BIG SIZED FIRM V/S MID SIZED FIRM
By CA, CPA Vinod Kumar Agarwal
- Articleship is a 3-year practical training phase that allows students to work on real assignments for real employers. It is a mandatory part of the CA program, and it provides a better overall learning experience. Articleship Training is one of the golden periods in the life of CA Aspirants. It is a golden roadmap for a CA Student from where he can gain exposure.
- It has been seen amongst students that they are a bit confused while choosing a firm for the articleship training.
Choosing the right CA Firm for your Articleship
A good CA Articleship experience helps in understanding the practical aspects of what you have studied. Hence choosing the right CA articleship firm is important not only for CA final exams but also for success in future practices.
What do Big 4 Firms & Mid-Sized Firms offer?
- You got to learn Auditing at its best. The same will not apply to small clients in mid-sized firms.
- Your role is much specified in Big 4 firms i.e., you will learn one aspect of accounting in every detail. In a mid-sized firm, your role is not defined, and you must learn everything. You will not specialize in a specific area.
- The way of working, procedures, and the method of achieving the same ultimate objective differs in big4 and midsize firms.
Which is appropriate for me?
Now the question of where you should join arises. The answer is that it depends upon where you wish to be in the long term. Some general scenarios are:
- Auditing & Accounting related jobs in larger companies: Articleship in Big 4 Companies.
- Jobs in big companies in other fields: Articleship in Big 4, with the effort to learn things on your own, which may be a prerequisite in those other fields.
- Jobs in small companies: Any option is fine, Big 4 firms are preferred.
- Practice in non-Metro Cities: Articleship in a mid-sized firm
- Practice in Metro Cities: Articleship in Big4 either in taxation or in the auditing department.
- Working in Start-up: Articleship in a mid-size firm
- Small Scale Business: Articleship in a mid-size firm
Factors to consider while choosing a Mid-sized firm for Articleship
As your CA articleship will shape your career ahead, then go with the best opportunities available to you, it is important to take decisions on correct parameters and not on a random basis. Following are the factors which must be kept in mind while joining the mid-sized firm:
- The number of experienced partners: More the number of experienced partners, better would be the development of the firm as a convention, and in turn, more opportunities for you to learn.
- Size of firm & number of articles: Prefer firms which have at least 15-20 articles and a few Chartered Accountants as Managers, apart from the Partners. Learning at these firms is generally better than firms where the number of articles is few.
- Areas of work and scope of assignment: The whole point of working in a midsize firm is to learn a variety of work and therefore, it is important to choose a firm that allows you to gain experience in different types of assignments.
- Overall work environment: An encouraging and cheerful environment in the office usually helps your overall development. Factors to consider while choosing a Big 4 firm for Articleship.
Factors to consider while choosing a Big4 firm for Articleship
As such there aren’t many differences among the Big Four Firms as they all operate in almost the same way, especially when it comes to training articles. So, once you have decided to join a Big Four firm, the only question left to ask is the choice of city and the choice of department. Choose a city near your hometown and a department based on your plans. Big Four Firms usually hire in the auditing department and the options of Articleship in other departments like Business Taxation, Indirect Taxation, Financial Advisory, etc. are rare.
Factors to not consider while joining Articleship
- Stipend: The total loss of stipend will be compensated in a single month after becoming a CA if you focus on gaining experience and not earning money.
- Work Pressure: Work pressure is always going to be there in real jobs, irrespective of what career roadmap you choose. So it is better to learn to handle pressure at an early stage rather than running away from it.
- Friends: Consider Articleship as an opportunity to network with new people as networking is a skill that is important in the long run. So don’t worry if you don’t have friends at the firm, and, don’t join a firm simply because you have friends there.
- The study leaves: In general, all firms allow at least 3 months and on average 4 months of study leave for CA Final examination. More study leaves don’t help you in your preparation, it usually gets wasted.
The choice of CA Articleship firm is a very important decision and therefore, make sure you choose wisely, as your career path depends upon it. And once selected, do your job with utmost honesty with a focus on learning. Never say no to any learning opportunity. You can blame the education system for its stiffness in ranking students' knowledge, however, Articleship is an open platform and a real-life experience. So don't make excuses for not performing well in this department of your career.