Around a year back a brother sister duo and the brother’s wife thought of providing online video coaching on the subject of accountancy to higher secondary commerce students, MBA students, and small business owners across India absolutely for free. Their website is called A for Accounts – http://www.aforaccounts.com – the first of its kind e-learning portal in India, providing high quality video coaching in accountancy with no costs to the users.
The brother Ratish Modi, a BA LLB, M.B.A (Finance) and M.B.L. (Masters in Business Law), an alumnus of National Law University, Jodhpur left a MNC job to start A for Accounts. The sister Priya Bangad, a practicing Chartered Accountant spends a substantial chunk of her time daily contributing content for A for Accounts while the brother’s wife Vishakha Modi, a master degree holder in commerce and a LLB joins the both in this noble cause.
Ratish Modi Vishakha Modi Priya Bangard
“The poor understanding of basic concepts of accountancy among commerce students – the bedrock of any financial studies, bothered us. Commerce as a subject in secondary school level is not delved much in-depth. Hence when the students opt for commerce in their higher secondary education and intend to acquire graduation degree in it or other allied streams, they find it difficult to comprehend the concepts of accountancy – the most practical subject in commerce. We also realized many students cannot afford to avail coaching as it costs anything between rupees 4000 to 30000. Even if students avail paid coaching, it is available for a limited period whereas our video lectures are available 24X7 365 days. However, our target is to reach out to commerce students in Tier II cities and other smaller towns, semi rural and rural areas where quality coaching in accountancy is not available,“ shares Priya Bangad explaining the idea behind founding this social enterprise in the commerce education sector.
The inspiration came from the parents and the respective spouses and other family members of the three founders of A for Accounts as they believe lack of affordable yet quality education is a cause of major concern in our country and hence an area of vast social enterprise potential. A lot needs to be done in this area. Hence they pledged their ace expertise in the field of commerce education without charging a single penny from the students using the digital platform.
“We also understand that the students’ level of grasping differs. Research has shown that audio-visual lectures instead of conventional lectures help understand a subject better. Our video lectures are available 24X7. Hence the students can choose their convenient time and pace to learn, relearn, revise and practice,” says Priya.
Each video lecture has a question box below it. Students can ask any question and doubts. Each question is answered promptly with step by step explanation of the solution.
The syllabus is divided in to two parts – one for XIth and the other for XIIth class of CBSE, ICSE and State board. The students joining in the middle of the session can start from that point and go back to the earlier chapters later and do back and forth studies as it suits them.
A for Accounts helps commerce students to do ‘smart work’ to learn and master accountancy. It discourages rote learning. However effort has been taken to provide ample guidance from the examination point of view too with tips on how to avoid common mistakes and score higher.
This portal is useful for students from science background, allied streams such as students of Economics, MBA students and even for small-scale entrepreneurs who need to understand basic accountancy for managing the accounts of their ventures well.
“We are constantly working on providing more quality content to help students understand the subject of accountancy thoroughly and going forward we intend to expand the content base to other streams such as Economics”, assures Priya.
A for Accounts has a very simple registration process and in a span of less than a year it has 1800 registered students using the service. Most of the students are from Tier II cities like Jodhpur, Solapur, some from Telengana and other small towns.
“We intend our service to be available to as many students as possible in more such places as there is a dearth of quality coaching in these cities and towns. We shall be even more glad if we can make our services available in rural areas and district level towns,” says Ratish, one of the co-founders of A For Accounts who provides the back-end support to this venture.
However, despite the novelty and philanthropic intent of this digital initiative to impart quality accounts coaching free of cost to largest number of students across India, it has its own share of teething problems and challenges in scaling up to that level. These problems must be looked into as part of the challenges in the mission of Digital India.
User issues – In the last one year the founders of A For Accounts has realised that many students are not comfortable with the registration procedure even as simple as theirs as they do not even have an email id or do not know how to create or write an email id.
“We get so many calls from students who though manage to access our website and are interested to use it, but who request us to register at our end on behalf of them,” says Vishakha.
Quality of internet services – Slow speed of internet in small towns does affect the access to the website.
Fund – A For Accounts is so far a self funded venture. It does seek donation to expand its services. However, to scale up, the project needs bigger fund infusion and expert support and mentoring in terms of technology, application, administration, content creation, implementation and management, IP (intellectual property) protection and publicity.
Threat from physical coaching centers – Such digital platform providing quality coaching and that too free of cost pose a threat to the commercial physical coaching centers. The founders do get calls from such centers expressing anguish over their enterprise.
Threat of plagiarism and IP theft – Some users from small town where internet services are still not at par request for option to download lectures. The founder tried to do that and to their dismay found out the content has been plagiarized.
If these concerns are taken care of, a venture such as A For Accounts can truly become a path breaking social enterprise in the field of digital education.
As a parting comment the new social entrepreneur Priya Bangad also says,” Our education system needs to give more emphasis on practical knowledge and make it skill based to enable the students ready for its application in their career from the go. For example the commerce students need to learn Tally – an accounting software thoroughly during their graduation in commerce to use it fruitfully in their job or business right away and should not need to go for another training course after graduation. Then only the education will be complete and effective.”
Cover picture courtesy: A For accounts .com
Article picture courtesy: A For accounts .com