Abhishek Agarwal has studied at Don Bosco Liluah and St Xaviers. He completed his articleship from EY and is currently employed with ITC Ltd.
Snippets of his conversation with #mycastory
Q1. What prompted you to get admitted into the CA Course? What were the things you considered before you took that decision?
Ans: Chartered Accountancy is one of the most comprehensive courses for finance professionals and having decided to pursue my career in the finance field by taking up commerce stream in class 11, getting admitted into the CA Course became an obvious option. My decision was further propelled by the fact that both my father and my elder sister are Chartered Accountants. Hence choosing the CA Course came very naturally to me.
Q2.Tell us about your articleship life and the learnings, be it technical/ non-technical/ any interesting happenings? What was the strategy you followed to ensure that you managed both well?
Ans: I feel articleship at Ernst & Young was the best thing that could have happened to me. It helped me transform from a young CA student into a well groomed professional capable of finding real time solutions to the various problems one might encounter in the working world. It gave me a practical outlook wherein I could understand how the concepts we study in books are actually applied in a workplace. I grew not only on the technical front but also on the personal front having groomed my interpersonal skills and learning the corporate culture at an early stage in my career. I would definitely like to convey my gratitude to Mr. Shivam Chowdhary and Mr. Samita Basakshu, my mentors at EY whose contribution in my development has been immense.
I often find students confused and perplexed in their decision regarding articleship. Managing study with work appears to be a very challenging task. But trust me with a little bit of dedication and hardwork, one can manage both. It will get difficult at times but the benefit that a proper articleship experience brings with it is exponential and is worth taking the extra mile. It makes a student practically sound, employable and confident and sometimes at the end of the journey, that is all that will matter. So one must definitely be on the lookout for a strong articleship experience which shall form the base of one’s career.
Q3. Which courses from CA have been the most useful?
Ans:I feel Chartered Accountancy as a course itself is designed in a manner that it helps transform a person into a complete dynamic professional. A wide base of theoretical knowledge coupled with 3 years of practical experience gives the course a holistic dimension. The fact that you get insights of possibly every aspect of Finance also provides students an opportunity to analyse their core competencies at a very budding stage. Further, the course being designed in a distance education mode is often compared with the classroom training courses but I feel that there is absolutely no paucity in the opportunities it provides to students to groom themselves well.
Q4. How would you advise people to prepare for CA Final and clear in the first attempt?
Ans: I feel that CA Final is not very difficult to clear in the first attempt. But the challenge that arises is that the course is very vast as one finds that about 80% of the course is covered in the final stage itself. Added to that comes a challenging articleship schedule which makes things more difficult often leading to students breaking down in the last hurdle. Before one realizes how vast the course is, already a year or so of articleship passes by and then one finds himself/herself running against time. In retrospect, my advice to students would be to start their preparations early alongside their trainings in offices. The earlier one realizes the challenge that lies ahead, the more equipped the student would be to ultimately face it. Thus I feel the key is to start early.
Q5. In retrospect, what has been your expected/unexpected and most cherished gain from your CA journey?
Ans:As discussed earlier, my most cherished gain from my CA journey has been my articleship experience which I feel has completely transformed me both personally and professionally. Another cherished moment was receiving the R.P.Modi Scholarship from EIRC for securing the highest marks in Eastern Region in Information technology in my CA Inter Exams.
Q6. What’s your take on preparing for Campus interviews and for off campus ones as well?
Ans:I feel that interviews always require a lot of preparations and the right preparation can actually help you secure your dream job. So preparing for all your interviews is very important. I would like to share two simple ways on how I prepared for my campus interview that helped me secure a job at ITC Limited.
Firstly, before the campus interviews, I was undertaking the GMCS Course of ICAI. I feel it helped me a lot as it gave me the right platform to kickstart my preparations and get on to an expressive mode. I utilized all opportunities that came my way during the sessions and ensured that all mistakes I made were on the preparatory mode so that I was completely ready before the campus. See a particular company will provide you with only one opportunity and to crack the GD/PI you will need to be at your best on that day.
So start rehearsing from before is what I would advise to all students.
Secondly I also noted down all the topics that I needed to prepare right from the start and would keep updating it on a daily basis. I would keep discussing with my seniors and friends and would try to learn from their experiences. I divided my technical preparations into four parts. The first part was recent technical developments covering topics such as Ind AS, GST, Finance Budget 2017, Insolvency Code, Internal Financial Controls, etc. The second part would be Current Affairs like RBI Monetary Policy, Oil Prices, BEPS, etc. The third one would be the subjects I studied in my CA final and probable topics to prepare upon. An interviewer may easily ask a candidate questions on his/her favorite subject and one must be thoroughly prepared for those questions. The last part was company specific preparation wherein one prepares for the company for which one is being interviewed. It involves studying annual reports, surfing company websites, recent interviews by the Company’s C-Suite and so on. This really helped me and I think I was able to prepare well.
Q7. Any words of advice for future CA aspirants?
Ans:Preparations for CA Finals along with a difficult articleship schedule can sometimes be very tough on individuals. I would just advice future CA aspirants to never lose hope howsoever difficult the path may seem. Things are actually not as difficult as it might seem sometimes. So take the leap in faith and be ready to walk that extra mile. Finally you will reach the stage where it will be your time to shine.
Feel free to connect with me on LinkedIn at https://www.linkedin.com/in/abhishek-agarwal-754a1b147