Member Spotlight: Ankur Chopra, CPA

by Amanda Talaat | Apr 21, 2015

This monthly feature spotlights San Antonio CPA Society members, their career paths and advice they have for new and future CPAs.

Ankur_Chopra

Ankur Chopra’s journey to becoming a Certified Public Accountant involved traveling a greater distance than most Texas CPAs.

The 31-year-old left his home in New Delhi, India, in 2005 with plans to earn a Master’s degree in business and gain international exposure. Chopra already had earned a Bachelor of Commerce degree from the University of Delhi, while running a small business with his mother – a bureau for tutors.

“Education is very big in India, so if you needed help studying for mathematics, chemistry or biology, we would find you a tutor,” Chopra recalls. “If you needed help with accounting, you got me.”

He also emphasized the different expectations regarding education in India versus the United States. “Education is very structured in India. It is just expected that you will finish your education by the age of 24-26, and then you work for the rest of your life.” In the US,” Chopra observed, “it’s more acceptable to go back to school at any point in your life or go back to learn a new skill.”

These days, he helps families with a more basic need for freedom from domestic violence. Chopra recently joined Family Violence Prevention Services, Inc. as Vice President of Finance and Human Resources. FVPS, better known as the nonprofit organization which runs the Battered Women and Children’s Shelter, also offers counseling, legal services, substance abuse intervention, transitional housing and education.

After earning a second bachelor’s degree, from UTSA, Chopra joined Universal City-based accounting firm, Armstrong Vaughan & Associates P.C., in 2009 as a staff accountant. He actually received his CPA license before completing his Master’s degree in business administration from Texas A&M University-San Antonio.

In his spare time, he serves as an adjunct faculty member at one of the four different local colleges/universities – TAMU-SA, Our Lady of the Lake University, Strayer University, and Northwest Vista College – teaching undergraduate-level accounting courses.

This monthly feature spotlights San Antonio CPA Society members, their career paths and advice they have for new and future CPAs.

Ankur Chopra’s journey to becoming a Certified Public Accountant involved traveling a greater distance than most Texas CPAs.

The 31-year-old left his home in New Delhi, India, in 2005 with plans to earn a Master’s degree in business and gain international exposure. Chopra already had earned a Bachelor of Commerce degree from the University of Delhi, while running a small business with his mother – a bureau for tutors.

“Education is very big in India, so if you needed help studying for mathematics, chemistry or biology, we would find you a tutor,” Chopra recalls. “If you needed help with accounting, you got me.”

He also emphasized the different expectations regarding education in India versus the United States. “Education is very structured in India. It is just expected that you will finish your education by the age of 24-26, and then you work for the rest of your life.” In the US,” Chopra observed, “it’s more acceptable to go back to school at any point in your life or go back to learn a new skill.”

These days, he helps families with a more basic need for freedom from domestic violence. Chopra recently joined Family Violence Prevention Services, Inc. as Vice President of Finance and Human Resources. FVPS, better known as the nonprofit organization which runs the Battered Women and Children’s Shelter, also offers counseling, legal services, substance abuse intervention, transitional housing and education.

After earning a second bachelor’s degree, from UTSA, Chopra joined Universal City-based accounting firm, Armstrong Vaughan & Associates P.C., in 2009 as a staff accountant. He actually received his CPA license before completing his Master’s degree in business administration from Texas A&M University-San Antonio.

In his spare time, he serves as an adjunct faculty member at one of the four different local colleges/universities – TAMU-SA, Our Lady of the Lake University, Strayer University, and Northwest Vista College – teaching undergraduate-level accounting courses.


Jenny & Ankur Chopra in Indian wedding attire

Who inspired you throughout your career and why?

My uncle, Subhash Verma, who is now deceased. He was a retired wing commander with the Indian Air Force and was a successful businessman. He had a very strong work ethic. He always told me to jump at the right opportunity and to keep jumping, because you don’t necessarily know which are the right opportunities until you’ve jumped at them.

What is would people who know you be surprised to learn about you?

People who know me know that I love movies. Horror movies are my favorite genre, but I watch them while clutching the remote control and with my hands over my eyes!

If you were not a CPA, what might you be doing instead?

The only subject that I really understood in school was business, so I am definitely where I need to be. But I have always been interested in learning more about real estate. Flipping a house is on my bucket list.

What is the most interesting trip you’ve ever taken?

That would have to be my journey by myself from New Delhi to San Antonio 10 years ago. It was quite a cultural shock. I’ve only been back to India once since then, but fortunately, my mother has come here to visit several times.

What advice do you have for people who are just beginning their professional careers?

That would be to focus on what you are trying to achieve. In my opinion, our generation is suffering from ADD, and it’s so easy to lose sight of what you should be doing or giving your full effort. If you focus and work toward your goal, you can get there, which is something I learned through SACPAS’ iDEAL (Institute for Developing Excellence in Accounting Leadership) program and Stephen Covey’s Seven Habits of Highly Effective People.

You also need to have a thick skin when dealing with people – you cannot please everyone and the sooner you realize it the better it is.

What is your favorite local restaurant?

I love the chicken at Rudy’s Barbecue. And Las Palapas too.

Ankur and Jenny on balconyJenny & Ankur Chopra in Indian wedding attire

Who inspired you throughout your career and why?

My uncle, Subhash Verma, who is now deceased. He was a retired wing commander with the Indian Air Force and was a successful businessman. He had a very strong work ethic. He always told me to jump at the right opportunity and to keep jumping, because you don’t necessarily know which are the right opportunities until you’ve jumped at them.

What is would people who know you be surprised to learn about you?

People who know me know that I love movies. Horror movies are my favorite genre, but I watch them while clutching the remote control and with my hands over my eyes!

If you were not a CPA, what might you be doing instead?

The only subject that I really understood in school was business, so I am definitely where I need to be. But I have always been interested in learning more about real estate. Flipping a house is on my bucket list.

What is the most interesting trip you’ve ever taken?

That would have to be my journey by myself from New Delhi to San Antonio 10 years ago. It was quite a cultural shock. I’ve only been back to India once since then, but fortunately, my mother has come here to visit several times.

What advice do you have for people who are just beginning their professional careers?

That would be to focus on what you are trying to achieve. In my opinion, our generation is suffering from ADD, and it’s so easy to lose sight of what you should be doing or giving your full effort. If you focus and work toward your goal, you can get there, which is something I learned through SACPAS’ iDEAL (Institute for Developing Excellence in Accounting Leadership) program and Stephen Covey’s Seven Habits of Highly Effective People.

You also need to have a thick skin when dealing with people – you cannot please everyone and the sooner you realize it the better it is.

What is your favorite local restaurant?

I love the chicken at Rudy’s Barbecue. And Las Palapas too.

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