CA Harsha is a Senior Practicing Chartered Accountant in Jaipur, India.
She is a Fellow Member of the Institute of Chartered Accountants, DISA, CCCA, and a commerce graduate from Kanoria Girls College.
She shares with us her journey – From being an average Hindi medium student at school to a qualified Chartered Accountant.
Harsha studied in Hindi Medium till college and gave all her CA Exams in Hindi. She has proved that – Language is not a barrier to Success.
She is also a mother to an 11-month-old baby girl. She shares with us how she continued to work until her third trimester and resumed work after 6 months of delivery time balancing home and office.
You can connect to her on LinkedIn – CA Harsha
My Journey in School
CA was not my dream, I was not aware of Chartered Accountancy and in general the courses available in the commerce stream.
All my life I wanted to do something in the science stream but destiny had other plans for me – says CA Harsha Ramnani.
I did not score well in grade 10 because of which my mom wanted me to change my mind and not go in for Science (as most people in India feel Science is only for the intelligent not for the average, though this thinking is changing with time!).
I changed my school after class 10 and in my new school, my Principal told my mom that commerce would be a better career choice for me.
In my new school during one of our tests, I scored really well and that gave me a lot of confidence. I started to believe in myself and my capabilities, and from then on I started taking my studies very seriously.
In class 12, I scored really well in comparison to my class 10 score (but when compared to other students my score still seemed low!).
MY CHARTERED ACCOUNTANCY JOURNEY
After class 12th results, a friend of mine was getting CA registration form for himself. He asked me if I also would want a form and I said Yes!
I still do not know why did I say yes but I guess since I was unaware of any other professional course I decided to pursue CA with my friends.
Now it was not easy convincing my parents on the same.
My parents were not confident that I could pursue Chartered Accountancy (CA) as they knew it was a very tough course and considering me an average student they did not want me to go through the grind.
However, I kept insisting that I would be able to qualify as a Chartered Accountant.
Finally, my dad gave in and told me to first score good marks in college and if succeeded, I could consider CA.
During FYB.Com (1st year of graduation), I almost forgot about CA. My daily college and study routine continued.
However, that year I stood first in college and that’s when the real CA dream began all over again.
I was so confident now that CA seemed very achievable for me and my parents!
During my TYB.Com (final year of graduation) I registered for CA-PE-II in direct entry scheme (2nd level CA exam consisting of 2 groups, Group 1 and Group 2. Now it is known as IPCC).
Nov ‘06 was my 1st attempt and I scored very good marks in all subjects and was 5 marks short from an All India Rank (AIR).
In the same year, I also stood first in my college (final year of graduation).
As mentioned above I was a Hindi medium student in school as well as in college. I gave my PE2 exams also in Hindi.
I wrote CA PE 2 also in Hindi.
MY ARTICLESHIP JOURNEY
After clearing CA PE 2 it was time to start with my articleship of 3 years.
Even though I scored really well in CA PE -2 I found it so difficult to find a CA firm from where I could do my articleship.
According to the rules applicable then, a CA could train only 3 interns. Also, the place where I belonged to, many CA firms preferred boys over girls as it was not appropriate as per society to send girls for outstation audits and yes they were old school.
I almost thought of giving up CA and pursuing another course!
However, after searching relentlessly for 55 days on day 56, I approached S.Bhargava Associates, Chartered Accountants firm and tried my luck.
Everything worked in my favor and I started my articleship journey on the 5th Feb’07.
So in a nutshell, after approaching so many CA firms, I got a positive reply from only 1 firm. The lesson I learned here was – Never Give Up.
My parents supported me and even permitted me to travel for outstation audits when I had to.
The 3-year articleship journey was a roller coaster ride but I learned so much in every aspect of life.
I traveled to varied places from remote areas of Rajasthan to Madurai in South India to Chandigarh and list is so long.
There were other girls too to accompany me otherwise I would have felt like an alien in a pool of male interns.
- I realized that articleship is the most important part of CA journey.
- During my CA exams, some of my exams went well simply because of the knowledge developed during articleship training.
- I was able to answer a number of questions due to my practical exposure only.
MY CA FINAL JOURNEY
For CA Final exam (last level CA exam consisting of 2 groups, Group 1 and Group 2), I got 6 months of study leave.
Now prior to this I did not study anything as I was always busy with my articleship and traveling to different places for audits.
So in these 6 months, I was supposed to complete my entire course (I took classes only for Accounts and Financial Management during my study leave and chose to self-study the other subjects).
My confidence level got really low.
Also, alternative CA Final Hindi medium study material was not available and all the material provided by the ICAI and other facilities were in English only.
I spent most of my study leave making self-notes in Hindi (literally translating English to Hindi) and the other half revising and taking tuitions in certain subjects which I needed help in.
By god grace, I somehow managed and cleared my CA Final exams (gave my exams in Hindi itself) in the 1st attempt.
The fact that I cleared in the 1st attempt gave me a lot of confidence.
- During my CA Final Exams the 1st paper – Financial Reporting, was really tough. I literally cried after that exam but I am thankful I did not quit but went ahead and gave all the remaining exams.
- So a little advice to all my friends – Sometimes one exam will go bad but don’t get demoralized, continue preparing for the next day exam and do not quit midway.
MY LIFE POST CA QUALIFICATION
My 1st job after qualifying:
After clearing CA Final and qualifying as a Chartered Accountant I applied for campus placement and I was lucky to get a good opportunity in a PSU.
However, due to location constraint, I could not take it up. Saying no to that offer was the toughest part!
After giving a lot of thought, I started my first job as a qualified CA in the same firm where I completed my articleship – S. Bhargava Associates, Jaipur.
I thought that it would be easy for me as I was familiar with the working environment and people. But I was completely wrong!
The initial 2 years of my job were very difficult and I worked for almost 16-18 hours a day during peak audit periods. But the same helped me a lot and improved my multitasking abilities.
Meanwhile, I developed an interest in writing and wrote many technical articles and a technical guide which were published in ICAI newsletter and many in local newspapers too.
After a few years, I got married. The initial few months were difficult for me to manage home, work and traveling which this field needs (especially since I am in the Audit department).
But my husband is very supportive and has always inspired me to excel at work and improve my skills.
In fact, after getting married, I started traveling even more on audits as my husband cooperated and gave me the space to fulfill my dreams.
I wrote my second technical guide after marriage only, which received great success.
Currently, I am a mother of an 11-month-old baby girl. I continued to work until my third trimester and after 6 months of delivery, I resumed work.
Right now I am not traveling on outstation assignments as my daughter needs me but yes I am working full time handling my office and other major assignments.
Importance of Articleship:
- Young professionals, it is my humble and sincere request to take their internship period very seriously as it will help you a lot during and after your CA Final exams.
- In the last 5-6 years, around 15-20 of my interns (who were sincere towards their internship) have become qualified CAs and are placed in well-known MNC’s, PSU’s and Big 4’s.
Tips for Working Moms:
- For all Mothers out there – Motherhood can be tough. Managing home, office and your baby can be quite a task, but it is all DOABLE.
- At one point, even I felt like taking a break from my career but something inside me did not allow me to do so. The thought of taking a break did not give me peace of mind.
- Initial months of your rejoining office demands more from you as you restart your work and your baby needs you too. It is like working 16-18 hours on daily basis without any break because Sundays are no longer a holiday. You have to spend time on household work and weekly chores which were skipped during weekdays.
- But yes both are possible, the only tip is you need good time management and prioritize your work. Make yourself efficient during this time to do your office work in less time.
Tips to Improve English:
- To improve my English – I always try to LEARN from others. I started writing my own emails and drafting reports all by myself. I always ask my fellow interns and even junior interns to check my grammar and spelling.
- To date everything that I write, I read it to any of my interns and they correct me accordingly. I find no shame in asking my juniors since knowledge can be gained from anywhere, even my daughter teaches me many things.
- A friend of mine motivated me to write an article, after great difficulty I wrote the article and it got published in ICSI, Faridabad chapter. After this, there has been no turning back and I keep writing – she concluded.