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CA isn't overrated - It's worth a lot more

Kartikey Jain 
on 23 July 2018

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Recently, in an interview to a financial daily, Kumar Mangalam Birla, chairman of the Aditya Birla Group, one of the largest Indian conglomerates remarked,

"When I look back, CA was among the best things he (his father, Aditya Birla) made me do. It sharpens your mind on numbers, and that is an integral part of business. You have to have the math right."

Ask anyone about the Chartered Accountancy course in India and the first thing you’ll be hearing about it would be ‘how tough it is’. In fact, in our country of 130 crore Indians, only around 3 Lakh have managed qualify it till date. The course is spread over a minimum of five years and hence requires a significant investment of time. It is the test of the patience, perseverance & mental toughness of the candidates.

The pass percentages at the foundation, intermediate level and final level is generally around 25%, 10% & 8% respectively. So if 500 students sit for CPT, only 125 manage to clear it and when these 125 appear for IPCC, only 12.5 reach the final stage. Finally, only one student out of these 12.5 is finally qualifying the final exam. That’s right, only one out of 500 becomes a Chartered Accountant.   

Moreover, one has to undergo ‘articleship’ which is basically rigorous practical training in a chartered accountancy firm for three years of at marginal stipends. Trainees often have to work for long hours and have to manage their studies simultaneously along with the office work. It effectively incorporates the essential life-skill of working hard’ at a very young age.

CA’s final level requires in-depth ‘expert knowledge’ in all the subjects including Accounting& book-keeping, Income Tax, GST, Customs Law, Companies Act etc. Thus post-qualification, it opens up a world of vast opportunities from diverse sectors - Banking,  Taxation, Audit, Management Consultancy, Cost Accounting, etc. all around the country and even in other parts of the world.

Chartered Accountants are silent partners to Government & Industry in the nation building. They are consulted by every industry segment right from MSMEs & unorganised sector traders to large MNCs in their everyday work for meeting their compliance requirements. Even new policy reforms and initiatives by Government such as ‘Goods & Service Tax’ &‘Insolvency & Bankruptcy Code’ needed active participation from Chartered Accountants to be successful.CAs thus hold a position of responsibility in the country’s economy.

Here are some of the Chartered Accountants who made it big -

  • Naina Lal Kidwai –Country Head of HSBC India
  • Rakesh Jhunjhunwala – Stock Market guru popularly called ‘Warren Buffett of India’
  • Deepak Parekh – Chairman of HDFC
  • Motilal Oswal – Chairman & MD of Motilal Oswal Financial Services Ltd
  • T. N. Manoharan – ‘Padam Shri’&‘CNN – Indian of the year’ recipient
  • Piyush Goyal – Rajya Sabha MP&Current Union Minister of Railways & Coal
  • Kumar Mangalam Birla – Chairman of the Aditya Birla group
  • Suresh Prabhu – CurrentUnion Minister of Civil Aviation
  • T.V. Mohandas Pai – Chairman of Manipal Global Education & former CFO of Infosys

Some Fun Facts regarding Chartered Accountancy:

  • Almost 85% of CFOs of companies listed on Bombay Stock Exchange are qualified Chartered Accountants
  • There is no caste based reservation for admission in Chartered Accountancy course. It is a course which awards the hard-work and not the background of the student.
  • Other than India, there are high job prospects for Indian CAs in Middle East countries such as Bahrain, UAE, Kuwait etc. Due to the existence of ample jobs in the market, you would never find a Chartered Accountant facing unemployment.
  • Chartered Accountancy is a really cost-effective course. The actual fees charged by the Institute for registration and study material is quite marginal and subsidised when compared to other professional qualifications. Moreover, students have the option to attempt the exams in ‘Hindi’. These features prove to be really beneficial for students from lower-income backgrounds.

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