Becoming Chartered Accountant is a Journey: Rely on Long-Term Plans CA. Ruchika Katyal. IAS

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Ruchika Katyal’s is the story of an ordinary but determined girl. Drawing her inspiration from the interviews of IAS toppers and closely following their advice, this young girl from Delhi secured 176th rank in UPSC Civil Services Examination 2010 and was allotted IPS. Finally she could accomplish her dream of becoming an IAS
officer in her next attempt by securing All India 5th rank. Currently she is serving as Assistant
Commissioner (Under Training) in West Siang District of Arunchal Pradesh.
Ruchika joined Delhi University where she completed her B Com (H) and secured 2nd Rank and secured 1st
Rank in Sree Ram College of Commerce in 2007. On graduating from the Delhi University, she did her
Chartered Accountancy and secured All India Rank 3rd in CA Final, 48th rank in PE II and 7th rank in PE I.
She did her 3 years of articleship from S.R.Batliboi &Co. She has been awarded LT. Col. Ambuj Nath
Memorial Prize for Best Paper on Management Accounting and Financial Analysis during her CA
Final.

Ruchika shares her experience on her journey from a CA to a Civil Servant:-
They ask me why and how did I choose to appear for Civil Services post my C.A. The answer to this is that
I had decided the same during my college days. Since I had started Chartered Accountancy post my class
XII only, I decided to complete the course. What strengthened the decision was the visit to the D.C
office in my district. A half an hour visit not only apprised me of the kind of issues that come before
the DC’s office but also the ways he can contribute to solve them. Ranging from land disputes, helping a
poor lady for the operation of her son to just being on the right side, I could see the opportunities and the
challenges of the job. The most that attracted me to the job was the diversity
that it entailed.

Preparation – Role of my background and CA Qualification
I come from a commerce background and I would not hesitate to say that my background helped me a lot in my preparation for the exam. I chose commerce as one of the optional subject which has a lengthy syllabus, but is a scoring one. Also, my knowledge of commerce and finance helped me in understanding the current business and economic situation, which forms a part of syllabus for the General studies paper, in a better manner. So I had
some part of the preparation taken care of when I began. This being said, I had to focus more on the social studies and science part of the syllabus, which includes history, geography, polity, science et al but I could figure out my strengths and weaknesses and dealt with them accordingly.

Decision to quit the job
To be completely honest, the decision to quit the job and leaving the offer in hand from the CA placements post the completion of my training of wasn’t an easy one. It was both a bane and a boon. It was a bane in the sense that it made the decision all the more difficult. On one hand was a set career ahead and on the other hand, there was uncertainty and sitting at home for the preparation for a tough exam. What gave me strength was the feeling that I did not want to regret —not giving the exam. I did not want to sit down ten years down the line thinking what could have happened had I decided to leave my job and run behind my dream. I wanted to leave the job because I wanted to give my 100 percent to this as it is a highly competitive exam. Also, it was a boon in a manner that I had a solid career to fall back on in case I did not make it. Articleship

Training and its impact
On another note, the entire course – the studying and the practical training of three years at Ernst & Young taught me well to slog hard, balance time, as and I think the entire experience made me a step closer to be more professional and result oriented. The three years of slogging, physically and mentally, strengthens you and makes you believe the most important – “You are capable of everything” and that’s the biggest lesson I drew from my training. Apart from that there were conscious and unconscious learnings- the application of things – theories to real life situations, standards and benchmarks to practical situations, linking related things to analyze a comprehensive picture- all this I believe helped me prepare and write better in UPSC exam. Also, during the interview stage, I was asked why I wanted to leave the career and come into the services to which I explained my motives along with the fact that while in my training I realized that scale of things and the authority to be able to do things matters a lot. While CA’s as consultants to the private sector do give suggestions for improvement, the onus of the actual improvement lies on the company itself. Also there the scale is that organization itself is pretty small, here in this job, one scheme implemented successfully to its objectives can lead to the betterment of lives of lakhs of people.

A few words of advice
Before deciding, have a strong motivation – because that is the push to keep you going since the entire process of the examination is very long. It’s not a sprint, it’s a marathon. It’s not an exam, it’s a journey. It is long and a lot of patience and dedication is required to get through it. In my opinion, following are required:-
Firstly, Strategize. A plan of action needs to be prepared and followed. Without a strategy, everything else falls apart. It keeps check and control over the happenings and prevents deflection from the goal.
Secondly, Prioritize because time management is the key. ABC analysis of what is most and least important
needs to be done. Since there is no defined syllabus, one needs to judiciously invest time.
Thirdly, Apply. The theoretical things need to be applied especially while presenting your thoughts. Learnings can be from anywhere. Even random knowledge from TV shows like The big bang theory e.g. about the Hardron collider and medical tit-bits from House helped. With numerous avenues and sources of knowledge available of internet, it is definitely the most important source, which cannot be, ignores apart from the books. Internet provides as a good source for blogs giving advice, providing discussion forums and debating avenues. Also, we should try and meet the officers in the field, especially the young officers who can guide and motivate. Most of them are happy to help. And last but not the least, with all this we need to maintain a balance in our lives. It is not humanly possible to study for 12 hours a day for 12 months a year. What is required is focus on the output and not the input, so plan, have set targets balanced with leisure time as well. I would like to wind up by saying ability and preparation is one thing. Leap of faith and selfconfidence is what bridges the gap.

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