‘You Don’t Live 2 Days And Work 5 Days’ – CA Amit Rahane, EY ‘Forensic Services’ Partner

1. Please tell us something about yourself.

My name is Amit Rahane and I am a partner with the ‘Forensic Services’ practice at EY. I am a Chartered Accountant and have also completed CISA. My first job was with a telecom company – BPL Mobile, where I used to do management assurance. We looked at the forensic side of things, looking to ensure things are going right. There, I fell in love with forensics. BPL was shutting down so I joined KPMG and worked there for 4-5 years. Then moved to EY in 2010. In between, I did a stint at the USA office for 3 years to diversify from something my peers were doing.

On the personal front, my father was in the Indian navy, so I moved around multiple times. I have stayed in Andaman Nicobar, Punjab, Lonavala, etc. That helped me develop cultural competency.

 

2. One incident from your time in college/b-school that helped shape your professional life.

  • There are many. I was doing articleship and college together. While in college, I had cleared 2 levels of CA. Hence, I knew everything in college. Articleship was completely different – I was the most junior person, with no practical experience. In one side of my life I was ahead of everybody and in the other, I was a novice. Balancing both was challenging.
  • My father used to always tell me that being world-class was very important. Without that, you will not reach anywhere. Once he got me a fantastic watch, not because he liked to spend, but for me to see something that was world class and get inspired. This left a deep mark on me.

 

3. You have worked on multiple cases in your career. Which case is really close to you? 

The most interesting case I worked on was “one of the largest accounting frauds of the country”. The global head of forensics was there and it was fantastic to communicate with him.

Even better one was a fraud at a large BPO. Some fake news had led to a billion dollar of the market cap being wiped off in 11 minutes. They were really mad and wanted to investigate. This was a high-profile case with various top officials coming in. There were times when I barely slept for 2 hours. What this taught me was that you could be tired but your enthusiasm should never go down. If you walked into a room and it lit up, it made a big difference. In life, dress up and show up at least!

 

4. One passion of yours that helps you become better at your mainline career.

The key thing is the undying will to succeed. Don’t rest on your laurels. Every day is a new day. On my 1st job in management assurance, I had to find 8-10 issues every month. We used to do surprise verifications and look at all areas yet it was difficult to achieve targets. Once my boss called me and said, “Dude, this is not happening”. I told him that I was doing my best and nobody could do it better.

He taught me a very important lesson that time – Excellence is reached much before Perfection. If you come up with an issue of Rs. 10,23,55,467 or of Rs. 10 crores, it means the same to the CEO. But the first figure will take much more time. Make sure you are focused on excellence because killing yourself to achieve something which might not lead to a huge increment doesn’t make sense.

Today I am always prepared if a client walks in because I know the headline issues, which is most important.

 

5. The biggest challenge you faced in your career.

Before I moved to USA, I used to be the favourite of the bosses. I got the most marquee cases and worked with the head. Then I moved to the USA, where I was one of many. I was a senior manager but no one knew me. I needed to win their trust. However, the bigger challenge was after coming back! Before I went, I had a set of clients and cases. When I came back, those clients had gone to other people. Now I was stuck with being in a senior position and no client. This, at the stage of my life where I was just about to become partner, was a key challenge. I had to re-invent myself and enter uncharted fields. I realized the importance of being nimble.

 

6. When you are looking for people in your team, what kind of attitudes and approaches do you look for in candidates?

1. Undying will to succeed. Is the person really passionate about that job?

2. Energy, enthusiasm and courage to lead

3. I definitely look at the attitude of the person because the aptitude can be developed.

I have many people who behave differently outside the office. You realize that they are leaving who they are at the door and coming in. That doesn’t get the desired result. You need to be able to live with what you do at the workplace. You don’t live 2 days and work 5 days.

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A) How I reached out to Mr. Rahane and convinced him – 

One of my friends works in the EY FIDS division. I spoke to her and convinced her to ask her boss. Frankly, Mr. Rahane was not hesitant and agreed immediately. It shows how he is always there for his employees and takes an effort to maintain healthy workplace relationships.

 

B) 3 major learnings about career and the corporate world from the interaction – 

  • Dress up and show up always. Mr. Rahane agreed to take a complicated assignment just before his marriage and it turned out to be his best ever.
  • Apart from the aptitude, what budding professionals should focus on is their attitude.
  • Sometimes excellence is more important than perfection. The extra effort on a minor incremental benefit might not be worth it.

Akshaykumar Sirsalewala

Akshaykumar Sirsalewala is a Chartered Accountant and has cleared all levels of CFA and FRM. He is currently a student of IIM Kozhikode 2018-2020 batch, where he is pursuing MBA finance. When he is not studying, he is either guiding young minds or writing on Quora for CA aspirants.

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