However, in a way all firms are “good”. Its only a matter as to how one fits in to that firm. But more than that, the dynamics of firm is dependent on various factors that makes it good or not so good from the perspective of the student:
1) Availability of work: The CA student is brimming with drive to get opportunity to do work that is meaningful to him. So s/he would prefer to do training in a firm that has plenty of work. However from perspective of firm ‘work’ is not static. This may change from time to time. For example, (a) firms having statutory audit of banks for certain number of years are put on compulsory rest for certain years. (b) The clients may change due to nature of work. For example when use of internet for efiling of returns had started, it created a situation where some CAs did not have adequate infrastructure, and therefore they had to outsource their work to other CAs ! And so on…
2) Division of Work among Partners: The Partners may have divided the work among themselves. So one partner may be focusing on Income Tax, the other may be on Company Laws and the third one may be looking after Audit. So, the student doing articleship under the particular Principal would have more of particular kind of work. In one of the firm where I did articleship, my Principal was looking after income tax, so I had more of income tax, whereas the other partner was looking after Company Law, so Company Law related work was nearly non existent for me.
3) Standing of the Firm: Often new firms do not have much work. However, such CAs are more accessible to their Articles. And also often such CAs get different kinds of outsourced works from other CAs. In contrast big firms may have large number of works, and due to the nature of work, the Article working in a Big Firm may be doing only one kind of work without getting exposure in other aspects.
4) Departmentalization in the Firm: Some firms prefer to organise their work in departments, and they tend to assign their Articles to such departments. So, an Article working in one department may not be aware of the intricacies of working of the other department.
5) Career Objective of the Article: A simple thumb rule is that if the objective of Article is to go for employment after qualifying, then they should go for Bigger firm, and join the particular department in which one wants to make a career. In contrast, for those who want to go for Practice it is preferable that they join a mid-size firm where one can get diversity of exposure.
6) Taking Transfer: ICAI keeps on changing the rules of transfer from time to time. However, for the student, it is often a good thing if they work in more than one firm in their span of articleship duration. This is because, this gives them exposure of working of different firms, and also exposes them to different temperaments of CAs. This is quite helpful for them in their career.
7) City of Articleship: In general, the economic scene in India is pretty much skewed. And CA (in most cases) being a localised profession, the kind of jobs that come to CAs are most of the time local. So a company in say Hyderabad would not go to get its audit done from a Kolkata firm. This leads to a situation, that in cities where there is lots of business the work available is more. So in Metros and mini Metros, there is often a better chance of a good exposure than doing articleship from other towns.
Another thing is that often in a city where there is a High Court, the Tax related works are to be found with Lawyers. This is because, Lawyers can represent their clients in Tribunals and also High Court and Supreme Court. Whereas, the CA cannot represent the client in HC or SC. (And till date NTT has not come into existence). So in such cities while the Tax audit work would come to CA, in many cases, the tax work would remain with the Lawyer.
8 ) The Local Language: This is an important aspect, which is often not understood. There are various local laws that a business has to comply with. Like Sales Tax, Municipal Laws etc. Apart from this, there are local purchases etc. Often, such records are in the local language. Moreover, whether it be work of audit or tax, the people one is dealing as an Article, are more conversant with the local language. So, unless one knows the local language well, it becomes difficult to understand or extract information from the clients.