D Companies needed to access high-quality and reliable professional firms in other countries, and developing competency in this sector made good business sense. RSM, which is now the fifth largest firm in the US and the sixth largest network globally, was a perfect fit for Dr Surana’s idea. So, in 1996, RSM India was created as an independent and sole Indian member firm of RSM International.
RSM India (comprising RSM Astute Consulting Group and affiliates), assists organisations in their decision-making process—from undertaking corporate advisory and structuring to managing compliances with dynamic and evolving service areas in India. It is committed to offering the best of client service and technical excellence, common working methodology, independence and ethics, besides serving clients across the globe as in India.
R Suresh Surana hailing from Jodhpur in Rajasthan, has put the country on the global map of accounting and consulting. A merit rank holder from Mumbai University, an LLB first ranker, a CA–ICAI merit ranker and a Doctorate in Business Policy and Administration, Dr Surana was always passionate about creating and building a world-class knowledge-based business.
Dr Surana receiving award for the ‘Fastest Growing RSM Firm’ from Mike Kirley, Chairman, RSM International.
How it all began
RSM International is a world leader in audit, tax and consulting services. It is an international network of member firms with an annual combined fee income of ₹ 54,450 crore (approximately US$ 7.26 billion) and a combined staff of more than 51,000 people across 123+ countries.
In 1991, India began liberalising its economy. It was then that Dr Surana identified great opportunity in the area of assisting foreign companies to set up their Indian operations and Indian companies to set up global operations.
As a first-generation entrepreneur, Dr Surana has had his share of challenges. Speaking about his early years in business, he says, “For any entrepreneurial venture, the first few years are the defining period; you can give up almost every day. As a new entrant, you do not have established clients, infrastructure, employees, cashflow, etc. The key aspect, thus, is to find certain niche areas with high growth potential. So, in those years, while most firms were focused on statutory audits and tax compliance, we focused on internal audits and cross-border businesses. We also focused on and developed some degree of industry expertise in sectors, such as media and entertainment, gems and jewellery and information technology. The other key aspect is to ensure that you meet your cash flows. In our business, most costs are fixed monthly ones; hence, it is important to closely monitor your revenue, collection and payment obligations. Then, you need to invest in people, empower them, use technology and leverage it, and create a culture of constant improvisation and innovation. Lastly, we must realise the huge role that we can play in the growth of our clients’ businesses and the Indian economy. Most clients depend on us for navigating them through complex corporate and tax laws and financial reporting requirements, as well as to run their businesses efficiently.”
Dr Surana (seventh from left) with colleagues.
Awards and accreditations
Over 2011-21, the International Accounting Bulletin (IAB) has ranked RSM India as one of the top six tax, accounting and consulting groups in India, with offices across 11 cities, and a multi-disciplinary team of 2,100+ professionals. Headquartered in Mumbai, RSM India is ISO 9001 and ISO 27001 accredited. It is empanelled by the Indian Computer Emergency Response Team (CERTIn), (Ministry of Electronics & IT, Government of India) as an IT security auditing organisation. In 2020, it was recognised by Dun & Bradstreet Corp as among the leading SMEs and Mid-corporates of India. The next year, Silicon India recognised RSM India as among the top consulting firms of 2021.
Speaking about his areas of expertise, Dr Surana says, “I specialise in structuring cross border investments, tax and regulatory aspects and managing promoter and board/CXO level relationships with several large groups and first-generation businesses. As the founder, my objective is to continually re-imagine and reinvent the group, so that we can meet the contemporary requirements of clients. For this purpose, we need to strengthen our leadership and operating team, invest in technology, data analytics and automation, build physical and virtual infrastructure and create a culture that can help every team member to realise and unleash their true potential.”
Having spearheaded RSM India for so many years, Dr Surana is an institution in himself when it comes to offering guidance and direction. Sharing his thoughts on leadership, he says, “Successful leadership is based on one’s vision, self-belief and passion. I am greatly inspired by Chanakya, who ably demonstrated that if you have vision and public welfare at heart, you can create a kingdom without any army or money. He is the greatest example of vision, self-belief, strategy, execution and commitment to nation-building.”
Dr Suresh Surana (third from left) with son, Siddharth Surana (extreme left); daughter-in-law, Gaurika Surana (second from left); mother, late Shantidevi Surana (centre); sister, Rekha Shah (fifth from left); wife, Ruchi Surana (sixth from left); and father, Inderchand Surana (extreme right).
The way forward
Concluding on an optimistic note, Dr Surana says, “We are in the midst of a great technological revolution. India is the hub of global IT and back-office work, which is coupled with massive investment in infrastructure and manufacturing. I believe that over the next decade, India will emerge as a true economic superpower. All of us have unparalleled opportunity to grow and succeed, which we must leverage.”