This is a difficult question to answer… Should I quit my job before starting a business?
In fact: In today’s article, Moiz Ezzi, shares with us – How he decided to quit his well-paying job in the UAE to start his CA firm in India.
Moiz has previously worked in Reliance Industries (India) and Mayur Batra & Co, UAE before starting his CA firm MSNJ & Associates in Ahmedabad, India.
Why did I decide to become a Chartered Accountant?
While growing up I belonged to a lower-middle-class family residing in Ahmedabad, India.
My mother runs a grocery business from our house and my father took up a job in Dubai when we lost everything in the 2002 riots. It wasn’t easy for us.
I was a brilliant student at school. I have always been very curious and would read anything I could get my hands on.
At the age of 14, while in class 8, due to financial difficulties, I started giving tuitions to students younger than me.
I continued giving tuitions even while I was in class 10 and still secured state-level ranking and also scored 100/100 in Maths.
Usually in India, after class 10, it is time to decide whether one wants to pursue – Science, Commerce or Arts.
I always wanted to be an entrepreneur so decided to opt for the Commerce stream.
I gave my best and scored well in class 11 and 12.
While in class 12, I also had to decide if I just wanted to continue with Bachelors in Accounting (B.Com) or opt for other professional qualifications along with my Bachelors.
I made a list of all the qualifications I could pursue along with my B.Com and evaluated each one of them.
I also discussed with my teachers and seniors, taking their advice on the possibilities of various qualifications.
That is when I decided to pursue Chartered Accountancy from ICAI.
And here started my CA journey.
My CA journey
If you intend to pursue CA from ICAI (The Institute of Chartered Accountants of India) there are three levels which one has to clear along with 3 years of compulsory articleship.
The three levels are:
- CA Final
I cleared CPT in my first attempt with a very good score of 181/200. This made me very confident.
The next exams were CA IPCC, which I again cleared in the first attempt.
After IPCC, I started with my articleship at BM Saraf & Co, a midsize Chartered Accounting firm in Ahmedabad.
Thankfully, during my articleship, I got an opportunity to work in Taxation, Audits, Corporate Compliances. I was also able to learn some time management skills due to the deadlines of various laws.
During the last six months of my articleship, I appeared for my CA Final exams and cleared the same with an All India Rank 38.
Getting this rank meant so much to me. It made me believe that with hard work combined with smart work everything is possible.
Getting selected in RIL
After qualifying as a Chartered Accountant I got an opportunity to work with Reliance Industries Ltd, Mumbai with a package of INR 11.5 Lacs per annum.
I got this opportunity through campus placement of ICAI.
When I attended the interview at RIL, they asked me questions on:
- What can you do for RIL
- Why RIL
- What is IND-AS
- what is the income disclosure scheme
- What are the new updates?
I answered as much as I could but my replies were nothing extraordinary.
However, when they asked me what did you learn during your articleship, I shared as much as I could about all my learnings.
They selected me (I think they judged me on my articleship only).
So all I can say is :
- As a newly qualified Chartered Accountant, you will not know everything. So do not freak out if you cannot answer every question. Just give your best when you are asked any questions.
- Do not forget to share about your learnings during articleship and how that learning/experience will help you perform well in the job role offered to you.
Should you pursue CS along with CA?
During my CA articleship, I was in a meeting with one of our clients. We advised him something on Audit and Tax.
However, during our conversation, he mentioned that as Chartered Accountants we should also pursue CS so that we are in a better position to advise in the area of corporate consultancy.
That day I went through the entire course structure of CS from ICSI and decided CS could be very helpful if I had my own practice someday.
Thus while still doing my CA articleship, I also enrolled to pursue Company Secretary from ICSI (The Institute of Companies secretary of India) and cleared all the CS exams with a rank.
Benefits of doing CA and CS together:
- Foremost – Knowledge of overall laws applicable to a corporate
- Secondary – some common subjects, easy to study with CA
How to choose the right firm for your CA articleship?
I chose a mid-sized firm because I wanted to handle multiple assignments in different areas simultaneously.
Usually, in Big 4 firms you are groomed very well but you end up in the same profile.
I would say choose a Big4 if:
- You want to explore the corporate world.
- You will gain experience of audits of MNC’s
- You want to know how to conduct and behave in the corporate world.
- You want to improve your talking and presentation skills
- You want to specialize in one area only during your articleship
On the contrary, consider a small and mid-size firm if:
- You want to start your own practice in the future
- You want to gain exposure to multiple clients of various industries, various areas
- You want time to explore some interesting topics deeply
Why did I move to the UAE?
After working at Reliance Industries for one year I decided to quit my job and pursue a CPA from AICPA.
Now CPA exams cannot be given in India as they have no exam center here. The closest exam center to India was Dubai and so I decided to move to the UAE.
Now around the same time, VAT was introduced in the UAE. So, I thought I will start my own consultancy in Dubai as it was a booming market for Accountants.
With the intention to give my CPA exams and start my own consulting firm in the UAE, I moved to Dubai.
Once I reached here, I realized that it is not that easy.
For almost two months I tried various things.
I understood that to start your own venture in Dubai or anywhere in the UAE one needs contacts and knowledge of the market.
Randomly starting a consulting firm in a new country is not easy. I found it difficult to understand the environment and the people.
So I first decided to understand how things function here and then start my own firm in the UAE.
The only way for me to get first-hand understanding was by working for someone else in the UAE.
So after almost two months in Dubai, I decided to apply for a job and gain the required experience.
I put my CV on various portals but struggled to get interviews. It was later that I learned that I need to have a CV with a proper format.
I revamped my CV. Immediately I got 4-5 interview calls.
Finally, after 14 days of searching for a job I was selected at Mayur Batra Group, Abu Dhabi as Senior Tax Executive. I got this opportunity through Naukri gulf.
How can you find a job in the UAE?
Before moving to the UAE you need to take the following steps:
Do your research in your home country
- Before selecting a country, study about the economics, political, business aspects of that country.
- Spend time to study in your home country and gain basic experience before moving abroad (Unless you choose to study abroad and work as an intern/PTE student).
- Corporates in normal cases will not select a novice from another country who has no experience in the business process. So you should be very well versed with basics like at least know about Accounts payable, Accounts receivable, inventory, and such other areas to find a decent job in a new country.
Work on your resume
- To find a job in UAE, don’t just post your resume on job portals or request all references to send your resume to the HR. The most basic thing is to work on your Resume.
- I am telling you this from my experience. Initially, I posted my resume on several job portals and ended up with little or no response. I redrafted and designed my resume and posted it again, and got an excellent response.
- Work on design,
- Show what you actually do and not all that can be done in your role.
- Eliminate things you have done but not confident about.
- Don’t modify your resume for different job vacancies. I mean you can modify resume to highlight experience relevant to the job role you are applying. But not to modify content. When an applicant receives interview calls, they will generally not be familiar which version of their C.V. is referred to HR and may be less than confident on questions from that resume. So keep content same, just basic modification to highlight relevant experience.
Have a mission statement in your resume
- Also as an applicant, one has to formulate Mission kind of statement in their resume.
- For example, I will utilize my expertise and experience in XYZ areas and upscale myself for bringing an optimum solution for my organization and drive my energy for achieving objects of my organization).
Apply on various job portals
- Applying through job portals is the best and quick option. Also, go for paid services and don’t just expect to get a good job with no cost.
- Job portals offer services like premium, highlight, spotlight applicant, reviewed applicant, first to apply for any job posted, etc
- I applied through Naukri.com mainly. It was not a paid version. But I took paid on Linkedin Premium service-Career Plan.
Interview calls will happen only when present in the UAE
- Applying for a job in the UAE from your home country will not land you a job.
- I got interview calls only after I mentioned I am available in the UAE on a visit Visa.
- So buy a local sim and update your number on your CV.
- So in short, you have to move to the UAE without a job on a visit visa.
- Once I started applying for jobs, I found my job in around 15 days.
Living and Working in Abu Dhabi
People usually prefer to work in Dubai only because it is more convenient and easy to commute. And also Dubai is more lively and touristy.
However, Abu Dhabi is a good city to work in and offers great opportunities for accountants and finance professionals due to infrastructure development and emerging business growth.
What is the salary of CA Fresher in the UAE?
As a CA fresher, the bracket is AED 6k-7k in Consulting and AED 7k-8k in the industry (as on 2019).
With experience and depending on relevance to the job role, this will increase.
For a semi-qualified fresher the salary could be anywhere between 5k – 6.5K AED.
What are the means of transportation in Abu Dhabi?
Bus transportation is cheap and quick. Easy to commute.
The second option is taxi which is expensive
One can use a bus to the nearest point and then taxi to some uncovered areas in outskirts of Abu Dhabi.
Advice to those who want to work in Abu Dhabi
You will find a good work-life balance. Less crowd and peaceful. A better option as the rents are lower than Dubai.
Good opportunities to work to more. The salary in Abu Dhabi can be more than average.
Abu Dhabi in under infrastructure development and will be central to many MNC in the coming year.
Why did I quit my job in Abu Dhabi and moved to India?
Life was going on well but I kept thinking if I was doing the right thing.
My goal of moving to the UAE was to start my own firm here and to complete my CPA.
However, because of the market complexity, I could not start my consulting firm in the UAE right away and also because of the hectic workload at the office I had not time to study for my CPA exams.
Every day for nearly three months I kept questioning myself.
After working there for almost 10 months at Mayur Batra, Abu Dhabi, I realized I had to do something about this.
I decided to quit my job. It was a very big decision. I was earning well but my action was not matching my vision. I was also not very happy.
I finally quit my job in Dec’18 and studied for one whole month and gave my CPA exams in Feb’19 in Dubai.
I cleared my CPA exams and returned to Ahmedabad, India to start my own CA practice.
CPA – I took around one year to do CPA (1 month to decide, 4 months for academic evaluation and registration, 4 months break, 2 months study, 1-month exam). I can guide you as a friend if you need any help.
How to set up a Chartered Accounting Practice in India?
Know WHY you want to start your own firm
Know WHY you want to start a CA firm.
If you have your why in place it will help you stay motivated during tough times.
Face your FEARS
When I was quitting my well paying job in the UAE to start my own CA firm, I had a lot of fears and a lot of questions.
I am starting off young but that does not mean I have no responsibility. I have to settle well to take care of my family.
My family does depend on me. My contribution to the family income means a lot.
When you start, don’t think what if this happens.
Identify issues, find solutions and you will find the path ahead.
So like me even you will have a lot of fears. This is how you can deal with it:
- When you decide to start your own business you will have a lot of fears, let those fears show up. Do not suppress them.
- You might get so fearful to a point where you might feel not to quit your job to start your own CA firm.
- Think how lucrative job offers are, how much you can make.
- Now think why your employer is thinking of hiring you.
- Start with this and think all the way around to build such business and hire yourself.
- This will give you enough motivation to start your own.
The next step to start your own CA firm is to DECIDE FIRMLY.
Do not have a fixed date, time or day to start your business.
Once you decide to start your own give your best and start the very same day.
Start with whatever little money you have
When I started my CA firm, I did have cash back up for my day to day expenses and also for my family.
So, if you believe that your savings can last for at least 2-3 years, based on your estimated spending for the next three years or so, then you can plunge and start your CA firm if you are very passionate about it.
Also before starting your business or CA firm practice decide what you are ready to give up first. I decided to give up my salary for the next 5 years
Note that starting a CA practice does not require loads of money. It is more of a time investment than money investment. You have to give a min of 3-5 years to establish yourself and do well.
Have a compatible business partner
If you wish to start a CA practice, search for a compatible partner.
With joint efforts, you will get a lot of synergy benefits.
Explore the market
Secondly, explore the market.
Choose your location, make a list of all firms in your location, services offered, find gaps. Explore the unexplored areas.
Have an online presence
Have an online presence. In today’s time and age, you cannot have a CA Firm which has no online presence. So do have a website, attend seminars, network, write articles, etc.
How did I get my first client?
A friend referred me. Sure, there is tremendous opportunity in starting your own, it just needs time and willingness to explore it.
You see there are a lot of stars like you and yet no one exactly like you. So do not be afraid of competition.
- How this Chartered Accountant runs a business while working at a full-time job
- How I quit my job and started my own Forensic Accounting Practice
- How I found a job in the UAE within 14 days
- How this semi-qualified Accountant found a job in Dubai
- How I found a job at PwC, Middle East without a CA degree
Before deciding on any qualification, understand its scope and why you want to pursue it.
Most of us do CA or CPA or ACCA because everyone in our college, neighborhood, family, etc is doing it. This is not the correct way.
Most of the times when you start a business you do not need a truckload of money. All you is zeal to convert your ideas into reality.
Quitting your job and giving it your is one option but you do not need to necessarily quit your job to start your own business. You can start your own business by working part-time and running your business.
You can also work full time and hire someone else to manage your day to day activities. Of course, you got to be very careful over here but this can be an option.
You can also work full time and have a business managed by you.
It all depends on your business and your goals.
Before moving to any new country, research well about it. Do not just land in a new country without knowing what to do next and most important of all how to go about the next step.
I am very grateful to all my teachers who supported me unconditionally. Whatever I am today is because of their support, blessings, and guidance.
Now It’s Your Turn!!!
Do you have a question for me?
Have you decided to start your own CA firm or business?
Do you know anyone who quit their job and started their own?
Will you quit your job to start your own CA firm or business?
Excited to hear your comments.