Date posted: 13/07/2017 3 min read

Praise for CA qualification

Senior accountant at BDO Sydney, Gowthame Varathakeyan, chats to Acuity about the merits of working towards a CA qualification.

In brief

  • After working towards her CA qualification, Gowthame Varathakeyan, is exploring applying for a posting in New York.
  • Varathakeyan is one of the creators of the Bond Network, a networking group across multiple professional disciplines.
  • Completing the CA program involves having dual priorities – work and study – which teaches candidates valuable skills for their future.

What is your current position and key tasks? 

I am a senior accountant in the audit team at BDO Sydney. BDO is a mid-tier firm and ranked number five globally.

At BDO it is possible for a chartered accountant (CA) to build their personal brand without getting lost. I started work here in 2014. The size of the firm has enabled me to progress really well.

My audits cover a wide mix of industries including listed and unlisted companies. I audit across the not-for-profit (NFP) sector, medical research, cloud services, financial services, asset management, retail, and technology.

My role includes running jobs, putting teams together and attending offsite meetings.  My role is very client facing. A real bonus is working with and learning from so many different partners.

Many of the partners are specialists in their own areas. They have a global outlook, different backgrounds and fantastic experience.

I travel domestically but not yet internationally. I have just finished my CA qualification and can now apply for overseas postings. I am leaning towards somewhere in the United States, maybe New York.

Friends have been there and they report a flexible work culture compared with the more traditional destination of the United Kingdom. Perhaps the US instead of the UK, is a trend with younger CAs.

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How did your CA qualification help you? 

More than anything it has given me credibility when I talk to clients.  The CA qualification has given me the opportunity to develop my own ideas, both inside and outside of the work environment.

For example, in 2015, I saw a gap in offerings for young professionals trying to build the networks and connections that would enable them to obtain management positions. So, with a few friends, we created a networking group across multiple professional disciples and industries, called the Bond Network. Bond stands for Building, Opportunities, Networks and Developments.

At our last meeting in Sydney we had 65 attendees across finance, media, IT, engineering, banking and teaching.  The CA program has helped give me the confidence to use my skills and step outside of the pure CA environment.

 ca qualification

Picture credit: Cameron Ramsay / Studio Commercial

How does your CA qualification help your ongoing career?

The CA qualification plays a big role in helping CAs mature and transition away from traditional roles like audit and compliance to being experts or consultants. It gives you credibility.

The qualification can help CAs develop and continue to learn. Also, if and when the time is right, the qualification can help CAs branch out into industry.

I have noticed that many chief executive officers and directors are CAs.  Being a CA opens up so many senior roles in the private and not-for-profit sectors. 

Would you recommend the CA qualification to others?

Definitely. If you want to be innovative and start a business, people want to deal with someone they trust, someone like a CA. The CA qualification gives you more leverage.

What advice would you give others about the CA qualification?

The CA program is not just about the study. It’s about prioritising work and study, a skill that stands you in good stead in the future, as we all have to prioritise things in our lives.

Whatever ideas you have, they do not have to be local, get involved. Look for opportunities to serve the community, to organise, or be a keynote speaker at various events.

There are so many opportunities. Take them and realise your dreams.

This article is part of a regular Careers column offering tips and advice for provisional members of CA ANZ and younger full members. For more information on the Chartered Accountants Program, as well as inspiring stories of young chartered accountants visit now.