Meet Govind Sharma a Chartered Accountant who went from a small-town boy to living and working in the Netherlands as a Senior SAP Consultant.
He is a qualified Chartered Accountant from ICAI (The Institute of Chartered Accountants of India).
Presently Govind Sharma is Senior SAP Cloud ERP Consultant with Accenture, Netherlands.
My Journey From a Small City in India to Working in the Netherlands
It feels inspiring as well as nostalgic at the same time while sharing my story of becoming a Chartered Accountant.
I was a regular boy from a Hindi medium school, very weak in English communication and used to stammer a lot. I was so average in studies that nobody was sure about my chances of clearing even 10th standard.
Today when I look back I realized that I have overcome all of those challenges including my stammering and living the life of my dreams.
I hope through my journey you will be able to find the motivation and inspiration to achieve your dreams.
My only message is – If I can do it so can you.
How I Started My CA Journey
I am born and brought up in Amravati, near Nagpur in the State of Maharashtra-India.
As I did my primary education in Hindi with Marathi environment, English language wasn’t really my cup of tea.
During my childhood, I used to spend most of my time playing with friends, the study was way down on my (priority) list.
In fact, everyone who knew me thought I would only study till class 10. To their surprise, I scored well in class.
Around the same time, the IT industry was booming in India and I was mesmerized by the few real-life examples of our neighbors and some others about how they are doing great in the IT sector.
I saw this as an opportunity and decided to pursue a career in Computer sciences. Luckily my class 10 score was just enough to get me admission in vocational science in class 12. The plan was to secure a seat in Government College for computer engineering and life was set!
Every day was an unending struggle to deal with languages. I am a Marwari, lectures were delivered in Marathi which is regional language and the course material was in English.
All this was scary for an average boy coming straight from a Hindi medium school.
Nevertheless, I cleared class 12 with a distinction (which was a big achievement in itself) and was very excited to take admission for Computer Engineering. This was a time when I got introduced to the reservation system in detail in India.
Due to various reasons even with a good score, I could not get admission in a government engineering college. There were other private engineering colleges as well but their fees were really high.
Also being an elder son of the family, there was a tremendous pressure on me to do something worthwhile with my future. I have seen my parents struggling hard for us, I was in no mood to waste a single day.
I gave up the idea of pursuing Computer Engineering and enrolled for BSC (Bachelor of Science) in a reputed college in my city.
After 3 months, I realized that this surely would have lead to a stable future but not a very rewarding one.
I collected myself and started browsing other career opportunities where I could fit in. Had numerous discussions with seniors, teachers, career guidance cells available in my city.
Somewhere I got to know about Chartered Accountancy. I interacted with students pursuing CA and realized the level of serious efforts required to clear this course.
By God’s Grace, I am blessed with the parents who always stand by me. They encouraged me to always wanted me to pursue whatever makes me happy.
After a lot of discussions with family, I was ready for the biggest challenge of my life – pursuing Chartered Accountancy.
This was a turning moment in my life.
My Journey Becoming a Chartered Accountant
To be a Chartered Accountant from ICAI, one needs to clear 3 levels of exams:
- CPT: First level. You have to give this exam if you register for the CA course before graduating. I registered for CPT after class 12. Cleared in first attempt (most people do!). It was earlier known as PE-I.
- IPCC: Second level exam. This consists of 2 groups – Group 1 & 2. Cleared in 2nd attempt.
- CA Final: Last level of CA exam and has again 2 group – Group 1 & 2.
- 3 years of articleship training: This starts after you clear IPCC, either both groups or anyone of them.
In the initial days of class, I had trouble understanding the concepts and sometimes felt like quitting after looking at the expertise of the students from commerce background who contributed the majority of the batch.
PE-1 & PE-II Exams
Fortunately, I cleared my CA PE- I (now known as CPT) with a surprise of exemption in Accounting.
I again gave my best and opted both the group for CA PE II exam.
This time the result was disappointing, failed in both the groups but I was quite sure about my expected marks. So, I applied for re-totaling and also filled the exam form again for the next attempt.
Just 10 days before the exam the result of my re-totaling was declared and I cleared PE II Group-I exams. I now had to give only PE-II Group 2 which I cleared in the next attempt.
After this experience, I want to say that if you have failed and you are sure that you have written the exam very well then there it’s always good to try your luck in re-verification :-).
Those Important Years Of Articleship
I did my articleship from one of the best firms, Shah Khandelwal and Jain in Pune (India).
It was the most difficult time for me as I had to manage everything by myself.
I still remember those exciting and tiring days of my article ship – tuition, traveling standing in overcrowded public transport during visits to client’s locations, office work, homework, lots of new things and huge pressure of deadlines.
I learned a lot of new skills during my articleship like:
- Business acumen
- Business application & tools
- Networking skills
- People management
- Corporate reporting.
With this, I got an opportunity to work in most interesting auditing & Taxation areas like:
- SOX audits
- Tax Audits
- Statutory audits
- Stock Audits
- Internal audits of listed companies
- Oracle Implementation support
- Indirect Taxation
All that I studied was put to a practical test during these days.
What I learned from my articleship experience is that: You should always take your articleship phase very seriously and do whatever work is assigned to you putting your heart and mind, giving your best every day.
CA Final Exams
After completing almost 3 years of articles it was time to prepare for CA Final exams.
I had to put much more efforts for CA final preparation.
I had no positive result in my first and second attempt.
It was in my third attempt when I cleared my final exams with a good score and earned the title of a Chartered Accountant.
It was a big success for someone like me who grew up in a small town.
I was the first Chartered Accountant in my whole family tree, a big moment for all of us.
My parents literally distributed around 10kgs of peda (sweet dish) on that day to temples, our neighbors, family members, friends, well-wishers, social acquaintances, everybody.
My Professional Journey in the Industry
I participated in CA, ICAI campus recruitment drives but due to my stammering problem, I faced rejection in the last round, as a result, wasn’t able to get the senior role.
Nevertheless, with the help of my close friend Anand, I got to know about SAP Consulting.
I felt excited about foreign travel opportunities and flexible working approach in IT companies. After doing my research, I decided to go for an SAP Consultant position at IT sector MNC.
I managed to improve my status on my weakness list like stammering, English communication, corporate culture, etc. The key approach followed to get an understanding of new things around me.
Working as an SAP Consultant
Over Past years, I have gained a lot of new accounting and finance knowledge like Accounting practices of very large organizations, GAAP ( IFRS, Europen and US GAAPs).
I played various roles in the IT industry as a business analyst, Subject matter expert, FIN Consultant and Finance Transformation Consultant.
Being a SAP Finance consultant:
- You get an opportunity to understand the complete business process of various industries
- The opportunity to work with senior-level management to redesign their existing processes and IT systems for business operational effectiveness by utilizing the new IT solutions.
- As an SAP Consultant, you will be able to suggest business re-engineering and redesigning their business processes, streamlining the existing process and effective utilization of their IT infrastructure.
As a part of my work, I have traveled across different countries in 9 years including, the UK, Germany, Italy, Turkey, Vietnam.
Currently, I am living in Den Haag and working in Amsterdam, Netherlands. It is a dream come true for a boy like me living in a small town to traveling the world and now working and living in the Netherlands.
CA Course is a Marathon and you are running a marathon, therefore, consider yourself as someone who dares to take part in this and able to challenge yourself.
All I can say is work hard, think logically, eat healthily, stay positive and the victory will be yours.
Give yourself a chance. We can all create our own destiny, just be patient.
I wish I could express how grateful I am to have such a beautiful Family.
My father worked hard so that he could provide me with all the necessary resources for study, my mother was always there when I used to study at night.
My younger brother, he took all the responsibility at home so that I could give my whole attention to become a CA.
With the help of this platform, I would like to thank everyone, My Family…My Teachers my Colleagues and my real friends who helped me to achieve my dream…
Key Take-Aways from my Journey
- You need to have a learning attitude and stay around like-minded people.
- Make a plan and follow it.
- No matter how many attempts you take to clear the exam but honest preparation with clear logic and concepts is important.
- Identify your weaknesses and find a remediation plan for them.
- Take the help of your friends and Teachers to improve your position in your weak areas.
- Done is better than perfect
- You can win every situation when your family is with you…Like I did.
- Focus on whatever you want to do and don’t doubt yourself.
- No Luck – Luck is preparation to seize the opportunity but preparation is utmost important.
- At the end of the day, you can’t control the results; you can only control the level of your effort.
- It always seems impossible until it’s done
- Real friends and supportive family are a really valuable asset that anybody can have, especially during those hard times.
BONUS: Here are Some Advice from Chartered Accountants who pursued a Career in SAP
Prasad Atamkuri, Chartered Accountant and SAP Consultant
After doing my little research, I decided to stick with the ERP consultant position.
Majority of Chartered Accountants are either into – Taxation, Auditing or Finance kind of roles. This is one of the areas where our Chartered Accountants have very little knowledge.
Being an ERP consultant, in my case SAP consultant, you will get an opportunity to understand the complete business process and redesign their existing process.
Nandan Gandhi, Chartered Accountant and SAP Consultant
At 21, I wasn’t sure where will my career in SAP take me. In almost 6 years of my experience as an SAP Consultant, I could:
Travel to 5 countries, Conduct workshops with clients’ management, Be a part of 16 projects working with different teams and industries, Get decent accolades and above all – Immense Work Satisfaction.
Now It’s Your Turn…
What is your success story? I would love to know your journey as well.
Also, have you considered moving to the Netherlands?
I would love to connect with you, do leave your comments below.
You can connect to me on LinkedIn at Govind Sharma