10 things to learn from a stint with the firm

“The joy of learning is as indispensable in study as breathing is in running.” 

This quote by Simone Weil very aptly alludes to the importance of learning in our lives. To keep learning is to keep growing. Time and again, we are all reminded of one life experience that has shaped us into a better version of ourselves. It is one that has helped us find the right direction and has taught us important life skills.

Our alum Kartik Gaggar is the Director of Kamaai Capital in Mumbai. In a candid conversation with the Editorial team, he shares his learnings from his time at the firm that have helped him in adapting to challenges, recognising opportunities and realising the importance of self-development. Read in his own words the journey of his transformation from being an above average student to becoming a CA and now an entrepreneur.

Your articleship is the first opportunity to polish your skill set and get set for the professional environment. I am sharing a list of the skills I gathered from an arduous yet rewarding articleship.

Time management

Your articleship is a good place to master time management. If you’re not good at it, or have trouble keeping up with the schedule, take help. Keep a calendar. Maintain a to-do list in a diary, on post-its, on excel or on Google Calendar – whatever you are comfortable with.

As you grow professionally, a calendar or a to-do list will also help you ensure that you are spending your time on things that matter.

Art of documentation

Articleship is a great place to start learning the art of documentation. You have to manage your own records and data and also that of your clients. It is also a good time to understand what works for you. Create your own process for record keeping. Work not documented is work not done.

Opportunities at work

Be open to taking on work from different clients, sectors, or projects. In fact, consciously seek out such opportunities. Let your bosses know you are willing to contribute or take on some additional responsibilities. Working for a variety of clients from different sectors will give you more exposure to the profession. To ensure that you do get considered for interesting work and projects, be sincere in your approach and focussed on your work. 

Networking

There are two things important for success – hardwork and networking. And networking is not easy. Good networking skills take time to build. So, an early start won’t hurt. Work on your conversational skills, try to understand what people in your professional network are talking about and be open to knowledge sharing and learning. Engage in healthy debates and discussions with your colleagues. This will not only improve your conversational skills, but will also add to your knowledge base. 

Exploring new places

If you’re given an opportunity to travel during the course of your work, take it. Even if you don’t like to travel, take it. Travel introduces you to new people, different work cultures, and prepares you to deal with unknown situations and people. You will encounter all these things in your professional life. Plus, when you travel for work, you get to experience corporate travel – it is a different world altogether. 

Research

This is a good time to brush up your research skills. Do client research, study the industry, explore various career options or just pick a topic and study it thoroughly. Understanding how to find information, distill it, and convert it into intelligent data will help a lot in the future. If you don’t know where to start – then start with Google 20 to 30 minutes everyday. 

Speedreading

Learn to speed read. This sounds like a no brainer. But it isn’t. Speed reading and understanding what you are reading is an acquired skill. It takes time. This will not only help you in future when you would have lots and lots of files to read, but it will also help you in your studies. For a start, you can check out tutorials on YouTube. 

The written word

Yes, it is important. Just knowing how to crunch numbers is not enough. If there’s one thing that you learn from your articleship, other than accountancy, it has to be writing. Learn to draft professional letters, emails, reports and corporate financials. It will be extremely useful in future. 

Embracing technology

Professionals are expected to have at least working knowledge of Microsoft Office (Excel, Word, PowerPoint) Web and Internet functions, and programmes specific to your profession. Getting hands on experience on ERPs like SAP, Oracle, Tally etc. is an added advantage.

External learning

If you get an opportunity to attend seminars and conferences, go for them. The seminars hosted by ICAI and regional offices of ICAI will improve your sector and subject understanding.

An articleship is an experience like no other. Make the most of your time. And, do not forget to have fun as you learn. All the best!

Kartik may be contacted at me@kartikgaggar.com.

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Prakshi Saraswat

Marketing and Communications, PwC India

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