‘Extra aspirants are clearing CA exams in first try’

At 27, the youngsters are either giving final touches to their career or business, while some of them still pursue their studies. A city youngster however, was crowned as the chairman Institute of of India’s (ICAI) Nagpur branch this year. In the process, became the youngest chief of any branches across the nation. In ICAI’s history, he is the second-youngest head of any branch. The earlier one was with the Nanded branch when the incumbent occupied the seat at the age of 25 years.
This is not the only achievement of the youngster. He was also the founder member of the popular NGO ‘Make A Difference (MAD)’. Agarawal is also among rarest of rare breed to become a CA at age of just 21 years by cracking the tough CA inter and final examinations in the very first attempt, and simultaneously clearing his graduation in commerce.

In a tête-à-tête with TOI, he speaks about his plans for the ICAI branch, his mantra for success, and how he is coping up with family’s pressure.

Excerpts from an interview…

Why did you decide to become a CA

A. After clearing my Std X examination, I was thinking of joining the engineering field like my friends. However, my father Vijay, who is running a CA firm, inspired me take up this field. But he had warned me initially, to take up CA studies seriously, as it was one of most difficult fields, or not to venture into it. At that time itself, I decided to pursue this field wholeheartedly. I was not very brilliant student but used to be in bracket between 85% and 90%.

In 2011, at the age of 21 you became a CA. What’s your success mantra?

A. There is no such mantra, you need to decide and dedicate full time for this course. One needs to make this choice at a very early stage in life and prepare accordingly. I always advice students not to term their exams as “attempts”. By saying this, you are already bracing yourself for appearing in number of attempts to clear the exams. Frankly, the CA is highly monotonous course, and aspirants need to sacrifice everything for cracking the exams. But I am happy that the more and more number of aspirants are now clearing the exam in first attempt and at very young age. Earlier, the normal age group of CAs was above 30 years, but now it has come down.

What are your plans for ICAI now?

A. There are many in the pipeline. The focus would be on younger CAs. Today, just acquiring a designation is not enough, you need to have good manners, personality, etiquettes, and of course marketing skills. You need to become tech savvy and learn power point presentations. Without these qualities, CAs wouldn’t be accepted in big cities and by corporates. We would be starting a short camp every month where the experts would guide the participants in these aspects.Additionally, we’re also launching a nine-programme series for CA’s on various aspects of practice and new developments in the field, in association with senior faculty. We’re also planning to make a database for those students who cleared the CA inter exams but weren’t able to cross the final hurdle. It would be supplied to industry associations like VIA, MIA, BMA, NCCL, NVCC and others for recruitment. For this purpose, a web portal would be launched in July containing all information.

What about your professional career?

A. When I became CA at 21, I was flooded with lots of offers from major corporates and top IT companies. However, I always wanted to work in my way. Importantly, I wasn’t ready to leave this beautiful city and my family, which have given me everything. I started working with my father’s firm and I am extremely happy with my choice and professional growth. I’ve now opened offices in Dubai and Mumbai and once a month, visit them. I’ve specialized in Income Tax matters and works in related cases in appeals, tribunals, ITAT and even in high courts.

You must be facing a lot of pressure for getting married after achieving everything at such younger age?

A. Those are obvious expectations of all parents and indeed I am under lot of pressure for tying the nuptial knot. However, I have decided to wait for at least a year till I am at helm of affairs at ICAI branch. I have aimed it to take it to numero uno position in the national ratings. Currently, it was adjudged as second best.

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