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Chartered Accountant as a Career Option: FAQs

CA.KIRANKUMAR R N 
Updated on 20 July 2020

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Q: What is the meaning of ‘Chartered’?

(Of a city, company, university, or other body) founded or having its rights and privileges established by means of a charter. Charter means you rent or lease a particular service or object. Charter comes from the Latin 'charta', meaning "paper, card, or map." As a noun, charter refers to a written document outlining, or mapping, the rights and obligations of a company or organization, or in older days, a town or an entire colony.

Q: What is the Chartered Accountant (CA) Course all about?

A globally recognized professional course conducted by The Institute of Chartered Accounts of India (ICAI), New Delhi, India with an endless stream of opportunities and resources being directed towards it every year.

ICAI is a statutory body established on 1st July 1949 by The Chartered Accountants Act, 1949 for regulating the profession of Chartered Accountancy in the Country. The Institute functions under the administrative control of the Ministry of Corporate Affairs, Government of India. ICAI has 5 Regional Councils, 164 Branches covering the length and breadth of the country, and 34 Chapters abroad. ICAI has grown to cross the mark of 3,00,00 CA members and more than 6,75,000 active students. It is the premier Accounting Body in the country and the second-largest in the world. ICAI is managed by a council consisting of 40 CA members out of which 32 are elected by CA members and 8 are nominated by the Government of India. ICAI is responsible for administering the CA education and training and also all activities relating to CA students.

Chartered accountancy has been one of the most popular career choices in India. This profession is not easy to get into but if you manage to do so, it offers a great career path, salary, and respect among people. One of the reasons why people respect Chartered Accountants is not because of the designation or pay, it is mainly because it is not easy to become one.

We like to be very real and honest, so we had to open with the harshest truths about this profession. The difference between an accountant and a chartered accountant is that the latter has taken an in-depth training of years and has passed multiple exams in various aspects of accounting to earn the title of a Chartered Accountant.

The first step to becoming a CA is clearing level 1 which is CA Foundation, Click here to learn what all subjects you need to prepare for.
Chartered Accountant as a Career Option: FAQs

Q: How to become CA?

After clearing the CA Foundation a student needs to pass CA Intermediate and  CA Final Exams conducted by ICAI along with a mandatory articleship.

Q: Why CA Course as a Career?

PROS:

  • A Global Career
  • High Demand, High Salary, Growing Opportunities
  • Secured Profession, Stable Income

CONS:

  • Ongoing Learning, Long Working Hours
  • Tight Deadlines, Stressful Working Life

Q: Job and Career Opportunities for CA?

As a chartered accountant, the opportunities to work are endless. Regardless of the industry, every organization needs finance management and chartered accountants are the solution. With increasing regulatory scrutiny and governance standards, the demand for chartered accountants (CAs) to help navigate business is high.

A. Independent Professional Practice:

If you practice or set up your own CA firm you can practice on a variety of areas such as:

  • Income Tax & GST: Audit, Filing & Advisory Services
  • Corporate & Allied Laws: Formation of Companies, LLP, ROC Filing, Partnership, HUF & Others
  • Audit & Assurance: Statutory & Internal Audit and Risk Advisory
  • Management Advisory Services: Debt & Equity Strategy, MIS Reporting, Valuation, Due Diligence, Working Capital Management
  • Accounting & Finance: Virtual CFO, Account Outsourcing, Payroll Outsource etc.,
  • Insolvency & Bankruptcy: Forensic Audit, Insolvency Professionals, Resolution, Restructuring Advisory
  • System Audit

This can be for a business, individual or government

 

B. Employment in Trade and Industry:

As a chartered accountant, you can work in the following sectors:

  • Businesses and industries
  • Chartered accountant firms
  • Consultancy firms
  • Institutions
  • Capital market services
  • Financial institutions

Chartered accountants are always in high demand in the sectors mentioned above. You can either work for a business or an organization and help manage their accounts, finances, taxation, or auditing. You can also work independently and offer your services to anybody who seeks it.

Financial institutions are always on the lookout for skilled chartered accountants, which is another opportunity of employment. Working for consultancy firms is another way to utilize your accounting skills. Consultancy firms assign chartered accountants to their various clients to help them with their short- or long-term financial goals. So, if you wish to work for multiple clients then a consultancy firm might be the right fit for you.

C. Opportunities in Global Arena:

Indian CAs have an impressive presence throughout the globe holding eminent positions. Many MNCs as well as KPOs prefer Indian CAs for their expertise in IFRS, International Taxation, International Trade Laws, Accounting in the IT environment. Employment opportunities keep increasing year by year as the economy grows.

D. Signature power of CAs:

  • Tax Audit: under the Income Tax Act and GST Act
  • Statutory Audit: under Companies Act
  • Assurance Certified Services: where it is mandatory to get Documents, Reports, Statements certified by CA under various statues of Central Government, State Governments, Local Authorities, Bodies etc.,

Q: How to enter and qualify as a CA?

There are 2 routes:

Route I - Foundation Course:

Under the Foundation Course Route, the following steps are required:

  • Register with ICAI after appearing in Class XII examination
  • Appear for Foundation examination after four months of the study period. The first Foundation examination can be taken in November/May, as applicable, following the passing of the Class XII examination.
  • Qualify Foundation Course.
  • Register with the Institute for the Intermediate Course.
  • Complete 8 months of the study course.
  • Appear and Pass in either or both Groups of Intermediate Course.
  • Successfully complete the Four Weeks Integrated Course on Information Technology and Soft Skills (ICITSS) before the commencement of the practical training.
  • Register for Three years Practical Training on passing either or both the Groups of Intermediate.
  • Register for the Final Course after qualifying both the Groups of Intermediate Course.
  • Successfully complete Four Weeks Advanced ICITSS during the last two years of Practical Training.
  • Appear in Final examination during the last six months of practical training.
  • Complete Practical Training
  • Become Member.

Route II – Direct Entry Route:

The ICAI allows Commerce Graduates/Post-Graduates (with minimum 55% marks) or Other Graduates/Post-Graduates (with minimum 60% marks) and Intermediate level passed students of Institute of Company Secretaries of India and Institute of Cost Accountants of India to enter directly to its Intermediate Course.

 

The following steps are required to be undertaken by the eligible Graduates and Post Graduates under this route:

  • Register with the Institute for the Intermediate course (provisional registration allowed to the students doing the Final year of graduation).
  • Successfully complete the Four Weeks Integrated Course on Information Technology and Soft Skills (ICITSS) before the commencement of the practical training.
  • Register for Three Years Practical Training.
  • Appear in Intermediate Examination after Nine months of Practical Training.
  • Qualify Intermediate Course.
  • Register for the Final Course after qualifying both Groups of Intermediate Course.
  • Successfully complete Four Weeks Advanced ICITSS during the last two years of Practical Training.
  • Appear in Final examination during the last six months of practical training.
  • Complete Practical Training.
  • Become Member

NOTE: Candidates who have passed Intermediate level examination of Institute of Company Secretaries of India or Institute of Cost Accountants of India and enter the CA Intermediate course directly shall be treated at par with Foundation passed students and shall have to undergo the CA course in the manner akin to the Foundation passed students.

Q: What is the Fee Structure of the CA Course?

  • Foundation Route: Rs. 77,000 (Approx. including study materials)
  • Direct Entry Route: Rs. 68,000 (Approx. including study materials)

Details of Fee

A. FOUNDATION COURSE:

  • Cost of Prospectus - 200
  • Foundation Registration Fee - 9,000
  • Total – 9,200

B. INTERMEDIATE COURSE:

  • Registration Fee - 15,000
  • Students' Activities Fee - 2,000
  • Registration Fee as articled - 1,000
  • Total - 18,000

C. FINAL COURSE:

  • Final Registration Fee - 22,000

D. OTHER FEE:

a. ICITSS:

i. Course on Information Technology - 6,500
ii. Orientation Course - 7,000

b. Advanced ICITSS:

i. Course on Advanced Information Technology - 7,500
ii. Management & Communication Skills Course - 7,000

Total - 28,000

Q: How much you earn while you are undergoing the CA Course?

  • CA student earns as stipend during Practical Training (Articled Assistant) from CA Firm
  • As per ICAI guidelines, a minimum of total Rs. 90,000 or Rs. 72,000 or Rs. 54,000 for three years depending on the population of city where student doing training

Stipend for Three Years:

1. Cities/Towns having a population of 20 lakh and above:
1 year-2,000, 2 year-2,500, 3 year-3,000, Total-90,000

2. Cities/Towns having a population of 4 lakh and above but less than 20 lakh:
1 year-1,500, 2 year-2,000, 3 year-2,500, Total-72,000

3. Cities/Towns having a population of less than 4 lakh:
1 year-1,000, 2 year-1,500, 3 year-2,000, Total-54,000

Q: Prominent Chartered Accountants:

CA. Piyush Goyal

• Minister of Railways and Commerce, Government of India

CA. Suresh Prabhakar Prabhu

• Former Union Cabinet Minister, Government of India

CA. Sudha Balakrishnan

• Executive Director of RBI.
• First ever Chief Financial Officer chose by the RBI.

CA. Kumar Mangalam Birla

• An Indian billionaire industrialist and the Chairman of the Aditya Birla Group, one of the largest conglomerates in India

CA. Naina Lal Kidwai

• Formerly a Group General Manager and currently the Country Head of HSBC India.
• She was awarded the distinguished Padma Shri for her contributions in the areas of trade and industry.

CA. Rakesh Jhunjhunwala

• An Indian Billionaire Investor and Trade & He is commonly referred as the ‘Warren Buffet of India’.

CA. Harish Salve

• Former Solicitor General of India
• Senior Advocated in Supreme Court.
• He was awarded the distinguished Padma Bhushan for his contributions in Public Services

End-Note:

So, this is the perfect time to get on the CA bandwagon and pursue this highly fruitful career. The employment opportunities are immense and they are more likely to grow as more startups and businesses are being established.

The path to becoming a chartered accountant is very clear, there are no confusions. This profession offers a stable job with steady growth and a good pay scale. But on the other hand, you have to stay updated with the ins and outs of finance, which means constant learning and studying is required. Also, there are certain deadlines that need to be met at the end of each financial year and the work may become really stressful.

Like anything, chartered accountancy also has its own pros and cons. So, it is really important to deep-dive and figures out whether this profession fits your personality or not.

Disclaimer: This article or blog or post (by whatever name) is based on the writer’s personal views. The writer does not accept any liabilities for any loss or damage of any kind arising out of information and for any actions taken in reliance thereon. This article has been published for knowledge sharing purposes only.

The author is a practicing Chartered Accountant with an overall 20 years experience in both Industry as well as an independent practice and  can also  be reached at cacafe4you@gmail.com

Click here to view a detailed video of  'CA as a Career':
https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCAIJd9XuD7Xd2cmsh7YuQFA?view_as=subscriber


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