CA Pawan Sarda is quite popular in chartered accountancy and company secretary circles and is also an inspiration to hundreds of young CA and CS students in Nagpur. The reason is simple – 26-year-old Pawan has a brilliant academic record to his credit. Pawan secured an AIR (All India Rank) at all levels of CA and CS. He secured an AIR 2, AIR 8 and AIR 2 in CPT, IPCC and CA final, respectively, while pursuing his CA course. He also secured an AIR 16, AIR 23 and AIR 6 in foundation, executive and professional exams, respectively, while pursuing his CS course. Instead of opting for a regular corporate job, where he could have had a very handsome salary, this young lad chose to pursue his passion of teaching and practicing chartered accountancy. He currently teaches taxation at the well-known Central Academy of Professional Studies (CAPS) and is a partner at M/s SPAN and co. In an exclusive chat with Nation Next, Pawan Sarda speaks about his passion for teaching, his academic brilliance and his way of life…
When did you think of teaching as a profession?
I used to teach concepts of Physics to my friends when I was in standard 8th. Also, I taught Mathematics and English to my friends in my 12th. I even helped my friends during our CA studies because it gave me immense satisfaction. So, when I qualified as a CA, I thought that I should definitely pursue my hobby of teaching as a profession.
You got a really good job offer after qualifying as a Chartered Accountant…
I got an offer for this job with a salary of around rupees 19 lakhs p.a. Money has never been a driving force for me. When I worked as an article, I learned that if you attained knowledge, money would come in your life sooner or later. I always wanted to do something independently. So, I took up teaching. I thoroughly enjoy teaching and it never makes me feel tired. I don’t feel as if I’m working.
You now teach at CAPS, where you had studied. How does it feel to be a teacher at the same academy and working with the teachers who taught you once?
It’s indeed a wonderful feeling! It’s like a dream come true for me. When I was a student, I used to admire the teachers, whom I now work with. Apart from accounting, they have taught me about life too. I feel very fortunate to be a part of CAPS. I got a similar feeling when I took a few sessions at Bhavan’s Viday Mandir, from where I did my schooling.
What type of bond do you share with your students? How do you think you contribute in their lives?
I feel blessed to be a teacher because of my students. The bond I share with my students is definitely beyond the subject I teach. I feel that as a teacher, I have an opportunity to help my students, and change many lives. Whenever my batch ends, my students give me their feedback. They tell me how their life has changed and they speak straight from their heart.
You have been a meticulous student since 10th standard with all India ranks at all levels of CA and CS too. While pursuing CA intermediate (PCC), you scored whopping 98 marks out of 100 in costing. How did you manage to maintain this consistency?
I would always study the entire syllabus and revise it at least four to five times. While taking my exam, I always solved the entire paper of 100 marks with a simple strategy of allotting 1.8 minute for each mark. Keeping in mind that I have 180 minutes for 100 marks, I used to always complete the whole paper within time.
You have been a brilliant student. You are fond of cricket and badminton. You play guitar and visit adventure camps as well. In the past, as a student you also went to Sri Lanka and represented ICAI. How do you balance things so well?
I truly believe in doing what I plan to do. I stay away from technology as much as possible. I have some priorities and manage time accordingly. I think balancing things is just a state of mind. One can do it if one truly wishes to.
Besides academics, how important do you think soft skills are for a to-be professional?
They are more important than academics. These are skills, which you learn when you work as a CA article or maybe when you fail in the exams. The objective behind preparation for the exams is to enable us to discover ourselves, grow and learn. A good mark sheet surely matters but it’s not the only thing, which does!
You are known to be very grounded in spite of all the success that you have got at such a young age. What is your idea of success?
Being down to earth or humble is not a skill. It comes automatically out of gratitude. It comes out of gratefulness towards people. My idea of success is having a balance in all the areas of life. I feel that there are six different areas – health, wealth, family, friends, work or academics and spirituality. I feel that we must have an excellent relationship with our own self. I also believe in living the present and being happy.
Who has been a guiding force to you in all these years?
My professor DG Sharma sir and my elder brother, Atul Sarda have been my guiding force. I always wanted to be like my brother.
How would you describe your journey as a whole?
I believe in the journey and not the destination. It has been very fulfilling till now. I feel grateful for everything. I think that it is my turn to give back to the society and to the people who have always been with me.
What will be your advice to young CA students and professionals?
Be sincere, ethical, and don’t just run after money. Acquire soft skills, hard skills and be persistent. Realise the power of a chartered accountant and the significant role he plays in the society.