Prateek Agarwal - AIR 46 CA Final May 2016 - Kolkatta, West Bengal
Prateek Agarwal

My personality has been greatly influenced by my 15 years of education in missionary institutions and the amazing people I have met over the years – be it teachers, friends or others. I have grown to become a positive person who is always looking for new opportunities and challenges and takes them head on. As a result of my nurturing, I place immense importance on values and discipline and consider them to be a significant factor in any decision-making process.

I belong from an upper middle class family with my father being a service man in the finance arena, mother is a homemaker and no less than a life maker for me. I have also been blessed with the wisest grandparents who are always in the vicinity for any counselling and my eccentric elder brother who being a doctor-in-making has proclaimed himself to be an in charge of my health and daily habits.

Having seen my father work as a finance professional, I have always been passionate about crunching numbers and making financial decisions. Even in my under-graduation, I specialized in Accountancy and Finance and the whole journey of becoming a CA began in Class 11 itself when I was too enticed by the finance realm.

My first reaction


Euphoric. Ecstatic. Elated. HAPPY.

I did not get AIR 46. My grandfather’s blessings got it, my grandmother’s inaudible prayers got it, my father’s advice got it, my mom’s unparalleled love and baby-care got it, my brother’s pat on my back in the low times got it and Sourav’s (my best mate) words of rekindling confidence got it. I was just awarded the same for them to keep.

Articleship


I did my Articleship from Lovelock & Lewes (part of PwC). I personally believe that articleship prepares you for the examinations that life takes apart from only the CA Curriculum. Time Management is the best learning I ever had in my internship period which helped me a great deal planning and preparing for my exams.

The other conventional learning were from the financial accounting perspective which helped me relate to AS’ practically and about forex exposures when I took assignments with respect to derivative certifications.

Preparation


Preparing for CA finals was more of a discipline for me than anything else. Every morning (for one year) before going for work (for articleship) I used to study. It was all strategized with timelines so as to cover at least all the practical subjects once before the 4 months’ leave from office was began.

And I personally attended coaching classed in only one subject (i.e. SFM) because I was not able to measure its scope. Apart from that I personally never felt the need to take tuitions as reference books and self-study was enough.

Strategies


A. Study schedule
One year daily for 2-3 hours and for the last four months at an average of 10 to 12 hours. And a day’s break after 2-3 weeks when I felt saturated and felt the need to let go off some steam.

B. Strong and Weak subjects (How did I prepared them?)
Financial Reporting always remained to be my strong subject and I kept it for the last in the list to invest time into. And Indirect Tax was appalling to me so I made sure that I covered it at least thrice so as to be sure of all the laws and concepts therein and foremost be confident about it.

Books and e-sources


Apart from latest relevant publications of ICAI Study Material and Practice Manual I referred to a publication by Surbhi Bansal for Auditing, a publication by CA Munish Bhandari for Law, a publication by Bangar’s for Indirect Tax and the modules as released by CA Vinod Gupta for Direct Taxes.

And for all the subjects, do try to keep track of the supplementary publication of the ICAI as they definitely become a part of your exams in some way or the other.

Mock tests


I never really attended ‘mock tests’ but after completing my syllabus once I did refer to the mock question papers as issued by the ICAI just to get an idea of the question paper pattern and to understand my level of preparations. And believe me they are an eye-opener.

Rank and preparation


I believe that “Rank” is something you cannot prepare for. I prepared only to the extent that I was convinced that I am clear about the concepts of what I read and I was ready to answer if anything “out-of-pattern” was tested in the exams.

I would say that “Rank” was a default culmination of concepts, clarity and discipline.

Future Plans


As of now I plan to get exposure of the other side of the audit table by getting industry exposure in the fields related to finance and very keen to be a part of consulting firms to provide business solutions.

ICAI Campus


Brushing up the syllabus curriculum; Taking stock of the changes affecting our profession and the fields CAs specialize in (e.g. GST, IFRS, IndAS etc.); Doing a lot of self-reflection to get a better insight of myself and keeping track of current affairs.

Advice to fellow students


Advice 1: Study, not with a burden on the head, but with a passion to succeed and an urge to know.
Advice 1.1: Enjoy your curriculum – get your basic concepts clear.
Advice 1.2: Be updated – books are not the end to CA curriculum.
Advice 1.3: Try relating your curriculum to everyday life (for it is related) – it will make you dig deeper and help you get the grip of things.
Advice 2: Try relying less on coaching classes – self study is the best study
Advice 3: Always have a mentor whose advice you can rely on in the deepest of troubles.