CS topper Nupur's advice: "Never mug up laws!"
Name: Nupur Kedia
Level: Executive Programme (second level)
NUPUR always had a thing for accountancy but after 10+2 in Commerce from Mayo College, Ajmer, she did a Bachelor of Business Management. stint as an analyst at Ernst & Young exposed her to US taxation - thus nurturing a new interest - interpreting tax laws. Now, with the CS programme, Nupur is having her cake and eating it too, as CS combines accounts and tax laws. She shares her journey with Merril Diniz
Q. Your toughest subjects?
A. Many people who are only doing CS find the two practical subjects - tax and accounting, both number-based - tough. For me these were easy, as I have already completed them for CA, with coaching from Yeshas Academy; I have finished CPT and will give the IPCC (second level) in May. In CS, we also have four theoretical subjects for which I personally suggest self study.
Q. Why do both the programmes? Will it give you an edge?
A. CA focuses on accounts and tax. And CS is about company law. So, when you go for a job, it’s like a complete package and you will have an edge over someone who has only done CA or CS. After the programmes, I want to work for the Big 4 (audit firms KPMG, Deloitte, PwC, Ernst & Young) and eventually set up my own business. But you have to be very dedicated. I just had my CS exam in December. I have a CA exam in May. No study break.
Q. Your approach to preparation.
A. I put in about two-and-a-half months. In the first month-and-a-half, I went through the study material for each subject. I’d say around 6 to 7 hours a day. I like to study at night when everyone sleeps, because then I don’t have any distractions. I would wrap up at 1 or 2 a.m. You have to balance the practical and the theory in one day or else you might get bored. You can do one chapter of accounts and then do three chapters of theory. In the last one month, I revised the study material and went through the guideline answers.
Q. Any specific books or guides that you recommend?
A. I only used the study material given by the institute, and followed the guideline answers. If you buy the last 10 attempts, that’s good enough as you get a flow of the question papers and what the questions are going to be. Also, my brother is doing CA. If I don’t understand something, he helps me. We mutually help each other.
Q. Can you give us an overview of the paper patterns and trends?
A. The first question is compulsory and then you get a choice in the rest. That has been the pattern. The compulsory question is usually from specific chapters (for example, in General and Commercial Law, the compulsory question is always from the first 2 chapters - Constitution of India and Interpretation of Statutes). So, you know where to focus. But then again, you must go through the entire material. That’s why I did not experience any surprises. I feel you should cover everything. Each paper has at least five ‘Fill in the Blanks’, five MCQs. Then the rest will be short notes, essay-type questions or True or False.
Q. What is your advice to students?
A. Never mug up - especially laws, because if you cannot apply the laws to case studies, then it is of no use (view box below). It’s better to read, understand and write in your own words. Two, though I did self-study for theory, I would prefer some coaching for the practical papers. Last, don’t get scared of the size of the books. For the executive level, I had six subjects - so six fat books, most of them are 700-900 pages with one subject of 400 pages and another of 1200 pages!
Q. What are your hobbies?
A. Reading and dancing. I take contemporary dance lessons.
Nupur's take on how to interpret tax laws:
Tax law case study: Section 206AA in the IT Act, 1961 has complicated the tax deduction process. It is an imposition of a penal tax rate for all classes of persons not furnishing PAN to the deductor. It is also a ‘notwithstanding anything contained in other sections of this Act’ section, meaning that it supersedes all other provisions.
Two possible interpretations:
2. Tax should be deducted on the whole income (without basic exemption benefit) as the section applies notwithstanding anything contained in other sections of this Act, which means all benefits extended in the other sections of this Act stand withdrawn.
Nupur will address your queries/ comments through the month of May.