Suggestions for improving the career prospects of cas

Vivek (CA ) (2368 Points)

11 April 2015  

I feel that the majority of the CA professionals don’t achieve the success in career, commensurate with the hard work and  time required to achieve this prestigious title .  I want to put some of my observations and suggestions to improve the career prospects of the members and students of the institute :

1.       Lack of Soft Skills : The major factor in achieving a rapid growth in a corporate career is managerial and leadership abilities, communication and other soft skills instead of in-depth knowledge and hard work.

Most of the CAs are from small town with non-English medium schooling background. When they join organisations in big cities, they find themselves in a different planet and find it difficult to match their career growth with that of for their colleagues from engineering / MBA background.

The 15 days GMCS program is not sufficient for developing such skills and capabilities. There should be at least 3 levels of such training programs of at least one month duration each during articleship and IPCC/Final level and an additional course after qualifying the Final exam..

A post-qualification course on leadership and management skills development can be designed for equipping members in corporate to switch to general management area and reach to the CEO level instead of remaining in accounting/taxation function for life time.

Short terms workshops and courses having one day to one week duration can also be designed for the members and students


2.       Limited movability – Due to good coaching classes and low cost of living, most of the students opt for the tier III cities like Indore, Bhopal, Jaipur etc. for pursuing  CA course and after qualifying, they settle in these cities only. While most of the employment opportunities for CAs are in metro and tier I cities like Bangalore, Pune etc.. Due to limited industrial and commercial development and lack of service sector, tier II and III cities cannot absorb the growing population of CAs. The fresh CAs have no option but to unwillingly enter into practice.

The CAs living in the small cities are of small town mentality and they are afraid of moving to big cities despite of having very limited opportunities.

The ICAI can set-up hostels / bachelors’ accommodations at the metros and the tier II cities for the members, who want to explore the employment opportunities at big cities. (Similar to the hostel facilities made available by some communities for the CA students).


3.       Lack of exposure to big industries and corporate environment : Most of the CA students undergo their articleship training at small CA firms, having only tax audits and direct lax litigation business, while for a corporate / MNC career, these exposures are of very limited use. They don’t get any exposure to best industrial practices and ERP systems. An industrial / corporate training of at least 6 months duration should be made mandatory for all the CA final students.


4.       Lack of exposure to latest IT systems : Now-a-days all the medium and big size organisations implement any leading ERP system e.g. SAP, Oracle EBS etc. to manage all their business processes. It gives a lot of trouble for a mind familiar with Tally only to start appreciating the importance of ERP systems for a process based modern organization. The post qualification courses offered by the ICAI are useful only for those who have prior knowledge of these ERPs as an end-user and want to make career as an ERP implementation or support consultant.

The ICAI should design a mandatory course on basic functionalities of ERP for student and members which can provide exposure to the leading ERPs from the perspective of the end-users as auditors and finance managers.


5.       Lack of awareness about the opportunities available outside India : Very few CAs are aware about the opportunities available to Indian CAs outside India specially at Gulf, Pacific (Australia & New Zealand), East Africa and other emerging world economies. The working environment for the Finance/Audit/Taxation professionals is far less strenuous and well-paying in comparison to India, due to high demand-supply gap. The earnings and career prospects of employees without any professional qualification are much higher at these countries then the professionals working in India.

The ICAI should work in the close co-ordination with the members and the chapters outside India for familiarizing the members about the living and working conditions at various countries and helping member in finding the employment there.


6.       Need for a full-fledged placement and career development department: Presently the placement activities of the ICAI are managed by the CMII, which are very inadequate and are managed by the people without any corporate background. The campus placement events of the ICAI are unable to provide decent employment opportunities even for the rank holder CAs.  One of my friend from Jaipur was unemployment for so many months even after getting 33rd rank in CA Final exam.. While the students of so many low rank management and engineering colleges get good campus placement offers, despite of very low demanding nature of these courses in comparison to CA course, just because of good liaising by these institutes with the HR departments of big corporates.

The ICAI should establish a full-fledged placement and career development cell under leadership of an experienced HR / recruitment professional. This cell should function like a placement consultancy and should have branches at all the major cities of India and abroad. Apart from providing placement assistance to the newly qualified and experienced members, this department should also provide consultancy to the experienced members desirous of entering into employment from a unsuccessful practice. This department can establish good networking not only with the HR and recruitment department of big corporate in India and overseas but with the members in corporates at senior positions for effective placements of the members. This department can conduct regular survey and studies on the expectations of the employers, knowledge and skills gaps, present career conditions, future growth areas, emerging opportunism for CAs etc..

7.       Development of entrepreneurship aptitudes : So many reputed Indian and global business schools develop entrepreneurship aptitudes among their students and mentor and help them in starting their own start-up ventures.

Due to in-depth knowledge and expertise on accounting, finance, internal control, corporate laws and association with other experienced businessmen since start of their training, CAs are in better position to start their own business and scale and diversify it successfully. The ICAI can start some training and mentorship programs for encouraging members to start their own start-up ventures in partnership with other members. The possibility of starting a seed fund or PE fund with some corporates for helping such members can also be explored.


8.       Promoting international qualifications and certifications : The candidates with international accounting and auditing qualifications and certifications such as ICAEW, ACCA, CIMA, CISA, CPA, CIA, CISA, MBA / MS / MFC from US etc., have better employment and career potential in the countries outside India then the candidates having only CA qualification. These qualifications are not much demanding and strenuous to qualify in comparison to CA exams..

The ICAI should encourage its students, semi-qualifieds and members to take these courses and explore employment opportunities outside India instead of remaining in India and putting pressure on the domestic demand-supply condition.

The ICAI can offer coaching classes, scholarships, fee-reimbursements, placement assistance etc. to the students and members taking these courses.