This CS and semi qualified CA tells us how he pivoted his career when he kept failing his CA Final exams
- Hi! I am Anoop Jagetia, a proud Company Secretary and a partly Qualified Accountant from India.
- My CA journey started off well, cleared the first two levels, completed my articles with a Big 4 firm PwC…but I hit a roadblock when I kept failing in my CA Final exams!
- What Next? I quit CA and pursued Company Secretary, and started all over!
- However, after all that efforts I was offered a meager yearly salary of only $6000 in an expensive city like Mumbai!
- So I decided to start my own CS Consulting & Accounting firm for clients in UK, USA and NRIs.
- Read my story to know how I happened to turn around my career even after several failures.
Going back in time – Chartered Accountancy or Company Secretary?
I belong to Bhilwara, the Textile City of Rajasthan (India).
Growing up in a community where most of my family and friends were Chartered Accountants, I too decided to pursue Chartered Accountancy.
2009. I enrolled for the CA course with the ICAI (The Institute of Chartered Accountants of India) and moved to Mumbai to achieve my dreams.
When I started off, my CA journey was super smooth.
2010, 2011. I had cleared the first two levels of CA easily and started with my articles with a Big Four Accounting firm PwC.
It was a big achievement in my life!
During my articles with PwC, I learnt some great lessons - the Time Value of Money, dealing with CFOs, CEOs, Audit Committee...which gave my confidence a great boost!
I learnt the Auditing part of Financials, preparation of Annual Accounts, Tax reports, Auditor’s Reports, etc. (The Financial Part of Annual reports you can say).
Around the same time, I discovered my passion for Law and compliance and enrolled for Company Secretaryship (ACS) as well!
2012, 2013. I had completed my graduation, articles and had cleared all three levels of the CS course...and only had my CA Final exams pending to become a qualified CA!
With all the optimism and preparation books could offer, I took the CA Final exams only to get a ‘FAIL’ result.
2014, 2015. For 2 years after that, I kept writing CA final exams but kept on facing failure. It was the darkest few years of my life.
It was also hard on my family but they always supported me.
Quitting CA to pursue articles in Company Secretaryship
After facing failures in CA final exams for straight 2 years, I knew that it was not worth to put my career on hold anymore.
- I decided to quit CA and go ahead with my career as a Company Secretary.
Another twist, though I cleared all my CS exams but to obtain the title of a qualified Company Secretary I had to complete one year of articles!
So, I applied to a leading company Hindalco Industries Limited (one of the Top 5 companies in the Aluminum Sector Worldwide) and started with my CS articles.
Here I learnt about Stock Exchange Compliances, the role of SEBI etc...in short, the other half of the Annual Report you can say.
There were days where I felt terrible...while my friends who had qualified as CAs were moving ahead in their careers, I was doing articles again, I felt I was moving backward in my career.
But I knew it was a case of better late than never...so, rather than getting stuck with one course, I am glad that I took the decision to pursue a different, yet a similar career.
Finally, in 2017, I was given the title of Company Secretary...it felt great it seemed I was in the right direction.
Struggling to find a well-paying job as a Company Secretary and starting my own firm
To be honest, even though I was not a Chartered Accountant, I had all the knowledge of one!
So, I was of the opinion that now with my CS certification and my CA background I would get a good opportunity in the corporate world!
But that was not the case.
After so many years of hard work when I was offered a salary of only Rs. 4 Lakhs per annum (approx USD 6000), I was totally shattered.
So what next? I decided to start my own practice and create my own path. This was in 2018.
I moved back to my hometown and started my own practice handling Accounting and Indian Compliance of Foreign clients.
I handle accounting work which I receive as a registered member on various freelancing sites for clients from the USA, UK and some NRIs also.
My earnings are approx $900-1200 per month.
Currently, I am also pursuing a Ph.D. on the Impact of GST on the Textile Sector and recently I published a Research Paper as well.
Extra Tip: I am a firm believer that we can earn a lot more and have a global impact even when working from a small city.
Going global and deciding to pursue CS from ICSA(UK)
Ever since I completed CS from ICSI, I wanted to have a 'Global CS qualification' added to my repertoire.
Luckily, I knew one senior CS Member from my Articleship days who was a CS from ICSA (Institute of Chartered Secretaries and Administrators, UK). So, I gathered as much information as I could and decided to pursue the same.
ICSA has the main head office in the UK. It also has member countries around the world. There is an MOU between ICSI India and ICSA UK which covers 10 countries from where we can pursue ICSA.
We can choose any country among the UK, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, Malaysia, Singapore, and Zimbabwe...I chose Canada!
Membership is also transferrable among the Member Countries of ICSA (so you can go to 10 other countries after passing the same).
Being a CS Member of ICSA would give me an opportunity to become a Governance Professional in a Global Arena.
And the best part because of the MOU signed between ICSI and ICSA UK (now CGI), I had to give only 3 exams - Corporate Governance, Risk Management and Corporate Law.
For more details refer https://www.icsa.org.uk/about-us.
I did face several challenges along the way.
When I came to Mumbai, speaking English was a big challenge.
The challenge got bigger when I started my articles at PwC, I would get nervous whenever I had to converse in English. It was then that I decided to work on my speaking skills.
I had studied in an all-boys school and when I joined a co-ed college in Mumbai, I lacked confidence. Talking to girls was a challenge for me.
So I faced a lot of challenges but I just decided - To Never Give Up.
All I would want to say is - Think Global, Act Local. You can achieve all that you want by even working in a smaller city!
Anoop Jagetia is an online Teacher for various Commerce and Business Related Subjects for all Levels of Students. He is also a Practicing Company Secretary - Handling NRIs Accounts and Related Compliances from India. He is also a qualified Independent Director (India).
Now It's Your Turn...
Have you faced similar troubles as I did in clearing the CA exams?
How did you deal with it? Do comment below….