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How to Choose CA Firm for Articleship - 10 Key Decisors

CA Ankit Gulgulia (Jain) , Last updated: 03 January 2014  

“Heroes are made by the paths they choose, not the powers they are graced with.” Brodi Ashton, Everneath

“If you choose to not deal with an issue, then you give up your right of control over the issue and it will select the path of least resistance.” - Susan Del Gatto

Chartered Accountancy course is undoubtedly one of the most prestigious courses a commerce student can opt for. With the cadre, professional appeal and multi-faceted opportunities it brings, it is indeed a big value on the table. On the other side any student or a qualified professional very well knows the importance of quality of Articleship experience of a CA Student. But equally important is to approach the choice very relax-fully and not by escalating to greater proportions.   

Below are 10 Most Essential Tips for any student to consider for choosing the correct Articleship.

1. What’s your Goal

Before you do any outside search, the first thing is to ask a few very clear questions to yourself. Questions like Why I chose to a be CA? , Whether I will be into practice or Job or Entrepreneurship? (Don’t defer the answer to this question, say it loud and clear to yourself from Day One, Tell your mind in clear terms that you are clear & decisive, you can always revisit your choices as time goes on) , Which type of work fascinates me more? , Do I like travelling more or vice versa?  Etc. The moment these questions are put up to you, be rest assured the answers will not be easy. But at last you will succeed if you exercise your will. Key thing is to create a vision (Call it ‘CA Blue Print’ & Document it) in your mind.

“Just like a River gives birth to so many tributaries, it’s your vision which will create your choices”.

2. Research on CA Firms

These days the information is available easily on profile on any company or a CA Firm. Collect as many information about the firms, maintain firm-wise list in a excel sheet seeking their core areas of works and reviews received from your friends/peers about the firm.      

3. Don’t sink with other’s review

Generally every person has a different perception about different thing. Yes, reviews of insiders and associated colleagues are important, but they should not be your sole deciding factor. Even if you consider them, make sure that you have collected a few opinions and then decided instead of hearing to one or two of them.

4. Tax Firm Vs Audit Firm

This clearly is dependent on what’s your style of working. In some cases you might not have a choice to decide your type of work in the beginning but with time and grit you can start to get involved in your type of work in any firm (Subject to the fact that the CA Firm has your type of work!!). If you a planning a career in practice, you should have good exposure to both audit as well as taxation besides others.  

5. Big Four – Add-on or an Indifferent Choice?

Say, you plan a career in transfer pricing after qualifying CA. Fortunately, if you get selected in TP Division of any Big Four then it shall be a great value add-on. What you must understand is that BIG Fours or any professional firm shall have some level of compartmentalisation to ensure quality of service and competency. So in case if you are allotted with a division not in line with your vision you might not be a happy guy in or after the journey.

In Crux, if you get what you are seeking in Big four then undoubtedly go for it. If you are not getting so, better to choose several other good CA Firms where eventually you will get hands on your ‘Interest Zone’ work.  

6. Explore your PR. (Public Relation / Friends / Relatives / Circles)

Explore your PR as much as can be done. Try to find out who’s working where. Find out what are general interview patterns for a particular CA firm. How is the market reputation of the firm? What are core areas of the firm?

For example say a firm ABC & Associates are known as core in Internal Audits and you are seeking a career into Internal Audit / Fraud Accounting / SOP (Standard Operating Procedure) Implementation, in such a case that is a ideal choice instead of choosing a tax executive position in any firm (be it a Big Four Also!).

7. Don’t Hesitate from yourself

The biggest problem that many encounters are that we are not open to ourselves. A lot of time it has been seen that several students who have applied themselves to their choices have produced several far sighted choices. Issue is to accept yourself unconditionally. Accept your style unconditionally. If you don’t like much travelling, better to remain away from firms having a repute of rigorous outstation audits. No compulsion after all. What you learn is what matters. 

8. How distant is the firm located from your residence?

If you are not brand savvy and more work oriented, this becomes a very essential parameter to choose the firm. Travelling is a big time consumer (specifically in cities like Delhi, Mumbai and Kolkata). If you are able to locate a firm with good work openings and recognisable core areas it is far better to choose the same. The time saved in daily commuting is such a big plus. It shall give you more time in preparing for exams, regular studies and other essential activities.

9. Ask for credible reviews

A lot of times an intern might not be exposed to the core areas of the firm in beginning of his articleship in light of complexities involved and competency of work considerable. Reviews are very important and should always be visualised in light of their completeness of grasp over a firm’s working areas and exposure. Say one of your friends has joined the firm 10 days back, he might not be in a good position to have a fair opinion of firm’s working. Try to connect to his colleagues who have spent a reasonable time for reviews that will not misguide your choice.

10. Stipend is not a parameter for decision

It cannot be denied that the higher stipend is always an add-on. But importantly it is well accepted truth that a capable CA is earning many times more than others and several times more than stipend. It is highly crucial that academic and practical parameters are the sole referring points for your decision making and expanding skill / capability zones. If you have any specific financial hardships you can talk to your principal very openly and clearly.

Hope you enjoyed the read and it could move you. !!

About the Author:

CA Ankit Gulgulia (Jain)

Author is Practicing Chartered Accountant in New Delhi/NCR and specialising in Indirect Taxes, Corporate Laws and Transfer Pricing. He can be reached at ankitgulgulia@gmail.com.

DISCLAIMER: Personal Views of author strictly.

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Published by

CA Ankit Gulgulia (Jain)
(B.COM (H), FCA, CIFRS, CBV, R-ID (IICA), R. Valuer (IBBI))
Category Students   Report

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