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'It's numbers, numbers all year round'

mumbai Updated: Sep 16, 2012 01:05 IST
Riddhi Doshi
Riddhi Doshi
Hindustan Times
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It's been a week of frantic activity for chartered accountant c, 25. The September 30 deadline for the filing of income-tax returns is fast approaching, stretching his workday from nine hours to 16.

"This is nothing," he says, grinning. "It's about to get a lot worse. Fifteen days before the deadline, we usually end up working till 1 am every day - and are back at our desks at 9.30am."

It's always like this in September.

Through the year, Goradia starts his day at 7am, spending an hour at the gym before returning home for a quick bath and breakfast and heading out at 8.30am, to get from his Girgaum home to his Ballard Pier office by 9.30am.

These days, he can't bear to wake up before 8am. "Forget the gym, there isn't even time for breakfast," he says.

At work, he spends the first few hours checking the scores of e-mails that have popped into his mailbox since he logged out, replying to the most urgent queries and taking stock of the accounts handled by his team of two juniors.

Like all chartered accountants, Goradia has to be in touch with his clients constantly at this time of the year, reminding them to send their bank statements and proofs of investments so that he can file their returns.

"Some clients are very prompt; a few have to be reminded several times. This makes our job more time-consuming," says Goradia.

Between late morning and lunch, Goradia spends a few hours combing through his diary of clients, a little notebook that contains all the financial details of his 30 clients, their investments and advance taxes paid.

"A CA's work is extremely meticulous," says Goradia. "One small mistake and the client could be in big trouble. That's why I treat this diary as my Bible."

A few cases selected for scrutiny by the income-tax department have to be treated with extra care. Before meeting the IT officer to defend his client's case, Goradia has to study various IT rules and regulations to present a strong case on behalf of his clients and save him as much money as possible.

"I like this part of my job. I love doing research," says Goradia. "A single word can make or break a case and that is a challenge that I find very exciting."

Lunch, at 1.30 or 2pm, is a home-cooked meal delivered by his dabbawala but eaten at his desk. "If you leave some work unfinished before taking a break, it becomes more difficult to complete it later," says Goradia. "You don't want to get halfway through a file of numbers and then start again from scratch."

Through the rest of the day, Goradia continues to crunch numbers, answer calls and field questions from his team, working even during his tea break.

If he plans to work beyond 7pm, though, he makes sure to spend at least half an hour enjoying dinner with his colleagues - usually fast food like pav bhaji, pizzas or parathas, ordered from a nearby restaurant. Home by 1am, he goes straight to bed.

Sundays are spent sleeping till 1 pm, reading newspapers and napping in the afternoon before heading out to dinner with friends. "I hardly get any time to spend with my parents or to socialise," says Goradia. "That is the biggest problem I have with this job."

Another grouse is not being able to go on long holidays. "There is so much work all year round that I hardly get to take five days off at a time," says Goradia. "Perhaps things will be better when I have started my own business, specialising in mergers and acquisitions."

(This weekly feature explores the lives of those unseen Mumbaiites essential to your day)