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What do we mean by planning?

Planning is the process of thinking about and organizing the activities required to achieve a desired goal. It involves creation and maintenance of a plan. Planning always has a purpose – achievement of a goal or a target. Apart from increasing efficiency, it reduces the risks attached to not achieving your goal. It leads us in the right direction. An important, albeit often ignored aspect of planning, is the relationship it holds with forecasting. The two terms, ‘planning’ and ‘forecasting’, have different meanings. Forecasting can be described as predicting what the future will look like, whereas, planning predicts what the future should look like. 

Most people reading this article have the ambition of becoming a CA. Ask yourself this question though “Have I really ‘planned it’ or I am just going through the motions without any planning”? I am sure that if you introspect you will inevitably find the right answer. It is a key ingredient to success, but sadly, often the most ignored one as well. Winston Churchill once said during the World War II “he who fails to plan is planning to fail”. Everyone has to make a clear plan to win; an army needs to plan its moves to win a battle, corporate has to plan to achieve the desired numbers, a cricket team plans so that it can combat the opposition players and it is no different for a CA aspirant.

Make your plans before you start a task or if you have begun something and have not chalked out a plan yet, IT IS BETTER LATE THAN NEVER. From a CA aspirants prospective his most important plan’s amongst other things are:

1. When and from whom to take tuition and which books to refer.

2. From where to do my articleship.

3. When to start studying all out.

1. Most students take tuitions for subjects like Accounts, Costing, Taxation, Law, Strategic Financial Management, etc. Timing your tuitions smartly is very important. Subjects like Accounts, Cost, SFM do not have frequent amendments, hence take these tuitions first, whereas Law and Tax should be taken just before the exams or 1 term before the exam so that the recent changes applicable for exam purposes have already been included in tuition materials. I would like to advice each student to take his/her tuition diligently and keep revising the topics before you forget that such topics even existed in your syllabus. Apart from the institute’s books and RTP you can refer hand books of various authors to enable you understand concepts better and in a concise manner. 

2. Not many people have the option of choosing their ‘ideal firm’ for articleship, but if you are lucky enough, then choose a firm that would help your overall development because it is equally important in comparison to academics. These three and a half years would go a long way in shaping your future and determining the success you eventually get in life. Do your articleship well is what I would suggest you. Just as to build a high rise building we require a solid base, in the same manner, to build a career we need a solid base to build from and these three and a half years is your base. Try and convince your principal to give you different types of work instead of the monotonous work, but for that you will have to convince him that you can and will do the work effectively. For aspirants who do not have the option of choosing the firm, try and read as much as you can instead of cursing your luck and your principal because you cannot really help it.  

3. “When should I start studying all out” is a million dollar question! Invariably every student either asks someone or thinks about this question himself. It would depend on each and every individual’s intelligence, his preparation levels, how clear his concepts are etc. As per my experience, on an average, a CPT student should study 1 month diligently, without any kind of distractions for him to be able to clear the exams without a problem and with good marks.

Whereas, an IPCC student should put in about 10 – 12 hours daily for the first 2 of the last 3 months and should go all out for about 14 – 16 hours a day to clear his exams in the first attempt. A final student needs more time due to the enormous syllabus, and hence I would advise 4 months of non-stop study for a CA Final aspirant. For the first two and half months or so 10 – 12 hours and then as much as you can should be the mantra, as this would be your last step towards achieving your goal. 

Anything that does not kill you makes you stronger! Trust your abilities and push yourself as hard as you can. It is the right time for students appearing in May, 2013, to start planning their studies and put in the hard yards. 

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