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1. How did your journey as a CA begin, and what were the ups and downs

When I was in College (year 1996-1999), there were only two courses we as friends used to discuss CA or MBA. Somehow, I thought I was good in accounts and law and consequently, took up CA. Also, I wasn't very sure of the career opportunities after MBA and to my mind MBA was more for a sales and marketing type of job. So, by default picked up CA.

I did my article ship from RSM & Co in the audit division and last year of article ship as an industrial trainee with ITC Limited. My experience with both the organizations was wonderful and the learning opportunities were immense. We, the article trainees had loads of fun during the audit times and frankly, learn a lot as well.

Finding article ship in a good firm was one of the toughest tasks I had to face and if students wish to read my story around it, they can read my article Bright Days Always Follow Gloomy Days . In this article I have mentioned in detail the arduous task that I faced while finding article ship in a good firm and how students shouldn't lose hope until they find the firm of their choice.

In those days, the concept of training coaching wasn't really as prevalent as it is now. There were few good teachers and not every student used to take coaching classes. In fact, my firm never allowed taking classes as we had to reach the clients place sharp 9.30. So whatever we learn was either on the job or self-study, except for one or two classes that I would have taken as coaching.

I remember days when I used to come late from audits and my parents used to get really worries about our studies. Because I was in a good firm, we fortunately had good audits and that meant more and more late sittings and reaching home late. I used to travel a lot outside Delhi for audits and there were times when I used to be out for more than a month on audits. Though, we used to miss our classes or studies, we never used to regret our decision. I think the learning we had from that experience has paid for in the long run in my career.

However, the ups came in the form of my first job when I landed in a BIG4 and I think it was only because of the experience in article ship.

However, my personal advice to young CA's is to first work with some good organizations, take experience, learn how to handle clients and generate business and then take the plunge to be on your own. In my view that s a more wise and practical decision to take.

2. What are the current avenues/opportunity for young CA

I think there are tremendous opportunities for chartered accountants not only in the corporate sector but also as entrepreneurs. Young CA's can work in various traditional areas that include audit, tax and accounting. The audit division now days bifurcated into two divisions Statutory audit and Risk Advisory. Under tax, young CA's have multitude options of picking up direct tax, indirect tax, transfer pricing, personal tax etc.

I have tried to capture in detail this topic in one of my articles What Should I Adopt Audit or Tax

In addition, areas including corporate finance, due diligence s, mergers and acquisitions, structuring etc are also worth pursuing. In addition, with India becoming a global hub for companies to set-up their shared services center, jobs in business process and knowledge-based processes are immense. This sector is gradually becoming one of the biggest recruiter of chartered accountants.

CA's who want to try their hand in entrepreneurship should take a chance considering the immense opportunities we have now for good advisers. The economy today throws huge opportunities for good chartered accountants to set-up their own firms and offer valuable services at reasonable cost.

However, my personal advice to young CA's is to first work with some good organizations, take experience, learn how to handle clients and generate business and then take the plunge to be on your own. In my view that s a more wise and practical decision to take.

3. While choosing a career profile what should one consider

This is a very difficult question to answer because in majority of the cases, young CA's don t get the opportunity to choose the profiles they want. I have seen youngsters pick up a job as and when it arrives and after spending some time in that job, they decide whether that suits their requirements or not. It s like an arranged marriage where the boy and the girl marry each other and then decide whether they can fall in love or not

In my view to choose any profile one should be fully aware of the opportunities and growth potential in that area. It is extremely important to understand what would you do in that area (for example what would you actually do in direct tax or indirect tax or audit) and then take a conscious decision. I think a lot of students take their decisions recklessly and then later repent because of lack of research and knowledge.

Whenever, something is not clear, one should write down the pros and cons and majority of the times that works. I think if a young CA is able to write down the answers to these questions, it may be possible to identify his/her interest in any particular area:

(a) Does this area/field excite you and if yes, why

(b) Do you like this field out of your personal interest or because one of your friend/relative feels that way

(c) Have done enough research on identifying the opportunities in that area

(d) Do you think you can spend a considerable time in that area/field

(e) Have you spoken to any expert on what he/she feels about the potential of that area/field If not, identify one and speak with him/her.

Writing answers to these questions can give a lot of clarity to youngsters and might help them find the right path.

4. As a young CA many are confused as what do pursue - job or practice. What will you advice them

I think I have answered this question above in detail in Question No. 2. In my view both have tremendous potential to grow and make money. It is entirely up to you to identify your area of strengths and weaknesses, write them down and then analyse your situation.

Whatever you pick, put all your energy, passion and sweat into it and there is no reason why you shouldn't succeed in your pursuits.

5. What are the hurdles one has to face while moving to practice from industry and vice versa

Entrepreneurship is all about passion and patience and much less about money. Money will surely follow if your passion becomes your profession. So moving from industry/job to starting your own firm should only be taken up when your mind is fully convinced that in the short-term things won t be hunky dory. There would be lot of sweat, hard work, failures, discomforts, rejections and very less money.

If you look at any entrepreneur like Narayan Murthy or Sunil Mittal or Dhirubhai Ambani, they have all started with very humble background and with their sheer gut and hard work achieved a respectable status.

My inclination towards entrepreneurship started when I realized working for someone else was difficult for me and the fact that I wasn't creating anything. In the job I was doing what I was told to do by my seniors but my own creativity to create something wasn't getting channelized. And that s when the opportunity arose and I grabbed it instantly.

During entrepreneurship I wasn't even earning half of what BIG4 was paying me, but that didn't bother me at all. Simply because I had full trust and confidence in myself and in my partners and all of us believed that growth was inevitable for our firm.

My advice Don t worry about money. Simply focus on maintaining good relations with your customers, become a merchant of wow to your clients by providing exemplary services, be innovative in your solutions and have a deep commitment towards quality. Also, be highly ethical in your approach and have the guts to follow what s right.

6. What suggestion would you like to give so one can excel in his career

My advice to young students and newly qualified chartered accountants would be as follows:

1. Cut the noise around you and simply dedicate 3 years of article ship to work and studies. These 3 years are going to give you fruits for the next 50 years of your life.

2. Cut down your consumption of TV, cut your consumption of social media but do increase your consumption of knowledge. I generally use the term Distraction Kitty that simply means a kitty of items that distract you from your goals and objectives. Try and have as less items as possible in this Kitty and that will ensure your intellectual kitty is always filled with knowledge.

3. Don t waste time because time once gone will never come again. We just have one life and we should make it worthwhile. Do some great work, meet some great people and try to emulate their life so that their stardust rubs off on to you. Work extremely hard, spend time on networking, read inspirational books, keep adding new skills and continue to challenge yourself on a regular basis.

Remember The purpose of life should be a life of purpose .

7. You have worked at senior positions in Big 4's and have also interviewed CA's for their selection in the Big 4's. So, what is it that the Big 4's or you personally look in a person while recruiting

1. Attitude is the most important thing that any good organization looks for. If the attitude of the person is right, he or she can be trained but if the attitude is not correct then there s no point having a great aptitude.

2. I have seen so many students who despite having average aptitude have still done well in their lives only because of their positive attitude.

3. As someone learned has said Your attitude not your aptitude will determine your altitude .

4. I always look for candidates whether in article ship or as qualified chartered accountants who have a strong desire to learn and are ready to slog to achieve their goals. I also look for candidates who are clear in their objectives and have a zeal to achieve against all the odds.

5. Communication is the other aspect that is a very critical must have to enter a good organization. If you are working with a BIG4 or any other good multinational company, the last any Manager would expect is to have someone in his/ her team who cannot talk or speak confidently in front of the client.

6. Therefore, having a clear and confident pronunciation is a must have for clearing interviews with BIG4s or with any other good organization.

7. Academics also play an important role. Your good scores in School and in College is generally a testament of your academic behaviour that in turns reflect your seriousness.

8. Sometimes I have also felt that candidates from Tier-II cities are better as compared to candidates from Metros because they are more stable in their life and in their career as compared with candidates from Metros who are probably more money minded and are always on a look out for opportunities.


Nimish Goel

National Head (GST/Indirect Tax)- International Business Advisors

New Delhi Area, India


International Business Advisors

PricewaterhouseCoopers, KPMG, Ernst & Young

Indian Institute of Management, Ahmedabad.





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