Wednesday, 9 December 2015

Is there anyone on Quora who has done CA, CS and CMA? How did he do it? What are the career prospects after it?

Hi! I completed the courses of BFIA, CS, CMA and CA.

About how I did it: I happened to take all four of these courses' entrances after finishing my 12th CBSE Board exams and managed to pass the foundation exams for all. During my undergraduate program, I kept trying to take the intermediate exams of all these courses whenever I could find the time. As I did not have a lot of time to spare, I couldn't take tuitions and relied completely on self-study. Gradually, I cleared these exams one after the other. What really helped is the fact that a lot of the subjects are common to all courses. The core idea is to keep the faith and just keep trying. The thought of tackling all these courses simultaneously seems intimidating, but you have to focus on the next set of exams at hand without worrying about the exams that will follow.

About career prospects: I am currently practicing as a Chartered Accountant. You may decide to look for a job in one of the Big 4, or in the industry or whatever pleases you. Remember, your degree is only a passport to get you in the field of work. What you make of it depends completely on your own goals and how far you dare to dream.

You can visit my Quora profile here.

Thursday, 3 December 2015

Why do we need CA's when softwares can do the work they do?

Why do you need coders when computerized software can do the tasks they do?
Why do we need cooks when ready to eat packaged food is available?

You need a human brain behind a number of tasks that these softwares can perform. And there is always a limitation to the extent to which such tasks can be performed. A simple Income Tax Return may be easily filed by a software. However, you would need a CA to personally look into specific tax matters which are prone to litigation due to variation in interpretation based on different contexts. Further, auditing softwares can perform a number of tasks, which save time and aid in audit procedures. However, an intelligent person may find ways to override the validation tools employed by a software. You would need a human brain to intervene and do what the software cannot.

I would hope for a world which is so advanced that machinery and computer can do all tasks that humans can. However, the pros and cons of such a situation make for another debate.

Wednesday, 2 December 2015

Which are a few recommended books for Accounting Standards in CA Final?

I would recommend either of the following two, based on which suits your style better:

1. Padhuka's Book on Accounting Standards for CA Final:

Wednesday, 25 November 2015

Are Indian CA's dependent on article assistants to a great degree?

I'm assuming that you are talking about dependent in terms of manpower.

Well, I guess they are, and there is absolutely nothing wrong about it. With rising number of CA students in the country, there is a continuously growing number of students looking for articleship training to learn the practical application of the Chartered Accountancy curriculum. The CA's in practice find these students as an inexpensive source of manpower, and the students get an opportunity to learn in return. To me, it looks like a win-win.

But, of course, a CA firm would need permanent employees to grow its business as the articled assistants will leave in three years, after their training period is complete. So, trained administrative staff is important to ensure smooth functioning of operations.

As a young Chartered Accountant in practice, there are a number of assignments that I take only for the learning that will come through performing such tasks. I would suggest that the articled assistants also look at the work opportunity available before them as a tuition-free platform to hone their skills so as to become better and more competent CA's in the future.

Monday, 9 November 2015

How much money do I need to pursue the CA course?

The total fee charged by the ICAI at various levels of the CA program right from Registration for CPT to taking your Final exams and pursuing all your mandatory training programs does not total up to more than Rs. 65,000.

However, a number of students (a good majority now) spend on tuitions and coaching, the expenses for which will depend on the number of subjects you take coaching for. However, one can do it through self-study, as has been my personal experience. You may spend a little more on additional reference material or books from the market, but that again should not go beyond Rs. 15,000 for the whole program.

So, all in all, the course is one of the most inexpensive professional courses to pursue in the country.

I have not taken into account the stipend you may receive during your articleship and the expenses you may incur in travelling to and from office, or living in another city to pursue your articleship training as these vary from person to person to an extent where one person may spend Rs. 10,000 per month on rent, food and travelling while another may spend not more than Rs. 500.

Hope this helps.

Sunday, 8 November 2015

Will my CA degree not help me in becoming a Financial Analyst? Should I study CFA instead?

The papers related to Finance in the CA curriculum are: Financial Management in CA IPCC, and Strategic Financial Management in CA Final. The SFM paper in CA Final is quite exhaustive and will cover most relevant topics of finance in detail.

However, a CFA will be a wonderful addition to your quiver for a finance specialization as the core focus of the course is on finance, whereas CA focuses more on accounting, auditing and taxation.

Eventually, it's the practical aspects on-the-job that teach you all you need to know on how Financial Markets work and run. You could pursue finance through either of the two courses. But if you're really interested, I would suggest trying to get as many finance focused internships as you can, constantly follow all major market trends/news across the world, read as much as you can about these subjects (options, futures, indices, derivatives, trading mechanisms, financial instruments, risk and return, etc.) so that you have a solid theoretical grounding.

Hope this gives some clarity.

Saturday, 7 November 2015

Can I do M.Com along with CA Articleship?

Yes, it is if you're pursuing it through correspondence and not as a regular course. Not a problem. I know a couple of people who have done it.

I'm pursuing my undergrad and wish to be a Cost Accountant. Should I pursue it from IMA and then take the certification from ICAI or otherwise?

The CMA Course from IMA requires you to have completed your bachelor's degree before you enroll for the program. So it's not something you can begin while you're still in college.

The IMA and ICAI have a Memorandum of Understanding as per which a CMA from ICAI can get a membership of IMA without passing any exams of CMA-IMA. You can also enroll for the course from ICAI even before you complete your graduation. This seems like a much better option to me that going in for a IMA certification first and then getting a ICAI certification through the MoU. Another reason to go through ICAI route is that an IMA member who receives an ICAI membership through the MoU is not given statutory right to sign as a practicing cost accountant in India.

You can access details about the MoU here.

Friday, 6 November 2015

My first CA exam went terribly and I am sure to fail. Should I take the remaining papers or quit this session?

My first exams in both levels viz. IPCC as well as Final were attempted poorly, and I had the same thoughts. However, I decided to not worry about the result and just take the remaining exams for the experience. I thought that maybe a few goof-ups in the remaining subjects might also teach me a few things about the mistakes not to make in my following attempt.

When the results came out, I realized I was lucky enough to have passed by a margin of just one mark and cleared the group.

It's easy to give up and probably very hard to detach yourself from the result and just work. I would suggest the latter. You might end up scoring an exemption in a subject even if you don't clear the whole group. Or maybe, you might just end up touching passing marks with a wonderful stroke of luck. Don't give up. Keep at it, my friend. The experience won't take anything away from you. If nothing else, it might just help you acknowledge failure and strike back with better efforts. You wouldn't regret it.

All the best!

Thursday, 5 November 2015

As a CA, should I choose to work as an Oracle/ERP Consultant or a Traditional Accounts Professional?

The best answer to this question would obviously be to choose a field or work profile that interests one more.

In my limited experience, I have observed that technical knowledge of advanced ERP softwares combined with functional knowledge of your field (accounting and finance) is a wonderful combination, especially at this time when a number of companies are rapidly switching over to better technologies in integrated data recording and management in real time.

Having working knowledge of an ERP software like SAP, Oracle, TCS's ERP, etc. is going to be a good additional skill to your already remarkable professional degree. It wouldn't hurt even if you choose the latter option instead of becoming a core ERP consultant.

Wednesday, 4 November 2015

Is it necessary for CA Articleship Stipend to be paid by Cheque?

Yes, the articleship stipend has to be paid by an account payee cheque or through a bank transfer to the articled assistant's account. CA's are not allowed to give stipend in cash as the bank transaction ensures payment of transfer and carrying out of genuine articleship training by the student.

Sunday, 1 November 2015

Are the bid/offer queues of NSE and BSE same or different? Can a bid/offer from one exchange be matched/satisfied with offer/bid from another?

While the bid/offer orders are fundamentally same at both the exchanges, they can't be matched with each other because bid/offer orders at one exchange are executed by offer/bid orders at the same exchange.

Saturday, 31 October 2015

How can I start stock trading with little money? What are some key rules that I have to keep in mind while investing?

It's all about your risk profile, your expectations and how well you manage your psychology while trading.

Some of the rules you can look out for, are:-

1. It's not important whether you are right or wrong, more important is, how much you lose when you are wrong and how much you make you are right.

2. Buy a stock when everyone feel it's expensive. Sell when it's extremely expensive & yet everyone finds it attractive.

3. The greatest pain in the financial markets is: "You find something and you could not act on it and it happened as you thought it would."
Take risks, however small they might be. Managing this risk is important.

Tuesday, 20 October 2015

I am a CA Final student who wishes to join IIM Bangalore for an MBA program after CA. Do they give preference to CA's? When should I start preparing for the CAT?

Yes, IIM Bangalore has additional weightage in the selection procedure for commerce professionals (CA, CS, CMA). However, to be considered, you would have to pass the sectional as well as the overall cut offs in the CAT.

For those who pass the cut off, IIM Bangalore is known to invite the top 10 from every criterion. So, if you're among the commerce professionals who have cleared the cut off and also happen to have scored a score among the highest 10 scores from among these applicants, you can expect a call for the interview.

The CAT tests you on math that might require tremendous practice. I would suggest that you first finish your CA Finals, and then take up preparations for the CAT with all your might at once. Both exams require tremendous effort to crack, and I would not suggest compromising your performance in one by simultaneously preparing for the other.

Hope you make it to the best! :)

Monday, 19 October 2015

I am an Engineer who wants to study subjects of accountancy and taxation to help me in my family business. The CA course interests me, but I don't have the time to undergo articleship training. What should I do?

Hi! If it's only accounting and taxation knowledge that you seek, and not the qualification of a CA, you could go in for the CMA (ICWA) program. The course structure as well as the syllabus is very similar to that of CA. There are a number of students who are into their late thirties and forties too, as many working professionals undertake the course. You would not be required to undergo articleship training to complete the course.

However, you must also know that one learns work in the true sense only through the practical training one receives during the articleship program.

But if your objective is to only gain knowledge of the field, and use it in your business, CMA is an excellent course to pursue. You can find more about it here: Cost Accountancy

Thursday, 15 October 2015

Can I undertake my CA articleship training under my father?

Yes, definitely.

There is no restriction on this from the ICAI. I personally trained in my family-firm and had raised this query to a few ICAI officials. They all informed me that I could go ahead.

Wednesday, 14 October 2015

Is it not insulting for a CA degree to not be considered as an equivalent of a graduate degree?

An undergraduate or graduate degree in India can only be awarded by a university set up and registered with the University Grants Commission, a body that has been set up to regulate the working of universities in India.

On the other hand, the Institute of Chartered Accountants of India is not a university, but a statutory body set up by an Act of the parliament to regulate the profession of chartered accountancy in India. It offers not an undergraduate (bachelor's) or a graduate (master's) degree, but a professional certificate that gives you the statutory power to certify certain types of financial documents and certificates.

The CA certification offers you a statutory power to conduct audits of organization and certify financial documents. No such right comes with a graduate or undergraduate degree. So, there is no way in which it is insulting for the CA profession to not be considered an equivalent to graduation. It is, in fact, appreciative of the professional and specialized nature of the course.

I believe that your question is probably from the point of view of how having a CA certification would not considered in the eligibility criteria for certain jobs (government or otherwise), or for application to certain foreign courses, which require mandatory undergraduate or graduate degree for all applicants.

To answer this, I would just say that it would be unreasonable to expect a professional qualification to be exempt from all such eligibility norms for various courses or jobs. The eligibility criteria is defined by the specific organization or university, and it is up to them to decide whether they would want to grant the exemption or not. Moreover, in my humble opinion, a three-year long undergraduate program is necessary for a person's academic and personality development. A person matures and grows over those three years in many ways, and it would again be unreasonable to not give credit to an undergraduate program. The fact that a few commerce students choose to skip a bachelor's degree and enroll themselves directly in CA does not mean it's a wise idea. It is grossly underestimating of the things that a college education can teach you.

A few of the most renowned colleges for management education in India, such as IIM-Ahmedabad and the Indian School of Business (ISB) are not universities. The certifications they offer are not graduate (master's) degrees in the strict sense. The IIM's offer a Post-graduate Diploma in Management, and ISB offers a certification for having completed a Post-graduate Pogram in Management. These are not graduate degrees. However, this in no way is insulting to these institutes. They remain the most sought after and respected colleges for management education in India, and rightly so. You could say that a similar idea applies to the ICAI.

Hope this answers.

Tuesday, 13 October 2015

Am I at an employability disadvantage against someone who has taken the CPT 6 months before me?

Not at all! There are so many more factors that are taken into consideration to determine your employability and success in life. Your marks, number of attempts in the IPCC and Final exams, work experience, responsibilities handled play a more important role. And most importantly, your overall personality and soft skills count to a great extent.

Monday, 12 October 2015

Is it worth doing CPA as a CA Final student?

If you're a CA Final student, CPA would be a good course to pursue if you plan on working on assignments for companies with operations in the USA or any other country for which you wish to take the CPA exams.

The course normally helps you get opportunities to work on international assignments at the Big 4 accounting firms.

However, I would suggest doing it only after passing your CA Final exams. The reason I ask you to wait for your exams to get over is because I think it would take you about 6 months to prepare for the CPA papers if you put in around 3 hours of serious study everyday during your articleship. I would suggest that you put that time in polishing on your concepts and practicing CA Final questions.

You will have to take the CPA exam (assuming of the Institute in USA) in the US, for which you will have to plan your travel and accommodation, etc. too. Best to keep it after the finals.

You can find out more information about the course here: CPA

Saturday, 10 October 2015

Can a CA be a Partner in an LLP? Will he allowed to be an auditor for the same LLP?

Yes, Chartered Accountants in practice can come together to form an LLP. However, the LLP of Chartered Accountant professionals registered with the MCA and the ICAI would then have only CA Partners holding Certificates of Practice.

As "independence of the auditor" is a pre-requisite for appointment of an auditor, a person cannot be the auditor of an entity he is interested in (in this case, as a Partner of the LLP)

Friday, 9 October 2015

What is the Pass Percentage of CA exams?

The pass percentage for the May 2015 attempt was:

CA Final:
a) Both Groups 8.26%
b) Group I 11.41%
c) Group II 16.54%

a) Both Groups 8.47%
b) Group I 13.63%
c) Group II 13.79%

The pass percentages of the previous few attempts are as under.

Monday, 5 October 2015

Is the CA and B.Com syllabus the same?

The subjects that you study in both the courses are similar, however, the depth of study differs to a great extent.

In the Bachelor's degree, you will study core commerce subjects of Financial Accounting, Direct Taxation, Cost Accounting, Financial Management, Mercantile and Company Law as well as a few others like IT, Mathematics, Economics, Statistics, Management Theories, etc.

On the other hand, in the CA curriculum, you will primarily study the core commerce subjects of Financial Accounting, Direct Taxation, Cost Accounting, Financial Management, Indirect Taxation, Auditing, Indirect Taxation, Corporate Laws, Information System Auditing, etc.

There is a huge overlap in the subjects studied, but the CA curriculum goes much in depth in comparison to the B. Com syllabus. The difficulty level of the questions tested in the IPCC Level exams of CA will be slightly higher than that of the questions in your bachelor's degree. However, the difficulty level in the CA Final exams is tremendously higher in comparison. The CA syllabus is quite vast and exhaustive too. Being a professional course, it aims at providing expertise in its subjects to the students. The bachelor's degree provides only basic operational knowledge.

Hope this answers your question.

Sunday, 4 October 2015

In which order should I take coaching for these subjects of CA Final: SFM, Financial Reporting, Cost Accounting?

As all subjects are practical application based, there is no defined answer for which would be the best order to take coaching for them. I hope you have tried studying these subjects on your own first from the Institute's material as well as some other reference book. If you haven't, please try to go through the content on your own first. You might find a subject that you may not even need external help for, and self-study may be sufficient.

However, if you may still feel the need to take coaching for all three of these papers, pick the subject the coaching for which is available first. This will ensure that you won't waste time waiting for the batch of any particular subject to start.

Also, ensure that while you may be taking coaching for a particular subject, do not depend completely on the study you do in the classroom. Come back home to revise concepts and practice additional questions. It is also important to not put other subjects on the backburner while you take coaching for one. Try to study at least three subjects from the total of eight papers during a period of preparation. It would not be wise to keep your preparation imbalanced by preparing for a subject for months before moving on to the other.

Hope this helps.

Saturday, 3 October 2015

Can a CA in Practice have his app on the PlayStore?

In my opinion, considering the Code of Ethics for professional firms as give by the ICAI, an application on the PlayStore would be allowed as long as there is no advertisement for the application anywhere, and no marketing asking people to download the app.

A better way to go about it would be to develop a knowledge sharing app that shares news related to tax, accounts, audit or allied fields of work. And then list the name of your firm as the developer/administrator for the app. It's the same logic that works for professional blogs of CA firms.

Friday, 2 October 2015

Will my CA Firm give me leaves to take CS exams during Articleship period?

Whether your firm permits it or not will depend on your firm's policies for Articled Assistants. However, I would want you to know the following two things:

1. I hope you have filled Form 112, wherein your Principal gives you the permission to pursue one other course in addition to CA during your articleship period. This form is also a way of intimating the Institute about your registration with the ICSI.

2. If your Principal allows you to take leaves, the same will be deducted from your leaves eligible during the articleship period.

A lot depends on your rapport with your Principal. If you can give adequate number of days' notice and not leave any of your assignments mid-way, I don't think there should be too much of a problem in getting a few days off for you to prepare for and take the exams.

Thursday, 1 October 2015

What difficulties will I face in pursuing the CA course as a Non-Math student in the 12th standard?

The CA curriculum tests you on a paper of Mathematics only in the CPT, which is the first stage of the whole curriculum. The Math that students study in the 11th and 12th grade in India is very similar to the topics tested on in the Math section of the CPT.

At later stages of the course, viz. in IPCC and Final, the only math skills you need are in basic arithmetic (addition, subtraction, multiplication, division).

So, even though you have not studied Math in the 11th and 12th grade, I don't think you would face any difficulty because of that in your CA exams. If you do other subjects of the CPT (Accounts, Law, Economics) well enough and study the CPT Math syllabus diligently for a month and a half or two months after your 12th Board exams, you would be in a good position to tackle the subjects.

Hope this helps. All the best!

Friday, 25 September 2015

Can I get an international job with a Cost Accounting qualification from ICostAI?

In case you plan on working internationally, the CIMA (London) program is a good certification to have under your belt as it has more international recognition due to CIMA's international presence as compared tom that of the ICostAI.

The Institute of Cost Accountants of India has a Memorandum of Understanding with CIMA, London to make your task of getting the certification easier.

You can find out all the details here: Welcome to The Institute of Cost Accountants of India Website.

Monday, 21 September 2015

Are there any paper (stock) trading sites in India where actual bid quantities on the NSE/BSE are taken into account for the buy/sell "order" to be executed?

While there is no particular site offering mock or simulated trading, you can try 'Moneybhai' platform offered by 'Moneycontrol'

It is a virtual trading platform offering the user a virtual corpus to start from.  One can trade and invest in equities from the corpus given. The platform can be used both for virtual trading and investing.

Sunday, 20 September 2015

ICSI December 2015 Examination Schedule

Datesheet for December 2015 exams has been issued by the Institute.

Click here for Foundation program schedule

Click here for Executive and Professional Programme Schedule

Saturday, 19 September 2015

How do I get the monthly data of all the stocks listed in NSE, BSE into an excel sheet?

All the historical data, both for equities and futures & options, is available on the NSE website. Following are the links for the same:

For Futures and Options historical data:

For Equities historical data:

Whatever searches you make here, it'll be available for downloading in excel format.

Hope this helps.

Friday, 18 September 2015

What to do if my CA Articleship and College timings clash?

Either switch to correspondence program for your graduate degree or withdraw yourself from articleship training and continue after completing your graduation. Pursuing both when the timings clash is not allowed by the ICAI.

Thursday, 17 September 2015

Is there a predetermined pass percentage in CA exams?

No. If you know your course well enough and have answered your questions well, there is no such fixed percentage stopping you from becoming a CA.

The ICAI, at times, has only admitted to moderation in results for papers in which students have across the board done exceptionally poorly due to an unusually lengthy paper or some incorrect information in the questions. Similarly, in certain cases when a question paper may have been exceptionally easy too, the Institute practices strict discretion in distribution of marks. So, there's no fixed percentage of result. Only some justifiable level of moderation.

Wednesday, 16 September 2015

Which course out of CA or MBA leads to a better income and social status in the future?

I'm not going to go into a long drawn comparison, but try and give you only a general idea about how the courses differ. However, if you want to compare them only from the point of view of future status, lifestyle or income, I'd tell you that there are scrap sellers who pick up old newspaper from your home and make an income of somewhere around Rs. 10,000 per month, and then there are others, who deal in industrial scrap and make millions every week. There are a number of factors that determine your overall success in life. And money is just one small part of a much bigger picture.

Your success will be determined more by the kind of person you are and how driven you are towards the things you do than by a piece of paper that you may call a degree.

I know a number of CA's who pass their papers in the first attempt with brilliant scores, but struggle professionally due to some other shortcomings in their overall personality like lack of communication or marketing skills. And then there are others who struggle to pass their exams, but do wonderfully professionally because of their street-smartness or overall practical bent of mind.

People who get selected to top MBA schools (A League only), get in after a rigorous selection process that filters out all those who lack a portfolio of leadership qualities that these MBA schools look for. The selection process ensures that only the best get in. So the MBA only hones their skills, but these people are mostly self-driven and have displayed leadership ability even before their MBA.

So, be passionate about what you do and keep the faith. Do not let a degree define you. Both courses are good in their own right. CA gives you specialized knowledge in taxation and accounts, whereas an MBA course trains you to become an efficient manager.

Tuesday, 15 September 2015

Which one is a cooler course: CA or CS?

Haha. As I've done both the degrees, I like to believe both are cool. But honestly, it depends on your definition of cool. In my opinion, you as a person could be quite cool and that would make all the difference.

I, personally, feel sad that people associate accountancy and allied jobs as drab and boring. As a CA, I get to audit books of accounts, where I feel quite like Sherlock with an accounting expertise, when I catch errors in my clients' books of accounts. Forensic audits are even more fun.

Handling tax assessments before the government authorities is quite a cool job too. You learn how to deal with people, convince them of your point of view and present arguments well. How is that not a cool skill to learn?

As a CS, I get to give a lot of legal opinions on corporate law matters. I feel cool that the Board of Directors of a few companies give importance to my opinion before taking certain decisions. How is that not cool?

Just love what you do and there's nothing in the world that would convince you that your job is boring or uncool.

Monday, 14 September 2015

How to attempt the ISCA exam in CA Final?

I did not receive a distinction (60% or above) in ISCA, but I did manage to pass the paper in my first attempt. So, do not take this as the penultimate advice on how to attempt the paper, but only my two cents on the topic.

I'm sure every CA student has heard about the terror of the Information System Controls and Audit (ISCA) paper in CA Final. It's the subject with the shortest curriculum in the CA Final pool of papers, but gives most students a tough time despite its simple appearance.

My suggestions on attempting the paper are:
1. Write your answer in points
2. Begin each point with the key word followed by a colon and then the explanation.
3. Underline the key word
4. Write down every point given in the CA Final Study Material for that topic. ISCA is not a subject in which you take a chance by listing only 6 points out of 9, or even 14 out of a total of 15. Do not miss out on a single point!
5. The points in most topics follow a logical sequence, so ensure that you do not mention points out of order.
6. Wherever you can, try to present the points again in the form of a chart. This tip worked for me because of the following reasons:
a) It gives the examiner the idea in a glimpse of your flowchart that you know all the points as well as the order that they follow.
b) It helps you cover up on some errors that your descriptive answers may have, as the examiner would believe that you know your answer very well, given your additional effort in graphical/visual presentation of information.

It goes without saying that above all, study your syllabus in entirety and from the official ICAI resources.

All the best!

Sunday, 13 September 2015

Which companies require auditing?

Assuming that your question is in the context of auditing of books of accounts, let me clarify that an audit is not always prescribed under the law or statute.

A statutory audit is one, conducting which is mandatory under the law. For example, in India, all companies registered under the Companies Act, 2013 are required to be audited under the Companies Act. Similarly, business owners with an annual turnover of over Rs. 10,000,000 or professionals with an annual turnover of Rs. 2,500,000 are required to be audited under the Income Tax laws of India.

An internal audit is conducted by the management of any organization just to ensure that another person (at times a professional agency) is reularly checking the working so as to remove errors and avoid frauds.

A forensic audit is conducted to catch frauds where there is good reason to believe that a fraud may be underway or may have already been committed.

A due diligence operation is also a kind of audit when experts audit the operations and records of another organization to determine if the terms of a merger (relating to price consideration) are fair to both parties or not.

Saturday, 12 September 2015

Will failing in IPCC once hinder my career path as a CA?

Not at all!

If we look at it, what's the worst that would happen? A few companies (say 4 or 5) may not shortlist you in the ICAI's placements. It would hardly make a difference if you wish to start with your own practice. And, if you wish to apply for a job after completing your CA, the world is full of opportunities.

Your technical skills, how well you can do the work you are supposed to do at your job, what kind of a manager you may be, your overall personality, the way you communicate, your extracurriculars... There are so many things that are looked at before selecting a candidate.

We, at our modest CA firm, never select employees and Articled Assistants based solely on marks. I interview all candidates who apply (including qualified CA's), and the decision to get them on board is after a careful consideration of the person's aptitude, personality and ability to get work done in every day practical situations.

You don't need to lose heart. This is only a little bump on your path. Forget about it and keep moving forward. All the best! :)

Friday, 11 September 2015

I have failed CA IPCC twice. How should I prepare so that I pass?

Considering that you have taken the IPCC exams twice before, I would suggest the following approach for tackling each of the subjects.

1. Accountancy: If your basics are clear, this subject is not too difficult to crack. There are two main problems that students face while attempting this paper:
a) Getting intimidated by the size of the question (which may often spread across 2 pages) and the amount of information given;
b) Not being able to attempt all the questions in time.

Most questions of accounting, esp. those of Non-Profit Organization Accounts, Internal Reconstruction, Amalgamation, etc. have a lot of information that integrates together to form an answer. While this may scare you initially, it also offers you ample opportunity to gain marks for each small part that you can understand and present well enough. So, please do not worry about the size. You would know the formats of an Income & Expenditure Account, a Balance Sheet, a P&L account and a few common ledgers that the question may ask you to draft.

Thursday, 10 September 2015

Should I pursue Ph.D. in Economics or Finance after completing CA?

A Ph.D. would be really helpful if yo plan to pursue research in these subjects and also wish to teach as a Professor at some university. It may not help too much in your traditional CA job, but would be of immense help if you intend to understand the economy better and use your knowledge of taxation to come up with some novel ideas on financial and fiscal policy making for the country.

I would hope that you have some big plans for the betterment of the country's economy, and I wish you the very best in your efforts :)

Wednesday, 9 September 2015

How to prepare for both groups of CA Final in 2 months?

1. Study all the Practice Manuals (PM) twice, giving not more than 4 days to finish any such PM once. This way, you will be able to cover all 8 PM's in a maximum of 32 days.
2. The second reading should naturally take lesser time than the first and your focus should be on revising tricky questions in the second reading.
3. Complete the RTP's and Suggested Answers for the past 2 attempts of all subjects in not more than 7 days.

All the best!

Tuesday, 8 September 2015

What courses can I opt for a career and knowledge in stock market?

Let's try and answer this with 'Knowledge' first and then 'Career'

There are plenty of books available for both Investment and trading purposes. You can start reading them. The Intelligent Investor by Benjamin Graham is regarded as one of the best books on investment.

Trading is completely different with different markets (Equities and Futures & Options), requiring understanding of technical analysis, various strategies etc. You can refer to some books, for example:

- Dr. Alexander Elder (Trading for a living, Entries and Exits etc),
-Graham and Dodd (security analysis), 
-John Murphy (Technical Analysis of the Financial Markets).

Monday, 7 September 2015

How are so many Aggarwal's topping the CA exams?

Even though the question has its fair share of stereotyping humor, I've tried to seriously think about the same for years too. The answer I offer is based on a theory that my simple brain came up with and I would not want you to take it as authentic.

The Aggarwal's, Goyal's, Gupta's and others from what is recognized as the "Baniya" clan have their geographical roots in what is present day India. A majority of the Baniya's belongs to families that did not have to flee present day Pakistan at the time of the partition of India in 1947. As many of those who had sought refuge in India were Punjabi's and Sindhi's from present day Pakistan, who lost all their family wealth in the process, they had to work harder to build their economic standing all over again. At the same time, the Baniya's, even though no less bruised from the British rule, still had their ancestral lands and family businesses to continue.

As the Baniya families could, relatively, earn their daily bread better than the refugees, they could also have their children focus on education without having to worry about loss of labor to earn money for the household. Also, being a business community, CA seemed to be the most suitable qualification from a business perspective, as it gave one knowledge about taxation, laws, financing and accounting i.e. subjects that are business and commerce related.

The Punjabi's from the fertile lands in North India had enough reason to have their children continue with agriculture, as had been the tradition in their families. On the other hand, people from the south of the Vindhya's have always been proud of their intellectual pursuits, and thus, the culture down south was to prepare for engineering or medical sciences.

Thus, the Baniya's understood the importance of the course better than the other major communities. This led to a high proportion of Baniya's in the profession, thus also raising their probability of achieving an overall rank in the course.

Sunday, 6 September 2015

Does CS involve a lot of rote learning? How much technical knowledge does a CS possess? Will it help me become a good investor?

The CS course has a number of papers on various laws. So yes, as hearbreaking as it would be to admit this, passing law exams takes a lot of rote learning, owing to the nature of the subject. However, you must also know that the laws you study are not so simple that a plain learning of the provisions will be enough for you to get through. There are a number of case study type questions that require an application of the law and familiarity with how the law has progressed over the years in the courts, as well as the intent of the law. But, in comparison to a course like CA or CMA, it is definitely more theoretical.

How much technical knowledge a CS possesses is a very difficult question to answer, and it would be incorrect to even compare any such professional to a specialist with another professional degree. The knowledge a person has of his subjects of specialization depends more on his overall zeal to learn and gather more knowledge than it does on his ability to get passing marks in 15 subjects. Your training, work experience and will to learn are important factors, which vary from person to person. I personally know company secretaries who are a few of the best brains to consult for corporate law and capital market issues. At the same time, I also know of a few who struggle to even earn their daily bread and butter. The ICSI will only give you a certificate. What you make of it completely depends on you.

CS will make you aware of the procedures one has to follow to comply with various laws that apply on a company in India. It will inform you about the statutory guidelines within which, and the manner in which, a company has to function. To become a "good investor" (a very wide term), you would need a number of things, viz. knowledge (of the business, sector, industry, economy), ability to analyze financial data and wisdom that will come through experience.

Hope this answers your questions without sounding preachy.

Saturday, 5 September 2015

What are some aspects in investing and trading that never change?

1. The market is always right.

2. Never try to fight the market. Whatever you see on the trading terminal is the truth.

3. Market discounts everything.

4. Patience is a virtue. It'll always help.

Friday, 4 September 2015

Is it possible to earn 30 lakhs in 2 years in stock market trading?

I like the framing of the question, for a very specific reason.

Once during an interaction with some traders, one of the rookies asked, 
"I want a million from the market at the end of this year. How can I do it?'

A voice came from the traders desk, "start with 2 million." :D

On a serious note, I strongly believe that the working of the market is largely misinterpreted. In the sense that, one has to understand what the market really offers.

Your starting capital is the most important thing and then comes your expectation out of it. How you manage your risk shall ultimately define your success or failure.

Thursday, 3 September 2015

Are ICAI's Mock Tests important?

There are 2 reasons for ICAI's mock tests to be helpful:

1. The source is authentic. In my opinion, any material provided by the ICAI is not worth missing out on. The Institute has been trying hard to sway the students away from coaching classes and prepare from the ICAI modules, practice manuals, RTP's, etc. The mock tests are an added feature to the portfolio of reference material provided by the Institute and I would like to believe that ICAI might give a number of questions in the actual exam from the mock tests to promote the resource. It is something they have done in the past with the practice manuals, and it wouldn't hurt them to repeat the strategy.

2. They will ensure that your practice is time bound and you get to handle a mixed bag of questions within the time constraint, as you would in the actual exam.

Wednesday, 2 September 2015

Can one practice as a CA only in the state in which he has completed his training? Also, is it better to work at an MNC than pursuing individual practice in CA?

It is definitely not important for a CA to practice only in the city in which he has completed his articleship training. Why would a professional want to limit his market and skill by doing so?

I believe the only reason one may choose to remain in the state he has trained in is if the CA wishes to continue handling work related to the tax laws of that particular state only and is too scared of expanding his knowledge to the laws of other states. This difference of state tax laws may also get reduced to a great extent by the introduction of the GST. Anyway, in any case, I would advise you to not pay heed to anyone who suggests you to limit your area of practice based on such limited geographical constraints.

To answer the second part of your question, I would say that opinions may vary. However, in my opinion, a person may be exposed to a wider spectrum of assignments ranging from direct taxes to indirect taxes and from corporate law compliances to corporate finance matters. This not only ensures that a person is on his toes and constantly learning, but also gives a person ample opportunity to identify a work area that he may be most interested in and then pursue it with his whole heart. MNC's on the other hand are normally known to limit you in a work profile, which may lead to a professional not being too aware of changes in other spheres of his educational domain. But at the same time, such focused job descriptions also ensure specialization, which is important.

Further, it is important to learn the systems and processes that exist in an MNC so as to help you become become more productive through efficient utilization of systems. You may later choose to duplicate such systems within your individual practice as well.

In addition, some people believe that the scope for growth in an individual practice is much more if a person is dynamic enough and can market himself well.

To sum, I would say that both have their pros and cons. One could work at an MNC for a few years and then start one's own practice after having made a good network among businesspeople and having gathered enough experience to venture on one's own.