Pranshu Gupta, a qualified Chartered Accountant from The Institute of Chartered Accountants of India (ICAI) shares with us his articleship journey in Risk Advisory at Ernst & Young (EY), Gurgaon, India.
Pranshu is an experienced Consultant with a demonstrated history of working in the accounting industry. Skilled in Internal Audit, SOX, IFC, Microsoft Excel, Microsoft Word, Communication, and Accounting.
At the moment he is working at Rasheshwar Consultants Private Limited, New Delhi.
You can connect to him on Linkedin – Pranshu Gupta.
“Frankly, I did not decide that I will be doing Chartered Accountancy (CA) till I actually filled the CPT form.
I was a commerce student and was looking for an option after class 12th. I had a pretty decent score in class 12th and was hoping to get a good college, but somehow I missed those colleges by just fraction of percentage,” says CA Pranshu Gupta.
“That was disappointing but anyhow I had to move on. I did a little research and realized CA seemed to be the best option then.
I gave CPT (Entrance exam) in Jun’12 and post that IPCC exam (2nd level CA exam which consists of 2 groups, Group 1 and Group2) in May’13.
Fortunately, I was able to clear CPT and IPCC in my 1st attempt.
Now it was time for articleship of 3 years!
How I got into EY as an Intern:
After my IPCC result, I was confident that I would get into a good consulting firm for my articleship, but I was wrong!
I applied to almost all possible consulting firms and talked to all my friends for any kind of lead, if possible. But nothing worked out.
Back then I realized how competitive this field was. I kept trying but after 4 months I started losing hope as I wasn’t getting any interview call or any lead. So I decided to go for a small Chartered Accountant firm but side by side kept on trying for those big consulting firms.
On day Shubham Mittal, a friend I knew from my graduation exams informed me about the vacancy in his team in EY (so back then Shubham was not a very close or good friend I used to just meet him while giving my graduation exams!)
So it was through him that I got to know the vacancy in Risk Advisory Team at EY, Gurgaon India.
I forwarded my resume to him and was waiting to receive a call back for an interview. I got a call and had my interview.
Luckily there were not many candidates may be because the vacancy was not announced through a public portal.
I got selected in EY.
I got my breakthrough after 4 months of trying. Getting a breakthrough in EY in my case was like contacting the right person at the right time. My persistence paid off!
As I mentioned above, luckily I got an opportunity and took it with both hands. Yes, those 4 months of struggle were tough but at the end, it all felt worth it as I got into a Big 4.
So my advice to all students looking for articleship:
- Keep networking
- Just keep applying in different ways.
- Keep talking to your friends who are already in Bog 4’s about vacancies and try to get an upper hand before that vacancy goes public.
- Students can apply through firstname.lastname@example.org.
My 1st day at EY as a CA intern:
My first day in EY – I still remember that day, it was a dream come true. It was the second time I visited the EY office in Gurgaon, first being my interview day.
Yes, I was scared but more than that I was excited because I was about to live the dream I was wishing for so long. That day was one of the highlights in my career.
It felt surreal – Getting our laptops, meeting new people just like us.
The first couple of days we had our training where we were told about EY, how the organization works, the hierarchy, our responsibilities etc.
Lessons from my articleship journey:
I learned a lot during my tenure of 3 years as an articled assistant. Working in big 4 transformed me from a kid to a professional. It was rough sometimes, but it was all worth it.
Most important ones are listed below:
- Interact: It is not easy to get yourself noticed in such a big organization. No matter how hard you work, but if you do not mix around with others and do not interact with others you might find it difficult to adjust. So make new friends, smile, talk and interact with different people.
- Never say No attitude: I have always enjoyed tough clients and situations. Initially, I used to hate difficult clients but then I started realizing that it is these situations that actually get the best out of me. So I started looking at things in a different way.
- Take responsibility: Luckily my team was very supportive, always there to help and explain. But the only thing that matters is – you take responsibility for yourself/ your work and don’t depend on others. You would have seniors reviewing your work but it should be you who has to make sure the work is done and most important done the right way!
- Don’t be selective: Always stay open to different clients and opportunities. Doing the same thing, again and again, will make you comfortable and will stop your learning curve. So always try and grab different opportunities, even if it may sound and feel uncomfortable. Remember you chose a Big 4 to grow not to relax!
- Party animal: In EY I actually realized the meaning of what we say work hard and party harder. I can assure you, you will not be disappointed on this point.
- Handling Politics: Politics was there no doubt, it is a part of every corporate organization but I believe people can deal with it. I was young into the organization, straight from school. I did not even know how all this worked! People around me used to talk but I never got involved in the same. I tried to improve my work instead and always looked for new opportunities. So it depends on you, either you can be a part of politics or you can just ignore it, there is no other way to deal with it in my opinion.
- Make Mistakes: I am never in favor of saying that don’t make mistakes because that’s what makes you a better person. But yes I can suggest trying to have an open mind and look for opportunities to learn.
- Stop looking for a Balanced life when joining a Big 4: I hardly had a balanced life in 3 years of articleship. I was enjoying what I was doing so I never felt an urge to balance life, my life seemed balanced. And it is actually difficult to have a balanced life at the beginning of your career. But still, you can always try and complete your work on time and talk with your seniors if you work from home a few times to give you that balance.
- Big 4 has a place for every personality: There is no restriction on any kind of personalities joining Big 4’s. Once you get in, you will see all kinds of people around you. You just have to have an open mind when you go there and some confidence!
- Be optimistic and plan accordingly: There are always some pros and cons to everything. Like you don’t have a great work-life balance, you are working under one specific field and you are completely unaware of other fields. But on the contrary such specific work makes you specialize in that particular field. So it depends on how one looks at things.
Getting study leave in Big 4:
- I won’t say getting a leave is an issue, rather I would say seeking approval from the right person and prior hand is important.
- I never had any issues when it came to leaves be it study leave or any recreational ones, it was easy.
- People face issues because they don’t inform or seek approval beforehand.
- You cannot expect your Manager or Senior for that matter to grant you leave in the middle of an assignment.
- Until and unless it is some kind of extreme situation, I don’t see leaves being rejected, but at the same time, you need to make sure you have informed about it as early as possible.
Balancing college and articleship:
- I did my graduation from School of opening learning Delhi University.
- So I did my study prep during graduation leaves we use to get.
- During articleship, there was a lot of domestic travel. I got opportunities to travel to around 4 5 cities of travel like Mumbai, Dehradun, Varanasi, Kanpur, Chandigarh etc.
- I was able to manage my CA final classes as my seniors were supportive enough and allowed me to attend my lectures when I had to.
- Weekends were usually working but once I started with my CA Final preparation, I was allowed to take leave and study unless it was
CA Final journey:
- My first attempt was in May’16, I started my preparation around Jun’15 and I got 4 months study leave starting Jan’16.
- Daily routine in these years of articleship varied depending upon the client I was assigned to. There were some clients where you had to reach by 9- 930 and then leave by 6, at some clients you can reach till 10 – 10 30 but sit till 10 pm every day or even later. So there was never a fixed routine, it kept changing with my clients. So I would plan my studies accordingly either morning or at night!
- CA final Journey was quite a roller coaster one. Taking classes in the morning was a very challenging thing as we used to work late nights so most of the time it was nothing but sleeping sessions (if I attended class!).
- For me, self-study was very crucial over the weekends and in the last 5 months of preparation.
- For me, CA final classes were just to get aware of the course and gather study material which I used in self study.
- I didn’t clear my CA Finals in the 1st attempt but I got through in the second attempt in Nov’16.
- CA Final is not easy (but not tough too!), with all the support and hard work, you can get through.
- I used to study approx. 15 hours a day and tried to keep my course as short as possible because no matter what you study in the last 5 months, it is that one day before exams what matters the most.
- If you are able to revise the max of your course on that particular day I am sure you will see the difference.
Related Article: Revision a day before the exam is what matters the most
- When you go for an interview for articleship, I can assure you they don’t expect you to have all the knowledge of the field you are there. They just make sure that you are confident and open to learning.
- Just be very straight if you don’t know any answer or get stuck and be confident.
- They usually ask basic questions related to IPCC portion. It’s just the basic questions of the relevant field. They also included few common sense queries and a little about current affairs (topics which are obvious)
- I just prepared common and basic things on the Audit, Tax and Companies Act which was in our IPCC portion.
- About my interview: I had 3 rounds in total. In the first round, I was asked questions of logical reasoning like calculating revenue of a toll, etc. in the second round, I had technical questions on Audit and tax and Accounts. Third round (Partner Round) was totally on Indian Economy, GDP related questions, Import & Export, Economic Times articles. There was no online test or GD in my interview process.
- What to wear: It is important to wear proper formals, coat and a tie for the interview (since Delhi is cold the coat-wearing could be considered!). Though once you join in, it is just a formal shirt and trousers. Also for men, it is very important to shave properly, such things are taken very seriously in Big 4’s.
- Students can apply through email@example.com.
- About CV: It is important to carry your CV when going for the interview (sometimes the interviewer may ask or sometimes he may not!). CV should be crisp and to the point and should tell about your strengths and weaknesses quite clearly.
- English is important when applying to a Big 4 but for sure it is not the deciding factor. Few fumbles won’t matter but basics should be right – he concluded.
You can reach him at firstname.lastname@example.orgemail@example.com