Today Varun Jajoo from Sydney shares his journey as a Chartered Accountant from India to Australia.
He has currently shifted to Sydney (Australia) and working in the Direct Tax Team – KPMG Australia gaining strong exposure to the Australian Tax Laws.
Prior to moving to Australia, he was associated with PwC, Mumbai in their Corporate Tax Team for 3 years. Post his stint in PwC he started his own Chartered Accountant Firm in Mumbai.
Like most other people, my CA journey involved hard work with a large dose of luck (I guess when you work hard with a positive attitude luck definitely shows up!). I never thought myself to be extremely studious, so I was very happy when I passed my CPT, IPCC and CA Final in the 1st attempt.
I completed my articleship at my Dad’s Chartered Accounting firm in Mumbai (India), and while the work I did was a lot more varied than someone in a Big 4 would do, I was very skeptical about getting placed into a Big 4 once I became a qualified Chartered Accountant.
During the CA campus placements by ICAI, I got shortlisted by PwC, Mumbai (Corporate Tax) for the interview round, which I felt was sheer luck again. However, the interview went well and I assume they appreciated the work I did during my articleship because I got a job offer on the very same day!
WHY I STARTED MY OWN CHARTERED ACCOUNTING FIRM
PwC was a great place to start my career, I learned so much, however, I always had this desire to start my own practice.
So after working in PwC for a few years (roughly 3 years), I started my own CA practice.
It might sound like – Wow, own practice how cool and all, well let me be honest it was tough!
Advice If You Want To Start Your Own CA Firm:
- Starting a practice is not easy nowadays as one has to compete not only with other Chartered Accountants (CA) but also with ‘Technology’ (yes, Technology!). There are so many websites which file returns and provide so many services at really low prices which makes it tough to survive! So what is important in such a situation – Specialising and developing a skill set to differentiate yourself from the rest of the crowd.
- If one seriously wants to pursue a career as a CA in Practice, one will have to assess the focus area of specialization, whether one wants to go into the industry or practice. Being a general CA with no specialization makes it very difficult to stand out from the crowd, so my advice to all young CA aspirants if you want to stand out – Specialise in a particular area you love. The earlier you decide the better it is for you.
- If one is keen to start his/her own practice in future then ideally one should consider joining a mid-size firm where one can get an exposure from – Audit to tax to dealing with clients etc, along with specializing in one area of interest making that area your trademark. Usually in Big 4 Accounting firms, one would not get enough exposure in all areas so a mid-size firm would be better.
- Also, it takes a lot of hard work with very low returns in the beginning, so people who want to start their own practice must be ready to get into it for the long haul and must have PATIENCE.
- Once you set yourself and get a name, it’s so much better to work for yourself, doing something you love, and on your own terms.
- My dad has his own Tax Practice for 30 years, so it was relatively easier for me than it would be otherwise, to get connects and find clients. But if someone is really interested in starting their own practice, I would say it is a tough but brave decision.
- It is not easy, success won’t come overnight but nothing good ever comes easy. The satisfaction of doing your own thing (however small or big), is unparalleled.
So to sum it all up:
- Specialize in an area and make that your USP.
- Like any business with enough patience, dedication and hard work, success will surely come.
- Also, have an ONLINE PRESENCE. Have a website, write a few articles on LinkedIn. Create your presence.
- Network and attend various events where potential clients would be available.
- Keep Learning forever.
WHY DID I MOVE TO AUSTRALIA
Jital (my wife) and I had been to New Zealand just after our wedding in 2016. As we traveled around the country with a local NZ tour, we met a lot of different people and saw a different world. That got us thinking about what we are doing in life.
We both love exploring places, understanding cultures and meeting new people (I’m sure that’s the case with a lot of people nowadays, not just us). We wanted a change in life. It was easy to get comfortable in India, with Jital having a decent corporate job, and me with my practice. However, we didn’t want to get comfortable at such an early age.
We wanted to move out of the comfort zone, understand how different cultures and systems work, and you can never get that experience by just traveling for a few days. I felt there is more to life than being born, growing up, working, and dying in the same city. It’s a huge world out there, and if I did not go out and explore it, I would regret it later in life.
Thankfully Jital has always been on board with my craziness (it is so important for the partner to be on the same wavelength especially when you take such big decisions).
We started thinking of options as to where could we migrate, while not letting go of our professional careers for which we have worked hard all our lives. We wanted to move out to a country where we could travel, explore and live a life beyond just work, where we could focus more on health and discovering a new lifestyle.
We searched for a country where our skills are Transferable and Acceptable, and where a visa isn’t an issue (where a country wants and appreciates immigrants i.e. not the USA).
We could earn well in Singapore or UAE, but only Canada and Australia gave us what we really wanted and Canada is COLD…..so we decided on Australia.
Initially, when we moved to Australia we flew to Melbourne.
However, Jital (she is also a CA) got a job opportunity in Sydney so we happily moved ‘our not yet unpacked bags’ to Sydney and made it our new home – he concluded.