A Chartered Accountant Who Stood Against All Odds

The Finance Story

CA Rushabh Vora is an experienced Transfer Pricing (TP) professional. Having done his articleship in a reputed mid-size firm, he worked with one of the Big 4 consultancy firms to gain specialized TP knowledge for 2.5 years. Presently, he is working with another reputed CA firm and handling TP and corporate tax matters.

His journey 'from a vernacular medium student to an experienced TP professional' is proof that -  If You Believe in yourself you are unstoppable. The only thing we have to overcome is our psychological barriers in our own mind. 

How my CA dream started:

 “I had no idea what Chartered Accountant (CA) is all about until I heard about it in the 8th Standard when my elder brother opted for CA,” says CA Rushabh Vora from Mumbai, India. He is currently working in a reputed mid-size CA firm in Mumbai for a Transfer Pricing and Corporate tax profile.

Related Article:

Everything You Need To Know To Make A Career In Transfer Pricing (TP). Must Read!

“My father was in the accounting and taxation profession for more than 25 years. Even though he was not a CA, his vast experience and intellect were way more than a CA. Considering his profession, we always discussed topics like Taxation, Accounting, etc at home. I guess that is how we (my brother CA Bhavin and myself) developed an interest in this profession. Gradually we realized, it was my father’s dream to witness both of us becoming a CA one day. So now, it became my dream to pursue my father’s dream.

Having an elder brother who is in the same profession always gives you an added advantage in terms of guidance and resolving queries. He has been my backbone throughout my life and supported me in all decisions.

My Academic Journey:

At school, I always managed to be amongst the top 5 most of the times and if I was not in the top 5 it would upset me. But today when I look back, I realize that standing 1st in class and being amongst the top 5 never really determines one’s success in life.

In school, I studied in a vernacular medium (Gujarati medium). So when I started with college, initial few weeks were tough for me, however, once I realized it’s all in the mind and everything is possible, speaking/writing fluent English seemed very doable. No doubt, the transformation to complete English language was a difficult task and I had to put in lots of extra efforts to be at par with others, but I never felt embarrassed. I never felt that my path was more difficult than others.

I did the following to improve my English:

  • Reading is the basic and the easiest thing to do to improve one’s vocabulary
  • The more you speak the more you can improve. It is better to speak English when with friends.
  • People say don't watch movies. But I guess watching English movies helped me understanding English better.

My CA and Articleship journey:

Passing CPT (1st level CA exam) and IPCC (2nd level CA exams consisting of 2 groups, Group 1 and Group 2) exams in the 1st attempt was not a surprise for my family but it was a big surprise to me.

Then came articleship. It was Aug’10. I went with the flow and got selected in a reputed mid-size CA firm M/s Suresh Surana and Associates which was a life-changing event. The initial few days were tough working with my senior. She was a perfectionist and wanted everything to be perfect. It was tough for me to cope up initially but with time that very quality of being perfect helped me perform exceptionally well at work.

Within a span of 8-10 months, having realized that I have a good skill of logical thinking, the Partner of our team offered me to join specialized Transfer Pricing team of our firm. I accepted my Partner’s proposal to join specialized TP team and never looked back then. My other colleagues were also super helpful and taught me so much.

During my articleship my routine was as follows:

  • Wake up at 5 AM
  • Then attend college lectures at 7 AM for mandatory attendance
  • Post completion of college, attend CA Final coaching class (last level CA exam consisting of 2 groups, Group 1 and Group 2) at 7 Am (from April 2012)
  • Then rush to work for my articleship
  • Work super hard in the office
  • Reach home by 9.30-10 PM
  • I used to travel by train so, in that 1.5 hours travel journey, I used to revise a little
  • Later in the night complete college projects and study a little again
  • On weekends, we had coaching class the entire day

The above routine did make life boring at times but this journey was made up of wonderful memories. Articleship gives you friends for life. As the youngest child in the family, I was always pampered (in a nice way!) thus, the articleship journey transformed me from a pampered kid to a responsible man. My parents really saw me grow up responsibly during those 3 years.

So to everyone out there:

  • Don’t just be a book-worm and adopt an over career-oriented approach, instead have fun during your articleship
  • Make friends. You never know, you end up making another family in your friends
  • You will have tough days, sometimes super tough days, but it is all a part of the learning process
  • You might find seniors you can be very tough on you, respect them and learn from them. If it gets difficult to handle things, speak to someone who can help you deal with situations

My CA Final Examination Journey:

My CA Final (last level CA exam consisting of 2 groups, Group 1 and Group 2) attempt was in May 2013. Now my CA coaching class started in April 2012. Long story short, the Principal of our class expired and all our lectures were cancelled for 3 months.  They somehow managed to complete our portion just 2 months before our CA Final exam. Many students in our batch skipped that attempt but I was clear right from the start that - I am NOT going to drop my attempt come what may. During my study leave, I used to study for 15-16 hours a day to compensate for the lost time. My only goal  – To be satisfied with my study preparation. I did not want to blame my circumstances and get away with an excuse.

Fast forwarding, on the exam day, I blanked out in Financial Reporting (FR) exam. Somehow, I managed to calm myself and started attempting easy questions. There was one question for 20 marks really simple but I goofed up and was not able to solve it. I was so disappointed with myself but decided to focus on my next exams. It is very important in CA exams to forget about the previous exam and just focus on the next exam.

The other exams were going quite decent. However, for another exam, I got dehydrated and blanked out again. I did not panic and instead took a short nap. Fortunately, I got up 10 minutes later and when I opened my eyes, I felt better. Though I had wasted 15-20 minutes, I still could finish my paper because of my good writing speed. The remaining papers went well.

I had an intuition that if I will pass my Financial Reporting (FR) paper, I will clear CA Final.  However, I could only clear CA Final 2nd group and I failed in my CA Final 1st Group because of FR as I was just short of 4 marks to pass. 

I was heart-broken. Failing for the first time in my life was not less than a shameful event. My family was very supportive but I wanted to be a CA who cleared in the 1st attempt. I blamed myself for not being able to solve that simple question in FR which could have saved me. I even cried in alone.

Failing can sometimes be a crime in the Indian society. I overheard people gossip about me and a few relatives also criticized me. At the same time, a few of my friends cleared the exams and became qualified CA’s. Undoubtedly, I was very happy for them but I used to feel the pinch that I did not clear (human tendency you know).

Though I am a very self-motivated human, I still needed a push from others to help me out of this situation. My family, friends, and colleagues all motivated me. I too realized that it was not the time to lose hope, rather it was the time to put in extra efforts and get those two letters ‘CA’ before my name.

For my CA Final Group 1 2nd attempt, I prepared well, however just 4 days before the exams I got a stomach infection and was admitted to the hospital. I informed my family that whatever happens, I do not want to fail without giving a try. I managed to convince the doctor and the day before my exam I got discharged. Luckily that attempt I cleared CA Final Group 1 scoring 66/100 in FR.  Now I had the 2 words CA before my name -  CA Rushabh VoraIt was not me alone who succeeded that day, but it was my father’s long-awaited dream, my mother’s parallel support, my brother’s expert guidance and my friends’ constant help that too succeeded.

My advice to others:

  • A fighter is not the one who doesn’t fail, he is the one who fails but gets up again and rises. It ain’t about how hard you hit, it’s about how hard you can get hit and still keep moving forward.
  • No matter, how badly I have struggled through-out my CA journey, in my view - Luck played a vital role. Though it’s a different matter that luck cannot work until we work.
  • CA coaching classes are not mandatory, however, their basic guidance to understand complex issues ease our way and help in saving time. Classes are not meant to spoon feed, it is just an additional way of learning.  Post that, self-study is mandatory.
  • I really wanted to write mock test papers, have heard about its benefit from past students and friends. Unfortunately, I could not do so. When my friends were appearing for mock test papers, we were just actually completing our syllabus in Sukhsagor classes. Doesn't matter as I said we cant do everything that others are doing,” he concluded.

P:S: You could reach him at vorarushabh92@gmail.com/thecastory@gmail.com

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