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My ACA experience: Yash

Yash is in his final year at university studying business and finance in his quest to becoming an ICAEW Chartered Accountant.


Yash Garg Audit Assistant, Alexander Sloan

ICAEW route: Graduate

Industry: Audit and assurance

Location: Glasgow

Yash's story

Tell us about your career journey and what you do day-to-day in your role. 

Currently, I am an Accounting and Finance student eagerly preparing to enter my final year at University. Alongside my academic pursuits, I am gaining valuable professional experience as an audit assistant at the esteemed Alexander Sloan.

In my daily responsibilities, I actively contribute to numerous audit engagements through the meticulous examination of clients' financial statements. This includes tasks such as examining wage transactions, reviewing journals, conducting post-year-end assessments, and performing cut-off testing.

To execute these responsibilities seamlessly, I work primarily on-site at client offices, predominantly with housing associations. Most recently I have had the honour of being involved in an audit for a municipal bank.

Why do you think it’s so important that workplaces support and celebrate diversity? Has ICAEW played a role in this?

The significance of workplaces embracing and celebrating diversity cannot be overstated, especially in professions like accountancy, where judgement and differing perspectives play a crucial role in decision-making.

Embracing diversity brings together people from varied backgrounds, each contributing unique opinions, thoughts, and viewpoints, ultimately enhancing the overall quality of work performed. And ICAEW has been promoting this value since day one.

In my personal journey with ICAEW, I have experienced firsthand as a person with multicultural background the exceptional resources and support to empower professionals from diverse backgrounds to thrive and contribute to their unique perspectives. I would like to express my gratitude to Sally, who has been a guiding presence since day one, offering unwavering assistance and encouragement which has made a profound impact on my growth and development.

Why did you choose the ACA over other accounting qualifications?

The ACA stood out to me among a multitude of accounting qualifications for several compelling reasons. Firstly, the ACA's distinguished legacy and esteemed reputation within the field sets it apart. The rich heritage it carries and the widespread recognition it commands solidify its status as a symbol of excellence in the accounting realm.

Furthermore, ACA’s global recognition holds immense value in our interconnected world. In an era where borders are increasingly blurred, having a qualification that transcends geographical boundaries opens doors to a multitude of opportunities, enabling me to navigate diverse sectors and forge connections on an international scale.

The final and most important reason why I chose ACA is that I strongly believe in its ability to lay a solid foundation for my professional journey. Its comprehensive curriculum and rigorous training instilled in me not only the requisite technical expertise but also a profound understanding of the intricate workings of business and finance which will be of great help in pursuing my future qualifications such as the CFA. 

In essence, my decision to choose the ACA over other accounting qualifications stems from its exceptional combination of esteemed reputation, global recognition, and potential for personal and professional growth. It is a testament to my unwavering commitment to excellence and the relentless pursuit of a qualification that will not only set me apart but also empower me to make a lasting impact in the dynamic world of accounting.

Who or what inspired you to become a chartered accountant?

The seeds of inspiration that led me to embrace the path of a chartered accountant lay deeply rooted in my upbringing and the rich traditions of my family in India. 

Surrounded by the wisdom and experience of both my father and grandfather as astute As I grew older and my curiosity about the financial world intensified, I found myself delving deeper into the study of financial markets. It became evident to me that accounting is a crucial ingredient for success in these markets. This realization drew me towards the chartered accountancy profession.

Not only does it provide an exceptional opportunity to understand financial markets in a way that no other profession can, but it also opens doors to work in a wide range of industries, allowing me to learn about various aspects of different sectors. Moreover, being a chartered accountant offers the chance to work in intriguing fields like fraud analysis, which adds even more excitement to this career path.

Our accountants are more than you’d imagine. They challenge the traditional accountancy routes and career paths. They have an innovative approach and skill to their work. How does your career path, attitude and skillset support this?

From the outset, my journey with ICAEW exemplifies the very approach that ICAEW embodies. I have been proactive right from the beginning.

Unlike others, I chose not to follow the traditional path to ICAEW. Instead, I decided to embark on my exams while concurrently pursuing my degree, without claiming any exemptions thus far, despite being eligible for over six exemptions from my Glasgow University qualifications. My rationale behind this decision was to maximize my exam progress compared to my peers by the time I complete my degree.

This bold approach not only showcases my proactive attitude towards the qualification but also underscores my passion for the industry and my discipline. Balancing university studies and the rigorous demands of ICAEW examinations required significant additional effort and time management skills. It meant adapting to a new schedule and embracing a demanding lifestyle. However, I firmly believe that the sacrifices are worthwhile, as my goal is not merely to become an ACA-qualified professional, but to strive to become one of the industry's best.

Do you think there is such a thing as a stereotypical accountant? If so, how do you challenge this stereotype?

In my opinion, the stereotypical accountant is often envisioned as someone confined to a back office with a monotonous desk job. From the very beginning of my internship at Alexander Sloan, I made a conscious effort to challenge and break free from this stereotype, for which I am grateful to them. They provided me with assignments that required me to work on-site and travel regularly.

Constantly visiting new clients has been one of the most enriching experiences of my life because it allows me to witness the ground reality firsthand. I strongly believe that travel, client interaction, and on-site work are not only crucial at this stage of my career, but at every stage.

These experiences help forge connections, facilitate learning from professionals across different fields, and foster personal growth. Thanks to my time at Alexander Sloan, I now have the confidence to engage directly with clients from diverse industries. I am constantly learning, such as acquiring a basic understanding of the SDM accounting software used by many of our housing association clients.

I am committed to maintaining this approach throughout my career, continually seeking opportunities to explore various industries, converse with industry leaders, and foster ongoing personal and professional growth.

Why did you decide to go down the route you did?

As a highly ambitious student, I have always been driven to surpass expectations to be able to excel and make a significant impact in my chosen field. With this drive in mind, I recognized the significance of proactively shaping my career.

That's why I made the deliberate decision to embark on my journey as an independent student, without waiting for my university studies to conclude or seeking any exemptions. By taking this audacious step, not only I gained additional certifications before completing my degree but also established a solid foundation that surpassed that of my peers, enhancing my qualifications.

This unique path not only reflects my determination to continually enhance my skillset but also highlights my dedication to acquiring a competitive edge in the industry. 

What do you love the most about what you do? 

One of the aspects I truly cherish about my work is the opportunity to meet and engage with professionals and leaders from various industries. It serves as a valuable networking platform that enables me to establish connections across diverse sectors. Additionally, it provides a remarkable avenue for continuous learning.

As an ACA, one of the most exceptional aspects is the ability to gain comprehensive knowledge about different industries. This encompasses understanding the inherent risks associated with specific sectors as well as acquiring insights on how these industries function. In my opinion, this unparalleled opportunity for industry immersion sets the ACA profession apart from others, offering a unique and enriching experience.

At ICAEW, we encourage applicants from all backgrounds. What skills do you bring to your career due to your previous studies and why did chartered accountancy appeal to you?

In my case, both my previous studies and my upbringing have played instrumental roles in shaping the valuable skills I need to become a chartered accountant. 

From a young age, I was immersed in a business-oriented family environment, where accounts and finance were an integral part of everyday life. Guided by my father's unwavering support and encouragement, I learned the importance of effective communication and stepping out of my comfort zone to build meaningful relationships in the business world.

Moreover, my father and grandfather instilled in me a visionary mindset, emphasizing the significance of not only working for personal betterment but also contributing to the advancement of my company and the entire profession. This mindset has shaped my approach to my career, propelling me to strive for excellence not only for myself but also for the greater benefit of the organizations I serve.

When it comes to the appeal of chartered accountancy, there are several facets that captured my imagination. Firstly, I believe that the scope of the CA qualification extends far beyond what meets the eye. It CA provides many opportunities, allowing individuals to assume various roles and responsibilities.

As a chartered accountant, one can excel as an auditor, a tax advisor, or an analyst. This qualification also helps gain unparalleled insights into the inner workings of businesses enabling one to understand not only the signs of a successful business but also the pitfalls to avoid and the critical factors to consider while navigating the complex world of commerce.

Additionally, chartered accountancy opens doors to diverse industries, granting professionals exposure to a wide range of sectors. Unlike being confined to a singular industry, a CA's skill set is transferable and adaptable: every CA possesses the knowledge and expertise required for becoming an investment banker of a stock finance analyst but not every investment banker can be a good auditor or CA.


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