Just who exactly is Ravi Ramnarain and why should you care?
Well, he’s a Certified Public Accountant licensed in both Massachusetts and Florida. Prior to starting his own business, he worked for the Miami Banking Industry for ten years. He also spent two “busy seasons” as a “big 4” external auditor in Boston and Miami. Clearly, experience is something he has in spades.
These roles prepared Mr. Ramnarain by developing his understanding of how the Banking and Financial Service industries work and perfecting his impeccable researching and documentation skills. These days, Mr. Ramnarain can be found running his own business, with the goal in mind being the establishment of a working relationship with clients that need his knowledge to help contain their accounting and tax-related costs.
Here to talk us through his journey and experiences is the man himself.
What steps did you take to establish your business?
People say that “necessity is the mother of invention.” I reached a point in my banking career where, even with a CPA license and two Master’s degrees, there was not much further that I could possibly advance while working for someone else.
To go from middle management to a bona fide C-suite position would have taken at least another 10 years. Furthermore, after already being successful in the business world to a degree by starting a profitable rental property side business in my mid-20s, I knew that I had what it took to branch out and start my own CPA Firm.
I knew that it was not going to be easy and that there would be many barriers to overcome. However, as I consider myself to be sort of a perfectionist, I also knew that I would stop at nothing to make this happen. Thus the number one requirement for anyone looking to branch out on their own is to ensure that they’re 100% committed to their business. It has to be an obsession. If not, then you’re wasting your time and money.
What specialists did you need?
Specialists? I had myself! A CPA firm needs to have a fully competent CPA in charge! I had to ensure that I was fully licensed as a CPA in Florida as I was originally licensed in a different state and that the firm that I set up was also fully licensed and insured.
What tools and applications did you use?
There were many steps once the state licensing requirements were intact. Registering with the IRS to become an eFiler was a major part of the process as well.
Did you bootstrap your business or did you get funding elsewhere?
Bootstrapping is the best way to go, along with ensuring that you keep your overhead costs as low as possible at the outset.
Did you have online or local communities that helped you? How did they offer support?
Honestly, the answer to this is no. Starting a business is not overly complicated, provided that you have short-term and long-term goals outlined. If anything, my experience in the corporate world ultimately provided a great training ground to make this happen.
Do you struggle with work-life balance? How can is it achieved?
I will be the first person to admit that starting a business can and will cut into your personal life. This is further accentuated by the fact that you have to be out there attending networking events with other business owners, potential clients, and such. However, this is temporary in that you will be able to make your own schedule once you achieve a certain level of profitability.
What are the things you wished you knew when you were starting your business?
Honestly, my only wish at this point is that I had started my CPA firm sooner!
What kind of company culture do you have? How do you promote productivity? What style of business management did you apply?
My business is effectively 24/7. If a client needs something done by a certain date and time, I personally ensure that this request is attended to.
What advice did you get from other entrepreneurs and how did it help you succeed?
I have learned from my business owner friends and select relatives that spending wisely is the key element in starting a business. With that said, one should not be first-cost-sensitive. In other words, if you have to make a large expenditure for something in the beginning that is going to add value tenfold in the long term, you should not gripe about it.
What important lesson did you take away from your experiences that you want to share with others?
As I mentioned before, if you are passionate about the business that you want to be in (and if it is something you think about 24/7), take the plunge!