How this boy from Kathmandu accomplished his CA journey in India then skilfully started his career in Nepal

  • Hi, I am Basanta Chapagain. Hailing from Kathmandu, Nepal, I became a qualified chartered accountant from ICAI in 2017.
  • Although I was overwhelmed by several lucrative job offers from renowned companies in India I had to eventually return to Nepal, primarily because of the constant family pressure, but also for my ambitions to secure membership from ICAN
  • Here’s my journey and how I started my career all over in Nepal.  

Family background

While growing up, like most kids I dreamed of becoming a mainstream professional such as a doctor, engineer, or pilot. But as time went by I discovered that there are even more opportunities and different fields available.

Being great with numbers I wished to go after professions such as accounting or finance. 

Fortunately, I had gained some knowledge about Chartered Accountancy from my brother and my sister-in-law since they were pursuing ACCA and CA from The Institute of Chartered Accountants of Nepal (ICAN).

Even though I should have chosen Commerce subjects in class 12, I decided to enroll in Science, so that I could have other career options if I were to change my mind about pursuing CA.

Eventually, I learned more about the lifestyle and work details of chartered accountants through the crucial help of my brother, his wife, and their colleagues. Therefore after completing my 12th I said let’s go for it and took the first step by searching for CA institutes.

Another deciding factor in pursuing CA was their huge reputation. Also chartered accountants were in high demand at that time in Nepal which seemed appealing to me.

ICAI vs ICAN: Why I chose ICAI

During my research and inquiries of a few CA family members, I was advised to choose The Institute of Chartered Accountants of India (ICAI), as it is the world’s second-largest accounting body.

Moreover, ICAI holds Memorandums of Understanding (MoU) as well as Mutual Recognition Agreements (MRAs) with other institutes such as CPA Canada, CPA Australia, SAICA, and ICAEW, to name but a few.

This meant wider global recognition and a vast pool of opportunities as well as career advancement, so I decided to pursue the CA profession through ICAI.

My CA journey: Relocating from Nepal to India

ICAI offers the CA course in three levels – Common Proficiency Test (CPT), Integrated Professional Competence Course (IPCC) and CA Final.

With ICAI exam centres in Kathmandu, I took the opportunity to prepare and write both CPT and IPCC in Nepal, so I did not relocate to India immediately at the start of my CA journey.

In 2013 after passing my IPCC exams I finally journeyed from Nepal to India. It was time to start with my 2.5 years of articles.

For articleship, I applied to Big 4 firms, but alas, they did not respond on time. So ultimately, I completed my articleship at B. Rattan & Associates.

Moving to another country is always difficult, especially when there is no guidance upon relocation.

Fortunately, some of my friends pursued CA in India, so they taught me a variety of survival skills in the new country.

Furthermore, language was not a barrier for me as I grew up watching Indian movies, which taught me Hindi.

Balancing CA Final with articles was not easy, but I gave my best shot at every step and in 2017, I eventually cleared the CA final exam on the first attempt. It was a worthwhile journey!

Turning down job offers from Big 4s in India and returning to Nepal

After qualifying as a CA, I obviously applied to Big 4 firms like any other CA fresher would do and two of them actually responded.

However, my family insisted that I should come back to Nepal and advance my career at home. Living in Nepal was also really comfortable for me too rather than living in India.

Choosing Nepal over India, considering India’s high-paying job opportunities, was distressing for me in some ways.

There are days where I thought starting off my career in India would have been wiser since it offered bigger opportunities as well as attractive salary packages.  Also, I had acquired a great understanding of the taxation and laws of India.

Apart from the family pressure, another reason I decided to come back home was because of the new regulation in Nepal, which clearly stated that if any  ICAI qualified CA wanted to get a membership from ICAN then they would have to complete a one-year articleship in Nepal first.

Therefore, I became determined to complete the one-year internship to be eligible for those two exams that would assure my membership in ICAN.

And also, I figured that if I wanted to start my own practice in Nepal in the long run, the ICAN membership would come in handy.

Starting my career in Nepal

Following the one-year internship, I was in line for my ICAN membership exams in early 2020, but due to the Covid-19 lockdown, it was unfortunately halted. Kind of disheartening, I began job hunting which seemed like a sane choice at the moment.

I was overwhelmed with all the job offers that I had received from banking and finance institutions, CA firms, and manufacturing companies.

But ICRA Nepal Limited (Credit Rating Agency) ultimately caught my attention. Thankfully, I passed the interview and joined ICRA Nepal in 2019 and have been working there ever since.

With vast experience in auditing, consulting, and taxation from three years of articles, credit rating was a new avenue for me as it required getting into ratios, which was a completely new concept.

But I still joined ICRA Nepal thinking it would create new opportunities for me and also, I loved the new challenge.

Currently, I am working as an Associate Analyst at ICRA Nepal Limited, which is a subsidiary of ICRA Limited, an Indian company serving as a Moody’s Investors Service.

Future of CAs in Nepal

The Nepalese economy is undeniably growing with time and the opportunities are certainly endless for CAs here.

For a remarkable future of the CAs, new institutions, as well as startups and multinational companies are developing in a great manner in Nepal.

But for entrepreneurs, it would be quite difficult as the Nepalese market is still in its initiation phase.

According to the Association of Chartered Accountants of Nepal (ACAN)’s 2020 data, around 2500 new CAs were produced in Nepal, so the future is looking hopeful for the emerging chartered accountants.

At the beginning of my CA journey, I would have advised the aspiring Nepalese CAs to pursue the course from ICAI, but now ICAN  is also becoming on par with ICAI in terms of institutional development.

However, everybody knows that ICAI has numerous distinguished aspects, so I would initially suggest they pursue CA from ICAI.

Moreover, there are various paths to explore and opportunities to grab. So, keep on grinding and you will reach your preferred destination.

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