Name – Preeti Sharma
Age – 29 years
Gender – Female
Profession – Chartered Accountant at DMIC Integrated Industrial Township, Greater Noida Ltd
Industry – Accountancy
City – Greater Noida, Uttar Pradesh
LinkedIn – https://www.linkedin.com/in/preeti-sharma-7547615a/

Insights –

  1. The process of becoming a CA is very complicated and tough; and it’s not everyone’s cup of tea. Only 15 to 20% of those who give CPT (CA entrance test) go to the next stage and only 5 to 10% of CA Final aspirants clear the final exam. So, overall success rate is very low.
  2. The profession is very reputed and high paying. You won’t ever fall short of cash once you become an official Chartered Accountant after clearing all stages.
  3. It requires staying up-to-date with all the amendments made in the various legislations related to financial system of the country and at international level. A CA never stops studying even after the 5 years of hectic training process and exams.
  4. CAs are given a great responsibility and importance by the government of the country. CAs act as certifying authorities and their signatures authorise the Balance Sheets of Companies.
  5. They have a lot of scope and potential of growth in today’s incessantly economically progressing world.

Where have you been born and raised?

I was born in Delhi and have spent my whole life there but after marriage I shifted to Greater Noida.

What is your family background?

My father was a government employee at Delhi Transport Corporation and mother was a homemaker who had studied only till twelfth as girls in her village weren’t allowed to pursue higher education. We’d a joint family where I’d two sisters and a brother among whom I was eldest.

Who had the most influence on you and how?

My mother had the greatest influence on me. Though she wasn’t very educated, no person in our family could match her intellect and planning skills. She did everything very efficiently and had outstanding spatial intelligence. She was very fond of studying but as she wasn’t allowed to achieve her dreams, she motivated me to do it for her. I’ve inherited these qualities from her. And it’s only for her that I worked so hard and reached where I stand today.

But after marriage, I am indeed lucky to have an amazing person as my life partner. He is not only my better half rather he is the half who is better and best in my life. As he also belongs to the same profession, he understands the challenges I face in my professional life. He is my staunchest supporter.

Please give a summary of your career, chronologically, including organisation names and your role/designation.

I completed schooling from Rajkiya Pratibha Vikas Vidhalaya, Surajmal Vihar, Delhi. Since the beginning, I was a very studious girl and pursued high marks throughout my academic sessions and chose Commerce stream in high school.

I took up B.com (H) in Daulat Ram college of Delhi University and parallelly sat for the Common Proficiency Test (CPT), which was an objective exam at that time allowing one to pursue CA as career.
At that time, it became very difficult for me to balance Chartered accountancy studies and my graduation. In second year of my graduation, I migrated to School of Open Learning so that I could give time to CA.
I cleared the CPT, CA inter and CA final and qualified as a Chartered Accountant in Nov 2011.
Then I joined a CA firm for one year to recollect all that I’d missed in those five years of hectic studies and training.

After that I started working as a Senior Executive in an company, called International Traceability Systems Limited. I worked there for two and a half years and gained lot of experience.

Then I worked for a year in Vodafone as an Assistant Manager because I wanted to become familiar with the MNC environment so that I could get an idea on working outside the country. I couldn’t move abroad due to familial reasons.

After marriage I needed a stable job to get settled completely so I started working as a Manager at DMIC Integrated Industrial Township Greater Noida Ltd (An SPV of National Industrial Corridor Development and Implementation Trust and Greater Noida Industrial Development Authority). I currently work here only.

Which institutes are best for the training/education of this profession?

There is only one institute providing the degree of Chartered Accountant — The Institute of Chartered Accountants of India (ICAI) having its headquarter at New Delhi.

It’s the national base which conducts the examinations which are required to be cleared by students to become CAs. ICAI acts as a regulator and developer of trusted and independent professionals with world class competencies in accounting, assurance, taxation, finance and business advisory services.

It’s completely up to the student whether s/he wants to study on his/her own and appear for the exams or take the reference of coaching centres and teachers who provide the appropriate training and groom the students for the exams.

I myself chose several coaching institutes for different subjects according to the popularity of the teachers excelling in those subjects.
For instance, Taxation was a subject best taught by CA Vinod Gupta, Accounts by CA Praveen Sharma, and Law by Munish Bhandari etc.

What are the costs associated with the training/education of Chartered Accountancy?

The ICAI itself charges a fee of around 80K for the whole course of five years.
Coaching institutes charge according to their reputation and popularity from 25k to 30k INR per subject. If one chooses all the best coaching institutes, the whole course would cost them around 3 lacs INR.

What are the typical entry level jobs in Chartered Accountancy?

Chartered Accountancy is divided in three formative stages:

  1. CA Foundation
  2. CA Intermediate — It’s a course in which 8 exams are conducted in 2 groups. The students can choose if they want to clear both the exam groups subsequently or want to space them out.
    After clearing these two groups, a person qualifies as a half CA who can pursue accounting jobs in small industries.
  3. CA final — It’s also a course where one learns everything about Chartered Accountancy: Accounting system, Taxation, Laws, Auditing, Management accounting, Information Technology etc.

Apart from these exams, student has to undergo Eight Weeks Integrated Course on Information Technology and Soft skills (ICITSS) consisting of Courses on Information Technology and Orientation Course and must complete three years of articleship with a practising Chartered Accountancy Firm.

After qualifying CA Final exam, the student gets the Certificate of Membership and may also pursue the Certificate of Practice which gives rights of Certifying Authority to the CA.

What is the range of remuneration one can expect in the Chartered Accountancy Profession?

The salary of a CA depends 20% on his/her theoretical knowledge and 80% on his/her own personal qualities which are required in showing diplomacy with clients, dealing with great industrialists and businessmen and include skills like problem solving skills, communication aptitude etc.
Based on this, a CA may start earning around 30 lacs per annum as soon as s/he starts working or as low as 3 lac per annum if s/he lacks those personal qualities.
I’d mention my range of remuneration:

Above figures are in INR

Describe your work?

My work completely revolves around accounting and finance. I’ve to ensure bill payments of parties involved in the project we’re working on, managing payment of taxes like Income Tax, TDS, Labour Cess and GST, making budgets of companies, ensuring productive use of extra cash in projects, utilisation of funds in proper manner, preparation of balance sheets etc.

Also, after work hours I’ve to update myself with all the changes and amendments made in the Taxation System of the country. My work involves constant study and research on these topics especially since the introduction of GST.
I’ve to work nine hours per day for five days a week.

What are some of the positives which would encourage someone to consider career/job in Chartered Accountancy?

The first and foremost profit of becoming a CA is that you’ll never fall short on cash if you become one. CAs are highly paid professionals who can increase their incomes according to their proficiency. All you have to acquire is work competency.

Another benefit is the reputation one earns as a CA. The norms about difficulty of clearing the exams and the dearth of people who are able to reach that level have significantly added to the reputation of a qualified CA in society. The overall view of a stranger about you will get utterly influenced the moment s/he would get to know what profession you belong to.

There are a lot of ways in which a CA contributes to improving the economy. A CA is the person who certifies the balance sheets of companies, certifying the true and fair view of the same. He is a watchdog of the financial affairs of entities.
A CA is the person who conducts audits of entities for tax compliance, and reports the same to the Government, thus contributing to tax revenues of the government and contributing in national development. CAs are considered the most competent persons about Accounts and Audit. All the government audits, be it Income Tax audit, Service Tax audit, CAG audits or forensic audit, almost all of them are conducted by CAs.

Chartered Accountancy is a profession that imparts the best of technical skills in accounting, auditing, taxation, financial and management areas. They also render professional and consultancy/advisory services in the areas of financial reporting and auditing, taxation, finance, and management accounting.

CAs today are part of the top management team and hold key positions in the corporate sector. Even in the government, they occupy prominent positions. Rapid changes taking place in the economy have further opened new vistas of opportunities for the Chartered Accountants. On becoming a Chartered Accountant, you have many options for pursuing challenging and rewarding career

If I’ve to talk about income comparison with my friends, there are many compared to whom I earn a lot better and many who get better amounts than me. It of course depends on the kind of profession you’re involved in and what kind of position you hold within that profession and your own work efficiency.
But I’m quite satisfied with my job as I know becoming a CA means you’d be earning throughout your life and the income would keep on multiplying with time and your experience.

What are some of the challenges that you would want someone to be aware of when considering career/job in Chartered Accountancy?

The first challenge I face as a CA is being a woman and having a family to look after. No doubt my work schedule is hectic and sometimes it’s so demanding that I’ve to return home at odd hours. But luckily, my in-laws are very supportive, and they never really complain. I still feel that balancing professional life with personal life is a bit knotty thing to me.

It’s not only challenging for a woman but for every man who has a family of several dependent members. A guy from a small town qualifying as a CA would have to shift to his workplace away from his family and not in all instances he may be able to keep them with him.

Another challenge I face as a CA is constant competition. Either it was the time when I was giving exam after exam struggling day and night to get this job or it is now when I can calmly do my job after completely qualifying and achieving my dream, the competition has never left. The youth who are pursuing this career have great potential and are more up-to-date with accountancy related topics and issues than those who have gained certain years of experience. A young CA poses a great threat to an experienced one who is working in a particular industry at a high salary by replacing him/her through offering to do the same work at a much lower income.

This challenge is related to the former one. Qualifying as a CA never means you can stop studying. Remaining up-to-date with all the changes in finance and laws is the top priority of a CA as they perform advisory and consulting roles to lay persons and companies. Young CAs are already very up-to-date which often poses threat to those who are not.

Another challenge is following the ethics of companies, government and finance in practice. We as CAs have a whole subject where we learn those ethics and have to keep up with them stringently. A CA can’t publicise himself/herself in any form. S/he is not allowed to advertise him/her as a CA. They hardly can get involved in corruption as the penalty of breaking any of those ethics may result in the suspension of Certificate of the CA leaving his/her degree of no use.

What are the relevant skills/technologies/trends that are commanding premium in your job profile?

The command of new technologies has increased their importance in this line of career. These include ERP software made by SAP, Oracle etc. A CA, who is well-aware with these adds value to his/her degree and capability to work in a number of firms and industries.
Also, one’s knowledge of International Financial Reporting Standards (IFRS) takes his/her career to new heights as it has become very important and trendy in global finance.
Knowledge of Global standards has become imperative.

What kind of a person would be happy in the Chartered Accountancy Profession?

Of course, an accountancy aptitude is important for a person to enter this profession.
There are also other factors like the ability to remain up-to-date and conduct constant research regarding that, having effective diplomacy and communication skills that enable a person to deal with clients, ability to be patient and do constant hard work, involving in long hours of mental labour etc.
A person who has these abilities would be very happy in this career.

Given another choice, what would you do differently as far as your professional selections are concerned?

Though the process of becoming CA was so hectic that I hardly have the energy to pursue another career option now; I’ve a number of options where I can excel without much effort attributed to the education I’ve already gained as a CA. I can become a Company Secretary or get involved in cost accounting and such related fields. As I’ve already read much law in my CA studies, I can pursue LLB also.

What would be your advice to students or professionals who are just starting their journey on a path like yours?

Be focused, don’t lose track and fight the stress. I myself have worked a lot for this. There have been times in the winters when I used to sit on the cold floor and study so that I don’t fall asleep and times in summers when I used to study without fan so that I sweat a lot preventing me from falling asleep. There is no shortcut. You’d have to work hard undeniably.

Be patient. There will be many times when you’d face failure. You’d be left thinking what to do when you have to face it after hours of study and tough grind. Don’t lose hope; just finish what you’ve started.

Be ethical. You are the trust of the government once you become the certifying authority. Don’t break it. The consequences can be very harsh and leave you shattered.

Liked this interview? You might want to check out our Interaction with Shimpa Gangwar, CA in Netherlands

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