for internship are today her loyal clients.
- This year, her company, Thakrar Financial Consultants, is already seeing an influx of new clients.
There are many factors that contribute to the success of a start-up. They include ‘the idea’, ‘the team’, and ‘timing’ to mention a few.
For Anjli Thakrar, the founding partner of Thakrar Financial Consultants (TFC), hard work, constant dedication, focus and adherence to ethics, were the core ingredients.
“I was 34 years old, and a partner at an audit firm where I had been for 14 years,” she says.
“I had goals that I didn´t see myself fulfilling if I continued to rely on a partnership that wasn´t in my control.”
Her senior partner said, in a way of dismissing her, `You are doing nothing`. The words stuck in her head.
“Never challenge a person who believes he or she can do better. They will prove you wrong,” she says.
Overnight, she left the old firm and made the crazy decision to start her own. On her lawyer’s advice, as well as her mother’s support, the plan was afoot. TFC came into being on March 2, 2012.
The tax season (March to June) was coming up and her phone was buzzing – organizations she had audited and given tax advisory to before were calling.
“We will come with you wherever you go,” one CEO committed.
“It was a humble beginning. I rented a one-roomed office measuring approximately 800m square and put in a table and a few chairs.”
As recently as this year, many companies are ‘negotiating’ with Kenya Revenue Authority (KRA): some even taken to court for tax compliance issues.
Failure to comply with tax codes could potentially cost the organization more than it should pay. Companies and firms thus have to get their taxes in order, with the help of auditors like TFC.
“This is a service industry. Companies are looking for accountants who can keep them tethered to the law and give them the right and timely tax advice,” Thakrar says.
Citing the back-and-forth haggling that preceded the passing of 2023/24 Finance Act, Thakrar notes that tax laws change fast, and as such, companies and firms need auditors who not only know their work but are also up to date with tax regulations.
Today, she says, KRA is two steps ahead of everybody and has evolved tremendously in how they execute their mandate as tax collectors. Organizations that want to cheat their way through will be lucky if they got away with it.
“It is very important for a tax consultant to keep abreast with laws so that you are able to help a client structure their transactions efficiently to achieve the most optimal tax structure,” she says.
On March 17, 2023, Thakrar emerged the best candidate in Kenya, in the Governance and Compliance Audit paper, that she sat for in December 2021.
The exam is administered by Kenya Accountants and Secretaries National Examinations Board (Kasneb) – Kenya´s highest governing authority for Accountants. With it, she attained the Certified Public Secretary (CPS) qualification.
“My intention was just to pass the exam. I not only passed, but emerged the best. It is a big deal for me. This achievement is bigger than than any business award I have won,” Thakrar proudly says.
In total, she has four qualifications to her name: Certified Public Accountant (CPA), Association of Chartered Certified Accountants (ACCA), CIMA (Chartered Institute of Management Accountants) and now CPS.
However, she admits that growing TFC from nothing to what it is today did not come easy. At the onset, she was forced to work throughout the week without a break.
The first three or so years were tough, she says. Nonetheless, she persisted. Putting in the extra hours and pitching to new clients day in day out.
Eleven years on, TFC has more than 500 clients – mostly local corporates, companies and firms as well as some international organizations.
“We provide them with a range of services, including tax compliance advisory, tax planning, management audits, filing of returns, financial audits and business registration services, among many other.”
Filing of tax, she says, when done professionally, can help corporates save money through reliefs and other tax incentives.
“We are legally allowed to save our clients from paying extra in taxes. We do so using the right tax laws. It gives me satisfaction when I am able to structure a company’s tax file such that is optimally tax efficient,” Thakrar says.
Bottom-line, she says, it is her job to make sure that her clients have adhered to the code as spelt out in Kenyan law.
But how did she singlehandedly grow the company, considering she was by yourself after leaving her former employer?
“The company grew by word of mouth,” she says. “The lesson is that when you give your clients the best services they will send other clients your way.”
The business that started out in an 800m square room is now housed in an ultra-modern office covering 3100m square.
“I feel good about the journey. I have surpassed my own expectations. I am happy and deeply grateful because fate has been nice to my ambitions,” Thakrar says.
“This experience has made me more comfortable with taking risks. I am not as confined to my comfort zone. I am not so frightened about failure or starting from scratch as I was back then,” she says.
Some of the multinationals that did not consider Thakrar for an internship position are today her loyal clients.
This year, based on the outcry that the more punitive tax laws will met on businesses, as well as employers, TFC is already seeing an influx of new clients.
“The law on Thin Capitalization for International Companies, and the amendment for CGT exemptions being approved only if the group has been in existence for 2 years, require Accounting smarts,” She says.
“Another interesting change is the rebasing of costs of property to extend beyond 5 years. At the same time, tax will be based on the value of the underlying property instead of the share transfer. These new laws show you that the taxman is smart. Companies have to adhere to the tenets and are looking for experienced auditors.”