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Don't base your decisions on the advice of those who don't have to deal with the results.

If we read the above statement carefully, it actually makes sense. Majority of the people take advice from those who either have no idea of the actual facts and circumstances or those who have no skin in the game if the decision goes wrong.

And that is also the case with students who are about to start their CA journey and looking for good firms to do articleship.  Finding the right firm, a firm that will help you shape up like a true professional is not easy to find.  It is easy to identify the top CA firms, but getting an opportunity to train with them is not so easy.

One should be very clear that choosing the right firm to do articleship is not only a function of how hard you try but also what skills will you add to them.  There are thousands of students, who pass IPCC and want a pie of the articleship in the best of the firms, but vacancies are always limited and some of the bigger firms have loads of obligations to fulfill by hiring students referred by their relations.  So it is not only identifying the right firm but also, how to crack it?

Before choosing the firm you need to be clear if your city has enough options to explore. If you are staying in a tier-II or tier-III town you may not have the best of the options to choose.  Are you willing to move to a big city for articleship? If yes, then your search to identify the firm will change.  If not, then you first identify the best firm available in your city and then identify the right way to approach the Principal of the firm for him to consider your candidature. 

Even Firms Have To Fight To Get The Right Talent

These days the fight to find articleship is not only with the students, even the firms are finding it difficult to find good candidates.  Since the overall pass percentage in IPCC is strict, the availability of the resources is limited, making it difficult for firms to compete for getting good talent. 

Some students are keen to join a BIG4 because of the brand value and the international learning opportunities these firms provide.  Some students are not too keen to join BIG4s because you end up doing articleship in only one division and therefore, don't get opportunity to learn other subjects.  Then, there are some students who want exposure to all the areas like audit, tax, accounting and they prefer to join mid-size firms.

With these options in mind, finding the right talent becomes difficult for the firms.  Since the larger firms have a clout in finding good talent first, for the mid-size firms the options are limited even though these firms offer some outstanding learning and growth opportunities.

How Do You Select A Good Firm

Before finalizing the firm you would want to spend three years of your career with, I personally suggest you should factor the following:

1. Partners Profile: If the partners have a strong background and are publicly known in professional circles, there is a high likelihood of them getting good clients, therefore, good business. That means better learning opportunities for you.

2. Office Infrastructure: I lay very strong emphasis on the overall infrastructure of the firm. A reasonably good one, including a website and positive social media presence, reflects the seriousness of the firm and its partners in brand building and image management.

3. Type of clients: If you get an opportunity to ask during the interview, always ask about the type of clients the firm is servicing.  The type of clients reflects whether the firm runs on an old school thought pattern or whether it follows a more modern approach.

4. HR and Office policies: Generally, this parameter is only possible to know if you have someone who is already working in that firm. Good HR practices including paying good stipend, emphasis on technical and soft skills training, sufficient exam leaves, conducting offsite for employees and making a conducive work environment.

How To Approach Finding a CA Firm

1. Peep in your network: Talk to every possible person in your network and ask for help in finding a good firm for articleship.  Let the whole circle of your family and friends know that you are looking for articleship.  

2. Leverage Social Media: Let your Facebook friends also know that you need help in articleship. Lot of times when you write such statements, your friends and relatives may share with their own network, making the awareness available to a larger pool.

You should also make a professional profile on LinkedIn and try to connect with as many people as possible who are working in the firms you may want to do articleship with. 

CA Chakravyuha: Enter It Face It Conquer It

With an intent to assist students make goals with supreme clarity on how they should lead their CA life, I have authored the book: "CA Chakravyuha: Enter It Face It Conquer It".

This book is not about steps to pass the CA exams or about ways to make your life easier as a CA student. This book goes beyond, it's all about YOU, the aspiring future Chartered Accountant; true by it's an attempt to make YOU one of the finest Chartered Accountants in this country. It’s all about making your hopes and dreams true by implementing tools to build a solid foundation for success, a success that will help you go miles.

Upon starting the Chartered Accountancy journey, you need to understand some fundamentals and once those fundamentals are in place, there is no way you will ever encounter any failure.

These fundamentals start right from making the correct choice for articleship, picking the right field in articleship, ways to manage studies along with work, establishing strong networks in your firm, understanding how to behave and perform like a champion and finally creating a schedule strong enough to help you crack exams in the first attempt. 

This book captures every bit of planning that the author did during his articleship days, words of wisdom passed onto by his seniors, tips and tricks to crack the exams and how one should lead his/her life as a CA student. Every principle in this book has been inspired from either his personal experience or from the life of a highly successful CA or an entrepreneur.

Again, this book is not just about clearing exams nor is it theoretical because each and every chapter has elements inspired from the practicalities of life.

You can order the book by clicking on the link below:

By Nimish Goel, author of the book titled “CA Chakravyuha: Enter It Face It Conquer It.  By profession he is a qualified chartered accountant but by passion, he is an active blogger.  Nimish has worked with EY and PwC in India and has also worked with KPMG in Europe.  He now runs his own consulting company (International Business Advisors) and manages his blog www.nimishgoel.com.


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Nimish Goel
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