Follow this advice if you really aspire to become CA/ ACCA
Let me take you back to when you were 18 years old and exploring career options, I am sure you must have heard about Chartered Accountancy (CA)/ ICAP when looking at accountancy qualifications. So, what was the first feedback or opinion you heard about CA? ‘nahi hota ye kabhi’, ‘bohat mushkil hai’, ‘borhey hojaogey’, ‘baal safaid hojaegey’, and those stories of a son and a father taking CA final exams together must have reached your ears too I’m sure. Exactly the same was in my case. In fact, in addition to this, when my father took me to one old CA veteran in Hyderabad (this was supposedly for some sort of inspiration:p) he went further on to create a weird imagery in my mind saying, ‘beta lohay k channey chabbaney parhtey hein CA karney k liye, soch lo’. So yeah, pretty much we (CA people) can all relate now.
CA is a dream qualification for many where its popularly said that pass is exception and failure is routine. But is there a secret or recipe to ace it? If you ask me there are two things that you must do if you have a clear aim to complete CA within the stipulated time frame. It may sound trivial or very simple, but trust me, that is all you need in your skill set!
Firstly, you must have a good command over language skills (which means English language since our language of instruction and assessment is English). But here I do not only mean your ability to read, write, listen, or speak well. Of course you need them, but essentially if you think about language; language basically teaches you to comprehend logical categories in a situational manner. Now, what do I mean by logical categories? During your CA studies, in subjects like Economics, Auditing, Business Management, Taxation, Corporate Law, Business Law, or any other theory subject, you are expected to:
- understand the logic/ purpose of question,
- identify or diagnose the problem,
- apply a theory or law or key concepts, etc.
- make cause-and-effect or correlation relationships between multiple variables,
- consider alternatives solutions from multiple points of view,
- make interpretations or inferences,
- analyse or synthesize data or facts,
- suggest a suitable solution based on reasonable assumptions.
Also, when you are able to identify the above logical categories you must be able to draft a suitable response and maneuver with sufficient inventory of words available with you. Lack of proper words in communication kills the essential idea that we desire to convey to the other/ examiner.
The second most important skill is Mathematics/ Quick Maths. Maths is also based on logics. In CA/ ACCA, you will have quite a good number of subjects requiring lots of numeracy skills like Accounting, Taxation, Financial Management, Management Accounting, etc. Maths makes you good in ‘deduction skills’. What does it mean to acquire deduction skills? It simply means that if you are given a few ‘knowns’ then you must be able to travel or deduce from given ‘knowns to unknowns’. Well, there’s a lot more to deduction skills but, in the interest of simplicity, I will restrain myself to just this bit.
So now the big question is how do we improve or acquire these skills? This is not difficult, take some proper 1 month break and pick any GRE or SAT preparation book to hone your Mathematics and language skills. You can also do it side-by-side your regular CA studies. I was fortunate enough to go through SAT exam prep material when I was in Intermediate preparing for a University exam. Also, if you’re someone who’s already done with majority of CA pspers, even then having these logical skills would help you improve your thinking process. I strongly recommend that this is what you must do if you feel its your area of improvement. I say this with all my experience. It will immensely help you in your studies and life generally.
And remember, its never too late, if you’re already into CA studies and struggling with re-attempts after re-attempts, you can save a lot of your time if you pause, take a break, ‘sharpen your saw’ and then come back stronger and better!
Hasnain R. Badami
Hasnain Raza Badami is a qualified Chartered Accountant with cumulative experience of 11+ years in the profession. He also holds a master’s degree in Philosophy – with critical thinking as his area of research interest. His particularly versatile academic background from humanities and business is what makes his classrooms a thoroughly intriguing experience.
Hasnain believes in learning through experience and stories. His real life stories come from his equally diverse experience working in large local and multinational organisations, as well as from training professionals, teachers, and students. More specifically, he has worked with Ernst & Young (Karachi, Dubai and Jeddah offices) and also with Internal Audit function at Engro Polymer before he finally quit Engro to pursue his passion for learning and development work. Presently, he is the co-founder and Director of Ingenium Business solutions that is working in leadership, finance, and digital learning space.