Some of you may be aware that on 13th January in the North India this day is celebrated as Lohri. These days (13th January onwards) are also celebrated by many other states as Makar Sankranti, Bihu (in Assam) and Pongal in South India. I can sense the festivities around in my office and at home as I write this article.
But I celebrate this day for a different reason. On 13th January 2003 at approx. 4PM I got 'CA' as a prefix to my name. What a day it was!! I still remember I couldn't believe seeing my result and had asked few more people to check my result. And everyone said 'YES YOU DID IT'.
What an arduous and a tiring journey it was. Three and half years of extreme rigor, pain, hard work that involved moments of joy as well as tears. Right from identifying a good firm for articleship to managing work along with studies, to preparing for exams and attending coaching classes and finally giving exams. I have some fantastic fond memories that perhaps I will cherish the entire life.
When I look back and remember the old days, a feeling of nostalgia kicks in. However, the questions that gave me goose bumps also come back to my memory. How some people discouraged me to not do CA because of some failures in the family. How I started my articleship and how at one point of time I was thinking of quitting it. How I could not clear interviews with BIG4s but still managed to crack one of the best Indian firms for articleship. How difficult it was to take permission for attending coaching classes and how I could not manage time to attend the classes because of strenuous audit schedule. How I wanted to learn more and decided to join industrial training despite not a very positive feedback. How at a point of time, people around me were not too keen that I should attempt both groups because of few failures in my family. And finally how I could manage to clear the exams. All these thoughts move round and round in my mind making a complete maze and I still believe it was the most difficult period of my life.
After 14 years of qualifying as a Chartered Accountant, I feel the whole journey of entering and clearing chartered accountancy is like a Chakravyuha. Most of us have heard the famous and epic battle of Mahabharata where Pandavas had a fierce battle with Kauravas in the land of Kurukshetra and finally the Samaritans (Pandavas) prevailed over the evil guys (Kauravas). That very battle also witnessed a very famous and extremely complex military formation - Chakravyuha. The word 'Chakravyuha' became quite famous or rather infamous because one of the Samaritan Abhimanyu (son of Arjuna) was killed fighting Kauravas when he was unable to pierce the Chakravyuha.
Chakravyuha is a round shaped military formation that looks like a disc (chakra) and one needs to possess highly specialized skills to enter and destroy it. The various vyuhas (formations) can only be beaten using a counter-measure targeted specifically against the formation. The beauty of this formation is that if you somehow manage to enter the Chakravyuha, coming out of it is completely impossible unless you have the right skills and the right training.
Abhimanyu, the warrior, was trained to only enter the Chakravyuha but he had not learnt the art to crack it entirely. Thus, he could only manage to enter but failed to come out of it successfully. The reasons - He was alone in the battlefield and he did not undergo the right training. And as fate would have had it, he died fighting for his life. However, the world remembers him as a true warrior who fought for his family.
The life of a CA student is like Abhimanyu where he/she knows how to enter the CA world but once he/she enters, it becomes difficult to identify ways to come out of the Chakravyuha. You will be bombarded with numerous challenges and questions right from the small ones of finding a good firm for articleship to getting time to study to managing time between classes and work to finding ways to avoid office politics to managing your love life and to finally studying hard to clear the toughest exams on this planet.
Unless you have answers to all the above questions and a guide/mentor to help you navigate this maze or Chakravyuha, it will be quite a difficult journey. At each stage of this period, you need the right advice from the right person to help you remain focused on your goal of becoming a Chartered Accountant.
And the irony of life is that despite his failure to crack the Chakravyuha, Abhimanyu is still remembered for valiantly fighting the battle. Unfortunately, if a CA student is unable to crack this Chakravyuha, he/she will not be remembered for his fight, rather will be remembered for his/her failure.
Is there someone to help you crack the CA Chakravyuha?
The thought that a majority of the CA students don't get the right advice from the right set of people, prompted me to start a blog www.nimishgoel.com. The blog has been running for last two years and I am extremely happy, satisfied and grateful that a large number of students could benefit out of the wisdom I have been sharing. My articles have always been directly from my heart and purely with a view to encourage and show the right direction to the students.
The encouraging response that I have got on the blog encouraged me to start writing a book for CA students. The idea of writing a book was to compile at one place all the learnings of my student life. I wanted to share the practical tips on how I managed to get articleship in a good firm, on how I could get industrial training with one of the best companies of India, on how I managed my time, on how I balanced work and studies, my ways of studying and most importantly, how I got up when life was throwing bouncers on me and it was getting difficult to succeed. Almost all the right wisdom and help that I wished I could have got during those days.
I am happy to announce that my first book - "CA Chakravyuha: Enter It, Face It, Conquer It" is finally ready and was launched on 14th January 2017. This book is full of practical tips that will help you navigate your CA journey comfortably. This book will help you get answers to some of the following questions:
1. How do I convince myself that becoming a CA is not difficult?
2. How do I get articleship in a good firm?
3. Will my chances to get a job in a good company lessen if I haven't trained in a BIG4?
4. Which is better - Audit or Tax?
5. Is Industrial training better for my career?
6. How do I handle a love affair during my studies?
7. How do I manage my time between work, studies and personal life?
8. Coaching classes - how do I manage them along with work?
9. What should I do if I am unable to clear exams for a long time?
It's a summarized version of my personal and professional experiences. Every tip in this book is either implemented by me or been inspired from the lives of successful chartered accountants.
The book will be available for sale in the last week of January 2017 but you can pre-order this book by clicking on the link below:
I sincerely hope this books help you get serious insights and make you a better professional.
All the best and take care.
Authored by Nimish Goel (www.nimishgoel.com), a qualified chartered accountant who's passion is to coach young chartered accountants and aspiring students achieve the best in their life Nimish used to work with EY and PwC in India and has also worked with KPMG in Europe. He now runs his own consulting company and runs a blog www.nimishgoel.com.