Bombay Dreams

I hated Mumbai. Yes. With its crowd of people literally running for daily survival, its humidity, its monsoons and the associated floods , pollution and traffic and what not?? Mumbai, for me, was the most unlikely place in which I would ever want to live. All that was set to change in 30 days.( Rapidex style).

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Soon after my IPCC exams, I had been on a vacation to Mumbai ( Vacation essentially means spending your time in your Aunt’s or Uncle’s place and goofing around and having fun with cousins and NOT the sun-tan seeking beach vacation)

Three days was maximum enough for me to change my mind . I had fallen in love with the city. I knew I had a thing for cities with strong ” pre-independent historical background” ( I.e., something to do with the effects and impact of the British Rule of India) . For example, merely reading the English names for the roads and streets and landmarks in Chennai would give me some sort of “pheelings” ;).

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I knew that Mumbai had welcomed me with great warmth which we would never show to the one who hated us. From the iconic Marine Drive, the Gateway of India, the bazaars and shopping streets, the Haji Ali Dargah and also that juice shop there, and of course the vada pavs and the misal pavs , every single thing of Mumbai amazed me. The 30 days went by in what seemed like 2-3 days and I had to return to my home down south. But even now any mention of Mumbai in newspapers or television really excites me.

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Mumbai is a city known for its brotherhood and the show of unity. Whatever adversity that comes to the city, Mumbai bounces back to normality in a day or two.

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I hadn’t watched Wake up Sid then, so I was saved from getting obsessed about the place. But that too happened eventually and I was left longing and yearning for a stint in the City.

My dad had always said that one who has survived a life in Bombay would be able to live anywhere in the World. I am one among scores and scores of people who are waiting for that chance. Sigh!! Its been 3 full years and am still waiting.

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Time to wake up!!!

With a considerable amount of time in the last week spent on reading and reading about corporate accounting frauds, its with a great shock that I come to realise how risky the environment has become for an Auditor. As a representative from that field itself, I would very well say that an Auditor is always haunted by the Ghost of his past. Though as Auditors, we might be well versed and well backed up with all the relevant and necessary points related to the numbers of the company,we still are far left in the lurch when it comes to Internal control systems.

India is gliding in the path of increasing Foreign fund inflows and rapid integration with the global economy ,both in terms of actual trade and also in terms of its financial reporting framework. In such a scenario, one would expect the regulators to tighten up the Law,thus bringing in more accountability and transparency in the operations and also the finances of any business entity. And there we got the new provisions related to Corporate Governance.

“Corporate Governance” brought in a chilly breeze of much-needed reforms in the areas of conflict of interest, stringent disclosure requirements and also pulled the plug on the possibility of retaining auditors. Is it enough for a country like India? Is it enough for an emerging economy which is doing pretty well ,thanks to the tight hold by the RBI and others?

I would say a strong NO to the above questions. Changing Auditors or increasing the mandatory disclosure requirements is not going to go to the roots of the issues. I frankly am shocked to note that nothing has been said on the importance of a strong Internal control systems in business entities and also a whistle-blower protection mechanism covering all the spheres of trade and commerce ( i.e.., not just public sector).

In an era where almost 3/4th of the corporate accounting frauds have taken place due to internal and intentional actions and collusion among the top management level, its highly recommended that some standards or benchmarks be set for the internal control systems in an entity. As we might know, even a very small and immaterial irregularity , when compounded  numerous times , could lead to a huge, venomous scandal. As auditors, we would need to ensure that the entity has strong systems in place rather than merely certifying the numbers. Additionally, we must really have a strong and reasonable opinion on what is material and immaterial with respect to the financials and the operational process. As watchdogs, we are not supposed to compromise on that.

Lets sincerely hope that the recently introduced provisions on Corporate Governance are made more comprehensive and that it goes all the way down to the rock bottom of the iceberg. And its our duty to see to it that the World never sees another WorldCom or Satyam ever again.

My date with a drama

Its like a dream come true for me when I got an invite from my Aunt for an English Play. Excited and thrilled , I went to the Egmore Museum Theatre to witness the “Animal Farm”. Its a play based on the Novella by George Orwell and adapted by Peter Hall.

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The core idea was the idea of animals taking over the farm and the activities of the farm with their own rules and regulations, ie., a little like their own “sovereign” nation. I have neither read that book nor have I had any preview of it , so all the below given comments are purely based on the experience from a first-timer.

The screenplay was very engaging and the clarity was very good. No complex sentences, no complicated phrases in the pretext of using sophisticated English, no use of bombastic words etc. It was simple and pure.

The costumes were true to the essence of the play and did not distract the audience with any bling or shine. It complimented the play and helped it maintain the essence.

The music and on-stage singing were interesting and well performed .

The lighting was amazing and I personally will give more than half the credits to it. It captured the emotions so well as to compensate for any near misses by the cast in their acts ( if there were any).

The cast were awesome in their performances and they did nail it.

Its simply not a mean task to coordinate all the aspects of a play so well and to keep the audiences engaged for a duration of 100 minutes . But the group did just that and left all of us wanting more of it.

I thoroughly enjoyed the date and would suggest you all to give it a try!!

Kudos to you, Stray Factory and Madras Players!!!! You guys made my Evening and gave me an experience worth cherishing.

A quaint lil eatery in Namma Mylapore…..

Mylapore is probably the best place next to Mint street in Chennai to experiment in food and eateries. From high end Eeanglis-ispeakin peter places to the absolute yummy street food kinda places ,one can find all and more in and around Mylapore. One such kutti food point is FOOD POINT.

Located on the VM street near Yellow Pages bus stop and Sanskrit college/ Valluvar silai bus stop , this little place is THE go to place to grab a quick bite.

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Hidden behind the wall and baskets of fruits and bread, this shop is quite famous for its fast food. though it is not a typical hotel type outlet, they do have a few chairs under a few big umbrellas to sit and enjoy the fare.

Pocket friendly and tasty, the items here range from Rs.20 to Rs.70. Sandwiches, Toasts and its many many variants, Frankie, Juices, milkshakes, burgers, chaats etc are found in the menu. The Food point special items ( categorised so in their Menu itself) and the Bread Omelets are to die for (Personal choice)!!

This place has had the reputation of being the lifeline of the inmates of the 358796 hostels found nearby and is always crowded.

https://www.zomato.com/chennai/food-point-mylapore

I would vouch for this place in my sleep and would suggest it over any other similar place.. đŸ™‚

 

Ikkaraikku akkarai always green???

Some days just bring you down, don’t they? I happened to be a witness of two souls sharing their own woes about work ( one is doing articleship and the other one is an Industrial Trainee) . As always I observed and observed and come to notice the following.

Things that make Articleship win

  • The look of awe in the faces of the clients… Absolutely priceless!!looking up to u
  • The cheap thrill of waiting for “that” call from the office about our next outstation audit. Its cheap because we wait not for the audit but for the travel and stay and food perks.. all in one. Especially if it is a Government audit, the sightseeing also. Ahh those nice cabs and swanky hotel rooms and the awesome menu card at our disposal….

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  • Those little arguments that we have with our Client’s employees and in the end proven right.. ( by the interference of our senior or audit manager)

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  • Making the client saying “haan JI” for our observations and watching his helpless face at times. ( It is really rare , my friends,because usually it is we who modify our audit as per the client’s wish) .The associated mind voice being ” Now who is the Boss????? “

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Things that Industrial Training wins

  • Those typical corporate coffee breaks are nowhere in the picture during Articleship.

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  • Shut down the workstation on time, swinging the bag, taking the keys and saying Baaaaaaayyyeeeeee!!!! on time. This, I say, will never ever, ever ever, happen during articleship.

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  • A 5 day week. Enough said!! And occasionally a 3 day weekend.

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These made me think.. after all, grass is always greener on the other side.. and as ever I smile at them like an idiot.

As I Approach the end of The Beginning…..

A typical conversation that happens between a Staying-away-from-home CA final student and a Oh-Am-So-Practical set of parents goes on as follows:

Scene 1:

Place: The Hostel of the student- Chennai

Scene: Study Holidays near the date of exam..sometime during Mid-April or Mid-October , a fine breezy evening ( in case its October and a sultry one if its April).

Student (S): Mom, I am tired of this NON-SENSE!!!! ( pls. note the all CAPS and the triple exclamation marks there)(tears welling up because of utmost frustration)frustration

Mom(M): Why ?? Whats wrong??? ( worried she is, immediately her mind and thoughts wandering off to the most horrendous situations)

S : How much more should i slog and study? There is no *&%$ end to this!!

M : (Exhaling out of relief..) ohhh.. ivlo thaana…. nan romba over a imagine panniten. (meaning: Ohh is this all… i imagined way too much )

This itself should give you a summary and help you imagine what would have happened next. The parent gives a top-notch Gyaan about how this is just the beginning of all those bad, baaaaaad things that are yet to come and how we should be thankful that we are not there yet and how we must see the present situation as a mere practise session etc……

Right, I know what you must be thinking… I was trying to make a point about the title. Earning a Degree is just the beginning.

As many of my friends and Yours truly are nearing the end of our Articleship stint, many thoughts come and sit on our minds like the young couple in Marina Beach after 6 PM ( they really don’t move out unless its real dark and past 10 PM)…Though we have a lot of ideas on what to do next , it so happens that we get all moody and worked up for nothing because of all these thoughts.

Uncertainity about the results hang above us like a dagger in the air that is reday to chop our heads off and it complicates our woes further.

So, as far as we benchers have brain-stormed, I present to you all the following ideas that has occured to us.

Situation 1: In the event of a CLEAR!!

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  • Celebrate! Celebrate!! and Celebrate!!! because this is not the result that we often come across. Practise saying “Thank You” a million times and ” Ohh.. you din clear? That’s sad da. Institute is so bad %&%$ and I myself dunno how i passed” sort of remarks two million times.
  • Distribute Sweets in your erstwhile office and promise them a bigger treat later when you get a good job ( conveniently thinking that “unakellam idhuve jaasthi” or ” catch me if you can”)
  • Check with the present office ( In case you are in a BIG 4 or doing Industrial Training) if they are thinking of retaining you and taking you in as their permanent employee.
  • If it is a Yes, do a cartwheel and flash a biggie smile.
  • If it is a No, still do a cartwheel and flash an even bigger smile and start updating your CV, LinkedIn profiles etc.

Situation 2: In the event of 1 FAIL or 2 FAILs..

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  • Call up your friends and check up on them to know their results and do the Hi5 when both of you are on the same boat.
  • Check updates on the Institute website to see the syllabus for the next attempt and consider retaking the classes if need be.
  • Keep calm and continue to complete your term of articleship and then decide to take up a job ( in order to gain experience ) or to quit and sit and work harder ( hoping an all clear in the upcoming attempt)

'Your resume is impressive, but next time try to shorten it from 100 pages to one.'

Now, in the second situation, all of us will have such confusions and will not know how to proceed. The advantages of taking up a job after the articleship might be a) fill in the gaps in the CV b) reduced idle time and hence less instances of the mind turning into a devil’s workshop c) networking and connecting to people and building up your contacts while the cons would be a), b) and c)-> TIME!!!!

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The advantages of preparing mainstream for the exams are also aplenty like a) full time focus b) time availability to tweak your routine and experiment a little with it etc while the disadvantages would be a) gaps in the CV b) lack of meeting people outside might drive you crazy and depressed.

Whatever the case is, all I wanted to say was , Yes, I am nearing the end of The beginning and am looking for inputs on the above dilemma….. So all those experienced people out there, do drop in your views so that we Benchers can pick it up from there and move on.. đŸ™‚