Do you want to travel to different countries but wondering how can you do it with a CA / CPA degree?
In Fact: In this article, Rahul Bhan shares with us – How he has traveled and worked in over 45 different countries.
So if your goal is to work in different parts of the world then pursuing CA/ CPA would be a good idea.
He is presently the Audit Head for Asian CGIAR Centers, Sri Lanka.
You can write to Rahul at firstname.lastname@example.orgemail@example.com.
MY CA JOURNEY
In the year 1985 while still in grade 9, I decided to become a Chartered Accountant.
The decision was based on the praise, which my uncle got from my relatives after passing the CA Exams.
I was an ordinary student who had lots of interest in sports but managed to do well in studies too. I had been a state level player of Table Tennis as well.
At that time, I had no clue of the various subjects in CA but I still decided to go for it.
After school, I did my Bachelors in Commerce (B.Com) at Dayalbagh Educational Institute, Agra (India). I was lucky to have scored 78% in B.Com and ranking 2nd in University (yes those days 78 % could get you a rank).
During those days (the early ’90s), in order to start studying to be a CA one had to be a graduate. So only after my graduation, I enrolled for the CA Course.
Back then we had 2 exams to qualify as a Chartered Accountant from ICAI – CA Intermediate and CA Final Exams along with 3 years of articleship.
I could appear for CA Intermediate exams only after completing 9 months of articleship.
My University rank helped me to get an articleship with the best Indian CA firm of that time i.e. A.F. Ferguson and Co. (AFF), New Delhi.
Working at AFF between 1990-93 was the best period of my life. This was the time when I was exposed to some of the best corporates in India and abroad.
I got the opportunity to lead many statutory audits of various clients like – Nestle, Goodyear, Glaxo, ABB, Eicher, Escorts, Eternit Everest, KEC International, ANZ Grindlays Bank, Unilever, Partap Steels, Eicher Group, Action Aid (Nepal), Timex watches etc.
Intermediate Exams & CA Final Exam
Fast forwarding, it was now exam time. This was the period where I had seen the real struggle in my studies.
I had passed my Intermediate Exams (now known as IPCC) in the 1st attempt, however, CA Final Exams really tested my intelligence and patience.
In those says the CA course also had subjects like SADP (System Analysis and Data Processing), with no internet and very limited information things were tough.
The only reference books we had were study material from ICAI, past papers, some private teachers like Vinod Gupta, classes at the Institute and some audio tapes for preparation of our exams.
I had failed twice before clearing the CA Final exam in 1995 at the age of 24. It was quite a milestone back then.
HOW DID I GET MY FIRST JOB AS A CA?
Now I was a Qualified Chartered Accountant from ICAI, however, the troubles were not over yet as the next big task was – Getting a good job!
In the year 1995, I spent 3 months (July – Sept) searching for job opportunities and appearing for interviews.
Moving further to Jan’99, I got a job opportunity with PKF, Johannesburg (South Africa) as an Audit Manager. South Africa had been famous for apartheid and as an Indian working there in a white Jewish company I did have some challenges.
Also, this was my first real exposure outside India as in Abu Dhabi my interaction was confined mainly to Indians and Arabs.
WHY DID I DECIDE TO DO MY MBA?
My CA degree was questioned, comparisons were made between CA, ICAI and other international qualifications like CPA (AIPCA) etc.
It was then that I realized the importance of a ‘Foreign Degree’ in an international country and decided to pursue the same.
Now again doing CPA from AICPA would have undermined my Indian CA qualification and hence I decided to go for an MBA.
Also in various interviews during 95-99, I faced a typical question – Why should a company hire a Chartered Accountant instead of an MBA!
I believe back then – MBA vs CA war was a pet subject of many.
After a good GMAT score, I was selected for an MBA at Nyenrode University, Netherlands. This was in 2000-01.
We were 40 students belonging to 19 different countries. It was a lot of learning and great exposure. In fact, my international exposure and understanding of cultures started picking up from Europe after pursuing an MBA.
During my MBA, I did my internship with Canon, Netherlands where I had an opportunity to be trained in Prince 2 Methodology of Project Management in London, United Kingdom.
Post my MBA I joined Deloitte, Amsterdam (Netherlands) as a Junior Manager in Audit.
Later I had taken jobs with a Turkish Bank in Amsterdam, Moore Stephens and Ernst & Young in Kuwait. All these were external audit positions except for the bank where I was hired as an Internal auditor.
WHY DID I DO CIA?
In fact, in the year 2006, my colleague in Kuwait borrowed my credit card to buy books for CIA exam.
Just out of curiosity I had a look at the CIA website and tried a sample question paper scoring 55% marks, the passing marks being 75%.
It was then that I realized that by studying a little more I could be a qualified CIA.
Without much efforts and unlike CA Final struggle, I cleared my CIA exams in the 1st attempt.
I encourage professionals in the Auditing field to pursue CIA especially if you are looking at moving/working in different countries.
WHY DID I QUIT MY JOB TO START MY VENTURE?
Moving ahead, in 2010 I returned to India to start my own Company.
Working with Riskpro helped me to create a big network. During 2012, my profile in LinkedIn was declared as one of the highest viewed profile (Linkedin Power profile).
Facing financial challenges, I switched once again to a full-time job and joined Jindal Steel and Power Limited, New Delhi in Oct’13.
As the steel industry was facing a lot of challenges, I decided to look for another job opportunity. Finally, in Jan’16 I joined the shared audit service of Asian CGIAR centers based in Sri Lanka. My current profile involves conducting internal audits in various countries for different organizations.
- Work hard and there is no substitute for hard work.
- Take risks as the returns can be much higher and follow your heart. I had taken big risks in my career by moving out of India and working in different countries.
- My professional CA’s did advise me that you will forget Indian laws while working abroad etc. However, the outcome was the opposite.
- Due to my international exposure, I am able to understand the logic of laws and also compare the same in different countries. In fact today I can perform my audit in so many countries because of this.
NOW IT IS YOUR TURN!!!
Have you traveled as an Auditor to different countries or cities? If yes, which places.
Has traveling really helped you grow as a person?
Would you advise others to pursue CPA / CA degree if traveling is one of their goals?
Waiting for your comments.