“I have always been good (not the best) at academics since my school days. Thus, good academics was succeeded by a career plan even before passing 10th grade. Being proficient at science and mathematics, many of my well-wishers advised me to take up some field related to the science stream,” says CA Vinit Gala from Mumbai. He is currently working in a Big 4 in Transfer Pricing (TP).
“Engineering was one choice but it felt boring and I often fainted by seeing someone else’s blood, so medicine was out too. Initially I had decided to be a Pilot, however, the idea did not sound good as my parents would have to invest lakhs of rupees to make me one. That’s when I gave CA a thought as its pocket-friendly (literally!) and a respected profession.
How CA Happened:
Before finalizing on taking up CA studies, I kept reading about Chartered Accountants (CA’s), their life, their work etc. This really helped me understand more about the profession in terms of – What CA course is exactly about, the role of a CA in society/business, the kind of respect attached to a CA, the responsibility a CA carries when on duty etc. So basically I took an informed decision and pursued CA. It is very important to understand the profession you chose, so my advice to all – Pursue a profession which you connect to and take an informed decision.
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As far as the correlation of – Success in school and success in life is concerned, the answer is firmly in negative. Had it been true then most of our great businessmen, top notch professionals, spiritual leaders and even politicians would have been school toppers. So if you have scored 50% or 95% in school – You have a BRIGHT FUTURE if you work hard and smart with a positive attitude.
My CA Journey:
Moving to my CA journey, I cleared all the 3 CA exams in my 1st attempt. There were super tough days, days where I felt I would fail etc. But I always gave my best, stayed optimistic, worked hard (the best I could!) and kept the consistency. All of this helped me clear my CA exams in the 1st attempt. Yes, I also gave mock test appears and timed myself that really helped me deal with the exam pressure and understand how to present my paper well.
Also, I remember being completely ignored by a few people when studying CA as I did not come from a rich family, used a simple phone, wore simple clothes etc. I used to feel terrible about it but then instead of focussing on all the negatives I stayed optimistic and decided to double my efforts in clearing CA exams. That could be one reason I always stay focused and put in efforts with consistency!
My Take on Articleship:
A lot of students have this question – Where should I do my Articleship from? In my opinion:
- Choose a Reputed partnership firm over a Big 4 – If you intend starting your own practice. (Talking about articleship, I did mine in a small proprietary firm – Archana Gosar and Associates and got some good exposure in Taxation, Accounting, and Auditing. However, after qualifying as a CA I joined a reputed Partnership firm and focussed on Direct Taxation. It was here that I learned Transfer Pricing and later on I moved to a Big 4 and specialized in Transfer Pricing)
- However, if the ultimate goal is to get into Corporates or Auditing/Taxation – Then any of the Big 4 is perfectly fine.
- If you missed an opportunity of doing your articleship in a Big 4 then try getting one during your Industrial Training.
- Academics will be the primary factor to get shortlisted for Big 4 interviews. Other than academics, one should practice – Soft-skills, professional dressing, and definitely positive attitude as well as willingness to continuously learn new things/face new challenges.
- At the end of the day what you learn on the job matters the most – Even if you DID NOT do your articleship from some big names – IT IS OKAY!!! Your Goal as an intern should be to learn as much as you can and get a maximum exposure.
- Try getting involved in maximum number and variety of assignments your principal undertakes. However, a balanced approached ought to be maintained with respect to health, studies, and work
Can Semi Qualified Students apply to Big 4’s:
- In my opinion, Semi-qualified students, who are still pursuing CA, have a very limited chance of getting into Big 4’s since they may require appropriate and sufficient study leaves for their exams.
- Big 4’s do find it tough giving so many leaves as they have a huge workload.
- However, a person who has given up CA course stands a good chance of an opportunity in Big 4’s, however, he would have to compromise on his salary and might be remunerated like a normal graduate or maybe a little more.
How to deal with tough situations when doing articleship:
- Many interns are LUCKY to face tough issues like office politics/ rude bosses/super strict seniors! I call them LUCKY as these experiences will prepare you for a better tomorrow!
- When faced with such situations: My serious advice would be to stay calm and discuss the issues with seniors (of course a reliable source) and HR first (if your firm has one!).
- 90% of the issues get resolved when the discussion happens. However, in extreme cases, it needs to be communicated to appropriate person/organization.
- Read here to know – How Umesh dealt with certain articleship issues
- CA, whether in practice or in employment; whether in consulting role or working in corporates; he/she will be surrounded by people majority of the time. Thus, soft skills are a must to lead a successful career.
- Also, it’s a complete misconception that only rankers can get an opportunity in Transfer Pricing, so if you are not a ranker and you wish to apply to TP please do.
- Also work hard, stay consistent, stay optimistic and all will go well,” he concluded.
P:S: You could reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org