05 Apr 2021 22:23 IST

‘Consistency is key during preparation’

I chose ICAI over ICAN for the vast exposure, says All-India first rank Bishal Timsina

Bishal Timsina, the All-India first-ranker in the Chartered Accountants Final Examination (Old Course) held in January, 2021, spoke to BL on Campus on why he moved to Chennai for his CA preparation from Nepal, and how he switched streams after Class 12. The Institute of Chartered Accountants of India (ICAI) had cancelled the Chartered Accountants (CA) May/July exams 2020 due to the Covid-19 pandemic. A combined exam for both May and November session exams was conducted in the month of November, last year. Essakiraj Arumugam was the All-India first ranker in the CA final examination held November 2020 (old syllabus). 

Students of ICAI CA exam who could not take the exams scheduled from November 21 to December 14, 2020, were allowed to appear for the Cycle 2 of CA exams in January/February, 2021, which Timsina topped.

Excerpts from Timsina’s interview:

What is your background and how did you decide to do CA?

I chose the science stream in Class 12 and finished my schooling in Biratnagar, Nepal. After completion of my higher secondary studies, based on the recommendation of my relative Priyank Pokharel, a CA, I switched streams and decided to pursue CA.

Why did you choose to qualify as a CA in India than in Nepal ?

ICAI is one of the largest accounting bodies in the world. In comparison to The Institute of Chartered Accountants of Nepal (ICAN), the ICAI degree is more widely recognised and has vast exposure. This is the main reason why I chose the ICAI board over ICAN. After completing my ICAI degree, I can apply for the ICAN CA degree by appearing in a few major papers.

Did you move to Chennai solely for preparation? Why Chennai?

Yes, I took my Common Proficiency Test (CPT), Integrated Professional Competence Course (IPCC), and Final Level from Chennai. I moved to Chennai for the same, leaving my family behind in Nepal. I took up coaching for some courses such as strategic financial management, law, advanced management accounting, direct tax, and indirect tax. I prepared on my own for the remaining subjects.

You wrote your exams well after your articleship; was it a conscious strategy?

Yes, it was a conscious choice. As we know, the CA Final consists of eight papers divided into four papers in each group. I never intended to apply for a single group with four papers alone. I was planning on taking both the groups in one sitting from the beginning. So, without completing your articleship, it would be tough to tackle eight papers, which is why I wrote my exams after completing my articleship.

How was your articleship experience?

I did my articles in M/s Patel Mohan Ramesh and Co in Alwarpet, Chennai. My principal, staff, and colleagues were co-operative and extremely helpful.

Did you expect first rank?

A big NO… I was expecting my name in the merit list but not as rank 1. Initially, I was preparing to appear for both the groups, and as the preparation strengthened, I thought I could make it to the merit list. But standing as rank 1 is something unexpected.

How did you prepare for your exams?

Consistency is the key to success. I used to study consistently for eight hours in the beginning. It reduced to four hours during the lockdown period, but it gradually increased as the examination approached. Both theory and practical subjects used to be of equal priority to me. Juggling both also helped me not get dizzy during preparation.

Did you take mock tests?

Yes, I took mock tests to evaluate my preparation. Solving mock tests provides you with an opportunity to improve your writing practice and time management skills, including identifying areas that need to be focused upon.

What are your aspirations?

I am interested in corporate finance and due diligence. However, I would also like to explore different areas within the corporate field in accordance with the changing global environment.

Do you intend to return to Nepal to work as a CA or take up a job in India?

As of now, I don't have any plan to return to Nepal. For a few years, I want to take up a CA job in India, preferably Chennai, as I gained my academic experience here.

What are your hobbies and interests?

I like playing mobile games. Table Tennis has been my favourite indoor game, and I wish to take formal training for it.