From Articles at a Small Firm to a Transfer Pricing Professional at a Big 4

The Finance Story

In today's article, we have Vinit Gala sharing with us - How he got an opportunity in Transfer Pricing in a Big 4 firm inspite of him doing his articles training from a small CA Firm.

Vinit is a qualified Chartered Accountant from ICAI (The Institute of Chartered Accountants of India).

says CA Vinit Gala from Mumbai. He is currently working in a Big 4 in Transfer Pricing.

Deciding to Pursue CA

I have always been good (not the best) at academics since my school days. Thus, good academics were succeeded by a career plan even before passing class 10.

Being proficient in Science and Mathematics, many of my well-wishers advised me to take up some field related to the science stream. Engineering was one choice, but it felt tedious, and I often fainted by seeing someone else’s blood, so medicine was out too.

Initially, I had decided to be a Pilot; however, the idea did not sound right as my parents would have to spend lakhs of rupees to make me one.

That’s when I gave CA a thought as its pocket-friendly (literally!) and a very well respected profession. In India, the CA course is not expensive.

Before I took up CA, I read a lot of its pros, cons, how Chartered accountants work, and what’s their lifestyle. By doing so, I realized that a Chartered Accountant has a lot of respect as he puts in a lot of effort, hard work and dedication.

So basically, I took an informed decision and pursued CA. It is imperative to understand the profession you chose, so my advice to all – Pursue a profession that you connect to and make an informed decision.

The Beginning of My Journey

Moving to my CA journey, I cleared all the CA exams in my 1st attempt.

There were challenging days, days where I felt I would fail, etc but I always gave my best, stayed optimistic, worked hard (the best I could!), and kept the consistency. All of this helped me in clearing CA exams in the first attempt.

Yes, I also gave mock tests appears and timed myself that helped me deal with the exam pressure and understand how to present my paper well.

Also, I remember being entirely ignored by a few people when studying CA as I did not come from a wealthy family, used a simple phone, wore simple clothes, etc.

I used to feel terrible about it, but then instead of focusing on all the negatives, I stayed optimistic and decided to double my efforts in clearing CA exams.

That could be one reason I always stay focused and put in the struggle with consistency!

Which is Better Doing Articles at a Big 4 Firm or a Local CA Firm

I did my articles in a small proprietary firmArchana Gosar and Associates and got some good exposure in Taxation, Accounting, and Auditing.

After qualifying as a Chartered Accountant, I joined a reputed Partnership firm and focussed on Direct Taxation. It was here that I learned Transfer Pricing and later on I moved to a Big 4 and specialized in Transfer Pricing).

A lot of students have this question – Should I Do my Articles from a Big 4 Firm or a Smaller Firm?

In my opinion:

  • Choose a Reputed partnership firm over a Big 4 – If you intend starting your own CA practice.
  • However, if the ultimate goal is to get into Corporates or Auditing/Taxation – Then any of the Big 4s is perfect. If you missed an opportunity of doing your articleship in a Big 4, then try getting one during your Industrial Training.

Academics will be the primary factor in getting shortlisted for Big 4 interviews. Other than academics, one should practice – Soft-skills, professional dressing, and positive attitude as well as willingness to continuously learn new things/face new challenges.

At the end of the day, what you learn on the job matters the most – Even if you DID NOT do your articleship from some big names – IT IS OKAY!!!

our goal as an intern should be to learn as much as you can and get maximum exposure.

Try getting involved in the maximum number and variety of assignments your principal undertakes. However, a balanced approached ought to be maintained concerning health, studies, and work.

Dealing with Issues During my Articles

Many interns are LUCKY to face severe issues like office politics/ rude bosses/super strict seniors! I call them LUCKY as these experiences will prepare you for a better tomorrow!

When faced with such situations: My serious advice would be to stay calm and discuss the issues with seniors (of course, a reliable source) and HR first (if your firm has one!).

90% of the problems get resolved when the discussion happens. However, in extreme cases, it needs to be communicated to the appropriate person/organization.

Can Semi Qualified Students Apply to Big 4s

In my opinion, Semi-qualified students, who are still pursuing CA, have a minimal chance of getting into Big 4’s since they may require appropriate and sufficient study leaves for their exams.

Big 4’s do find it tough, giving so many leaves as they have a considerable workload.

However, a person who has given up the CA course stands a good chance of an opportunity in Big 4’s. However, he would have to compromise on his salary and might get paid like a regular graduate or maybe a little more.

In Conclusion…

CA, whether in practice or employment; whether in a consulting role or working incorporates; he/she will be around people the majority of the time. Thus, soft skills are a must to lead a successful career.

So wherever you are work on your SOFT SKILLS.

As far as the correlation of – success in school and success in life is concerned; the answer is firmly in negative. Had it been true, then most of our great businessmen, top-notch professionals, spiritual leaders, and even politicians would have been school toppers.

So if you have scored 50% or 95% in school – You have a BRIGHT FUTURE if you work hard and smart with a positive attitude.

Now It's Your Turn

Still thinking about the difficulties faced in articleship?

Don’t worry, after reading this article, I hope you won’t have any problems.

Also, work hard, stay consistent, stays optimistic, and all will go well.

If you have more questions to ask, comment below and let me know.

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