Sharing the journey of CA Farzan, he is an – Experienced Chartered Accountant in the field of finance with a combined experience of over 7 years in the field of Banking and Consulting with strong focus on Credit Analysis, Financial Analysis and Internal audit (Risk Advisory)
His professional history includes positions such as Sales Analyst at Dubai Islamic Bank, Senior Analyst at Deutsche Bank as well as Senior at Grant Thornton.
“To put it simply, I chose CA because I saw a close friend pursuing it and I felt – If he can do it, why can’t I and that is how my journey into CA began,” says CA Farzan Husain from Mumbai who is currently based out of Dubai, UAE.
“In hindsight, it was quite a fluke decision but quite a crucial and good decision. So, I do remember bringing out the topic of pursuing CA with my extended family members when I was in Grade 12 but I was discouraged because they remembered their friends who pursued CA and never made it due to very low passing percentages.
Fast forward to 12th standard results day and I casually asked this close friend what he intends to do and he said he plans on pursuing Chartered Accountancy (CA), I was inquisitive and enquired all the relevant details and within a few days, I had applied for the CA course.
I must point out that career guidance at the right time is key to a student’s success and I still feel very little is done on this front.
My CA Journey:
My CA journey experience has been gold. It taught me so much about myself. I would divide my CA journey into 2 phases – Before Articleship Days and Post articleship days
Before articleship days:
- I had failed my PE-1 exam (1st level CA exam, earlier CPT was known as PE-1/ Foundation course) and it was a huge shock to me since I had never failed an exam before. Also, it was the 1st level CA exam so the failure was even more impactful.
- I did not give up and worked hard for my PE-1 2nd attempt. I cleared the next attempt with really good results which made me confident that I was capable of passing the CA course.
- I kept the same momentum going, I studied hard and cleared PE-2 (2nd level CA exam, now known as IPCC which consists of 2 groups – Group 1 and Group 2) in my 1st attempt.
Post articleship days:
- However, after my articleship days, I got very complacent and casual with studies and it showed – I cleared my CA Final in my 4th attempt.
- Failing exams is a very negative phase and it takes a lot of energy to remain positive and motivated.
- Support of family and friends is key to get through the rough patch.
- Identifying weak areas and strengthening the strong areas them will be good.
- Solve and understand past question papers of ICAI, time yourself as if one would solve in the exams.
- Surround yourself with strongly motivated CA students, eliminate distractions while studying.
Did You Join any CA Coaching Class:
- Yes! I joined the most famous class back then. I took coaching for all the 3 CA exams. It was a huge help in studies. Their notes were very well explained.
- Coaching vs. Self-Study: I would say that it depends on the student. Coaching classes definitely shorten the learning curve and quickly get you up to speed, Self-study will surely get you there but it may take some more time. However, I believe it largely depends on the student’s preference as both choices have one thing in common i.e. Discipline.
How Did You Balance Articleship, College, and Studies:
- Fortunately, I was able to begin articleship after finishing TYB.Com so I didn’t have any college-related responsibilities.
- Articleship is a great journey in itself since we are very young in age and this training molds us.
- I would highly recommend working on Soft-skills early on.
- As CA students, our studies will definitely make our technical skills good but in order to get ahead in Corporate life, soft-skills will take you a long way.
- To Understand more about articleship read here.
Current Job Role:
- My current role involves making ‘Business Proposals for Corporates’ intending to obtain finance and a huge component involves Credit Analysis.
- I would say that I’m able to take advantage of the Financial Management and Accounting knowledge that was learned in the CA Curriculum.
- Audit and Tax are good career choices too, but there are a lot of other specialist roles like mine.
- As a CA, one becomes flexible by qualification and can branch out into various complex job roles because these days Corporates have become quite complex with their organizational structure and their product offerings.
- One suggestion – If you are getting interviewed for a specialist role, ask the interviewer what is the future scope of the job role i.e. how will it help you grow in career.
- For my current role CA qualification, CFA or CIMA would be sufficient but not just B.Com, it’s a bit more complex and definitely involves the application of specialized studies and experience.
Company Secretary (CS) with a Law degree is powerful especially in the current climate regulations being imposed by Governments all over the world.
CA tends to become a default career choice in the Commerce stream mainly because a student ends up specializing in many aspects of commercial studies.
MBA Finance is also a good alternative to CA for those who do not intend to work in Taxation and Statutory Audit areas, however, with the plethora of MBA institutes, it becomes all the more important to pursue MBA from reputed institutes who offer placement options.
Having said that, I would like to reiterate that guidance is key, so try to speak to or reaching out to as many relevant people when it comes to making a career choice, don’t just follow one person’s advice.
Why Did You Choose UAE To Work:
- Honestly, UAE is closer to home.
- It’s convenient and easy to travel to Mumbai multiple times in the year to meet parents and friends.
- At the same time, I am able to get an international exposure.
- Interestingly, salaries in India have increased substantially in the past 5 years and I feel that it is fast bridging the gap when it comes to international salaries (keeping in mind the Savings aspect)
Cost Of Living in UAE:
- UAE is an expensive place mainly because of the world-class infrastructure and high quality of living.
- It’s not too difficult while moving into UAE.
- The good part is that you will always end up knowing someone in UAE and they will be happy to guide during the settling process.
How Can One Move To The UAE For Work:
- UAE job market tends to work more on references rather than a simple online job application process.
- There is no definitive way of saying on how to land a job in UAE.
- If you intend to move to UAE, try to speak to as many people you can, in India and in the UAE. People are generally helpful in pushing CV’s.
- Also, try and do some research on the expected salary levels for the job role and seniority because a lower salary in the UAE can be very frustrating because everything like Rental, transportation, Food, and lifestyle-related expenses get expensive.
- People in general move to the UAE primarily for the money but as a CA, also keep in mind future career options and career growth possibilities.
UAE After VAT:
- Any new tax regime will bring new opportunities for CA’s. Work for tax firms has definitely increased in the UAE.
- Keep in mind that the VAT is a very simple tax structure unlike India’s complicated Tax regime so it’s not necessary that only CA’s can do work related to VAT, even a B.Com graduate or an equivalent can do the same job. So even they can consider finding a job in the UAE in a VAT profile.
- Fintech firms are also big beneficiaries of the new VAT regime.
- Having said that, VAT is still very new to the UAE so be on the lookout for opportunities related to VAT.
- Before taking up CA or any professional qualification, I would suggest students – Take career guidance from the right and relevant people. Do CA or any other qualification because it will help you achieve your career goals in future not because everyone is doing it.
- After taking up CA or any professional qualification, speak to qualified and working CA’s and try to understand what are the different kind of job roles people hold – This will help one understand what kind of career path to take in order to grow in future.
- On another note, for CA students, stay motivated, positive and disciplined.
- Work on your weaknesses and strengthen your strengths and most importantly work on Soft-skills,” he concluded.
P:S: You could reach him at firstname.lastname@example.orgemail@example.com. You can connect with him on Linkedin here.