To learn business accounting would seem like a drudgery to most people. But for commerce students using ArthaVidhya's skill development course called Business Accounting Process (BAP), it's just as engrossing as playing World of Warcraft. Using a virtual office, students can simulate multiple workflow scenarios across over 60 accounting transactions commonly performed in any business enterprise. At the end of the course, students would have gained an exposure equivalent to six months of ‘work’ experience in just 120 hours, Nagarajan G, Founder, ArthaVidhya, tells YourStory.
The Bangalore-based education startup uses gaming to enhance the job-readiness of their students. "There is a huge gap between college education and industry requirements in accounting, banking and insurance. We want to bridge it through practical learning programs," says Nagarajan.
The student undergoes a blended learning approach: theory sessions delivered by chartered accountants are complemented with hands-on practical sessions using experiential learning software hosted on the cloud. For example, a student can learn how to calculate taxes and deductions from a textbook, but he would be far more familiar with the process if he plays a game that requires him to go through it step by step, overcoming hurdles on the way.
Assessing, counselling and reaching out
"Our mantra is ACT: Assessment / Counselling / Training," Nagarajan says. This three-pronged approach starts with their assessment tool delivered through the cloud. Students are assessed on academic knowledge, process knowledge, analytical skills and software skills (Tally / Excel). Each student gets a report on their standing on completion of the test. A report on all the students is also given to their college to help identify gaps in knowledge or skills. So far, 4500 students from 45 colleges in Bangalore, Hyderabad, Chennai and Coimbatore have been assessed in this manner.While industry experts and working professionals see the gulf between what is being taught in colleges and workplace requirements, students and college authorities do not see that clearly. This is one of the challenges for ArthaVidhya. That is why the ArthaVidhya team included counselling as one of their core activities. "We counsel students about the gaps that show up in the individual assessment reports and help them choose the correct path in terms of identifying the right skill training required. At this stage, the students get a demo of the main training product," Nagarajan explains.
The people behind it
Promoted by a group of chartered accountants and software professionals, ArthaVidhya was started by Nagarajan in Bangalore in August 2011. He is a senior chartered accountant with 30 years of experience in the information technology industry. He started his career with Enfield India and moved on to Wipro, and worked with them for 13 years. He also worked with Redington as chief financial officer (CFO) before starting up ePalmleaf ITES Private Limited. ArthaVidhya is ePalmleaf's education initiative.
ArthaVidhya is a skill development partner with National Skill Development Corporation in the BFSI (banking, financial services and insurance) space. Their project is currently supported by a loan from NSDC, and funds from founders and friends.
Online course coming up
The ArthaVidhya program targets ready-to-work commerce graduates or students in their final year of B.Com / M.Com / BBA /BBM/MBA. Students who have enrolled for ICWA/CA/ACS and fresh accountants who want to branch out to other finance and accounting functions are also their target market.
Currently, the team is working with colleges in Coimbatore and Bangalore. "While our virtual office environment has been deployed on cloud from day 1 of the course, we will be launching a complete online version of the course in February 2014," Balaji Srinivasan, Head of Product Development, says.