For over two decades, Sharada Bhansali has been at the helm of product development for AccountantsWorld (and its predecessor, MicroVision Software). Now, she has been recognized for her commitment to our company - and the accounting profession in general - by being named one of the 2013 Most Powerful Women in Accounting.
This list has been put together by our colleagues at CPA Practice Advisor. It recognizes women who have transformed tax and accounting for the better - and who are continuing to shape its future.
And who could fit that profile more than Sharada?
A Trailblazer for Accountants
Sharada created MicroVision in 1984. Her initial mission was to help professional accountants complete their tax work more efficiently by using the latest technologies (at that time, the introduction of desktop PC's). With her husband and co-founder, Chandra, the result was the flagship Tax Relief product, which was used by tens of thousands of loyal accountants across the U.S. over the next two decades.
“My focus was never on the technology itself, but rather how it could transform the work and lives of accountants.”
In 2003, Sharada and Chandra sold the Tax Relief line to Thomson Creative Solutions. Their intent wasn’t to retire, but to focus on a new realm: helping accountants leverage the Web. They started with AccountantsWorld.com , a portal serving as a free online community of accountants. Six months later, it received Forbes' Best of the Web award. Today, it remains free to join and continues to serve as one of the most popular destinations on the Web for accountants.
Soon Sharada and the AccountantsWorld team realized that the Internet could have even more far-reaching consequences. It offers accountants capabilities they never had before – the ability to work from anywhere at any time, unlimited computing power at very low cost, and last but not least, the ability to work collaboratively with their clients regardless of geographic location.
AccountantsWorld’s focus became to harness the power of these remarkable capabilities to improve accountants' professional lives, especially their efficiency and the value they can provide to their clients.
"One of the first things I noticed about Sharada was the focus and intensity she brings to her work. What makes Sharada’s passion more impressive is that her goal has always been to use it not only to benefit AccountantsWorld, but the accounting industry as a whole. Her commitment to helping accountants thrive solidified our organization’s Accountants First™ credo, and continues to exemplify what we’re all about today."
~ Jeff Gramlich, President, Accountantsworld
AccountantsWorld’s first major undertaking was to level the playing field for payroll processing. At that time, accountants could not offer payroll services profitably, while service bureaus were making 40-45% net profit. The AccountantsWorld team created a powerful processing solution that rivals the capabilities of payroll services bureaus, but at the fraction of the cost of those bureaus. Now accountants could offer highly profitable payroll services.
Under Sharada and Chandra’s leadership, the AccountantsWorld team has also made a lasting contribution to core accounting services by creating Accounting Power (formerly Accounting Relief), a new type of solution that puts accountants back at the center of client accounting. It lets accountants work collaboratively with their clients while accountants remain in command of the entire process. This Accountant-Centric model increases the relevance of accountants by making it easier to help clients run their business efficiently and profitably.
Today AccountantsWorld offers the most comprehensive suite of cloud solutions for accountants:
- Accounting Power, the first fully collaborative cloud accounting solution for accountants and their clients.
- Payroll Relief, the first cloud-based payroll processing solution designed exclusively for accountants.
- Website Relief for website creation and maintenance.
- Cloud Cabinet for document management and client portals.
- Practice Relief for practice and billing management.
These solutions have garnered two Innovation Awards from CPA Practice Advisor, as well as countless other accolades. And the focus on continual innovation in the cloud has driven the accounting profession – and AccountantsWorld itself - forward. [Gary Boomer quote about AW]
In her personal life, Sharada has made an enduring commitment to helping others. For over a decade, she and Chandra have proudly supported The Jaipur Foot Foundation, an India-based organization that has provided high-quality, durable artificial limbs and aids to over 1 million disabled persons worldwide to help them regain mobility and opportunity in their lives - all free of charge.
Sharada and Chandra have two children, Divya and Punita, and one grandson, Andrew. In her free time, Sharada enjoys cooking, reading, and yoga.