Is CA a career option for you?
Is Chartered Accountancy difficult?
Should You Do It?
I envy the age you are at, the start of life, the breath of fresh air and
the advent of freedom to do and go wherever you want. Yet it’s
probably the toughest age to be at, as now you are faced with that
troublesome question of – “What career do I choose?”.
Sometimes I wonder how this world expects us at the tender age of
17 to make such an important life-affecting decision. The choice of a
career becomes even more critical given the fact that most of us will
not be changing careers throughout our lives. It makes it thus even
more important to make an informed choice. But how? Who is going
to guide? Will it be the right guidance?
I don’t believe I can tell you what you want to do, I can only share my
journey and the lessons I learned so that maybe it helps you make a
more informed choice than I did.
I am a teacher and have been one for the last 18 years and today I
don’t just believe, I know this is the profession I was meant for. I have
enjoyed every day and cherished every moment as a teacher and
having taught over 20,000 students, today I look back and wonder
how did I become one, as this was never what I had planned on
I was once at the stage you are at today. When I was in school around
the age of 13, 3 cousins of mine married Chartered Accountants and I
saw that these gentlemen made more money than anyone else
around and of course my decision was made, as simple as that.
Later however I got goods marks in sciences in the 10th boards and
another decision was made for me, so I took to the non-medical
stream, as simply as that another career choice was made. Then again
during +2, I realized that physics, chemistry, and maths made no sense
to me and somehow I decided to shift to commerce 3 months before
the board exams was told it’s not possible but then with another
stroke of luck, it happened and as simple as that another career shift
happened and can you believe it, I not only covered the entire +1 & +2
syllabus in 3 months but also stood 2nd in college.
I did struggle with accounts all through B.Com (scored only 35%, OMG)
yet stood first. Enjoyed college life with very little thought or care for
the future. Then that moment stared at me again when the college was
about to end and it was time to take a final decision and I was
confused, yet again.
Is a CA an Accountant?
In our times one could join CA only after passing B.Com and by now
my fear of accounts and the inability to score marks in it had
handicapped my dream to become a CA. I remember that day in the
summer of 1993 very clearly, we had requested our HOD in DAV
College, Chandigarh for some advice as a lot of my batchmates had
similar doubts too.
When I asked the Professor – “Sir I am bad with accounts, can I do
CA?” , his following words shaped my future, he said “In CA accounts
is only one subject and all your other subjects are very strong”
And so simply again I set out to do CA, barely passed costing and
mastered the art of attempting the accounts paper, did exceedingly
well in Law and Taxation, completed the course in my first attempt
and became a CA.
Let me assure you with the ending of a phase there is always another
one glaring in your face?
During my 3 years of articleship training, I had realized that I had no
passion for auditing or accounting or any of the other work that a CA
did. The option was to take up a job (which did not seem exciting) or
an easier one to join my father in the family business. And simply
again, I joined the family business. A short stint in business with my
dad that didn’t work out and I was back to CA.
During this phase some of my brother’s friends (who was also doing
CA) asked me to teach them and I did and soon I realized I had a lot of
students coming to me for their doubts. I started teaching and soon it
became a full-time occupation and before I could realize I had become
a teacher, written books and taught more students than I could count
and so here I am writing to guide you all so that your journey does not
survive on luck as mine did.
I understand that the dilemma of the choice of career has survived all
these years and still exists and more so today as students have so
many options before them.
We often choose based on a parent’s push or a peer’s resolve, without
looking into more and finding out if we are meant to be doing the work
What does a CA do?
I often get to hear, WOW you are a CA, you must be so good at maths
and accounts, and I smile back and say I am good at neither, they are
confused and so I believe is a lot of the population as the course
the curriculum in +2 only teaches us accounts thereby making one’s belief
that is what there is to a CA, however, nothing can be farther from the
One must understand that in a Democracy the written books of rules
are the law of the land and our main book is the Constitution and from
there emerges the concept of the Lok Sabha, the Rajya Sabha, the
office of the President, the Judiciary and the Administrative Services.
The Lawmaking and implementation procedure is all there in the
Constitution which allows rules for governing the Indian population to
be made in the form of Acts passed by the legislature. And here is
where the CA comes into the picture.
In 1949, the legislature passed an Act bringing into existence “the
Institute of Chartered Accountants of India”, wherein power was
given to the institute to train professionals and certify them as experts
in their understanding of the various commercial and taxation and
accounting laws of the land.
A CA will have to give exams to prove his understanding of
1. Commercial Laws applicable in India: A student while doing CA reads, understands and masters various ‘Acts’ written and passed
by the Legislature which the public of India are to follow for
example the Company’s Act, the Income Tax Act, the Goods and
Service Tax Act, SEBI Act, Insolvency and Bankruptcy code among
such other Laws.
2. Financial Management: also understands and gains expertise about the complex world of the share and financial markets.
3. Auditing: the understanding of the accountancy and the
accounting standards is essential for a CA to be able to audit or
check accounts of various companies and certify them as correct
for safeguarding the investor capital. The investors generally base
their decision to invest in companies on the audited balance sheet
and P&L accounts audited and signed by the CA, and our Prime
Minister Mr. Narendra Modi famously said “The Signature of a CA is
more important than the signature of the Prime Minister”.
On clearing the exams and earning the right to prefix CA. , often
referred to as alphabets of trust, by ICAI, one earns the right to advice
the public of India on the aforesaid laws and of course charge money,
lots of it.
In short, a CA is the expert of all the business-related laws and rules
and is essential to the functioning of corporate India.
Tips to help make up your mind?
• CA is not just accountancy
• CA is not difficult to pass if you have made out your mind and are
ready to work really hard
• CA is the only degree without any quota – no amount of donation
can get you the degree, you simply have to earn it.
• CA gives you the options of getting a Job, doing your own Practice
or like me teaching others to become a CA.
• CA itself opens up various professional pursuits and one can opt to
pursue a career in Indirect taxation or Direct taxation or
international taxation or become an Auditor – statutory, internal,
management etc or look into Mergers & Acquisitions, Financial
Management, Budgetary Forecasts, and control, oh there is so
much you can become with this one degree.
So choose well and Best of luck
CA Arvind Tuli