Delhi-based Institute for Grooming Professionals (IGP), set up by CA Ashish Kalra and his wife CA Neetu Kalra in 2000, provides coaching classes for all levels of CA, CS and CMA through a network of centres across several cities. Prior to pandemic, IGP had already ventured into online classes, which came in its good stead as it quickly adapted to restrictive pandemic conditions and launched virtual classes for its students. CA Ashish Kalra, in an interview tells Autar Nehru about this transformation and also on what CA and aligned professions hold for student aspirants.
Even though the unpredictability of COVID pandemic is still worrisome and at the same time working seems to be getting back on the track, but a lot has changed. What has changed for your way of preparing students?
At the onset of the pandemic, everyone was disturbed and puzzled what next? Most of the students were going to study in online mode for the first time. They had no clue whether they will be able to concentrate or not. In such situation, we continued to hold the hands of our students and always guided them to give their best. We had started countrywide India Live Virtual Classes and Recorded Virtual Classes back in 2015 because we understood the importance of technology in students’ life. We were already ready to deliver high quality classes to the students at their homes on their laptops as well as their Smart Phones. We have been conducting regular motivational sessions on YouTube,Revision Videos on our IGP Live App as well as on YouTube, quick and good quality query resolution system over WhatsApp, etc. This change in the preparation of students increased our involvement as teachers because now we had to resolve the query of each student separately. The continuous efforts of mentors at IGP resulted in the numerous All India Ranks as high as AIR – 2,4,5 and 6 and marks in our subjects as high as 99/100 even in this negative environment.
Another thing that we introduced for the benefit of the students was Online Mock Tests, where students can give mock tests from their homes and send us the scanned copies which we resend them after checking. We also provide Mock Tests with Self-Evaluationfacility. Apart from this, I, myself help thestudents to plan out their schedule and strategy.
According to you, what is the price of becoming a CA or any other equivalent professional, both in terms of hard work and actual money? Can you give us a list of some good places to study these courses?
Talking about the various professional courses such as CA, CS, CMA, etc., the hard work involved in all the courses is same because there is no shortcut to success, you have to take the long route of hard work and it is inevitable. The cost involved in the whole journey of CA is about Rs. 2 Lakhs while that involved in CS and CMA is Rs. 1.5 Lakhs each. However, the average pay package of a fresh CA is about Rs. 8 to 12 Lakhs, for a qualified CMA, it is Rs. 6 to 8 Lakhs and for a qualified CS, it is Rs. 4 to 7 Lakhs. To become a CA, CS and CMA, the students have to register with The Institute of Chartered Accountants of India, The Institute of Company Secretaries of India and The Institute of Cost Accountants of India respectively. For better understanding of concepts including the knowledge of practical life situations, the students should take coaching from the best professionals in each subject. We, at IGP, are proud to be a team of such professionals at all levels and in all subjects of CA, CS and CMA Courses.
If we were to ask you, what are the ideal pathways for a CA aspirant to succeed in his career in today’s time, what would be those job roles? Also comment on opportunities in the government sector and overseas job?
In today’s world, jobs for CAs are more technology driven. A CA aspirant with good and thorough knowledge of technology is considered better than the one with no knowledge of technology. Earlier, all work was done manually and so was the Audit. Since the inception of maintaining accounts electronically, the audit is also being done using electronic tools. Companies prefer to appoint those professionals having an analytical mind because technology has made all other work automatic. A CA aspirant should have strategic problem solving capabilities to achieve a better position in an organisation.
Talking about the opportunities in the government sector, there are job vacancies for CAs in PSUs (such as GAIL, SAIL, IOC, BHEL, NTPC, etc.), PSU Banks (such as SBI, IDBI, PNB, etc.), Indian Revenue Services (such as CBDT, CBEC,etc.), Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG), etc. Overseas opportunities are also available for CAs as ICAI has MoU with many foreign institutes where you can be a CA just by giving 1-2 papers if you are a member of ICAI. It has MoUs with Malaysian CPA Institute, England and Wales CA Institute, CPA Canada, CPA Ireland, South African CA Institute, CPA Australia, CPA Kenya, Qatar Financial Centre, Bahrain Institute of Banking and Finance, Tanzania National Board of Accountants and Auditors, Nepal CA Institute, Bhutan Accounting and Auditing Standards Board, Oman College of Banking & Financial Studies, etc.
Overall, how do you see the Chartered Accountancy profession in terms of changes happening in the economy?
Our profession is directly linked to the growth of the economy. We can’t term it as inevitable because when there is growth, then only there are profits, taxes, GST implications, ITR filing, etc. and our role comes in. During the pandemic, the economy suffered a lot but many small businesses also opened up with creative ideas. CA Profession doesn’t only involve preparation of Accounts as per the prescribed Accounting Standards but also Statutory Audit, Tax Audit, Consultancy for Valuation and Evaluation of Mergers and Acquisitions proposals, Tax Planning, Financial Advisory, Forensic Audit, Strategic Cost Management, etc. You might have noticed that we have seen a lot of IPOs this year. Many people have termed this year as “New Day, New IPO”. This has also increased our role in Investment Planning, Wealth Management, etc. Hence, we can say that a smart CA can find various avenues for himself even in tough times.
How important do you think is it for a student in school or college to learn the fundamentals of commerce and courses related to accounting?
Everyone respects CAs, even our PM has said that CAs play a vital role in the success of the economy. This makes the importance of Commerce and Accounting related courses evident in everyone’s life. The students of other streams such as Science and Humanities must also know about some of the basic concepts of Accounts, Finance, Taxation, etc. especially when they want to do business or even manage their Income Tax and GST Returns, and manage their investment portfolio. They should have the knowledge of Profit and Loss, Balance Sheet, Break – Even Point, etc. to make strategic decisions essential for their businesses.
IGP has been in existence for around two decades and you have contributed to the success of thousands of aspirants in achieving their dreams (including about 1000 All India Rank holders). Can you briefly tell us how do you feel about this journey and how did you see the changes and dynamics moving from one level to another during this journey?
I have always been a passionate professional who pursues teaching as a passion and not as a business. I believe that the students who want to shine are the diamonds which just need correct polishing in the correct manner, hence, my role as a mentor has been to help them shine better and reach their maximum potential. During this journey of more than two decades, I have always focused on making my students global leaders. I have not only focused on the subjects which I have taught, but also on mentoring, motivation and planning for the students. I have taught them how to make their personal mini – max plans. With the help of visualisations, I have always tried to teach them in an innovative way so that they can develop analytical skills and solve practical life problems of the various concepts which I teach them. These animations and visualisations keep them engaged in the subject and develop their further interest in it. So, it has been a great journey of being sincere, not serious because seriousness takes away all the fun and interest in the subject.
Being headquartered in Delhi with a network of centres is certainly an advantage. But what if outstation students want to come and be coached by you and the eminent professionals at your institute? What are some of the offers for them (including cost)?
Currently, we have all India presence through Recorded Virtual and Live Virtual classes and the quality of our classes are appreciated by all with good, easy-to-use technology, great technical support and query resolution system. For the outstation students who want to come and be coached by us at IGP Institutein Face – to – Face mode, we have associations with various hostels and PGs where they can live in a good study environment.
Our staff is also well trained to counsel the students for any problem which they face in the new city. Apart from this, we also provide various scholarships to all the students on the basis of Single Parent, Economically Weaker Section, Children of Defence Personnel, Children of Para Medical Staff, Rank holders, Re – Appearing Student, Specially Abled Student, Girl Child and Scholarship Test on all the subjects as well as on combos.