- Hi, I’m Anantha Padmanabha, a dreamer who ventured into the world of Chartered Accountancy with high hopes.
- Unfortunately, I struggled to pass the CA Final exams and was stuck in the exam loop.
- In 2018, despite well-meaning advice, I took a bold step and dropped out!
Failing CA Final exams… 2 years straight!
In 2013, I successfully passed the CPT (Common Proficiency Test) and IPCC (Integrated Professional Competence Course), which are the entry-level and intermediate-level exams for Chartered Accountancy respectively.
Next, I started my articles with Guru & Jana, a prestigious firm in India. I gained extensive knowledge about various auditing techniques and had the opportunity to lead a team of CAs in conducting significant audits.
However, in 2016, I faced a setback when I was unable to clear my CA Final exam. Undeterred, I said, ‘I will work and reappear for the exams once again.’
Around the same time I joined Goodbox, a startup that prominent investors like Nexus Partners supported. I was enjoying the thrill and fast-paced culture of startups. After approximately 8 months, I transitioned to another startup.
In 2017, I reappeared for my CA Final exams but alas! No success.
Dropped out of CA for a career leap
Doubts flooded my mind as I spent almost two years just appearing for my CA Final exams!
Looking around I noticed that India was undergoing a transformation and there was a significant market opportunity for business advisory and accounting services specifically tailored for startups.
I wanted to tap into this opportunity… But I was just trapped in this November and May loop of exams.
I made the difficult decision… And decided to drop out.
My parents were very supportive but encouraged me to persist and not give up!
The decision weighed heavily on me until a mentor’s advice changed my perspective: “You need to know when to give up… To go up!”
In 2018, I finally bid farewell to my CA dream, realizing that it would only set my career progression back by a few years.
Advisory firm to help startups
A close friend of mine, Prathik, who is a CA, was already practising independently. It was during this time that I realized I could offer consulting services as well.
I proposed the idea of joining forces to Prathik. Despite not being a certified CA myself, he agreed.
With zero funds and our unwavering courage, we founded Bloomtree Business Advisors.
One of our pivotal achievements was completing a significant project for Koo, a social networking platform, in just 20 days.
This left a lasting impression on their investors. One of the investors remarked, “These guys know what they’re doing.”
As we ventured into startup consultancy, we discovered our knack for handling investor relations and broadening our range of services.
We have ambitious plans not only for 2024 but also for the future. Some opportunities we are tapping into:
- GCC centers in Dubai, where there is a plethora of potential
- The increasing number of AIF (Alternative Investment Fund) registrations in India since 2016 has created opportunities in the specialized field of fund administration and fund accounting. This area is untapped!
- GIFT City is another area of great focus for us
- Exploring options such as providing internal audit services.
We aim to cater to a wide range of clients, from startups to high-net-worth individuals (HNIs) to AIFs, covering the entire spectrum of services.
Life after I dropped out of CA
Here I am today about six years down the line, proudly saying, ‘I have never regretted my decision not to reappear for the CA final exam.’
Do well-wishers still encourage me to complete CA? Absolutely, yes!
Recently I had an opportunity to meet T. V. Mohandas Pai, the Padma Shri Awardee and former CFO and Board Member at Infosys. He also happens to be a CA.
He asked me, “Why don’t you consider reappearing for your CA final exam?”
With utmost gratitude, I said, ‘I’m content with my decision. I enjoy working at Bloomtree.’
Do clients respect me? Yes. Right before any meeting, I make it clear that despite having completed my articles, I do not possess the CA qualification. This particular approach has proven to be advantageous for us. I surpass expectations by delivering more than what was initially promised.
Dropping out of CA is neither a success nor a failure.
If you strongly feel that you want to do CA, you should keep trying. But you should know that not passing the CA exams is not the end of the world, especially in today’s digital world.
Consider alternate qualifications or build a skill where you are the best.
We are in a new India where opportunities are in plenty. Be confident through your down times and make failures your strength.