‘Credit lies not in falling, but in rising each time you fall’ - This pretty much summarises my CA journey.
Dear Professional Friends here is the story of my journey so far.
I have always been a topper during my school and college career. History was against me when I chose CA, for there was not even a single Woman CA in my community by then. So my decision naturally incurred the wrath of one and all. They felt Pursuing CA, without undergoing any coaching, staying back at Berhampur was preposterous, to say the least. But I stood my ground and went ahead with my decision. As ill-luck would have it, my CA journey was fraught with too many challenges. Disappointments, frustration, snide criticisms, incendiary remarks underscored my CA career making my nay-sayers feel vindicated. I was on the brink of quitting it. But wiser counsel prevailed and I chugged along, for the charm of this degree is so irresistible that despite facing failures time and time again you still feel like going for it one last time. And one fine morning I did reach my destination. Finally, there was a defining denouement to my difficult journey. I achieved the rare distinction of being the first lady CA among my near and dear ones, thereby creating history. I also happen to be the first woman member of BERHAMPUR TAX BAR ASSOCIATION.
The very people who chastised me for my stubborn pursuit hailed my patience and perseverance. Being written about by people who once wrote you off gives you quite a high.
This is only half the story, a new phase of life read a new set of challenges began when I announced my decision to start a firm, for women and practice were traditionally touted to be misfits. Practice traditionally has been a man’s bastion. I again challenged the preconceived notions of society. From a senior CA to the vendor whom I approached to get my visiting cards printed, everyone looked askance and wrote obituaries before I even appeared on the scene.
“Play it safe and join an established firm” - a bit of advice I must have received umpteen number of times. But I did not like the idea of piggybacking on someone else’s success (purely a personal opinion, not intended to hurt anyone’s sentiments) though that is the tried and tested formula that many swear by.
I did not want to end up being a speck in the bigger scheme of things. Besides the heady feeling of seeing your name onboard top of a building in a busy area is simply out of this world.
Practice (proprietor firm at that) has its share of issues and I have been gradually wading my way out the rocky path. Now I am an FCA. From individual return filing to tax audits, company incorporations, company audits, and GST Audits, I have come a long way. The field to which we belong is subject to frequent changes and we need to be on our toes to stay afloat. That can make things a little tough, having said that therein lies the challenge. My experience in teaching while I was pursuing CA helped me have a grip over ACCOUNTING STANDARDS, CORPORATE LAW, DIRECT AND INDIRECT TAXATION.
Recently a passer-by walked into my office expecting to see a group of CAs and was simply flummoxed to see only me sitting on my customary revolving chair instructing something to my students for he has never heard the concept of a lady CA being at the forefront.
Day in and day out I keep finding files maintained by GENTS(Does that need a mention?) containing cardinal errors such as wrong posting of CAPITAL ACCOUNT LEDGER and debiting expenses to Profit and loss Account that are disallowed as per Income Tax Act. Proving it one more time that it is not quite a gender-specific thing.
I often find people giving a conceited smile when I talk of any professional matter that I have handled. That a woman is incapable of running a CA Firm is a foregone conclusion to them. People habitually avoid facing the truth for it may result in their illusions being broken. Such is the misogyny that is drilled into the minds of people in general especially those who belong to a small town like my hometown.
One must always remember that the crux lies in believing in your dreams and being insular to the saboteurs. To achieve one’s dream, Patience, perseverance, and confidence are the three traits one must possess. It is not the situation, but the way you react to it makes all the difference.
Optimism, confidence, resilience, and the insatiable hunger to get better shall ultimately determine your career ascent.
Through this write-up, I implore society to wake up to the fact that ‘TALENT DOES NOT HAVE ANY GENDER'
- CA. K SEETA RAJANI