- I am Avik Mittal a CPA Australia, and a qualified Chartered Accountant from India.
- Growing up in the town of Shahpur in Uttar Pradesh, India, education was a great challenge as there were no schools for higher & secondary education.
- In spite of all the challenges, I charted my own career path, qualified as a CA, pursued CPA Australia, and got into a job that I dreamed of. Here is my story.
A look at my early life!
I grew up in a small town where we used to struggle for basic necessities like electricity. However, the situation is much better these days.
While in school, I had a keen interest in electronic gadgets and since one of my cousins was an engineer it was no surprise that my parents expected me to do engineering!
After my 8th grade, my parents decided to move to a bigger city (Muzaffarnagar) for my education and was admitted to a reputed English medium school.
Apart from the pressure I faced at home to do well in my studies, I found it difficult to adapt to the new environment. Hailing from a small town, I had to face culture shock as well. Poor me!
I felt totally demotivated. My grades dropped.
By this time, I too was keen on taking up the Science stream and do engineering however due to my low grades, my family forced me to opt for the commerce stream.
A Chartered Accountant by chance
I had no further plans. I just wanted to complete my graduation and then decide what to do next. It was around this time that a friend of mine told me that he was pursuing CA. Promptly, I decided to do CA as well.
However, I faced the first hitch when I informed my parents about my decision to do CA! My parents tried to convince me that I was not cut out for this course since it required long hours of studies.
In fact, my relatives, and even our landlord kept telling me that I should not go ahead with CA.
The more they tried to dissuade me from doing CA, the more I was determined to do it. I wanted to prove them wrong.
And to everyone’s surprise, I was the only student that attempt in Muzaffarnagar city who was able to clear the CA Intermediate Level in the first attempt with a very impressive score.
This is how I ended up pursuing CA. Your Destiny Will Find You Wherever You Are
Starting my career
My CA journey was quite good, interesting & learning. I started it in Dec 2012 and cleared my final exams in May 2017.
During my articles, I used to work with International clients and take care of almost every aspect of finance & compliance function for the clients in India.
I got well versed in all issues related to MNCs. Moreover, my experience at the CA firm helped me to learn team management.
After qualifying as a CA, I did get a few offers from the clients I was working with, however, I made up mind that if I move to another organization it would be at a senior position! So, I decided to continue with the existing CA firm before looking for a corporate job.
Fortunately, Criteo (a France based company, listed on NASDAQ) was one of the clients I was taking care of. I met all their deadlines & they were happy with my work. Soon, they offered to hire me as a Finance Manager, India on a permanent role.
Here I was asked to manage the Taxation & Credit Analyst team and take care of Secretarial compliance for Criteo India as well. Needless to say, I took up the offer.
Decided to pursue CPA Australia to take my career forward
Fast forward, in 2018, I was interested in pursuing an international qualification (by now I was also an LLB & CS).
I did some research, compared CPA US, Canada, Ireland & CFA as well and discovered that CPA Australia is the best one as it’s easy to enroll, globally acceptable, less expensive, and can be done from India!
Also, based on the MRA between CPA Aus. & ICAI I just had to pass one main exam called “Global Strategy & Leadership” where I needed 60% to get it cleared. In addition, I had to complete a few online pieces of training & attempt an online exam which was pretty easy.
As part of the research, I attended a few free seminars organized by CPA Aus. team to obtain more clarity before enrolling for the same.
All in all CPA Aus. seemed the most attractive option and I enrolled for the same.
As destiny would have it, since I was pursuing CPA Australia, I got a rare opportunity to take care of the finance function of Criteo Australia which helped me to understand the Australian laws & the working environment practically!
To add to the celebrations, I also passed the CPA exams in June 2020!
A few words to wrap up…
To my fellow professionals and CPA aspirants:
Work on yourself & decide what you want to be. Don’t look at where you want to be tomorrow, just visualize where you want to be in 10 years. Take risks & do something different.
Today, young professionals either choose to be an entrepreneur as part of their career goal or become a part of the industry. In both scenarios, having an additional qualification like MBA or CPA, etc. along with CA would be a great add on. It will help you to grow much faster in the career you have chosen.
Moreover, it is a competitive world, so we have to keep upgrading ourselves not only on the latest developments in the world of finance & audit but also technology.
Provide end-to-end services to the client, make them depend on you for multiple functions which also increases your client retention rate.
There will be pitfalls along any career path, so we have to overcome them with no fear of falling behind.
Now It’s Your Turn…
In today’s times upskilling yourself is key. What are you pursuing next?
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