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Statutory Audit to Corporate Strategy

If you are mulling over the idea of pursuing Industrial Training as a CA aspirant, this article is for you. Don't mind my candidness!

Hi fellow CA aspirants! I assiduously stay away from posting anything remotely related to CA and I have my reasons but Industrial Training (IT) is such an obscure topic, I thought if I could give some clarity to the subject, it might aid you in deciding whether you should or shouldn't go for Industrial Training!

A lot of people ask me BINARY questions like these:

- Whether I should go for Industrial Training?

- Whether I'll be able to manage studies along with office?

- Whether in the longer run IT holds any value? etc. etc.

WARNING: I can only give you an account of my experience and an experience is a cumulative account of your surroundings, hence whenever you take a decision, use this as a reference but not a blueprint. Also, this article does not contain any confidential information about the company.

Now, I have already recorded a video on the brief aspects of why I chose to pursue IT, what was the interview procedure, why you should do it and stuff like that.

I am writing this to tell you 'WHAT IS CORPORATE STRATEGY' and how is it different from Statutory Audit. Let's begin!

1. It's not AUDIT and that's enough!

Under Corporate Strategy and Business Development department we act as an internal consultant to the group. We assist them in greenfield/brownfield investments, mergers, acquisitions, portfolio evaluation, revamping a business, governance issues, long term strategic planning, divestments, deal creation, diversification into new age businesses, financial modelling, group-wide initiatives and so on.

Unlike Audit where you are restricted to only one function as an Auditor, you have to be a jack of all trades in order to survive in this profile.

2. Bid a goodbye to Excel

While I was working in Statutory Audit, almost all the work revolved around working in Microsoft Excel but in Strategy it is Microsoft Powerpoint.

You will significantly improve on your presentation skills under the guidance of MBAs from top-tier business schools.

I won't deny, it's not too easy!

3. You are not surrounded by Chartered Accountants only

Like I mentioned, most of your colleagues would be MBAs or Engineers and CAs as well but the proportion is skewed towards non-CAs.

This is imperative to give you fresh perspective on business, finance, marketing, management, team-building, leadership, personal development and so many more things.

4. Reading extensively is the key

The role is a research based role and there have been days where I have scrolled through more than 20 annual reports in a row.

You'll be assigned random tasks and topics to research on, something that the team needs urgently along with an already existing long-term project. The key is to think on your feet and be well versed with what kind of data is available on which website.

For instance: Data available on World Bank, IMF directories etc.

5. Think creatively

This job will teach you that numbers weave a story. Population statistics, GDP ratios, profitability ratios etc. all of them have causations and correlations to some or the other variable.

You have to constantly keep asking yourself why numbers are moving in a certain direction and then answer those questions logically.

6. Not just an Intern

While working in Audit, your opinion barely holds any value. If you find any error which is less than materiality level unless it affects your risk assessment, nobody cares about it.

The areas you need to work on are assigned based on seniority level and you'll interact with the signing partner only in the final review. (Correct me if you have worked in a Big Four firm and experienced otherwise, exceptions are always there of course)

Whilst in an industry, you are considered as a team member and not just an intern. There is a flat organizational structure and you can voice your opinion as long as it is logical.

7. You can't afford to be ignorant

Strategy as a role ceaselessly challenges you to keep yourself updated.

You have to be abreast of all the latest business developments around you, read newspaper(S), browse unfamiliar websites, take up tasks out of your comfort zone, interact with clients and research agencies, take part in consumer interviews and go for industrial & store visit for immersion experiences.

8. Industry hopping

There have been days when I have switched working on more than 3 industries in a day. Real perks of working in a conglomerate! It could be in depth-exploration of existing business or an extensive research on new ventures. Some of them could be monotonous for you but trust me there is learning in every little task that you perform.

9. Yes, you can sleep before midnight

A lot of people are very skeptical of elongated working hours in an industry. Let me clarify, IT IS NOT THE CASE.

Not that it does not happen at all but such situations are rare. You are not supposed to work on weekends and the weekdays are a 9 hour deal which is decent enough to provide you ample time to study.

10. Exposure

In the end it's all about the exposure that you get. Putting yourself out of your comfort zone, evaluate a role where you might continue working after you qualify or else tick it off of your list of 'NOT TO DO JOBS' (Audit is the first item for me in that list :p)

But on a serious note audit did give me enough exposure as a beginner in corporate, unparalleled understanding of financial statements and accounting and an eye to detail, to check and cross-check.

I am hoping this serves as a beacon to solve some of your queries before you begin your journey as an Industrial Trainee. You have the luxury now to begin IT after 1.5 years, use that time wisely. There's a huge world full of opportunities out there.

If you have any queries, mention it in the comments and I'll get back to you. All the best!

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