A CA’s Heart: With Kanad Chaudhari

To inspire you all further in this journey of becoming an excellent CA, we are sharing an interview from a CA who has made it for himself in the field out there and is just a little ahead of us in this journey

Meet Kanad Chaudhari, a CA who is now working in a Private Equity firm in Mumbai. His experiences are from his heart and a treasure to read

1) Could you please tell us a bit about yourself? Where you are from? What you are doing currently?

I am currently working in a private equity firm in Mumbai. I have been in private equity for the past 3 years. In this short span I have been fortunate to work on assignments across the private equity life cycle including deal evaluation, deal execution, portfolio management, portfolio exits, fund raising and investor relations.

I graduated out of IIMB with an MBA in 2014. This was after my CA course from 2007 – 2011. I am originally from Mumbai and have stayed here all throughout (except the 2 years at IIMB)

2) What has been your inspiration behind doing CA? 

I turned towards CA more through a process of elimination rather than outright choice. While I did well in grade school I did not experience any significant pull towards the subjects/ courses being taught. Grade school education is highly concentrated with natural, social sciences; largely keeping commerce and other related streams optional, if at all.

With both science and art not being quite favourable, I started leaning towards commerce as a career choice.

Further, both my parents are practicing Chartered Accountants which provided some kind of a safety net. Even if commerce failed to interest me, I would at least be able to rely on their support to help me achieve a respectable level of professional qualification.

Given these two factors I decided to take the plunge into commerce and consequently CA.

3) What are best life memories/ memories during CA prep you recall most frequently and why?

The CA course may not be the most challenging course but is certainly one of the most demanding courses. Every CA student gets stretched managing college, articleship and coaching classes; trying to do justice to each. However, you are also adequately rewarded for this.

You practically start working at age 17-18 which exposes you to various practical things quite early. Getting your first salary at age 17 is quite exciting, writing your first cheque, filing your first income tax return come next in line. I still remember these moments during my CA prep.

I also remember the inevitable and ever increasing exam frenzy spreading across the aspiring CA community. At every turn there were countless speculations about the exam paper pattern, numerous discussions on the best sources of reading materials, and fruitless attempts at shortening the ‘to-do’ list.

4) What are three things you’ve told yourself that kept you going during your darkest hour of life? 

Stand up, be calm, try again – these are the three things that I would say have helped me face all challenging situations. It is quite common to feel trapped, lose hope and give in to despair. Whether to remain that way is a choice that we have to make. If you have fallen, the first thing to do is to stand up and get back on your feet. Just get back to the normal routine that you have set for yourself. This does not make the problem go away but the sense of achieving smaller routine tasks gives you the confidence to try and tackle the bigger problem.

Next comes being calm and not panicking. Consequences of failure are always unpleasant which one needs to accept.Delving too much upon them induces a sense of panic which inhibit your abilities. Hence focus on the solution and not the consequences

Lastly, there is no substitute to a genuine attempt. If you are serious about achieving your goals the number of times it takes to surmount the obstacles in between should not be a deterrent.

5) If you had a list of ‘best-kept secrets’(books/coaches/websites)you’d recommend for CA exam preparation, which would you include and why? Also, any specific tips to crack CPT/ IPCC/ Finals in next 2 months

This is more a case of secrets hiding in plain sight. I would suggest the starting point of each exam be the CA module. This does not mean that you should not refer to any other source of reading materials. By all means please choose the author, website, notes that you are comfortable with. However,it is your responsibility to periodically check that the reading material that you are referring to covers everything the CA Institute (through its modules) wants you to cover.

In almost all subjects I had discovered that most coaching institutes, authors tend to focus only on what they feel is the “most important” part of the syllabus. Many students end up not knowing  that something much more was expected out of them.  Ironically, the student has the modules with him from the day he/she enrolled for the course but has never bothered to open them. This applies unconditionally to all subjects across all levels. Pick up the module once in a while and read those sections/ chapters ignored by coaching classes.

6) Who has been of greatest support and inspiration to you in your life?

My parents have been the greatest support and inspiration. Despite their own hectic schedules, they have always put my endeavours and ambitions ahead of their work and I am thankful for the same.

7) What are three hard-to-spot pitfalls that are critical to avoid during CA preparation?

  • Writing the first paper of the subject directly at the exam hall – Practice writing full length exam papers not once or twice but as many times as you can prior to the exam!!! Give yourself the same amount of time you are expected to get in the actual exam. It does not matter if the paper is of a slightly older pattern, easy, difficult as long as it covers the syllabus; don’t find any excuses. Next, get hold of the answer sheet and check your answers as soon as you can. If done honestly, this is the best preparation that you can get. You get to know where you are going wrong, what mistakes you are making and whether you are falling short of time. This applies to all subjects not only the practical ones.
  • Keeping topics/ sections for options – One of the worst things to do is jeopardise your chances by limiting the number of questions you can attempt in the exam. It is always better to know something of everything rather than everything of something. Spread your prep time evenly such that you are equally well versed with the entire syllabus and not just some parts of it. Ignore anyone and everyone who tells you otherwise.
  • Experimenting with your study pattern – Do not let anybody influence or draw up your study timetable. If you are a morning person remain a morning person. If you are a night owl, so be it. If you are not comfortable studying in the library, do not join one just because everyone else is joining. Do not blindly switch reference books if you are not comfortable with its language and construct. You do not need to study 16 hours a day because someone else is doing it. It is not about the hours you are putting in. Get enough sleep every day.

8) What tips can you recommend that you’d only share with a close friend to help a student come out of articleship with flying colours

Do not try to cut corners during articleship. This is your first job and it could set the tone for the rest of your professional career. There is no point leaving earlier than the prescribed office timings. If there is no work, read. Involve yourself in something or the other that goes on in the office. CA is a very practical subject. You implement what you learn. There is no better preparation than practically implementing the academics. If you are doing something repeatedly and want a change, then speak up. Request for a change in work profile. It is up to you to make the most out of the experience. Whether you learn or not is your prerogative and no one else’s.

We hope you had a happy learning. See you again next Monday.

Keep Rising and Keep Shining.

Project Veda

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