I decided to pursue my dream of becoming a Chartered Accountant at the age of 35. And how you can too.
- Hi, I am Rakesh K. Bhurani, a Chartered Accountant from India.
- In 2019, I started my own CA Practice RK Bhurani & Co. in Puttaparthi – Andhra Pradesh (India).
- But what is special about me? Nothing…. except, that I decided to pursue my dream of becoming a Chartered Accountant at the age of 35, almost 15 years after my graduation.
- I am lucky that life gave me an opportunity to fulfill my dream but a second chance is not always possible in life...so grab the opportunity when it presents itself.
- Here is my journey.
Giving up on my dream to pursue Chartered Accountancy
When you are in college the most common question is “What next? What are your career plans?”.
And whenever anyone asked me this question, my answer was always the same "I want to become a Chartered Accountant.”
It was my dream to become a Chartered Accountant...but in those days (1995) I was discouraged by a few people stating that it was a very tough course.
As a 16-year-old, I took advice from the naysayers and gave up on my dream of becoming a CA. (When I think of it today, my biggest mistake was listening to others!)
Fast forward, I started assisting my brother in the Advertising field and started my career. We used to do all sorts of printing and designing work and in a short time, we were quite famous.
After a few years, I got married and we had a daughter. In the midst of all this, many times I tried to study further but was not able to because of my busy schedule and responsibilities.
One passion that I did not give up on was reading, I always made time to read books.
Life continued and now I had been working with my brother for almost 14 long years.
Second Innings of my career
I always wanted to be more than just a 'Commerce Graduate'. Finally, after almost 12 years, I mustered the courage to study further.
While still running the business with my brother, I started giving tuitions to college students and simultaneously decided to pursue my Masters in Commerce (M.Com).
In fact, when I enrolled for my Masters our second daughter Hanisha was just born.
I still remember when I entered my class, I was quite embarrassed as every student was almost ten years younger than me. It was not easy.
Luckily, around the same time, I happen to meet a friend of mine Arun who told me that last year while he was completing his graduation, he witnessed a mother and daughter duo appearing for their exams together. This story brought a shift in my mindset.
I now started to get comfortable being the oldest in class though it was a slow and gradual process.
Fortunately, all my hard work paid off when I stood first in both the years of M.Com.
Getting back to studies after a gap of more than a decade and topping the class...made me very confident.
I was now mentally prepared that I could achieve academic success and so decided to study further.
In early 2012, I qualified UGC NET exams in my first attempt as I was trying to get a job as a professor in an aided college.
I had now also decided to pursue an MBA...CA was still nowhere in my radar.
Turn of events and deciding to pursue CA at the age of 35
On 21st August 2012, my mother passed away. For me, my mother was always the backbone of my life, we were very close...for about four months I was in depression.
At that time, I was running a coaching class and I used to weep whenever I was alone in class. It was during this tough phase that I decided to pursue CA, to keep myself very busy.
On 8th December 2013, it was my 9th Wedding Anniversary, I enrolled for Chartered Accountancy from ICAI (The Institute of Chartered Accountants of India).
So, with my wife, sisters, brothers, and daughter's support, I started my CA journey, a dream that I thought would never come to life.
Qualifying as a CA at the age of 42
To become a CA from India, one needs to clear: CPT, IPCC and CA Finals along with 2.5 years of articles.
Since I was pursuing CA after my graduation, I had to clear only two levels: IPCC and CA Finals, of course with my articles.
After securing the first rank in M.Com, I was very confident and was of the opinion that IPCC exams can be easily cleared in the first attempt. But slowly and gradually I realized that CA is a lot more difficult than M.Com!
I decided to give my best and self-study for the exams (no additional coaching)...and qualified the exams in my second attempt, not bad at all, I was happy.
I started my articles on 1st Feb 2014 and now I had only one hurdle to overcome, CA Final exams.
Fast forward, in early 2016, my father passed away. It was a very difficult time for me but I bounced back quickly.
I now started preparing for my CA Final exams.
Balancing work, study and family was not so easy, but I really worked very hard and knew these hardships were temporary.
There were times when before my CA Final exams, I would sit for a whole month just studying. I am lucky to have a very supportive wife Bhavna and equally encouraging daughters.
I took a few attempts and finally in May 2019 I qualified as a Chartered Accountant....a dream come true!!!
I am 42 today and have a long way to go to reap the rewards of my success.
Tip: When I think of it now, my strong point was my self-prepared simplified notes.
Questions I get asked most often.
"Did my life change after qualifying as a CA?"
Initially, everything was the same but slowly and gradually life started to change!
I have my own CA practice in Puttaparthi (India) and now I am able to put my theoretical knowledge into practical use.
I have learnt to believe that everything is possible.
I have worked as a professor for more than ten years and passionate about teaching. So I guess with my new success I will be able to fuel the dreams of many other youngsters.
"How difficult was it to study when you have a full-time job and a family?"
It was not easy continuing my educational journey after kids but my wife and family always supported. So, everything fell into place.
At a young age, we have only one track of mind that is 'we have to study' but when you are married and have kids, the responsibility is a lot. It becomes very difficult to manage family, job and education.
When I think of it today I still cannot comprehend how I managed all of it...I just know I managed! I am grateful to my wife and my family who supported me.
Even my daughters never disturbed me when I used to study....however now they have given me a warning that no more studying!
"Lessons learnt on the way."
- Be confident, not overconfident. After securing the first rank for my Master, I was overconfident and assumed IPCC exams could be cleared easily. Slowly I got realized that CA is a lot more challenging and would need 100% dedication and consistent efforts.
- Don't take a break in your education. I was lucky to get a second chance to fulfill my dream but this chance will not be available to everybody. So if possible, pursue education earlier in life when you have fewer responsibilities.
- Listen to your heart. In your journey, many people may discourage you...just listen to your heart and go-ahead.
- Failure is the pillar of success. The most important requirement to become CA is fighting spirit. Never, never, never give up. Success is a failure in progress and someone who has never failed cannot truly be a successful person.
- Age is just a number. If you think you are old, you are. If you think you are young, you are. It depends on your thought process.
“Live as if you were to die tomorrow. Learn as if you were to live forever."
My father used to say "There is no wrong time to do the right thing in your life. Learning should be an on-going process."
I would fail in my duty if I am not expressing my sincere thanks to Shri Vijay Bhaskar Reddy, CA RajkumarTolani and CA Vinit Gada for their support and co-operation.
Rakesh Bhurani is a Chartered Accountant and has his own CA Firm in India. He is passionate about education and loves teaching.
Now It's Your Turn...
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