Wednesday, 16 December 2009

Childhood Days (Poetry)

The story is of two young girls
Who met in the road and stared at each other.
One was jealous to see other's ring
The other stared at other's shoe
And at last they realised
They were unconditional friends.

They shared their laughter
Poured their tear,
Talking about their childhood days
When none had rings
In their delicate ears,
When both ran bare-footed
And enjoyed their game.

- Raghab Nepal

Monday, 16 November 2009

Lesson from a Tree (Poetry)

I close my eyes
Spread my arms
And imagine I were a tree

I stand strong
Rooted by my belief

I obey nature
And then I nurture
All with equality

I prefer fertile land
Like good friends
To grow to live and give

I avoid barren desert
Like bad company
Thorny cactus teaches me this

- 16th November, Raghab Nepal

Friday, 30 October 2009

Inspiration - Intention and Action

Last November, one grey day in Suburban London, I was walking towards a railway station. The day was cold, road was pitch black due to heavy mist that night, and my neighbours' cars were covered with white frost. It was breezy and cold enough to lose interest to go out. I saw one of my neighbour hurrying back home with his hands deep inside his long woolen jacket. As he saw me going out, he said, his intention was to get to the post office to send a gift to his sister but the cold is unbearable and he is back with the job unfinished. He asked me to do the same. I admitI would have done so had it not been for a simple reason. I was heading for my exam and would not want to miss it, just because it was cold.

As I proceeded and sat on the train, I started to ponder on a serious question - how many people in the world carry positive intentions to do something but end up abandoning mid way? How many start with a serious will to accomplish what they started but their situation or environment weakens them to stop. As I sat thinking about my neighbour's action, all I could think was that his intention did not match his action. Why? Was it the weather? Or his willpower? Without me answering, I will let you answer the question?

Let me ask you another question - I am directing this to staff at almost any organisation (including me). Let me start by creating a setting -
You are seated in a large room with hundred of other staff from the same organisation. This is a normal quarterly updates to talk about what has the business accomplished over the last 3 months and then recognise few who possibly made that happen.

Now tell me, how many times, within your the dark cold recess of your mind, have you really believed that you should be in the list of good guys and be recognised. And it never happens. If you think harder, you will notice, that more you believed your name would make the list, the more the names in the list you have never heard before.

I do not mean to say, we expected anything wrong or anything unexpectable. We wanted to hear that we made a positive contribution and that is what makes us human being. I can confirm and bluntly be sure, that the ultimate pleasure and comfort for any human being (I don't know about animals) is to make a positive contribution (and be recognised!!!). What I cannot be sure is the definition of positive; as it varies. For a businessman, it is making profit by charging as high price as possible but for a Charity, it is making people happy by giving things for free.

Although pleasurable, it takes effort, it takes action to contribute. Have you heard of anybody whose intention has never been to do good for his friends, family, society and the world? Do you not think at times that you would like to donate your old clothes for people in flood-hot towns or you would like to build a nest for an orphan bird, or, write a blog to tell people how bad war is? How many times have we done so? How many times has your positive intention matched your action?

My neighbour wanted to gift his sister - he had a good intention to make a positive contribution. Does that mean he can assume his sister should call him to say thanks for the gift never sent?
On the recognition at office, we had a good intention to get recognised and make positive contribution. Does that mean we can assume we should be recognised for job we do, for which we are hired to do in the first place?

These days, I start with a belief that unless I do something (action), which I had initially intended to, which benefits either me, my family or bunch of strangers, I should assume I have wasted my wisdom and I am not worthy of any recognisition as there was no positive contribution that benefited anybody.

Contribution whether positive or negative is so called because it contributes....there has to be a reciever at the other end, either you or someone else....Intention is just not enough.....

- 30 Oct 2009, Raghab Nepal

Friday, 14 August 2009

Serious questions - Life and Nature

We know when the sun rise in the east that sometime late in the day the sun will set? We know as we enjoy the warmth of the summer, how cold the coming winter will be. Is this nature?

The way of the world is such that everything is trying to balance out. Everything acts like a pendulum. We have thought of Day-night, summer-winter, birth-death. We have not thought of few others. We have never linked these to Nature.

Economic cycle - Prosperity in the growth stage and then panic at recession. The same cycle makes masses richer and poorer.

What about happiness and sorrow, love and hate, war and peace, winner and loser, success and failure? The meaning of these words are not complete without the other. They exist together but live apart.

Is it this knowledge that makes some immune to the joy of achievement or the frustration of failure? Do these great men know deep inside whenever they fail that they have advanced more closer to success? Is this why they never give up?

Do we feel happy when it rains, knowing that the clouds will break soon? Do we show courage to help the needy, knowing we will be in need of help one day.

Do I believe I should never lose hope when I face uncertainty? Does that mean I should keep my heart smiling even when betrayed?

Will you share happiness and pain with others, and help nature in its balancing act? Will you sometimes be brave enough to give? We have taken too much.

Appreciate Life................

- August 2009, Raghab Nepal

Sunday, 2 August 2009

Is CIMA for me? or CFA, ACCA

This is the 7th time I have been asked - Should I study for CIMA qualification or CFA or ACCA or the list goes on and on... I planned to save some time and direct people to read my blog. For the benefit of students who are used to reading academic books, I have tried to keep the style as dry as possible; comes to me easily as well.

So here it is.

CIMA is a management accountancy course offered by Chartered Institute of Management Accountants, UK. The course is intended to teach techniques required to advise management on direction and strategy for the company as well as providing support to the run the operations. The focus of the course is not so much on the technical or regulatory aspect of accounting. The full syllabus of the course is available on CIMA website ( CIMA has four level s of examination (and if the syllabus has changed again, it means I have become more experienced and a little old)

The course starts at foundation (certificate) level which is intended for students with no business background. If you are a business / finance / economics graduate, there is a probability that you might be exempted from the certificate level. This level covers basics of accountancy, business statistics, economics etc.

The second level is the Managerial level which equips CIMA students with knowledge to advise management and take decision (if you become a manager) on day to day operation of your business. The level covers 6 subjects – ranging from financial accounting, management accounting, operations management, organisational management, human resources management, marketing etc. What I like about the course is that it teaches general business frameworks and decisions models and reinforces that with case studies and exams till the cows come home.

The third level is the Strategic level which takes a broader view of the organisation as would be seen by senior leadership team and the board of directors. It teaches what controls are required to run the company, corporate governance, financial strategy (corporate gearing etc.), business strategy (e.g. positioning strategy vs. emerging strategy) etc.

The last level is the TOPCIMA. You are basically given a case of a random company few weeks before the exams to prepare. On the exam day you are given additional information about the company and what is required of you. You will generally be asked to advise the board of directors about the issues facing the company, possible solutions of the issues and recommendations. You will have to give comprehensive recommendation that includes time frame, financing, impact to workforce, possible impact to reputation etc. You will also have to include ethical dilemma facing the company.
If you intend to work for a company in a commercial capacity and your goal is to reach a senior management role, in my view this is a great course.

How is it different from CFA or ACCA?
CFA is a great course (and difficult) that specialises you in Finance. You will learn ways to invest money, join investment banking and earn a lot of money. If you are looking to progress into a more general management or CFO role, the course may not add sustained value (unless you grow in the investment banking type industries). It doesn’t teach you how to support organisational decision making or management of the P&L or reporting etc.

ACCA is a fantastic course that takes you into details of Financial Accountancy, GAAP, Taxation, Audit etc. It is similar to CIMA in the course content except that ACCA focuses extensively on regulatory accountancy, GAAP etc. but less on managerial accounting that support strategic decisions. If your career choice is to become an accountant or financial controller for a company this is a great course. ACCA can lead you to CFO’s role through a different route than CIMA. ACCA is not for you if you don’t like reconciling numbers, learning about IFRS & FAS, auditing, GAAP etc.

Whatever course you choose, qualifications help initially in your career. Regarding progression, once you reach middle management - your performance, your image, your exposure and your approach to others will decide whether you progress or not. It does not matter whether you are CIMA, CFA or ACCA at that stage.

I hope this is helpful in deciding what to study. All the best!

PS & Disclaimer: Not authorised by any organisation and please read with caution. Content may be unintentionally biased I ended up with a CIMA qualification.

Friday, 31 July 2009

Career Management my way

How should I manage my career? Where do I want to be in 5 years time? What is the best career line for me? etc. etc. I have never met a person who has proper answer to these questions and I am among the confused lot.

That said, there is something I know (that's what I think) which is different but provides foundation on which answers to the questions posed above can be based. What I know is not restricted to career or job but can be applied in personal life, education and career.

Let me put it in easy points -

1. If you choose to do a thing, strive to be the best. It doesn't mean to say you will turn out to be the best. But it will mean that you will be much above the average. You shouldn't study to just pass; you shouldn't work to be just good; you should not ain to be an average. And if you unfortunately find you still cannot be great in what you do, think harder - you might need a change. Eagles are great not when they run but when they fly.

2. Be Good to others (sincerely and intentionally). Success in life has never been one man's game for anybody. Then how do some people succeed magnificently and some fail miserably. Answer lies in the way they interact with others and the way they make others feel. Sincerely be good to others. Help them when they need and you can expect to be treated the same. (Principle of Reciprocation). Once you have start doing it, it becomes your second nature and you are always helpful. Then make sure you do more and for that be good intentionally.

3. Focus on your reputation: Reputation is a blend of lot of things. Both the topics discussed above play their part and add consistency, confidence and more interaction (networking) in the mix. Reputation is the best long term friend leading you to success. Now you know why companies invest so much on building brand.

4. Find your weakness and solve it. The first part is much easier that many think. Try saying what you are not good at or bad at. Examples-I cannot talk in front of many people; I am not confident; My English is weak; I am bad with excel; I have never managed anyone; How can I influence others? etc. etc. Make sure to focus on those that is hurting you or impacting you the most. Once you found your main weakness, get some advice. What I do is search for podcasts in Itunes relating to my weakness, download to my IPOD and listen while traveling. You can talk to your parents, your mentor etc. etc. Then practice. Now if you think you cannot talk infront of people, vocal cord wouldn't open, join a local toast masters club or public-speaking club. Just go and listen for few sessions. Gain some courage, prepare and talk about something you like the most for 1 minute. And I can tell you that the most effort is to get the wheel rolling, once you have done it, you just need to guide it.

5. Use commonsense: At times we feel pressured to act different because we are too educated or we are in competition. What we forget is that commonsense would have led us to a totally different route. With any big decision you think of making, it is worthwhile making time to think on the ground of commonsense. Disregard any popular notion or theory for a while. This way you are sure you have used your brain as well.

There could be many other things to focus on but hey this is what my commonsense tells me. And my commonsense tells me that if I try to focus on more than these many things - I wouldn't be able to proceed.
Hope this blog makes you think.

Copyright July 2009 Raghab Nepal

Saturday, 16 August 2008

Why do people Blog?

We as a human have a remarkable ability to think about things that make lot of sense and also about things which does not. But what we don't realise is that our thoughts whether it makes sense for us or not will make sense to somebody else.
Why should you Blog and why do I blog? Apart from monetary benefit in the form of advertising, all I know why I blog is for this one reason. There are other reasons which can be made to fit into this same reason. So what is that reason?

  1. If you want to develop personally, it is very important that you start having your opinion. This means, have an opinion on news you hear every day, have an opinion on employee communication you receive at office, have an opinion on your friends talk, have an opinion on the city you just travelled to, have an opinion on advertisement you see in TV, have an opinion on every possible thing you can. Opinion can be negative, positive or neutral. Note that having opinion does not always mean you have to talk it out or communicate to others. You will start to engage your brain steadily and realise you have started retaining messages. So you must be asking what it has to do with blogging. An average human beings needs motivation in some form or other to act. By blogging about your opinion you share your thoughts with other human being. This feels like a social accomplishment to many and a motivating factor in itself.
  • Have an opinion
  • Blogging motivates you to have opinion of your own

Those who don't blog but read others blog, please provide comments. This has similar effects.

Note: The topic above is specific for personal blog writing and not for blog writing for commercial usage. There might still be few exceptions like blog for deceiving others or exposing others etc. but majority of personal blog is for sharing opinions or a way of expressing opinions.

Your comments are welcome
Raghab Nepal