Chartered Accountancy is a lucrative and challenging career option for youngsters. What are some of the things you have to keep in mind while choosing CA as your career? Let’s take a look.

As of April 2019, India has 2.91 lakh registered Chartered Accountants out of which only about 50% are practising full time. It is one of the cheapest professional courses as expenditure is only on joining coaching classes and a meager fee to ICAI.

However, time spent in completing the course is generally more, though there are instances where hard workers became CA at the age of 21 or even less. Determination and hard work are key to this endeavor. In this piece, we have two goals in mind: Tips on last-minute preparation to get you through that first step and longer-term issues including professional expectations and the challenges you should expect to face while studying for CA and while working as one.

Preparation tips to crack ICA CA exams:

1) Decide the books to be used in the study leave

Most of the students join a coaching academy and study from the books supplied by them. Complementing these notes will be modules supplied by ICAI along with the Revision Test Papers and Mock papers of ICAI. They go a long way in making your presentation better along with the flavor of types of questions that can be asked in exams.

2) Go through your flashcards one more time

Flashcards, especially electronic ones based on spaced repetition are a very time-efficient way to memorize key facts. Even if you’ve already learned your flashcards, go through the ones for your core exam topics one more time. You’ll retain facts better which will help during the paper.

3) Don’t overthink answers!

There will be questions that you may not have prepared for. And if it’s an MCQ, you might end up picking what you feel is the best answer without complete certainty. It can be tempting to double-guess yourself, but in these situations, it’s best to make a logical deduction (based on what you around the topic) and then stick with your choice.

4) Sleep well and hydrate

You will be under a lot of stress and the best way to deal with that is to reduce external stressors as much as possible. Sleep early to ensure you get enough hours of rest. Before the exam, make sure to hydrate as well. Turn off the TV, log out of social media and tune out other distractions so that your mind is no longer occupied.

5) Learn when to stop revising

That’s right! Stopping your revision at the right time can often help more than cramming till the last moment. Our short-term memory retention isn’t always reliable and last minute crammed facts can either be forgotten or confused. During the stress of cramming you might end up forgetting points, you studied earlier! If you must, give your notes a last-minute look before leaving home, but when you’re in the exam hall, your focus should be on the paper in front of you.

6) Be cool during these last hours

Your hard work is important but so are those hours when you will be writing the final paper. Some brilliant students also perform badly in those hours as they succumb to the pressure. Sleeping properly the night before the exams as well as eat well before the exam go a long way in making the mind stable. In case you don’t know a few questions, leave and come back to them later. Remember, you get 15 minutes to read the question paper. So mark in those 15 minutes, the questions that you know well and solve those first. Others, you can do later on. Do remember, each of the students who have prepared will be able to solve 60 marks. The key here is to identify them and make all working notes before trying to solve those questions that you are least confident of.

Now, let’s take a longer-term look at things. If you’ve cleared the exam, or if you’re planning to sit another time, it’s important to have a good understanding of what exactly you can expect out of your CA career.

What CAs do and how you can become one

Chartered Accountants are finance and accounting professionals who handle a range of duties for both individuals and organizations. They are responsible for audits in firms and sign off on the book of accounts of each firm. They also take care of other tasks such as filing taxes, providing financial guidance, and more for individuals and organizations.

Institute of Chartered Accountants of India (ICAI) is a statutory body that manages the CA profession in the country. The students have to complete 3 stages of study and clear Foundation course exams, Intermediate level exams, and final exams as well as 3 years of articleship training to be qualified as a CA.

If you are already a graduate or a postgraduate, you can directly enroll in the intermediate course and complete the rest of the course requirements to be a CA.

The pursuit of CA is fraught with challenges. Unlike regular professional courses, Chartered Accountancy follows a unique pattern and usually does not have a college-based approach. Students pursue the course independently or at training institutions(coaching classes) that focus on the CA course. Let’s now dive in and see what are the things you have to keep in mind while opting for CA as your career option

1.It’s a difficult course to crack

CA is a pretty difficult course to crack. The various stages and the examinations are challenging to say the least and the pass percentages are very low, usually. This means that you will probably have to attend the exams more than once to qualify. This takes a lot of time and effort.

2.Takes Longer than most courses

Even for the brightest of students, clearing the CA exams and qualifying takes time. Your peers and friends who are pursuing other courses may finish their courses and move ahead while you are still in the process of clearing the exams.

3.Lots to learn and it never stops too

The syllabus that the CA course covers is wide and covers a whole range of topics associated with organizations and finance. This requires a lot of effort and hard work to learn and to put the learning into practice too. Like most professions, learning is a continuous process too. You will have to consistently keep yourself updated throughout your career to keep up with the changing laws and regulations in the domain.

4.Focus on more than just Accounts and Numbers

Building a successful CA career takes a whole lot more than just knowing accounting, finances, and taxes. A lot of softer skills come into play and you need to develop these skills to thrive. Communicating effectively, managing time, Listening, an eye for detail – these are some of the necessary skills you would need to develop to excel in a CA career.

In conclusion

Choosing CA as a career option is certainly a smart choice. There are abundant opportunities for qualified professionals and it provides for a challenging and exciting career too. Like any domain you may choose, this has its own set of challenges. By planning well, working hard, and having a clear goal in mind, you can overcome these challenges and make your career as a Chartered Accountant!

(The author is CA Anuj Jalota, Founder AJ Education Next)

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