Gaurav Kenkre elaborates on his profession and the various challenges that come along with it
Gaurav Kenkre is a Chartered Accountant (CA) by qualification. He has completed B.Com from Dempo College of Commerce and Economics. Besides, he has done a few post-qualification courses. Currently, Gaurav specialises in GST consultancy and litigation. He was born and brought up in Goa while completing his studies in Panaji itself.
Gaurav would travel out of state for brief spells for his CA coaching. When he is not balancing the books of accounts, he is busy reading, watching movies and most importantly, spending time with his daughter.
Having a CA for a father(CA Santosh Kenkre) coupled with his overall likes and dislikes in school inspired Gaurav to choose accounting as a career. “I could never visualise myself being a doctor, since I was not very comfortable handling blood and stuff. I also struggled at chemistry, although I loved physics. So the other route of being an engineer also seemed a bit tough. English and Maths were the two subjects that I loved throughout school. Studying for English and Maths exams was the easiest and it never felt like studying. As it turns out, most of my time now is spent around these two fields: reading laws, sections, case studies, drafting legal documents, and looking at numbers in spreadsheets. So work also doesn’t really seem like work, most often.”
The early years in the profession saw Gaurav dabbling in different areas. “In the early years, I had decided to try my hand at all the different things which a CA could do, especially those areas where my father had not ventured into. As the years passed, I realised where my interests lay and which work was really rewarding; that helped me zero in on my true passions.
While sections, laws, rules, and words seem boring to most, Gaurav finds them very intriguing. “Every word in law is there for a purpose, and every word, can have multiple meanings and connotations depending on the context. We have a vast amount of jurisprudence in this country which also makes words take on different colours. Therefore, every time I read a provision, I try to discover hitherto unseen interpretations and see if they can be sustained or argued,” he adds.
Further he says, “One of the most satisfying moments is to crack a particularly difficult fact scenario, by finding the most suitable clause which can unlock the transaction.”
Gaurav juggles various roles in his capacity as a CA. He is part of various organisations and committees, while also authoring compliances for newspapers and other publications. “I am currently the Chairman of Goa – Institute of Chartered Accountants of India (ICAI) as well as the Dempo College Alumni Association. I am also on the GCCI taxation committee and the Dempo College Internal Quality Assurance Cell (IQAC). I am truly humbled and privileged to have been elected and selected for these roles by the people in charge.”
As a part of ICAI, their mandate is to ensure professional development of their members, academic growth of their students and overall contribution to trade and society by spreading knowledge, taking up social causes and by representing industry issues to the Government.
Gaurav states that doing activities which can upgrade the lives of several people is a very rewarding task. “Yes, the challenges can sometimes be overwhelming, but at the end of the day it is worth it.”
Over the years, Gaurav has dealt with many interesting cases and clients. He goes on to elaborate on the same. “The most rewarding are those moments when we can help a client in distress, while staying within the realms of law.
In one recent case, a genuine exporter was denied refund of GST (to which he was legally entitled to). The denial was based on an interpretational issue. Since GST law was new, there were no settled decided court matters on this aspect, which could be cited as precedence. I spoke to my peers across the country and some of them had encountered the same issue and had not managed to convince the department of the correct interpretation.
“I then began my own research reading and studying various judgements and principles of interpretation. Finally, I found a similar case (albeit under VAT era), along with under Supreme Court judgments which backed my arguments. Using these, I could present before the appellate authority and obtained a favourable ruling. Eventually the ruling was covered by national legal portals like Taxmann in their case law database. Till date, I am not aware of any other judgments across India which gave a favourable ruling on this aspect. This was a very satisfying moment for me since I was able to deliver justice to the client, after deep research.”
Gaurav’s family has been a constant source of support and one of his greatest strengths. “My father’s training has ensured that I have picked up many of traits of honesty, hard work, system-driven work etc. I am truly lucky to have him as mentor. When I was in school, my mother ensured that I didn’t stray away from my focus on studies. She took up my studies for the longest time and that helped me realise my true potential. Handling a profession and several other professional bodies is not possible without the support of your better half at the backend. My wife has always supported me in my activities and it because of her that I am empowered to go beyond the normal call of duty.”
Regarding his future plans, Gaurav says that professional practice in the area of GST is where opportunities abound. “We are just entering the phase where businesses are being questioned by the department for the tax positions that they adopted at the start of GST. For sure, everyone has made some mistakes, and on several aspects the law is also ambiguous or has been challenged in courts. Thus, there will be a sea of litigation soon and my plan is to skill up and be ready to assist the trade and industry wade through this, with minimal damage, within the four corners of the law.”
When it comes to his mantra for success, Gaurav maintains that success comes to those who are focused on their goal. One has to first identify their goal, an objective, and then put all resources available, to single-mindedly achieve that goal. “Distractions will always be part of life but the winner always finds the path to his ultimate purpose.”
He signs off with a message to aspiring CAs. “Qualifying to be a Chartered Accountant is a very arduous task, but extremely fulfilling and rewarding. The feeling after having graduated is unlike any. The journey is very exacting, but perserverance and hard work will pay off. Malcolm Gladwell, in his book The Outliers, discusses that beyond a certain level of IQ, it is the attitude and hard work of an individual that matters. This is 100% true in the context of the CA course. Those who get through the initial rounds are sifted for their IQ already. Beyond that, it is a matter of being positive, diligent, and tenacious. The never-say-die spirit of a student will be his or her guiding light in this journey.”