New Delhi: Hitesh Makhija, a 23-year-old resident of Allahabad, will soon head to Singapore to work with a multinational corporation at an annual salary of $85,000 (around Rs38 lakh). That fits in with a growing trend on B-school campuses this year where salaries of $100,000, or even Rs1 crore, were not uncommon. Only, Makhija didn’t go to a B-school; he’s a newly minted chartered accountant (CA).
This year, 4,300 CAs are being interviewed across 14 centres, including Jaipur, Pune, and Hyderabad, in a placement programme (to end on 22 March), which was organized by the Institute of Chartered Accountants of India (ICAI).
Salaries in the range of Rs10-18 lakh are more the norm than the exception, says Sunil Talati, president, ICAI. “A woman CA just walked away with an offer of Rs9 lakh a year from ABN Amro,” says an official at a recruitment centre of ICAI in New Delhi, who did not wish to be identified. In recruitment centres in Indore in Madhya Pradesh and Bhilai in Chhattisgarh, 70 students were recruited by Reliance Industries and Genpact.
ICAI’s recruitment initiative has seen the participation of several large MNCs and well-known Indian companies: ABN Amro, HSBC, Bank of America, Coca-Cola, Goldman Sachs, JP Morgan, ICICI Bank, Bajaj Auto, Genpact and Wipro Ltd.
Makhija was hired by Singapore-based Olam International, a commodity-trading company that is part of the Kewalram Chanrai Group that had its origins in 19th century India before venturing to Southeast Asia and Africa. This year it hired four CAs and bested their last year’s offer of Rs27 lakh. “We find Indian talent flexible and having the ability to multi-task; 78% of Olam’s global workforce comes from India,” says Michael Joseph, head (resources), Olam.
Talati expects the trend of global placements to continue and grow. He says demand for CAs will come from West Asia, Australia, New Zealand, and even the US. “With more multinationals wanting to hire CAs from India, I can only see salaries going up,” he adds.
Makhija’s three-year CA course cost him Rs17,000—an MBA or a post graduate diploma in management from a good school could cost anything between Rs3 lakh and Rs4 lakh—and soaring salaries for recruits could encourage more people to become accountants.
Tamimal Ansari is one of the other CAs who has signed on with Olam. He is looking forward to working in an international environment, and believes Indian CAs are catching the attention of MNCs much like graduates of the IIMs, who “receive higher salaries with every passing here”. “We will get there soon,” he adds.