This Chartered Accountant Became an Influencer By Helping CAs Find Jobs And Mentoring Them (And How You Can Too)
- Are you a Chartered Accountant who wants to help and inspire others through LinkedIn while building your own personal brand?
- Hi! I am Shriti Singh a qualified Chartered Accountant from ICAI (India).
- Currently, I am a Consultant at EY, Risk Advisory. I love this consulting life, it has made me self-sufficient as a woman and has empowered me in many ways.
- I am on a mission to empower other Accountants and Finance professionals in whatever way I can. In a very short time, I have amassed more than 60,000 followers on LinkedIn and my posts attract anywhere from 1000 to 20000 page views on average.
- Why am I telling you this? Because I would love to see more Finance professionals writing on LinkedIn and helping each other (and themselves) in the best possible way.
How Did I Land Into CA?
I come from an affluent family but I always had the desire to make my own identity. I have struggled all my life for different reasons and that has always kept me humble and grounded.
Growing up, I loved Literature, History and Accounting. I was a smart kid from the beginning who would slog all day-all night for academics and questioned the traditional way of learning. At the same time, I would say I used to be involved in a lot of co-curricular activities be it debates, quizzes, dance competitions or even drama.
In my 11th standard, I chose Commerce and eventually wanted to become a Chartered Accountant. Why I chose CA? From a young age, I loved numbers and knew that I wanted to make a career working in Finance, Economics, and Math.
Also while in college (St. Xavier’s College, Kolkata), I found that I was able to help my roommates with their finances and could explain complex topics to them in an understandable way, which reaffirmed that I was best suited to become a Chartered Accountant.
And here started my CA journey from ICAI (The Institute of Chartered Accountants of India).
I started my CA journey after graduation and thereafter did my Articleship from EY, Mumbai under Risk Advisory Practices.
Like any other student pursuing CA, I had my own challenges and struggles. In those failures and hardships, I realized the importance of hard work and persistence more than anything else in the world. At every failure, my parents and siblings supported me and kept telling me – You will become a CA one day and nothing else. That kept me going….I feel we all should have that support system.
And in 2019, I finally qualified as a Chartered Accountant...Woohoo!
Deciding to influence fellow CA Aspirants and CAs on LinkedIn
I am the first Chartered Accountant in my family and CA has been the biggest milestone of my life. I don’t have words to explain how drastically my life has changed after that, for better of course.
2019. After clearing CA, I was reaching out to my connections on LinkedIn and asking if they could share my CV in their organization. I was lucky enough to find an opportunity within my company but that is when I realized 'how competitive the market is'.
My own job search gave me a first-hand experience of how desperately Chartered Accountants (or for that matter anyone) are seeking jobs in today’s competitive world.
I realized what it feels when you have no help whatsoever, where there’s no one around to support your ambitions, no one to guide you, to give you that direction which you need...that is when I decided to help at least one CA find a job because of me!
But the question was HOW? The first thing that came to my mind was LinkedIn the business-focused social media platform. That is when I decided to share my thoughts and experiences (I love writing anyway!) on this platform.
With the intention to help at least one CA, I started my journey on LinkedIn with only 80 odd connections....and a few months later, I have almost 60,000 plus massive followers. This is not something to boast of rather I am proud of this fact that I have dedicatedly tried to make a difference in the life of so many fellows CA’s to get their desired jobs or by mentoring them etc.
People tell me – 'Wow Shriti, you are an Influencer!' Honestly, I am NO hero or any LinkedIn Influencer. All I want to do is help someone find a job. I want to inspire students NOT to quit, NOT to leave their dream of becoming a CA one day, especially women who have to leave their studies cause of marriage or personal issues, etc.
Questions I get asked most about my LinkedIn Journey
“How do I find the time to mentor and help on LinkedIn with a hectic consulting job?”
I start off my day really early like 6:30 am. ( I think the fact that I have changed myself from a night owl to an early riser has made the difference. I get those 4-5hours to do things which keep me motivated in life and I think we all should have that balance.)
I then hit the gym and then head to work. So while traveling I read the newspapers and make sure I spend at least one hour every day reading all kinds of news.
I tend to post on LinkedIn only when I really feel like talking about a subject and not otherwise. With every post on LinkedIn, I get a lot of messages and I do check my Linkedin messages often. I try to answer as many queries as I can in a day. Else weekend I give more time to LinkedIn and mentoring activities.
Honestly, it's no rocket science, I am just really good with time management. I make sure I don’t waste my time doing anything unproductive.
I have developed this habit of NOT keeping any pending tasks. I note down things that need to be finished in my phone notes and that's how I keep a balance between work, my personal life, and social media.
My day may seem ideal, but then we all have good days and the not so good days, so my day differs accordingly. Also since I am in Audit I travel a lot so again my day changes.
But I do take out time after work or early in the morning to address the queries which I get on LinkedIn...after all if you want to help, it ain't that difficult!
"Where to do I find my inspiration behind such posts on LinkedIn?"
Firstly, I only post when I feel like being vocal about something important or when I feel the need to say something across...and not for the heck of it! Every time I post, I intend to keep it relevant yet personal to all the readers. I emphasize what they do not know and how well can I put forth my view on the same.
How do I find my inspiration? My answer to them is real-life experiences. So, when I post about failures, quitting, motivation, rejections or even office/ life hacks, it all comes down to my struggles. I mean when I post something, it’s never with the intention that 'hey it should reach these many views or should have these many comments or likes. That feeling was never there. Also, I believe it takes away the authenticity with which I write on LinkedIn'.
"Do I get silly questions on Linkedin? Do I spoon food my readers?"
I get so many basic (silly) questions all the time which I answer mostly (if I get the time).
See I can be rude to them and reply saying ‘you should do your homework’. However, I feel the time that I will invest in sending any rude text to someone, I might as well use that time or energy in answering their queries!
I have come to realize that 'Everyone is going through so much in life, fighting their battles alone, bogged down by society or the pressure coming from the expectations. Yet, everyone is trying so hard to keep that smile on.'
I feel we all should become each other strengths, motivating others in their journey, being the guiding light in their career and empowering one another. We all can make it through.
"How do I handle criticism on LinkedIn?"
When I started writing on LinkedIn, I did get a good amount of criticism! But I have realized that one needs to keep doing what they firmly believe in no matter what the obstacles are.
Also, everyone on social media has the right to comment on what they feel and I respect their views. We must embrace the appreciation as well as the criticism that comes along with it.
I would urge everyone to write if they wish to, without any inhibitions. We should write responsibly, keeping the audience in mind and more importantly, to write for the benefit of the public at large.
“How has writing on LinkedIn helped me personally?”
Whether you want to build your brand or not, you should try to make a change in this world. I mean your presence should be valued.
I feel whatever little I have done so far, be it free coaching or mentorship, etc has somehow helped me make my distinct brand (in the CA fraternity) and of course, has contributed towards my own development.
I feel much more evolved as a human being...and I truly feel like a people’s person now!
“What mistakes professionals make when asking for help?”
Firstly, Don’t be afraid to ask for help on LinkedIn but at the same time do your homework! Go through the company’s careers page or the profile of the person you are writing to or seeking help from!
Read and understand the job description and whether it aligns with your career goals and then go search for someone from the same organization working in the department of your interest.
Out of 100 connections, I am sure 5 of them will be willing to help you out. All it takes is effort and consistency in your approach. Not to forget Words like 'Please and Thank You' go a long way when asking someone to help or guide you!
Wrapping it up…
Why do we have to wait for some 'Shriti Singh or XYZ' to show us the direction? Why can’t we see more people from our own CA Fraternity helping each other in the best possible way?
I see a lot of students struggling to cope up with the pressure to clear the exams, self-doubting themselves, clueless and completely dejected. We all can make time and try adding value to each other's lives!
I feel there’s nothing more fulfilling than trying to support each other’s ambitions - Be it teaching students or mentoring them, helping in recruitment or even solving their professional career dilemmas.
Now It's Your Turn...
Do you need some motivation to write on LinkedIn? I am more than happy to help you.
Connect with me on LinkedIn at Shriti Singh.
(Image edited by Ankit Lodhi)