In conversation with US CPA Alumni – Nihar Khanzode

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Nihar Khanzode

Why did you opt for CPA over other accounting courses?

Ever since I completed my graduation – I had always wanted to do a professional course for career upskilling. I asked a few of my CA friends their opinion of various courses. And, I wanted to take up a course which can be completed in a year’s time. Keeping this in mind, I looked up online and saw CPA being offered by Miles. I saw a few videos of Varun – was impressed with the simplicity in which he explained the concepts. I attended the DEMO classes for audit in a few days and enrolled right away after that class.

Once you took up the course, what was your initial strategy?

To be honest, initially, I was very scared because of the 75 % passing criteria. But a few days into the classes and I knew I had made the right decision. My strategy was simple – I needed to complete the course in about a year / a year and a half time frame. So I did a backward planning per that.

Which amongst the 4 subjects, did you find the toughest?

AUD was by far the trickiest. Initially, you feel you have understood the topics and concepts, but when you actually decide to solve the OTBs, all answers look alike and is extremely confusing. In my first attempt, I managed to score just 71 in Audit. This happened coz I had skipped a few topics and unfortunately, a lot of questions on my paper ended up from that topic. So one should not skip any topic.

In AUD – topic 4.5 and above, which consist of the audit cycle, plan, engagement, etc. is pretty draining. I had to go through these multiple times to get my concept clear.

FAR on the other hand was too lengthy – takes 2 months to cover all topics. But it’s not as difficult as AUD.

BEC gave me sleepless nights, especially for the IT topics. They are not very conceptual based. It’s more application-based.
How did I overcome it? Well, I took help from my friends in the IT background and approached Miles faculty multiple times. And the second concern is that there are many topics from IT – so you can’t skip it altogether.

REG I did not find it too difficult, nor was it tricky. Even the MCQ was simple. But yes, we need to spend more time on the law section in REG.

What was your strategy for Simulations and WCTs?

Time management is very important here. MCQ took less time – a lot of simulations have portions that are not important to solving the questions – so when we read the questions we should note down the important section before actually solving it. This helps with time management.

WCTs are opinion based and all theory topics need to be covered for this. At times WCT questions come from non-theory topics – so one needs to be prepared well. You need to know how to draft the WC, you need to focus on grammar, take good examples, and explain it well.

Tell us about your Prometric experience.

I had a very smooth experience in my center – initially, I was very nervous in my first exam, but once you start to write the exam – the nervousness goes off. Breaks are very important, it helps u refresh.

I had a bad experience in one of my papers. In a hurry, I clicked on the “Resume” button instead of clicking on “Take A Break”. So we need to be careful there.

How did you prepare for your interview at Deloitte?

Before the interview, I took a lot of help from my friends at Deloitte and from the placement team at Miles. There were 5 rounds in total – 2 technical rounds, 1 HR round, an English test, and at last the Director’s round. All rounds went off well, I was asked questions pertaining to audit and other technical areas. I prepared well so thankfully was able to answer them.

Lastly, what are Nihar’s tips for aspiring CPAs?

  • Don’t miss any topic – cover all of them.
  • Practice time management before exams in your OTBs – then only u can apply the same in your exams.
  • Don’t get bogged down if you get difficult questions in the first test, the following ones are then going to be easy. Keep this in mind.

In the end, I can say that I am very satisfied and happy with my decision to pursue CPA. I got a wonderful opportunity to start my career at Deloitte after my CPA which I always wished for. Thanks to every Miles faculty, staff member, and the Placement team!!

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