ICAI fair puts CAs on career fast track

CA. Vineet Grover (Chartered Accountant) (1538 Points)

29 January 2008  

ICAI fair puts CAs on career fast track
28 Jan, 2008, 0232 hrs IST, Mitul Thakkar, TNN


AHMEDABAD: Get ready to pamper your chartered accountant. For, he might just leave for greener pastures. And the platform is being provided by none other than the Institute of Chartered Accountants (ICAI) itself.

For the first time, ICAI has organised a placement fair for its members working in the industry. As many as 1,200 candidates responded to interviews called by 23 companies during the four-day event— Corporate Forum — in Mumbai last week.

Interestingly, one of the four candidates whom Olam International picked up for a whopping Rs 35 lakh a year package for international position in February 2007, too, participated in the fair.

The event’s organiser — ICAI’s Committee for Members in Industry — branded it as Career Ascent for its experienced members. The institute received 1,195 online registrations by the experienced CAs apart from some offline applicants on the spot.

With names like HDFC Bank, ICICI Group, Kotak Group, Reliance Industries, ITC, Patni, GMR Group and BPCL looking at hiring in three digits, it is surely good times for CAs and tough times for their current employers. ICICI Bank, which recruited more than 300 candidates in September, was back to hire more.

While a section of CAs and the industry feels that the institute, which has so far acted as a catalyst for supplying CAs to the industry, should have avoided providing a platform that would end up encouraging mass poaching. The institute has its defences ready.

Says chairman of the committee for members in industry, Uttam Agarwal: “The attrition rate in all the spheres is rapidly growing and CAs are no exception. Also, the CAs sometimes feels that they have the ability to grow and earn more.

We have just tried to provide the platform to our members to get better job opportunity since ICAI is also supposed to work for the welfare of its members.”

It is for the first time that headhunters got an opportunity to recruit experienced CAs. Companies that recruited aggressively during the campus placements for the new passouts in February-March and September-October 2007 participated again for more professionals.

ICICI Bank alone had recruited 414 new CAs in two placements rounds held in early and late 2007 while Reliance picked up 138. TCS that recruited 84 CAs in 2007 participated in Career Ascent to look for experienced hands. ITC and Morgan Stanley after recruiting over a dozen fresh CAs in late 2007 placements participated in the Career Ascent.

“Thanks to the new initiatives in the curriculum, the role CAs has changed dramatically in the industry. They are now one of the most sought after candidates in the new areas like consulting, advisory services, M&A, IT, strategy planning and KPO among others. We are yet to receive the feedback from recruiters with varied industrial background who appeared for Career Ascent.

But the initial reports says that most of the candidates who were interviewed have received attractive offers,” said ICAI’s Western Regional Council member Dhiraj Khandelwal. He added that the Indian CAs are now commanding premium in the international job markets too.

It was learnt that the average salary packages offered during Career Ascent are much higher than the earlier campus placement in 2007. The average pay package for 1,151 fresh CAs stood at Rs 5.94 lakh a year.

The highest package of Rs 12 lakh was offered to 17 CAs by Landmark Gulf Group. Thanks to burgeoning pay packages, the number of ICAI members employed in the industry has taken over the strength of practitioners engaged in accounting and auditing firms. Out of about 1.40 lakh ICAI members, over 69,000 CAs are now employed in the industry.

“The market is hot and lately CAs are in big demand. A large number of MNCs are setting up their offices and high-end processing in India. Also, CAs is now being employed as analysts and researchers in IT firms. At our firm, we are witnessing the demand for the CAs increasing at over 25% a year by our clients,” Ma Foi COO E Balaji told ET.

He added that the demand for CA professionals is also increasing overseas on account of factors like need for Sarbanes-Oxley Compliance in the US. Currently, about five lakh students are aspiring to become the CA professionals but the supply is not matching the demand due to tough examinations.