In this post, you are going to learn – how to make the most as a CA / CPA Accounting Intern.
Tejan is from Bhilwara Rajasthan (India).
He is currently an Assistant Manager and core team member of the first Hedge Fund in India. at Edelweiss Financial Services, Mumbai (India).
Note: CA from ICAI consists of 3 levels. CPT, IPCC and CA Final. One has to do a mandatory internship of 3 years after clearing IPCC exams. One can also choose a 1-year industrial training.
1. Industrial Training
- I did not go for Industrial Training. However, it is a good platform to explore new areas and one must consider it.
- Industrial Training really helps those who are from small and mid-sized firms.
- It is also good to consider industrial training if you want to build a career outside of internal/statutory audits and taxation.
- It can give you an insight into career options like Investment Banking, Private Equity, Portfolio Management, Equity Research etc which are not normally offered during an internship.
2. Identify Your Career Objectives
- If you are able to identify your career objective early on, then the internship can be done accordingly.
- For instance, those who want to practice; it can be best to do articles in a small/mid-size firm. As these firms give you all kinds of assignments to work on.
- If you wish to work for some other organization or do MBA post-Chartered Accountancy, then working for a Big Organisation would help you immensely. It will give you exposure to the corporate culture and improve your communication skills.
3. Do Not Burden Yourself By Attending Coaching Class Years in Advance
- Many students burden themselves with CA final classes as soon as they complete their IPCC. However, this only acts as an extra burden. During your articles, your focus should be on learning as much as you can. This is applicable to students from any professional body.
- Joining a coaching class 2.5 years before your exams will not help you sure. Instead, while interning you should go through your modules/books and learn practically.
- You can take classes for a few subjects 1 year before your study leave. That is good enough. Plan your coaching class by doing a backward calculation. For instance, you need 4 months of self-study. So plan in such a way that your classes end by December assuming you attempt is in May. Further, the last 4 months should be a do or die situation. I am a vehement believer of – Strike the iron when it’s hot. This is the high time to study and hence do away to all the distractions in those 4 months.
- It would be advisable to self-study theory subjects and gain practical exposure as much as you can.
4. Pursue Additional Courses (only if required)
- Lately, a lot of newly qualified Chartered Accountants tend to pursue additional courses like an MBA, CFA, FRM etc. This decision is taken without knowing the objective of the course.
- Mostly it is done to add another degree to the profile which doesn’t help in the long run. For instance, CFA should be done if you want to enter capital markets, M&A or any form of deal structuring. It will rarely help if you want to build a career in say audit or taxation.
- The limited point is – No course should be done for the sake of it. Remember time is precious and should be put to judicious use.
- On the other hand, during articles it is advisable to do small courses, certifications to enhance your knowledge.
5. Grab Opportunities That Come Your Way
- Make use of the opportunities provided by ICAI – the Students National Convention gives students to present a paper on various topics, quiz, elocution and various other tests are conducted by ICAI.
- Similarly different professional bodies worldwide provide such opportunities. Check with your respective professional body.
6. Interview Tips
- While attending an interview as an article assistant or a Chartered Accountant fresher remember that – you are not expected to know everything as you have no prior experience.
- What is expected of you is – how confidently and clearly you communicate what you know and don’t know.
- Most of the organizations are looking for talented candidates who can be trained and utilized. They are not looking for a person who has mugged all the theoretical concepts but don’t know how to present themselves during an interview.
- Dress professionally as if you are mirroring how a qualified Chartered Accountant would dress. Proper dressing leaves a great impression.
- Highlight your extra-curricular activities adequately in the resume.
7. Act As If You Are A Qualified Professional
- Take responsibility for the tasks assigned to you as though you are a qualified professional.
- Few days of long hours should not bother you. It will set the stage for you to work in the future under difficult conditions which will not come as a surprise. Remember our profession demands a lot of dedication and hard work. Having said that, please develop a hobby which you can pursue in the spare time. This will rejuvenate you mentally and help you become more efficient at work.
- The best way to be responsible is – Treating yourself as an employee and not an intern. This will help you reach the full potential and shoulder responsibility like a true professional.
- Have fun. Attend office parties, socialize with office colleagues. The impression created here might help you to convert this internship opportunity into full-time employment.
8. Make Mistakes
- The most important piece of advice from me to any CA / CPA student – Make Mistakes.
- The objective of your articles experience is to gain an understanding of the different areas that a Chartered Accountant can be exposed to and not be an expert. This will help you understand what your interest area is and what you can do for long term.
- Be curious and learn every aspect of the work.
9. Network (as much as you can)
- Try to NETWORK with your colleagues at the workplace. And by networking, I mean serious networking which is not just restricted to going out and having a nice dinner. The network you develop should help you professionally in your career.
- Even if you are an introvert you can still network buy being polite, helping out, asking questions and sharing a smile with all those you meet.
10. Help Others
- When you first start as an intern you will have to do everything you hate. Do it anyway.
- If someone needs help, help them and if you need help ask for help.
I will end this with a quote by Epictetus – I would say that we don’t control what happens to us, all we control are our thoughts and reactions to what happens to us.
Remember that: You’re defined in this life, not by your good luck or your bad luck, but your reaction to those strokes of fortune. Don’t let anyone tell you differently.
Now It’s Your Turn…
Do you agree with the above? Do you have more advice to add?
Or maybe you have a question about something you read.
Either way, leave a comment below and let me know.