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.

Tuesday, 1 September 2015

As a CA, would it be better for me to work as an ERP consultant or an accountant?

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.