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Career Options for Chartered Accountants

Hetvi Sheth , Last updated: 28 August 2014  

For us Chartered Accountants, passing CA exams is like achieving a milestone, well...it indeed is! However, as and when we advance by working in our respective domains whether  it is industry or practice, we realize we need to study further not only to gain an additional qualification but also working knowledge. There are many domains that a CA can advance in such as direct and indirect taxation, auditing, management accounting, accounting, finance, law etc. The options are endless! Let's discuss a few combinations for career options post Chartered Accountancy that one can pursue post CA qualification!

• Options in Legal Areas

“Law” is not just restricted to criminal cases, or the fancy glamorous “Lawyers” and “bad guys”, “jail sentences” or lawyers shouting “Objection, Objection” every two minutes in the court rooms as shown on television and movies. Law goes much beyond. Everyone is affected by law in our daily life either in a good way or a bad way. Thus, studying law post Chartered Accountancy can help expand career avenues, whether you are in Practice or Industry. It will help you understand the legal aspects concerning the Company/Clients. A CA is already well-equipped with the knowledge of Income Tax Laws, State Laws and Banking Laws. An L.L.B qualification will further aid in understanding and solving the litigations and discrepancies concerning the clients/companies. Courses and certifications Commercial Arbitration, Alternate Dispute Resolutions can help to give an additional edge. Degree in Intellectual Property Rights is also another area for those in Practice. It is widely offered by most of Law colleges in India. ‘Company Secretary’ qualification by ‘Institute of Companies Secretaries of India’ opens wide avenues in Company Law in both – Practice and Industry. Company Secretaries help in ensuring corporate governance and legal aspects of a company, there are innumerable aspects and challenges as a professional.

• Options in Finance

Finance is a vast field with an array of career opportunities in investment banking, merchant banking, corporate banking, mergers and acquisitions, stock broking, financial analysis fund management, portfolio management etc. There are various courses that one can pursue in field of finance such as Chartered Financial Analyst Program, CIPM Program, Claritas Program offered by CFA Institute which helps enhance portfolio management skills, investment decisions, risk evaluation, etc. in the Investment Industry. The CPA Program is also a viable option which is offered in various countries such as Australia, USA, Canada, etc. The Institute of Chartered Accountants of India has signed an MOA with various Institute of Chartered Accountants across the world such as The Institute of Chartered Accountants of England & Wales (ICAEW), Institute of Chartered Accountants of Australia (ICAA) etc. Thus, the members of ICAI are eligible to practice and employment in other countries on passing the specified examinations. For those looking forward to be proficient in technical analysis of Financial Markets, the Chartered Market Technician Program (CMT Program) offered by Market Technician Association (http://www.mta.org/) can help achieve an edge.

• Options in Management Accounting

Management accounting combines accounting, finance and management and interprets financial information thereby helping in making business decisions easier. It assists the managers analysing the costs and revenues, variance analysis, reporting of company’s financial position and providing insights of business performance. The programs offered by professional bodies such as The Institute of Cost Accountants of India and Chartered Institute of Management Accountants (CIMA) are the highly regarded as a value addition to business.

• Options in Management

MBA programs offered by various business schools across the country would help in gaining the additional management edge! Also Financial Modelling, Project Management are off beat fields.

• Options in Accounting and Auditing

Some of the options in Accounting are Certifications in IFRS, ACCA, Tally, SAP. The Institute of Internal Auditors offers various programs specifically designed for professionals interested in Internal Audits. Courses such as Certified Internal Systems Auditor (CISA), DISA are post qualification courses offered by ICAI on Information Systems. Audit of Banks, Stock brokers, and preferred assurance service providers for companies are mandated to undertake Information Systems Audit by professional members certified by ICAI.

• Options in Insurance Industry

The Insurance Institute of India offers various courses such as Insurance Surveyors, Agents, Postal Life Insurance, Life & General Insurance etc. It has a wide list of affiliated Insurance Institutes across the country. A study in actuarial sciences opens doors in insurance disciplines such as life insurance, health insurance, general insurance, reinsurance, property insurance, annuities, pensions, etc. The Institute of Actuaries of India offers various programs and its members have a various options for career opportunities.

• Certifications/Diplomas

For those wanting to polish their skills in specific domains, certification courses in Financial Modeling, Advanced Excel, CMA, Certifications in Financial Research, etc. can help in gaining and developing on the working knowledge. Also the NSE and BSE have also started offering various certificate courses both short term and long term relating to financial markets. The Institute of Chartered Accountants of India also offers various certification courses in Direct Taxes, Indirect Taxes, International Taxation, Arbitration, Valuation, Co-operatives, forensic audit, fraud detection, CISA, etc.

Thus, a wide range of career options are available to choose from post Chartered Accountancy qualification to develop and enhance skills continuously. The above list is not exhaustive. There are many more! As it is said, one should never stop learning and knowledge never goes waste! In the same way, in today’s dynamic world, a continuous professional up gradation is the need of the hour!

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Hetvi Sheth
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