My Journey as a Chartered Accountant from India to Canada (Calgary)

The Finance Story

Today we have an amazing article by Jasprit Gill a qualified Chartered Accountant and CPA. Jasprit worked as a Senior Associate, Risk and Assurance services at PWC, Calgary and then moved to the Financial Services industry working for Alberta Central. 

She is also into the Health & Wellness industry (having worked on body transformation on herself) and a  mindset/motivational speaker at select events.

Jasprit's message:

  • I want everyone to follow their Inner Voice, the Inner Compass.
  • Very often it is that Inner feeling which already knows what we want to do and be in our lives and the only thing needed is - To get out of our own way.
  • The more years we spend on this planet, the more we realize the importance of following our inner feeling, but sometimes the realization comes too late!

My Journey as a Chartered Accountant from India to Canada 

My name is Jasprit Gill. By qualification, I am a Chartered Accountant from India and a CPA Canada. Thanks to my CA and CPA qualification, most people now call me a Global Chartered Accountant!

I pursued my Chartered Accountancy course while I was living in Kolkata, India. I would classify myself as an average student, but always quite ambitious about achieving and doing well in life and being a good person. I am lucky to have an elder sister (also a successful CPA) who introduced me to the Chartered Accountancy course, after noticing my inclination towards academics and my interest in numbers.

It took me 4 years to complete the entire course along with 3 years of internship. I gave academics immense importance, due to the dreams I had built around it.

My dreams were as follows: To give my parents a lavish lifestyle, for me to buy my dream car, visit places/countries I wanted to travel to etc. So these were the things I always eyed and I wanted to do them myself (being the ambitious girl).

My dreams were the driving force behind me pursuing the Chartered Accountancy course relentlessly, as I understood - That Education was the tool to help me live the life I wish to and the way I want to.

I passed the CA Final exams in the first attempt, got selected at Wipro through Campus Placements, but went with PwC as I was already doing my Industrial Training with them. After working at PwC, I moved to YES Bank for a short time in their Corporate Banking Team, before flying out to Canada as a Permanent Resident.

Coincidentally I joined PwC again when I moved to Canada, I had a good experience with them and for the last 2 years, I have been working in the industry.

Overcome challenges when pursuing CA

As I type this and when you read this it may look like it all went very swiftly and smoothly for me, but that is not the case. We all have our share of struggles, inner demons, challenges and tough times to overcome.

There have been ups and downs in my CA story but with support from family and above all from The Almighty I sailed through. Most of all FAITH in myself and by WORKING ON MY GROWTH MINDSET, I was able to get through all the challenges.

The first challenge of my CA journey was clearing PE -1 Exam (first level CA exam):

  • Chartered Accountancy course from India has 3 levels and the first level exam is the easiest which I failed.
  • My mind was like - Who does not clear in PE-1, Jasprit? You are done. You are not going to make it.
  • I did an introspection (or may just say 'I reflected on my performance') and realized I did not approach this course with the dedication and respect it deserved.
  • I literally had – NO STUDY PLAN, NO PRACTICE QUESTIONS SOLVED, NO NOTES TO REVISE.
  • I realized that I did not do anything that I was supposed to do for a professional exam! So this failure was really an eye-opener and a big learning moment for me.
  • So that is when I decided to re-write the exam and this time giving it the commitment it needed with proper time around studying. With proper studying and with a correct mindset I cleared PE-1 in my 2nd attempt.

The next challenge clearing the second level CA Exam:

  • I love Direct taxes, but Indirect Taxation has been my weak point.
  • So, this time as well, I made plans to deal with these weak points early on, before the exam, which helped me to build confidence and ace it.
  • I had a DEDICATED WEEKLY/MONTHLY STUDY PLAN for each CA exam, that I followed and it helped me to cover topics at a good pace and well in advance of the exam.
  • However, I failed in my 1st attempt because of one paper Indirect Taxes.
  • I again prepared well and cleared PE- 2 in my 2nd attempt with a good study plan and a progressive mindset.

CA Final Exams:

  • Now during this time, the CA course from ICAI was going through a lot of changes and our batch almost happened to be the Guinea pig batch, which means all the changes were being experimented on us!
  • Like, to have the 2-year internship before a candidate could sit for their Final examination. So now my CA Final exams got delayed by almost a year, for this reason.
  • It was tough as I was getting out of sync with the study routine and with a gap of 2 years it was tough to get back to books. But again having faith, discrete planning and building my mindset helped me ace the exams and I cleared CA Final in my 1st attempt.
  • The whole journey of preparation, to writing the exam and to getting the results, though tough, has been full of memories which I still cherish.

Study Advice for you

  • Personally, for me, the whole process of becoming a Chartered Accountant is a kind of Marathon and it is up to us (the Marathoner) to keep the momentum going, so like motivational speaker, Zig Ziglar says – People often say motivation does not last, neither does bathing, that’s why we recommend it daily!
  • My grandmother was always concerned that too many studies might affect me mentally/physically, as it is demanding (Marathon, remember) and encouraged me - To go out with friends, spend time in nature or do something that made me feel good. I would like to transfer this valuable advice to every person reading this post – Even while studying do something that you LOVE.
  • So make a study plan, have self-motivation built up in you and take out time to still do things you love to do, to keep yourself going in the long run.
  • For myself, I noted that the more I indulged in the positive self-talk, trusting my own inner voice, ignoring comments from people, the more I was able to have the courage to deal with tough times and make decisions to live the life I want.
  • I created POSITIVE SELF-TALK SENTENCES that I kept replaying in my mind in difficult situations to keep myself going.
  • What you perceive will become your reality.
  • We are responsible for our lives and it is our job how we respond to the challenges and obstacles, let it be in a positive, uplifting and respectful response.
  • There were definitely times where I was confused, tired, lost, overwhelmed by the enormity of the curriculum and length of the course, but building a strong mindset and creating some strategies to deal with the non-technical part of CA course has kept me in good stead. More on this, in the next post.

In Conclusion...

  • Just do not give up! If you have a dream, pursue it, no matter how big the dream is! This applies not necessarily to CA course but anything that you want to do in life.
  • Do not compare yourself to others, everyone has their struggles and joys, their own way of doing things, thinking and living this life. Live and let live.
  • Do proper planning and strategizing well in advance of the exam, especially CA Final. Will help you later in life as well. Learn and grow.
  • Stay strong, unnerved by the number of years involved in this course or do not get intimidated seeing other friends drop out for other fast courses or easier options.
  • Create your list of positive self- talk affirmations, have a growth mindset, listen to motivational podcasts, videos or talks and mark them as favorites so you can go back to them whenever you have doubt creeping in.
  • Lastly, if you are in the CA Course- you are running a marathon, therefore, consider yourself as someone who has the courage to take it for the long haul in this life. Congratulate and Celebrate Yourself – she concluded.

Key Takeaways from my journey

  • People will come in and out of our lives, there will be comments from others that you will end up studying your entire life for CA, governments will change and friends will move to other cities or get married and family will be worried if you will retain your sanity at the end of the course or not! But if you can take each and every doubt, obstacle or tough situation with a smile on your face, know what is it that matters most to you then the rough road becomes easy.
  • Is it people’s opinion about what you do with your life, or your own vision of how you want to live it? If you gain the clarity of what is important to you and why, in addition, build a thick skin to block yourself from all negativity and toxicity in your life, then it will more likely become an enjoyable as well as a great learning experience.
  • This course tests grit, determination, commitment, patience, and perseverance and makes one grow as a person, which we realize only after the grind and not during those years.
  • So try and enjoy the ride while you are in it.
  • The CA course (or any course for that matter) if nothing at all makes us a lot more humble than we are when we start it.

You can connect to Jasprit on Linkedin - Jasprit Gill

Also Read

This Finance Professional Moved to Canada, Found a Job, Purchased a House and Passed Her CPA, All in a Year

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