Why this Indian CA declined high-paying job offers in India and returned to his home country, Nepal

  • Hi, my name is Ishwor Nepal and by virtue of my eagerness to achieve more, today I am an Indian Chartered Accountant and eligible to become a Chartered Accountant in Nepal as well.
  • Born and brought up in Kathmandu, Nepal I was initially unaware of the CA profession and aspired to become a doctor.
  • However, as I read more into the interesting lifestyle of CAs, I surprisingly considered pursuing CA.
  • With the hopes of becoming a CA, I took the decision of moving from Nepal to India in 2013 to pursue the course from the well-renowned ICAI.
  • And after qualifying, despite having a number of high-paying job offers in India, I decided to venture into a new journey and eventually returned to Nepal to obtain the certificate of practice. 

Deciding to pursue CA

My primary ambition up until 10th grade was to become a medical doctor. Being exceptionally well in academics and having a genuine fascination with neuroscience, medical school appeared to be the best direction.

For obvious reasons, I started exploring my choices to get the best Science schools in town. As luck would have it, I ended up getting into Commerce.

I cannot remember how I made my choice, but some senior professors advised me to choose the Commerce stream saying it was worthwhile and in high demand.

Fast forward, in 2012, I graduated from high school and then came the big question - What Next?

I knew many peers who were pursuing CA, but I was not confident about pursuing it myself, as I knew very little about the career scope for CAs, apart from their high earnings.

This pushed me a few steps ahead into actually considering chartered accountancy

ICAI v ICAN: Deciding to pursue CA in India

I searched for the term CA on the internet and the top search results actually showed “CA courses in India”.

I conducted research about The Institute of Chartered Accountants of India (ICAI) and learned more about articles, work, and how CAs have achieved leading positions such as becoming CFOs or CEOs.

After a careful discussion with a few Indian and Nepalese CA seniors, I made up my mind to pursue CA from ICAI in India as it had a wider scope and greater opportunities.

In addition, CAs from ICAI received more recognition and relatively better placements in major companies.

Some other compelling aspects that made me consider having a career in India are:

  • The availability of numerous multinational companies.
  • The progressive nature of the workplace culture in Indian companies or firms.
  • The significant exposure of Indian CAs to various foreign industries.
  • The advanced nature of taxation and law in India, compared to Nepal.

After graduating from high school, I moved to CCMA College in Nepal to further my studies. That is where I passed my Common Proficiency Test (CPT).

Thereafter, I journeyed to India to complete the Integrated Professional Competence Course (IPCC) in 2013.

Relocating from Nepal to India: Hope of building a successful career

Moving to India was indeed extremely challenging for me after living in my comfort zone with caring parents for about 18 years.

Besides, I found it even more challenging to persuade my parents to let me move away.

Surprisingly, one of my maternal uncles lived in Delhi and he offered to help me in my situation. Appreciably, he assisted me throughout the whole process of moving and settling down.

With the hope of making something of myself, I eventually moved to India in January of 2013.

Arriving in Delhi, the cruel experience of the scorching heat welcomed me, which was not pleasant at all, as we, Nepalese are accustomed to cold weather.

For the first few months, I became homesick as I dearly longed for the beautiful hills of Nepal and the lovable community there. My first few months in India were both mentally and physically stressful, for evident reasons.

Insufficient information and lack of proper guidance in an entirely new place were as challenging as they could get. And to top it all off, I had absolutely no feasible plans about my future at that moment.

I must add that language was another barrier.

Against all odds, I qualified as a CA

Determined to make it through, I enrolled for a BCom at Indira Gandhi National Open University and simultaneously joined a coaching institute in the reputed Lakshmi Nagar, to complete the entire course of IPCC.

With sheer dedication and rigorous study sessions, I cleared my IPCC exams within the 9-month timeline.

Coincidentally, I pursued my articles at a Nepal-related firm. Although the firm was average, I had the opportunity to obtain reasonable exposure from a variety of industries.

Most importantly, the principal was a great and supportive mentor. It is an honor to have worked under his guidance and garner valuable knowledge.

And with the help of my unwavering determination, I qualified as a CA from ICAI in November of 2018… A dream come true!

The trade-off between a career in India and a certificate of practice (COP) in Nepal

After finally becoming a qualified CA, I started dreaming about working in top-tier companies in India like any other CA fresher.

I attended campus placements and cleared a number of interviews from top-notch organizations and even signed an employment contract with a renowned company.

I was more than just ready to start the chapter of my career in India but regrettably, something unfortunate happened.

From 2017, ICAN enacted a regulation that required all ICAI CAs to mandatorily complete a one-year internship program to gain membership in Nepal.

The new regulation clearly stated that we would not be able to get membership in Nepal unless we complete the one-year internship under a Nepalese CA firm and clear two exams (taxation and corporate law).

The whole circumstance was devastating for me. I was completely torn between having a career in India and getting a COP in Nepal.

I could have gone about my career in India, which was overly tempting, but the thought of being prohibited from practicing in my home country was heartwrenching.

After some long hours of decision-making sessions, in the end, I chose my home country.

Getting the Certificate of Practice in Nepal

Upon returning to Nepal, I diligently completed the one-year mandatory internship under one of the former presidents of The Institute of Chartered Accountants of Nepal (ICAN), and ultimately cleared membership examination of chartered accountancy of Nepal in 2021.

While I was still celebrating my victory of almost getting a dual membership, the unluckiest incident, Covid-19 took place and that made it impossible for me to go back to India.

Hence, I decided to stay in Nepal and become a manager at PJ Thapa & Co., a CA firm in Kathmandu.

Although I chose Nepal over India for apparent reasons, I still hope that in the future I’d be fortunate enough to fulfill my dream of working in one of India’s renowned companies.

Advice for Nepalese CAs

If any Nepalese aspiring CA fancies working in large multinational companies and wants to start off in India, then go for it without any hesitation.

But if you consider having your own practice in Nepal, then return as soon as possible right after qualifying, as this would be a wise option for you in the long run.

Here are some key points which I think would be beneficial for a CA who wants to practice in Nepal:

  • Right now, ICAI and ICAN signed Memorandums of Understanding (MoU) and Mutual Recognition Agreements (MRA), meaning you do not have to complete the one-year internship to be eligible for those two exams of membership. Basically, you can obtain membership just after clearing the taxation and corporate law exams. Having said this, completing the one-year internship is mandatory to get the COP.
  • After the internship, collect all of your membership and practice certificates, and then if you desire to work in big Indian companies, go ahead. Just remember that Nepal and India have different sets of taxation and corporate laws.
  • Until you have a total clarification of your plans, I suggest you stay in Nepal and create a full-proof plan.

In conclusion, all of your career decisions are entirely up to you. So, choose whatever profession you deem interesting and enjoyable.

Have questions for Ishwor?

Comment below and he will get back to you. 

(Edited by Preeti Mondal)

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