How to Prepare Commerce & Accountancy by Siddharth Jain, IAS Rank 11, CSE 2017

Hello !

My name is Siddharth Jain. I have secured Rank 11th in CSE-2017. I am a Chartered Accountant (2012) and a Company Secretary (2014). My marks in optional subject this year are 308 (150+158).

This is my marksheet :


In this article I will try to write how I prepared the subject, sources I referred to and some general points which should be kept in mind.


  • If you have a background in commerce, be it a professional degree or just a graduate degree I would recommend you to take commerce as your optional. Choosing some other subject is clearly attracting unnecessary competition for yourself.
  • With my experience, I can say this with a degree of certainty that even if we cover syllabus decently, we can score around 240-250 marks easily, which is not so in case of other optional subjects like Geography, Philosophy, etc.
  • Availability of material is sufficient. While most of the questions being framed presently can be covered by standard text books, the notes of Ranker’s Classes and Vajiram & Ravi (selective) are helpful. So there is no issue of study material at all.
  • Those who feel they are not good at solving practical sums, should also think of taking commerce as optional. I’m saying this because if you analyze the paper well, even in Paper-1, which deals with practical problems, majority questions are of theoretical in nature. So out of 250 marks, around 120-130 marks are of theory.
  • Availability of good test series for the subject.


These were the books I read during my preparation. You may always choose other sources, but make sure you cover the syllabus exhaustively.

Paper I


  • B.K Goyal for most of the topics.
  • For Accounting standards : M.P. Vijay Kumar + handbook (diagrams)
  • Theory- prepared short notes out of text books and internet.
  • Ranker’s Classes notes. (Selective)

Cost Accounting

  • Cost Accounting : Principles and Practice by B.M. Lall & Nigam (selective)
  • Cost Accounting, CA Final book by Padhuka (for both theory and practicals).
  • ICAI practice manual (IPCC)
  • Ranker’s notes (selective)
  • Internet.


  • Book on Direct taxation by Mr. Yogendra Bangar (Had been his student during CA. course, so was comfortable reading his book)
  • Ranker’s notes.
  • Internet


  • ICAI study material (both IPCC and CA. Final)- made short notes related to topics.
  • Rankers notes

Financial Management

  • Bridging Finance by Mr. D.K. Singhal (read during CA. course, so was comfortable reading this)
  • Financial Management by Padhuka (for CA. Final) (selective)
  • Ranker’s notes
  • R. P. Rustagi (not thick one but the one used for Delhi university undergrad courses)
  • Financial Market and Institutions- Rankers notes, ICAI study material + discussion with friends + Current Affairs.

Paper- II

Organisational Theory and Behaviour

  • Organisational theory and behaviour by B.P. Singh and T.N. Chabbra. (repeated revisions)
  • Organisational Behaviour by Stephen P. Robbins, Timothy A. Judge and Neharika Vohra. (excellent book to understand concepts)
  • Organisational Theory and Design by Richard L. Daft (extremely selective reading)
  • Ranker’s notes.
  • Internet say for topics like Impact of Information Technology on Organizational Design and Structure and others.

Human Resource Management

Industrial Relations

  • Industrial Relations, trade unions and labour legislation by Sinha and Sinha (Pearson Publications)
  • Mamoria (not worth)
  • Internet for current issues.
  • Vajiram notes (good)
  • Ranker’s notes

I also read 10 marker sheets given by Vajiram and Ravi. Current Affairs material provided by Ranker’s classes before exam is also useful. I jotted down examples which can be used in answers from the current affairs material.

I am thankful to my friend Tej Kankaria who gave me the pdf called ‘The Economist- Guide to Management Ideas and Gurus’, I made a list of management gurus and their ideas out of this book  which can be connected with the syllabus and started using them in my answers.


  • Having right books and notes with us is necessary but not sufficient to score good. It is important to develop the wisdom to know what to be read and in what depth? How to use the information in answers?
  • Most important part of preparation was understanding and solving past years questions. I made sure that before going into exam hall,  I can write nearly a perfect answer to every question asked in the examination since 1983. Answer that will not just adequately answer the demand of question but will also have examples, pre-created diagrams, quotations, etc, so that I can have a clear leverage over other candidates in case past year question is repeated. And trust me, many past year questions are repeated every year.
  • Second was, having pointers ready for every topic of the syllabus. To give an example, there is topic called ‘Outside leadership in Trade Unions’I had pointers ready like:


Political genesis.

  • Grip is strong as they occupy key positions- Prez/ Gen Sec and represent workers in collective bargaining, establishes contact with labour deptt officials.
  • White collar service org-inside leadership.


  1. Reinforces divergence among TUs.
  2. Brings extraneous political considerations.ex. organizing strikes for state reorganization.


  1. Historically, Gandhi, Naidu, C.F. Andrews, N.M. Joshi, were all outsiders hence historic legitimacy.
  2. Internationally, Across the world, TUM mostly owes its origin to outsiders. May it be Karl Marx or Robert Owen. It’s only after maturity of TUM, inside leadership have evolved. In India it’s still not matured.
  3. Financially, the finances of Indian trade union are often in precarious state, like western countries we can afford a panel of professionals hence outside leaders who are usually well educated and financially not dependent upon TU are accepted.
  4. Need of support -Relative immaturity of TUM- although movement is century old but trade unions are young. Hand holding needed.
  5. Sociological Factors – Industrial workers come from rural background, where there has been history of poverty and deprivation. There is deep seated psyche of inequality. Workers don’t even sit when their employer is with them, let alone parley for their rights. In this context an outsider is easily accepted as representative who has a higher degree of prestige and self pride.
  6. Fear of victimization – no fear to outsider.
  7. Illiteracy and language barrier

What to do?

  1. Make outside leadership redundant by inner force rather than legal ban.
  2. Worker education
  3. Penalties for victimization
  4. Training workers in union organization.
  5. Limiting proportion of outsiders.
  6. Treating all ex-employees as insiders.
  7. Establishing a convention that no union office bearer shall hold any office of profit elsewhere.

Above all, what matters is how democratically the union is working. In a democratic setup, whom to choose their leader is completely the choice of union members. Problem lies only when someone against their will is imposed as leader.

  • Third, was answer writing practice. For commerce, most of answer writing was in form of test papers only. I joined Ranker’s test series. It was immensely helpful. I got an insight about how exactly I have to structure my answer. Same content, better presentation became the motto.
  • Paper 1 is lengthy. It requires good time management. I made sure that I complete both compulsory questions (1 and 5) in first 50-55 minutes even before looking at any other question. Also, while choosing which questions to attempt, I would not just look at whether I know about it but also how much time that question might take (especially, if it’s a practical question). To give an example, I was very comfortable in Cash flow statement preparation, but when I saw the cash flow question this year and the given adjustments , I knew it would be difficult to complete the question in allocated time, so I chose other question.
  • The space available for answers to practical questions is limited, so plan your answers accordingly.
  • In paper- II, try to structure your answer well, address sub parts separately, include diagrams and flowcharts.
  • Keep your answer sheet neat.

We all have different strategies, I have tried to write what went in my mind while I was preparing for commerce which can be of use to everyone. Absolute details or topic wise preparation can be best done individually.

I wish all of you good luck!


You can refer to my test copy here : test_copy

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About Siddharth Jain

Siddharth Jain is a ForumIAS Academy Student who has secured Rank 11 in the CSE 2017 examination. He chose ForumIAS in his fifth attempt, and was wrote Mains Guidance Test with Essay at ForumIAS.


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