I recently had the pleasure of interviewing a very accomplished and senior person - CA Amit Rahane, EY 'Forensic Services' Partner!
Let me give you a brief about his background - He is a Chartered Accountant and has also completed CISA. His first job was with a telecom company - BPL Mobile, where he used to look at the forensic side of things, seeking to ensure things are going right. BPL was shutting down, so he joined KPMG and worked there for 4-5 years. Then moved to EY in 2010. In between, he did a stint at the USA office for three years to diversify from something his peers were doing. His father was in the Indian navy, so he moved around multiple times, which helped him develop cultural competency. In his illustrious career, he has worked on a plethora of cases, the most interesting ones being - 1. One of the most massive accounting frauds of the country 2. A large BPO suffered a market cap wipe-off of a billion dollar in 11 minutes due to fake news.
I asked him what he looks for in candidates before hiring them and he gave a fascinating answer -
'1. Undying will to succeed. Is the person really passionate about that job?
2. Energy, enthusiasm, and courage to lead
3. I definitely look at the attitude of the person because the aptitude can be developed.
I have many people who behave differently outside the office. You realize that they are leaving who they are at the door and coming in. That doesn’t get the desired result. You need to be able to live with what you do in the workplace. You don’t live for two days and work for five days.'
So what I want to tell my CA friends is that apart from the technical skills which you are eventually going to master, also develop a learning attitude. Have a go-getter mentality and be passionate about what you do. Technical skills will only take you so far. The soft skills aspect needs to be developed. We keep running behind technical skills and more degrees, but we fail to build our personality.
It is also essential to enjoy what you do. Choosing a career for better pay might work in the short term but will eventually burn you out!! The passion is what makes you go the distance.
Also, even after you get the degree, do not keep relying on it to advance your career. Keep striving hard. The degree is a means to the end, not the end in itself.
In the end, I would like to quote sir -
'You can be tired, but your enthusiasm should never go down. If you walked into a room and it lights up, it makes a big difference. In life, dress up and show up at least! It will do wonders.'
Three major tips for the future CAs as mentioned by Mr. Rahane -
- Dress up and show up always. Mr. Rahane agreed to take a complicated assignment just before his marriage,and it turned out to be his best ever.
- Apart from the aptitude, what budding professionals should focus on is their attitude.
- Sometimes excellence is more important than perfection. The extra effort on a minor incremental benefit might not be worth it.