Becoming CA after 15 years. My story of Passion and Grit

CA Deepak Verma (Partner: CACS AND ASSOCIATES)   (432 Points)

01 February 2021  

May, 2005 – CA Inter with Rank.     Nov, 2020 – CA Final Complete.

A story of grit, passion & succeeding in adverse circumstances.

I stared my CA journey around March 2004 (Registration in CA) and completed it on Jan, 2021. That means I took more than 16 years to complete my CA.

Here is my journey of becoming a Chartered Accountant.

Chapter 1: CA Inter:

My preparation was started in May, 2004 with coaching of all the subjects and revision of full course two times before the exam.

Around 8 days before the exam, I lost hope of clearing the exam due to extreme exam pressure. I stopped studies completely, started watching T.V and told my parents that I am not going to give exams as these are too tough to crack. The image of CA course toughness got into my head and it over shadowed my preparation. I was scared for life. My father was not at all surprised by my behaviour (strange for me) and told me to just sit in the exam hall and do my best. I refused but he insisted that he is ready for my failure so I should just go and give exam and fail, no problem. It encouraged me to go and try as I prepared diligently for 1 year for these exams and my family had no problem with my failure.

I sat for the exam, tried my best with calm head and gave all the papers. Completed all the papers within time limit. I had no idea if it was enough to clear the exams. I was clear if I fail in these exams, I will leave CA.

Result came in July, 2005 and to my surprise and happiness I scored 49th rank all over India. Everyone in my family and relatives were equally surprised and happy.

[Learning from above: Never be scared of exams, trust your preparation and ability to crack the exam. Go for it with calm mind without any pressure. DO NOT leave the exam just because you are scared. There is a Hindi saying “Darr ke age jeet he”.]

Chapter 2: Article ship (Training period):

I gave my resume to all the good firms in Delhi thinking that it is not tough for a rankholder to get into a good CA firm. But I was so wrong, just got a call from one firm and there too wasn’t called again. So had to request my uncle who was having his own CA firm to get me into a good firm.

It really felt bad that even after scoring rank I had to use approach to get into a good firm. Finally I got into a very good reputed firm in Connaught place, Delhi.

[Learning from above: Scoring a rank does not guarantee a place in top CA firm. You have to make connections and try persistently.]

After doing small & medium audits in the first year I was given a chance to go to a Public company audit to extract some reports from their ERP software. I extracted these reports within 3 months. This surprised the senior most partner of the firm and he made me the supervisor of all the Articles working there, even the qualified CA worked on my directions during the audit of this public company. Slowly I became the respectable member of the firm who was given the top most audits.

This is the time when a sense of pride kicked in or should I say arrogance kicked in. I started thinking of myself as Bond of this firm (So childish). I strayed from the path, lost direction. My focus deviated from becoming a CA to showing everyone that I am so capable and hero of the firm. Thoughts like “A rankholder in Inter can at least pass the Final without much efforts” started pouring in.

[Learning from above: Stay focussed till you achieve your target. Do not let anything come between you and your CA degree. To clear a CA exam whether Inter or Final, you have to study hard irrespective of your previous record. DO NOT think I am so intelligent or I was a topper so will easily clear the exam. NEVER make this mistake in CA.]

My first final attempt was in Nov, 2007. Got 3 months leave against the policy of the firm which was 2 months leave. Failed in 1st group by 6 marks and in 2nd group miserably. Still I thought wow just by 6 marks without much hard work (Wrong mindset), I will surely clear it in 2nd attempt. Then gave 4 consecutive attempts in 2008 & 2009 without any success. Now frustration kicked in and I started thinking that if I gets a job to earn something besides doing CA Final will be great.

[Learning from above: Whenever you are unable to clear exams and it is getting difficult to concentrate on studies, DO NOT go for a corporate job. You can still work in a Firm but priority should be to clear the exams only. Take time off from studies completely for 6 months even for 1 year and then come back stronger & sharper with all the vigour to complete it this time.]

Chapter 3: 10 Year job period:

Started searching for job thinking a CA Inter Rankholder will get a good job anyway. I was so wrong here also, got a job (Jan, 2010) in a MNC in Gurugram for Rs14,500 pm but still accepted it thinking I will complete my CA shortly and then will leave the job. This was a big mistake. I started liking the MNC culture, good people, less work, great parties, and good work life balance. Did not give any attempt out of enjoying the MNC life.

Got married in March, 2012 and thought of enjoying the married life for one year. Exhausted all my savings on 4 tours in India in one year. Jan 2013 was the month when I first realised that I can’t continue working here as the future looked very gloomy. I had to clear my CA and got out of there.

In next two years, I took classes for 2 subjects after office hours, studies on Saturday & Sunday, tried everything to get me encouraged to go for extra mile for CA career. But I realised I am now trapped, it was not possible for me to clear CA Final with the job.

After much introspection, I decided to leave the job. Understandably my wife was shocked on hearing this and flatly refused. It took me 2-3 months to convince my wife that I will surely clear the exams. Around 2015 end, I sat with my parents and told them about my decision to leave the job. Father refused to support me and argued that if I was unable to clear CA Final at the beginning in 4/5 attempts how can I clear it now. All efforts to convince my father went in vain.

In the middle of 2016, suddenly lost my mother. I was devastated and lost completely. Became father in Jan, 2018. Now my urge to become CA grew steeply for my child. But I knew my father will never support me, so I started to study Law on my own to get an exemption and then tell my father that I can still do it. After completing Law in September and starting its revision in October, my father had a fall in bathroom which impacted his lower spinal cord. He lost bowel & bladder movements, underwent a major spinal cord surgery. I had to spend one week in hospital. This was the most difficult and stressful time for me. Now my father was totally dependent on me to take him to washroom, to bath him or even to lift him off the bed.

Now I knew that the dream of becoming a CA has vanished and this is the life I have to live whether like it or not. In Jan, 2019 my father recovered to the level that he started taking care of himself on his own. During this time I had some meetings with my senior in office and I felt insulted. I was very angry and upset.

>> This was the time nothing was in my favour. Things could not go any worse than this like:

  • Lost my mother 2 years back. Still hasn’t fully recovered.
  • Now has an infant baby so the responsibility has increased.
  • Father had a major spinal cord surgery 3 months back, monthly expenses shot up sharply.
  • Wife was not working so the home finance was on me.
  • My total savings could sustain the family for maximum 1.5 years.
  • Out of studies (Real hard work) from last 10 years.

Enough was enough, decided to leave the job and go for my dream. Told my father that I can’t live this life. This time he supported me.

[Learning from above: CA can be done/completed at any age or under any circumstances. All you need is nerve of steel and dedication of maximum level. Passion is required. Mindset “I will become a CA only, nothing else in the world matter to me” should be there.]

I went to my office and put papers in Jan, 2019. Everyone was appalled, how can a 36 years old leave his job for studies when his family is dependent on him for finances. The decision was alien to them. Almost everyone in office said the decision is the biggest mistake of my life, some called it suicide, some said I will ruin my child’s future, some said I will be on road within next 2 years. My answer to all of them was “Just wait for 2 attempts, I will show you the result”.

[Learning from above: If you have decided to do CA course, no one’s opinion matters to you. Close your ears & eyes to the outside world and go for it.]

Final chapter: CA Final studies after quitting job:

14th Feb, 2019 was my last day in office. Classes for two subjects SFM & IDT started on the same day. Initially it was really difficult to concentrate in class and write quickly the concepts which the teacher was explaining. When I started the studies, my heart beat used to go up, sweating start to come up, anxiety would pour in. I would think what have I done, my family life is ruined but there was no turning back now, I would do deep breathing exercise and start again for studies.

Prepared for these two subjects only and gave exams in May, 2019. Result came and got exemption in both the papers. Now I knew I can achieve it. Hard work always pays off. Started classes for Group II. Cleared it in Nov, 2019 with 2 exemptions in 3 papers. Now the situation was I had cleared 5 papers with exemption in 4.

I thought it would be easy now and I will be CA in May 2020. But the GOD had other plans. This was true testing time for me. Took classes for Group I and was all set for May, 2020 exam. Corona arrived in India, paper got postponed two times and finally got cancelled. It was really frustrating for me. During this time my father (71 years old) lost his job, I become father second time in April, 2020. Now the situation is no source of income at home, my savings are about to get exhausted, two small kids at home out of which one is infant. It was really difficult to concentrate on studies.

[Learning from above: When you are in your twenties, no responsibility of home on you, no additional burden on you than studies, believe me this is the best time to give it all and become a CA. This is the easiest time to complete your CA. After this time you will never know what the situation will be.]

After one more postponement, finally exams happened on 21, Nov, 2020. Gave them with full concentration and calm mind. Cleared them in Jan, 2021.

At the age of 38, I am now a proud CA. Will try to set up my own CA firm but nothing is confirmed yet. Let’s see where the GOD takes me from here.

I hope my story will encourage all to work hard and achieve whatever you desire. It will also give direction to many CA students path to clear CA exams.