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Introduction: Entering the realm of Chartered Accountancy (CA) and Company Secretary (CS) is often perceived as a prestigious endeavor, promising a rewarding career and financial stability. This article provides a critical perspective on the darker aspects of articleship in CA/CS fields, highlighting issues of exploitation, toxic work environments, and the importance of maintaining personal boundaries and well-being amidst professional pressures. It varies on individual experiences, but some common challenges include long working hours, high-pressure environments, and sometimes a lack of work-life balance. Additionally, some individuals may face issues related to wokplace harassment, inadequate training, or limited exposure to diverse areas of accounting and finance. This article aims to shed light on the darker aspects of articleship in CA/CS fields, discussing the common challenges faced by trainees, including long working hours, high-pressure environments, lack of work-life balance, and sometimes even workplace harassment.

The Dark Side of CA/CS Articleship

“Everything is glittery about an articleship until you join it”

Creating a hostile environment for articles while always being diplomatically and legally correct is the worst form of mental torture. I find that sometimes articles are wrong and immature and because of their own doing (like lying on face or avoiding work) get stuck in such situations but many a times CA/CS themselves plunge beneath their profession in trying to teach articles lesson. The result is that the articles, when they become CA/CS, consider such witch hunting normal, as they have been treated so. It’s just like in engineering colleges, where ragging is considered normal and routine by most of the students and upheld by them when they become seniors.

Despite the prevalence of such issues, the greater problem lies in the silence of those in authority. Everyone is aware of the problems plaguing articleship, yet no decisive action is taken to rectify them. Trainers, entrusted with the mentorship of future professionals, often prioritize their own interests over the well-being of their students. They view articles not as individuals with aspirations and rights, but as mere pawns in their money-making procedures. Companies and firms exploit articles as cheap, bonded labour, devoid of paid leave or consideration for their basic needs. This exploitation, under the guise of learning and exposure, is nothing short of a fraudulent scheme, perpetuating a cycle of exploitation and indifference.

Most of the trainers are blotches on humanity. They never care for the students; it is just their bloody increment (money-making) procedure. The companies and firms get skilled CHEAP-BONDED labour to do their work; they do not give a single paid leave to their articles. They don’t care whether their articles live or die. They are just interested in their work. It is a very big fraud going on in the name of learning or articleship. They just pay you a pity stipend per month. And they think that they are doing a favour to articles by giving them exposure, so they have the right to force articles to sit for long working hours. During a period of articleship, students are allowed only 52 days of leave by ICSI. And even for leave, they require the permission of their trainer (principal). If this is not bonded labour or slavery, then what is slavery?

For those who lack financial stability, pursuing articleship in a big city for the promised exposure can quickly turn into a nightmare of exploitation. You have a personal life, “ha ha ha.” The more innocent you are, the more they will exploit you. Learn to say no. Your manager will discuss how you can do more and will try to motivate you to do more work. “It’s a trap, guys. The work of the manager is to get the work done from you, and he knows how to get the work done.”

Hey, have you ever played blame games? Probably soon you will be a part of this game without knowing it without consent. The exploitation extends beyond working conditions, infiltrating personal boundaries and dignity. Instances where personal needs are disregarded, such as denying leave for menstrual periods, highlight the callousness ingrained within the system.

Wait, you are not able to clear CA/CS; even your firm or company will chuck you out. Clearing CA/CS final should be the first priority. Otherwise, on the result day, you will hate every unnecessary task you agreed to do because “you were too sweet to say no to any work.”

“You are not a CA/CS but work like one. You are not being paid as a CA/CS but you work like one.”

Some important things

  • If you can do the work tomorrow (if the work is not urgent), do it tomorrow. Be smart
  • Spending unnecessary time on your laptop isn’t exposure.
  • Don’t judge your seniors.
  • There is something called personal life; have it. Five years down, you will not smile by remembering the late nights you spent in the office.
  • Act diplomatically with diplomatic persons.
  • Behave with your juniors in a way you want to be behaved with.
  • Don’t compromise your personal life for work. “Yaad rakhna work hamesha rahega” (there will always be some work).

Remember it: “Clearing the CS/CA final in the first attempt is more important than being the best article on the floor.”

Conclusion: Articleship in CA/CS fields should be a period of growth, mentorship, and meaningful learning experiences. However, the reality for many articles is far from ideal, marred by exploitation, toxic work environments, and a disregard for personal well-being. It’s time for the profession to confront these issues head-on, prioritizing the welfare of articleship students and ensuring that the journey towards becoming a Chartered Accountant or Company Secretary is marked by integrity, respect, and compassion. It’s time for the profession to confront these issues head-on, to bring an era of compassion. Only then can articleship fulfill its promise as a transformative journey towards excellence and ethical leadership in the world of Chartered Accountancy and Company Secretary.

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One Comment

  1. VENKATA HARI BABU KODURI says:

    Article ship should be removed completely. Once the student clears the exam, experience of three (3) years can be considered for awarding associate ship. That’s all. Article students are used as clerks.

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