Millenial CFOs: Why this CA in his mid 20’s moved from a Big 4 to take up leadership roles in companies just starting out in India

  • Meet Yash Menghani, a Chartered Accountant who took up leadership roles in his mid 20’s.
  • Yash has worked with KPMG and later with EY and soon realized he is looking for roles to foster his entrepreneurial desire.
  • Luckily, he came across an opportunity for a CFO position at an early-stage software development and online marketing firm. And he took it up.
  • We spoke to Yash to understand his journey while operating at various Big 4’s and his passion for building different ventures from scratch.

Tell me about yourself and why you decided to pursue CA?

Hailing from a town called Bilaspur in Chhattisgarh, growing up I always wanted to join my family business.

Keeping this goal in mind, I took up the Commerce Stream and had joined the family business while still in college.

However, the turning point was when my uncle persuaded me to study further and have a professional qualification like Chartered Accountancy.

Honestly, till class 12, I did not know what CA was but after understanding how CA can further my grasp in business and finance, I took it up without second-guessing.

I enrolled myself for the specific CA courses and in 2008, I moved to Pune to pursue my goal of becoming a CA. 

I started my articleship at a mid-sized CA firm and stepped into the world of Big 4 after my seniors referred me to KPMG. Luckily, I got selected and was exposed to the corporate world at a very young age.

Fast forward, in 2012, all my hard work paid off when I cleared my CA Finals in the first attempt without any coaching classes.

Tell us how did you start your career after qualifying as a CA?

Once I cleared my CA, I continued my ventures at KPMG even though I never envisioned myself at a Big4.

I was apprehensive of pursuing Audit, so I moved to the Forensic Department in KPMG.

I soon jumped to another Big 4, Ernst & Young (EY). Here I gained insight into different endeavors but after a year at EY, I did not see myself working at Big 4 again.

I was looking for an opportunity where I could be an entrepreneur. The idea of building different ventures from scratch piqued my interest.

In mid-2016, I was bestowed with an opportunity to join Prohaktiv Inc – a software development and online marketing firm as the CFO. Getting the opportunity to build something from scratch was absolutely thrilling for me.

When this opportunity came in, I was proud to call myself an Intrapreneur. 

In 2019, I got an opportunity as the Head of Finance with Bermad India, a well-established Israeli company that is building its footprints in India. Yet again, I was intrigued to learn the ropes of entrepreneurship and embarked on this wonderful journey.

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How did you evaluate your moves in terms of job roles or even compensation?

When I moved to Prohaktiv Inc in 2016 the prime focus was on exposure and the responsibilities of the job. Compensation was still secondary.

Generally, when one goes from one Big 4 to another one gets a 20-30% raise but in my case, I did not take a cut, but I did not get a raise too. I almost came at par.

When I joined Bermad, I was accommodated in a specific salary range. However Bermad has been very generous and even though I did not have a bonus in my structure, I got the bonus. Ultimately, it depends on your performance and your skills.

I would like to add that it is a very special organization because it gives equal rewards and opportunities. I can represent Bermad India in Bermad Global Boards which is very exciting for me.

When you are heading those boards, you think from the perspective of a CEO and CFO. Specifically, with this organization, I have witnessed a lot of growth in terms of myself and the organization too. We are having tremendous growth in the current market. This further encourages and motivates us in the long run.

Do you think there was a considerable risk going from a stable job at a large accounting firm to a young organization?

Coming from a business family, I have the natural ability to take calculated risks

I believe that the risk of joining younger companies is less in comparison to its rewards. For me, this decision was fairly easy. 

Most people do not choose younger companies due to the associated risks and the unsecured guarantee of a job. But now all the recruiters or industries have started respecting all kinds of experiences.

If you feel like you need more security or your startup fails, you can always go back to a consultancy or a bigger organization.

From my experience, if someone is getting an opportunity to get into a young organization, I would suggest taking it. Other than small offices and small teams, everything is the same in a young organization.

Do you think working at a Big 4 early in your career helped you?

Definitely, yes.

I was expected to be on the field with the professionals most of the time. They never treated me as an intern. That was a bit difficult for me but I am grateful for the experience as it contributed to my growth in the long run.

It inspired me to become more hardworking and step outside my comfort zone.

What are the challenges of being a young leader?

  1. People Management
  • At times you will be leading the people who are elder to you and have more experience in terms of years of work. You should learn the art of dealing with the day-to-day.
  • Also, when you are working with younger team members it is your responsibility to pass them complete knowledge and the right set of values and culture.
  1. Taking Responsibility
  • You may land up a job because of your academic background but you can only grow and sustain when you take much more responsibilities than what is expected out of you.
  1. Being Consistent
  • The mind these days is very fragile and it is extremely challenging to stick to industry and constantly evolving in that (because the process is very boring).
  • But doing it can take you much ahead in your career than you can imagine.

What factors should young CAs take into consideration while considering entrepreneurial stints in younger companies?

My first advice would be:

  1. Check whether the new company is well funded to sustain the business for the foreseeable future. When I moved to Bermad, I was aware that it was supported by Bermad Israel, a well-established company. Inculcating the drive to research and weighing your options helps in the process.
  2. Extensive research about your role is imperative for moving to younger companies as you do not have an organized structure or process. Most of the time you need to start from scratch to move forward. This generally happens when you move from a well-established corporate to a young company. 

Now It's Your Turn...

Would you take up roles in startups or companies just starting out in India? Comment below and let us know. 

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