B26: Late Riser

My friend had advised me to wake up early on a Sunday so that I could see how I feel through out the day. I didn’t though. I forgot to set the alarm… as convenient as that.

I hope to spend my today revising what I studied during the past week, which is nothing more than the VA chapter. At 10:53, there is not much to studying, except I am all set to begin it.

Blogging and Updating my study sheet (maintained in excel) are part of my studying I feel. The time spent doing them are not clocked in in my sheet and that is perfectly logical since there is no Value Addition to my knowledge.

I had a doubt a few days back. In the module, there is a sentence which says ‘if we presume NOPAT is equal to Accounting Profit then, to maintain shareholder”s vlaue as positive or zero, Return on Capital employed (ROCE) has to be less than or equal to WACC.’ I believe this statement is wrong, however, one of my friend who is a CA believes it to be correct. He has sent me a little explanation on WhatsApp, which I do not seem to understand fully. I am going to delve deep into it and see if I can make sense of this.


As it turns out, I was right. The above sentence from the module is wrong after all. They have tried explaining the concept easily, but it is more repetition than substance. I found this great explanation from efinancemanagement.com. You may begin reading from Interpretation of Return on Capital Employed (ROCE).

TL;DR
“…if ROCE is greater than WACC, the company is creating value and the shareholders will remain invested in the company till this situation continues. If ROCE is less than WACC, it is destroying shareholder’s value.”

My friend still disagrees with me and as I write, he is trying to show me an example of how it is done. It is 12:30 and I haven’t begin studying. But finding truth was worth the exercise.


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B24: I cleaned my TVS Gold

I cleaned my keyboard yesterday. I didn’t take many pictures in the process while I was doing it, but I have before and after images to share.

Before I tell you how I did it, let me tell you that it is not worth. The keys are sticking more than they did before. It takes more time for the keys to release back to its original state and this reduces the typing speed. I enjoy typing on new laptop keyboards. They are very soft to press and make a dull clicking sound which is satisfying to hear. This old TVS keyboard now makes multiple sounds. Either too sharp, or too dull, or non-existent. Space bar squeaks sometimes.

So, how I cleaned my TVS Gold Keyboard? Well, I took out the keys first, then took some warm water in a plastic tumbler and mixed a tiny amount of cleaning solution (I have a Amway LOC. Very nice for mild application.). One by one I took them out and brushed them with an old tooth-brush. Once done, I took a towel covered the keys neatly into the towel so that the towel would absorb all the water. While I let the keys dry, I went out in the balcony with keyboard in one hand and a toothbrush in another. I held the keyboard upside down and brushed every corner of it. Holding it upside down ensured that the dust would fall right out. It did.

Then, with the help of a cloth and some more solution made from the LOC, I cleaned the easily accessible surface of the keyboard. It took away all the grime and dust away in one swipe. Next, I took Q-tips and tried cleaning around the blue key holders. I believe this is the reason why some of my keys have gone hard now. I think the fibres dislodged from the tips and settled between the keys.

At the end of the exercise, I observed the dried out keys closely and was pleasantly surprised with the results. I never thought I would be able to restore the keys to their original looks. Even if the keys feel crappy, at least I know that I am typing on a clean keyboard.


CA Final Stuff

I was able to devote some time in the morning to studying. I tried to make the most of it. I read enough to learn about Cost of Capital, Cost of Debt Capital and Cost of Equity capital. Although equity capital is still remaining.

To find out the cost of debt capital, you need to find out the rate of risk free bonds for an equal duration to that of your company’s debt. Then add to it with the default premium which increases with your increasing debt.

Two things here. While everything is good in theory. From where do you get the rate of risk free bonds? Answer: You can find 10 year India bond rates here.

Second, how do you find out the default premium? I hope this is answered somewhere ahead in the book.

Finding out cost of equity capital is more difficult and there is no direct formula to that. You just need to compare the returns available from other companies and take that as Cost of Equity. Remember that the rates reflected by Cost of Equity and Cost of Debt (or Weighted Average Cost of Capital jointly) represent the minimum return expected by the shareholders. Pay them this, or else they will go with their money some place else. 


B18: Accepting another challenge.

It is afternoon 15:30 right now and I am composing a cover letter for the post of a copy editor. One of my cool friends suggested me this as he found out on a finance website that he likes was looking for copy editors. But writing a cover letter still takes time. Although, I have been blogging for about 18 days in a row, fear creeps in when I start out to write for someone’s review.

I better get back to writing that cover letter now, I have other things to do as well. But before I leave, I still haven’t committed to a challenge. But, I should. I accept another 15 days of challenge to reach B30, little by little by posting each day. Since this is already B18, I have 12 days more of continuous writing ahead of me. Tackling challenges as they come would be pivotal to the success of this blog’s continuity, but so far I am happy that I have been able to write for 18 days. Now, get back to writing that cover letter.

§

Ladies and Gentlemen, after wasting quite a lot of energy and time on this, I present to you, the total number of pages in CA Final Module and Practice Manuals cross referenced with weightage of marks that subject carried in previous examinations. Hope you guys find it useful.

You can open this in full screen here.

Disclaimer: I do not guarantee accuracy of the data in the above document, but I can assure you that it is not crazily misleading. Make the most of this.

 

B17: Counting Enemy Soldiers

Carpenter’s already gone for an hour. He worked 1:30 hours less today, before lunch. He explained his reason for leaving as fulfilling his social responsibility. Well, as long as my work is getting done properly, it isn’t a problem for me. But since I feel he is working slow, I will no longer be bound to him while he works. I’ll have to let him work alone as carry out my own errands.

Speaking of errands, I’ve wasted my time today. Now, I’ll complete watching one of the videos in my watchlist and then get back to preparing the schedule. My CA friend who offered help will either come tomorrow or Sunday – not today.

I am worried about sticking to schedule because my past records show contrary data. One of the points of failure is my irregular sleeping habits. If I can strictly manage these timings I’ll be able to focus on others. Things that stand in my way to get this are Courtship Ritual and a tendency to sleep in late. The last one is a deal breaker.

A schedule where I can go to bed early and wake up early after 6 hours sleep is ideal. Sleeping early should make me feel rested. I can take another 1 hour of sleep in the afternoon when everything is so quiet that I cannot focus on working. To sleep early, I’ll have to discuss with fiancee if our courtship ritual can be transferred in to afternoon.

§

I am brainstorming right now (yeah it is just a brain wind for you guys, but come on) and I have calculated that I have 41 days to devote to each subject and I have to go through at least two rounds of revision in these 41 days. Considering the volume of study material available, it is difficult. Why I believe that? Because my reading speeds are slow. But, how do I know if my reading speeds are actually low? For that, I am gonna calculate the number of pages each subject has. This one is going to be a biggy, but this is how I want to know my enemy. I am not going to let anything to chance this time. If I think I can tackle the enemy, I will fight it. So, counting the number of pages begins.

Total Pages
Number of Pages in Financial Reporting Subject of CA Final

This is how the final picture looks like. Quite scary if you look closely. An unexpected result of this exercise was matching page numbers with marks weightage.

I’ve already reached the end of calculating pages for Paper 3. But, I have been treating each subject as if it were theory. That means, that the number pages to be read have no relevance for extremely practical subjects SFM. I need that friend to lend me some insights on each subject.

§

“Give me six hours to chop down a tree and I will spend the first four sharpening the
axe.” ―Abraham Lincoln

This is all what this is all about – sharpening my axe. Will I then chop down the tree ? That is another question. But that is what is on my mind right now. Back to sharpening the axe now.

B12: On How to Face CA Exams

28th February 12:04 AM. When this blog publishes after almost 24 hours later, I would have completed – successfully, 12 days of blogging. I am surprised that I even got this far. With fiancée being around, I wasn’t expecting that I would continue this streak. But I have managed to do it so far.

Sadly, it hasn’t been a great experience to write so far. I can point out a few reasons for that.

1. I find my content uninteresting: whatever I post, I don’t find it interesting. Why they are uninteresting is a topic best left for a different time.

2. Inability to express thoughts into words. This is a serious problem. Being unable to express using the right words is increasingly becoming frequent. Presque vu it is called I think. The tip of the tongue phenomena.

3. I am boring. Which should mean that I am unable to find interesting out of anything.

Okay, it is getting late. Tomorrow is a Sunday but carpenter will be coming and start his work from tomorrow.

On my side, I’ll try to call a friend who will help me plan a schedule for studying.

Update: I have sent him a WhatsApp, now waiting for his reply… (Latest update: He has walked 43 Kms to and from a temple and will not be able to make it.)

Update2: Carpenter will begin work from tomorrow.

Since, I have no other work at hand now, I’ll start reading ‘How to face CA Exams’ on my Kindle. BTW it got updated – noticed it yesterday. Here’s how the homepage looks now.

Updated Kindle.jpg
Updated Kindle Homepage

Okay, so on to reading now – CONCENTRATE. Know your enemy…

Opening line of Chapter 2 of the book says

“Education, if simply stated, means the process of gaining knowledge, inculcating forms of proper conduct and acquiring technical competency.”

simply stated….(yeah, right.)

The same paragraph ends with a more rounded and accurate statement:

“The true purpose of education is to bring about profoundness to one’s emotions, to broaden one’s perspectives and to lead to healthier approach of looking at life.”

The book lists out the Academic Resources available to the students by the institute. This is an important list as the students get to know about the resources ICAI endorses to educate its students. In short, this is a What should a CA student read? guide. I’ll list out the ICAI resources in case a CA student finds this post. The below content is relevant at the time of writing on 28th Feb 2016 and should remain for a couple of years in the future at least.

  1. Study Material: Also known as Modules amongst the students, this is dubbed as the holy bible for the CA students. Even the ICAI has emphasised importance of this resource time and again to students who lay too much emphasis on other reference material without first referring to these. Professional Pronouncements found in these modules are also critical to success in CA Exams.
  2. Practice Manual: Quoting the book “With a view to making Practice Manual a single source of reference, important definitions and formulae have been given at the beginning of each chapter.”
  3. Suggested Answers: Quoting the book again “They provide credible glimpses of not only the desirable ways in which examination questions are to be attempted but also of the professional quality and standard of the answers expected of students in the CA examination.” Institute advises students to have a collection of 10 to 12 previous examinations – that’s 6 years of examinations.
  4. Revision Test Papers: Contain number of questions with Solutions/Answers/Hints. These become available well-before the exams and serve as revision material for the students – well, students who can actually complete their course well-before exams.
  5. Online e-Learning on Students Learning Management System (LMS): As the name suggests, this is an e-learning facility. Additionally, it also keeps track of your progress as you take the course. I have used this for Corporate and Allied Laws (Final) which helped me secure an exemption in that subject. It is available on the link http://studentslms.icai.org. The link now redirects to http://cloudcampus.icai.org/.
  6. e-Learning DVDs: Contains:
    1. e-Lectures
    2. Podcasts (MP3)
    3. Study Material
    4. Practice Manual
    5. PDF of PowerPoint Presentations and
    6. Self-Assement Quiz
      These are good resources for students who travel.
  7. Webcast: Relevant to tackle upcoming exams, these are videos from the ICAI faculty members.
  8. Cloud Campus: A single place which will integrate all student related materials in the future. Main benefit is that it is and will be available free of cost. Link as given above.
  9. CA Students Journal – The Chartered Accountant Student: Includes Articles, Case studies, reports, academic updates, announcements, etc. It is a monthly publication.
  10. Supplementary Study Material: Available on the site.
  11. Students’ Counselling: The Institute is dedicated to providing the best help when it comes to acquiring knowledge, and this is a fine example. Students who wish to get their doubts clarified or have suggestions regarding improvement of the existing material can reach out to BoS Noida by writing a letter to the director.
    Physical copies can be mailed to Director, Board of Studies, A-29, Sector-62, NOIDA – 201 309 (UP).
    Digital letters to: bosnoida@icai.in

Each of the above mentioned material are available online for free download from BoS knowledge portal. The institute recommends you make it a daily agenda to surf through the Institute’s website to stay updated.

The ICAI recommends studying 1 or 2 reference books for practical subjects for better understanding and confidence building.

I’ll keep today’s post restricted to only academic resources. There is more to this book which I’ll update  through other posts.

It is obvious that writing and reading took a lot of time to finish even this single topic. But, even if a single students finds this post helpful, my effort will not be misplaced.

I’ve finished the general recommendations. From now on, the book is divided in two parts: 1 for IPCC and 2 for Final. But before I begin with the part that concerns me, that is Final, I’ll throw some light on what I found was important from the book so far.

  1. Institute says you’ll have to study everything. No shortcuts. It takes upto 4 readings to grasp a concept in depth. First should only be a novel like reading, deeper understanding on further rereadings. Shortcuts and selective study will not guarantee success. So how much studying is considered wholesome studying? That’s the second point.
  2. On study resources.
    1. Study the study material four times.
    2. Then practice from practice manuals.
    3. Stay updated by reading students journal and updates on icai website.
    4. Supplementary study material to stay updated with latest case judgements. Read full text of cases to gain logical insights – 15 to 20 cases at least.
    5. Read original text of income tax act and companies act.
    6. Understand the format of writing exams from compilations (aka suggested answers) of past 6 years.
    7. Practice further from revisionary test papers (RTP) and then go on to attempt mock tests.
    8. And if this is not enough, refer to at least one text book in each subjects because all this reading too is not enough.
  3. Avoid day dreaming and concentrate on reading. Take regular breaks from your strictly followed study schedule. Spend some time in recreation too because mind needs to stay fresh.
  4. Maintain a study group. I strongly believe in this philosophy. You get to learn a lot from such a study group, plus it can act as a stress reliever.
  5. Stay away from distractions of Internet, mobile and TV. Ask your friends to not call you while you’re studying.
  6. The course and examination are designed in such a way that even an average student with proper study habits can crack the exams. So, never believe that you cannot crack it.
  7. Keep your mind healthy by keeping your body fit. Eat healthy and exercise. Meditate too to keep your head calm.

I think this is a good general extract of my reading today. On the lines of study group, I tried creating one (in fact it is still available) group online. It is on Facebook, but there hasn’t been much activity on it lately. I wish I could give it a reboot someday.