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‘Chartered Accountancy is a competitive exam, only 4% candidates qualify’

Pallav Chhabra, a Chartered Accountant and ACFA alumnus shares tips on how to ace the highly competitive exam



Pallav Chhabra is a chartered accountant by profession. He pursued B Com Honours from Apeejay College of Fine Arts, Jalandhar (ACFA). In an exclusive interview, the batch of 2009 alumnus reveals how for a CA the entire year is booked with various audits, the intense preparation schedule a CA aspirant must follow as well as shares insight from his training days. Edited excerpts:

What work does a CA do around the year?

There is new work every day. Last month, we were working on individuals’ income tax returns. We will work on income tax audits in August. Then we would do GST audits. In January, we would be doing bank audits. In February, March and April, we would be doing the cooperative society audits. We have a busy year throughout, however, September is the busiest month of all. There are lots of tax audits when every file takes hours and there are 200 plus files. We work 16 hours a day in September, so you can imagine the workload. Currently, we are working 8-10 hours a day.

In how many attempts did you clear the CA exam?

I cleared it in three attempts. I started preparing for the CA exam during the second year of my B Com Hons course.  My last attempt was in November 2011. I was studying as well as going for training back then.

What routine did you follow during your CA exam days?

I slept less at night. I used to sleep at 5 in the morning and get up at 11 am. Then I would study from 12 to 3 in the afternoon. Then again study from 5-8 in the evening. After that, I used to relax with my family till 11pm. And then again, get down to study at 11 in the night and study till 5 in the morning. These were the most productive study hours for me. I would study at a stretch with utmost concentration, without a break. The reason is simple, no one uses the mobile so late at night, so no calls to receive and all are asleep at home, so there are no disturbances. I would study in a very focussed way during these hours. I followed this pattern for 7-8 months and studied intensely for my exams.

How did ACFA help you to be where you are today?

At ACFA, I found very good friends. If I am a CA today and that’s because of ACFA. In Jalandhar, this was the only college that organised special classes for CA aspirants from 7 to 10 in the morning. It was a huge support, which enabled us to balance our academics with the CA exam preparation. Ours was the first batch which had this facility. All the students went to the dean and addressed their concerns and they too in turn supported us a lot.

What are your future targets?

I don’t have any monetary targets at the moment. But certainly, I pray to the almighty that may life continue like this, smoothly without any unnecessary surprises.

Arijit Roy is a young correspondent at Apeejay Newsroom. He has done his masters in English literature from Delhi University and has a book of poems published by Writers Workshop India. He can be reached at [email protected]