My CA Journey In Dubai And The Importance of Selling Skills For Accountants
My CA Journey
“My commerce teacher of grade 11 who was a Chartered Accountant (CA) himself, advised me to take up CA. My CA journey was very memorable and highly educative. We had to work in an audit firm for articleship and simultaneously study for the course and appear for Exams. Audit Firms had lots of work and the articled clerks were always involved in work with tight timelines,” says CA Anand Tirupathi, who is based out of Dubai.
He is currently a Chief Strategist at Leap Business Excellence Advisory, UAE. He specializes in - Finance, Business Development, International Trading, Strategic Planning and Budgetary Control and is also a Toastmaster.
“I started my CA journey after completing my graduation. After work, I used to attend a coaching class for a few subjects to get a better understanding.
The exams again were very tough and the pass percentage was extremely low. The pressure on the students was very high. Also back then there were very few people pursuing CA so it used to get very lonely as well.
I always gave both groups together never opting to give group-wise, no particular reason as such but I had decided to just give both groups together.
I cleared the Intermediate Exam (2nd level CA exam now known as CA IPCC) in the 1st attempt but the CA Entrance (1st level CA exam now known as CPT) and CA Final (last level CA exam) I took 2 attempts.
My Career Journey In Dubai
When it comes to my career, I traveled from Chennai to Dubai in 1992 and 1993 for brief periods and in 1993 I worked for a couple of months in Dubai as well. However, my proper Dubai career started in 2001 where I handled the Sales of Motorola Mobile Phones at Koohiji Group.
Being a CA I had no clue about sales. I went through ‘Sales Training’ for 8 weeks and then embarked on Dealer Sales. It was really very tough to get across to dealers and convince them to buy the product.
When the sales picked up eventually after a couple of months it became a completely a different problem in handling the sales team. It was not easy at all as I had a team of people from different nationalities. When things were settling in nicely the Management decided to hire experts from the field and asked me to move to Trading Division.
I set up the Trading Division with the help of my boss and it turned out to be my best experience. Round the clock working with customers spread across from Hong Kong to Europe to South America. Daily price fluctuations, daily stock issues, and daily collection issues with lots of pressure.
I ended up with high blood pressure and started medication for a lifetime. But I learned a lot and above all, it taught me the hardest lesson of biting the bullet by taking a loss. My basic qualification as a CA was the greatest advantage I had during the stint.
The entire experience of working in different departments and leading each of them from the front was a golden opportunity provided by the then Vice Chairman & CEO of the Koohiji Group, Mr.S.S.Rajkumar.
He is the greatest leader that I have met in my entire career and I still regard him as my best boss ever. His greatest leadership trait was to promote leaders within the organization.
My advice to CA’s
- I always suggest CA’s to work outside their domain area of Finance in order to get into General Management.
- CA's are best equipped amongst all other professionals as the CA course gives the ability to look at the organization with a top-view covering all functional areas. This understanding of the organization should be coupled with Empathy for various functional areas so that the CA can lead the organization as a CEO or President.
- Getting into Sales, being a CA, was extremely challenging. Every finance professional must get involved in Sales, even if it is for a short period of time. The commercial side of the business is as important as the financial side of the business.
- If a CA gets involved in Sales then he will get a better appreciation of the whole business helping him to get a holistic view of the business and thus will make him think strategically.
- Thanks to the training on Selling Techniques, Negotiation Skills, and Sales Management process I sailed through. I suggest all of you out there to be bold and accept sales roles as well. It is a great learning.
From my years of experience, I can tell you one thing for sure - Your success never depends on your number of attempts, it depends on your Determination, Will Power, Hard Work along with your ability to show empathy towards others,” he concluded.