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This article is written by Somya Jain, from the Vivekananda Institute of Professional Studies. The article establishes some eye-opener to get hired after completing CA. 

Introduction 

Are you worried about the future course of action after completing the course of Chartered Accountancy? Don’t know how to prepare for becoming eligible to be hired by top-tier companies? Do not have the correct guidance as to what skills one should acquire to ace the interviews and get the right job that you always desired? It is time to learn some eye-opener tips before stepping into the corporate world of Chartered Accountants. 

Chartered Accountancy is in itself a lucrative career option and the decision to pursue it has brought you one step closer to epic success. It brings money, respect, and a chance to opt for other career opportunities. The job necessitates a lot of hard work and a desire to take on new challenges. CA is appealing because it can be a full-fledged career as well as a stepping stone to other exciting careers. However, due to such extensive characteristics that are attached to the course, CA is considered to be one of the most competitive careers. Therefore, if you are planning to get a job pertaining to your expertise, you need to stand out from the rest of the crowd and show your unique abilities that would prove to be beneficial for the establishment of the employer.  

Skills that employers consider while hiring a Chartered Accountant

Chartered Accountancy is enriched with several complexities and pursuing such a professional course can be a changing point in your life. The CA professionals are considered to be highly skilled encompassing the right amount of commercial acumen and awareness, along with the professional qualities and technical competencies. Due to the changing dynamics of the global economy and its subordinate industries, it is pertinent for CAs to continuously update themselves and further upgrade their skills. To remain effective and in touch with their present roles, it is also essential for CAs to maintain the highest degree of professional and personal integrity apart from the necessary requirement of honing their skills in a timely manner. 

Considering the prevalent competition in the market, the recruiters have set certain criteria pertaining to hiring a Chartered Accountant. Typical and sought-after skills and requirements have been attributed by the recruiters with an expectation that the concerned skill sets would prove to be efficient for the company and would lead to the profitability of the firm. Some of the skills that are considered a must-to-have by employers are:

  • Having the knowledge of finance and accountancy from a general view along with an interest and passion to work with numbers. It is not necessary at all times to have specialised knowledge on a particular matter. Rather, recruiters prefer those professionals who have a holistic knowledge of the industry.
  • Commercial awareness is one of the greatest and most appreciated qualities that one can acquire. Being part of a dynamic industry calls for regular updation and upgradation both in awareness as well as technical skills. Knowledge of any current political/legislative/financial issues that may have an impact on your chosen field should be thoroughly considered. 
  • Communication and interpersonal skills with the ability to communicate complex information clearly and to build relationships with others at all levels within the business.
  • The ability to work in a team is greatly appreciated. 
  • The stamina and commitment to work for long hours as the company expects full dedication in their employees.
  • Presentation skills, report writing and attention to detail are some of the soft skills that one should be able to comprehend. 
  • Leadership and negotiation skills form yet another important factor.
  • Problem-solving and analytical skills is another skill set that helps in the growth of the organisation. 

These skills are not exhaustive rather, these are majorly preferred norms of the recruiters while appointing a professional like a Chartered Accountant. 

Tips for future course of action

To impress prospective employers one must have the right amount of positive attitude in addition to the requisite qualifications, technical skills, and experience. Therefore, apart from being adept in your field, it is crucial for you to have the right passion and interest in your expertise area and further, showcase it in a way that would definitely turn the table in your favour. There are some suggestions that can help to ease up your haul to success. These are:

General tips

  • It is essential for a newly qualified CA to choose its career path wisely according to their interests and passion as that would be the deciding factor. Recruiters are always keen to understand your motivation either for applying to accountancy and your interest in finance and business or readiness to join at locations of their choice. Therefore, one should be an aspirant for a particular role. The industry can be bifurcated into two under which different roles are guaranteed to a professional. These are:
Banking & Financial ServicesCommerce, Industry & Professional Services
SECTORS COVERED:SECTORS COVERED:
Asset management Commodities Corporate banking hedge funds investment banking private equity retail banking.Retail and FMCGChemical and pharmaceutical technology/media/telecom energy and utilitiesLegal, professional and business services construction, infrastructure and real estatesManufacturingTransport and distribution health care, hospitality, and tourism education Industry.
  • Commercial awareness forms another essential requirement while approaching a company. Awareness should not be limited to technical skills or other related avenues. It should also cover the propogandas and policies followed by the companies. The recruiters are impressed when they learn that the concerned candidate is interested in their company. But to showcase such kind of interest, it is pertinent to research on the relevant policies and agendas that the company preaches. This would definitely make you stand out from the rest of the crowd. 
  • Employers know that the candidates approaching them have invested in improving their accountancy skills. Therefore, softer skills like communication, interpersonal and presentation skills will be distinguishing factors in trainee accountants, as is motivation and a willingness to learn. Thus, the way the trainees present their skills and experiences to a potential employer is vital. 
  • Potential candidates should have a fair understanding of how their role is fit for the larger business. Displaying a sense of commerciality, by understanding the key business drivers, including revenue and growth targets, will create a positive impact on the employers contributing towards the fact that you understand the business goals and would be a perfect match to their expectations. 
  • Having a right and a positive attitude towards the profession is crucial for any company. Show that you take your job seriously by being conscientious and exuding an aura of professionalism at all times. This also includes working on your appearance and most importantly time management. Sloppiness or scruffiness is not at all preferred by the recruiters. 
  • It is also pertinent for a CA to choose their articleship wisely as it defines their future course of action. It is highly recommended to choose a versatile role and not restricting oneself to a specified role. Having a holistic view of your field is more ideal than only having knowledge regarding a specific field. You need to know enough about every instrument to understand how and when it needs to be played.

Preparing a resume

Apart from keeping up with your interpersonal behaviour and technical skills, it is essential to work upon how to highlight your capabilities in a way that is attractive and at the same time enriching. Prospective employers look for the following employability skills in your resume:

  • Communication skills 
  • Attention to detail.
  • Time management
  • Maintaining personal rapport. 
  • Leadership qualities.
  • The will to accept challenges. 
  • Adept at solving problems. 
  • Exploiting your inner potential. 
  • Ability to achieve targets.
  • Maintaining excellent working relationships
  • Having good analytical abilities.
  • General awareness of the business environment and its impact on the organization.

Remember that a CV is your first focal point of enumerating your skills and it should be given priority as a major can be asked based on the content mentioned in the CV. Some of the important points that one should consider while making a CV are:

  • Ideally, the length of a CV should be 2 pages. The first page is of utmost importance, therefore, it should explicitly enumerate all the qualifications that you want the employer to know. 
  • Highlight your skills, accomplishments and experience in a presentable manner (preferably in bullet points). 
  • If you do not hold any prior accountancy experience, then highlight those areas of your previous employment which contributes towards analytical ability, numeracy, attention to detail and communication skills that the employers are looking for. 
  • Make your CV well structured with a proper format. Double-check for all the grammatical errors as it can be a game-changer. Use bullet points and never write in paragraphs as it is least preferred by the employers.
  • Make regular changes to your CV and keep it updated at all times. It should be tailored to enshrine each individual role that you possess. 
  • If you are applying to different employers, make sure that you tailor it accordingly as one company may have different requirements and preferences as compared to another company. Though it’s definitely extra work, it may pay you well. 
  • Don’t forget to include your extracurriculars as they show your interpersonal abilities well. 
  • Be true to your resume as prospective employers can verify antecedents. 
  • Do not forget to send a follow-up mail regarding the status of your application. 

Acing an interview

After the resume, the most important part is to prepare well for your interview. It is one of the golden opportunities for you to showcase your professional abilities and interest in the concerned job. 

Before the interview

Below are some of the basic requisites before job interviews: 

  • Find out about the organization  
  • Brush up on the details you have mentioned in the resume  
  • General awareness  
  • Study thoroughly your favourite subjects  
  • Have structured answers 
  • Use the STAR (Situation, Task, Action, Result) method to answer the questions asked. This means setting the scene, explaining how you handled the situation by placing the emphasis on your personal role and skills and detailing the outcome or result.

At the time of the interview

  • Start from your home 5-10 minutes ahead of your schedule so that you can reach the venue a bit early to calm your nerves.
  • Directions to the interview venue can be practised before a day or so of the interview date. 
  • Keep all the relevant documents and certificates that would act as proof of your data stipulated in your resume. Also, carry extra copies of your resume in case it is needed. 
  • Dress appropriately and be polite and courteous to everyone you meet.
  • Greet the panellists with a smile and a professional handshake. 
  • Sit only when you are asked to. Maintain eye contact with the interviewers but not defiantly. 
  • Be mindful of your body language; your posture, eye contact and gestures can show a lot about your confidence and mindset.
  • Stay calm and maintain professionalism as it would give an insight into how well you can handle the pressure. 
  • When a question is asked, it is suggested that you look at all the interviewers and not just the one who asked you a question.
  • If you are not sure of any answer, then say it politely. There is nothing wrong in admitting that you are not aware of any answer rather defying and giving absurd answers.
  • Complete your answers and do not leave them by just saying yes or no. 
  • You should not be afraid of giving controversial answers as long as you have the logic to support them. Never give answers which you think the interviewer wants to hear.
  • Any gaps in the career should be confidently presented, without feeling defensive, emphasizing how you utilized the period constructively.

After the interview

Generally, after an interview, the interviewer asks the candidate whether he has any questions. This is the time when you can demonstrate that you have researched and are genuinely interested in their company. Some of the questions that you can ask include:

  • Is your profile suitable for the organisation
  • Exact profile being looked for.  
  • More details about the organization.  
  • Location of posting.  
  • If there is probation or if one would be confirmed immediately.  
  • If there is a formal induction programme planned.  
  • When and how would the result be conveyed?  
  • Enquire about reimbursement of train or airfare if not already committed.

If no other questions are asked, ensure that you leave a positive impression on the interviewers. Leave with a professional handshake, make eye contact, and thank your interviewer for their time. Lastly, do not forget to follow up with HR for your application status. 

Questions posed in the interview

Here is a list of some common questions that one can prepare before an interview:

  • Tell me about yourself
  • Why should we hire you?
  • Why do you want to join us?
  • What are your salary expectations?
  • What are you looking for in a job?
  • Why did you choose this particular career?
  • What do you know about this organization?
  • What are your short term goals?
  • What according to you is success?
  • Where do you see yourself 5 years down the line?
  • According to you, what is your USP (Unique Selling Point)?
  • Can you tell me about a problem you have dealt with?
  • What is more important: speed or accuracy?
  • How do you update your knowledge?
  • What is your way of dealing with challenges?
  • How well do you take criticism?
  • How often are you able to meet the deadlines?
  • Are you a leader or a follower?
  • Would you define yourself as ambitious?
  • Do you like your current job/profile?
  • You have been in your present employment for a long time? Will you be able to adjust to your new job/organisation?
  • Explain with an example your keenness to take initiative?
  • How will you handle job stress?
  • Are you willing to relocate or travel?
  • What is your philosophy towards work and ethics?
  • What do you consider as your greatest achievement?
  • Would you agree to put the interest of the organization ahead of your personal goals?
  •  How do you think your skills will be useful in the discharge of your duties?

Try to find an answer to these questions before you sit for your interview. If you know the answer to such questions instantly the recruiters will know you have clarity in mind related to such topics and are likely to be impressed.  

Updating your social media profiles

  • Nowadays, apart from your CV and interview, the recruiters are interested in your social life. Thereby, it becomes pertinent to maintain and continuously update your social media profiles especially LinkedIn and Twitter. 
  • LinkedIn, in recent times, has achieved great relevance in the business industry as one can connect with industry professionals and get involved with relevant industry discussions to help demonstrate your passion for the profession.
  • Many prospective employers thoroughly study your profiles to get additional information about you. So provide correct details in your profiles. 
  • Further, if your profile, especially on LinkedIn, is found to be suiting a particular role, there is a possibility that the recruiter may approach you on LinkedIn itself and provide you with an employment opportunity. Therefore, it becomes essential to showcase all your qualifications, skills, extracurriculars that may end up getting you a job for real. 

Conclusion

Chartered Accountancy is in itself a dense course and after completing it everyone expects a great reap from it. Therefore, if you are planning to join the industry by getting employed in a company, it is pertinent to ensure that you leave no stone unturned. When you are given an opportunity try to outshine others by putting your best foot forward. Give your best and never give up. A positive outlook will definitely add to the correct motivation.  

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References


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