Career in Chartered Accountancy

Chartered Accountants or CA’s are professionals who have a very strong expertise in accounting and auditing. Chartered Accountancy is known to be one of highest paid and respected career options.

If you want to understand what exactly a CA is then know that a CA is the James Bond of Accounting. They are highly trained professionals who are extremely qualified in the field of accounting. They carry out audits of whole organisations, firms and companies to ensure that the accounting records have been kept as per the regulations or not. Accounting discrepancies don’t escape from the eyes of CA’s and they can unravel a whole scam or irregularities by tracking a single error.
As Chartered Accountancy basically deals with accounting and related business laws, students who are interested in this career must have a strong inclination towards accounting as a subject.
Chartered Accountancy is known with slightly different names in different countries.

As a practise and profession, Chartered Accountancy is controlled and regulated by the Institute of Chartered Accountants of India (ICAI).
How to become a Chartered Accountant

There are two ways of pursuing CA. One way is to pursue it right after completing 12th and the other way is to pursue it after obtaining a graduate degree in commerce or related field. Most students prefer to pursue CA right after class 12. This is how to do it.  

In terms of tests and exams, students have to clear 3 exams.
1. The CPT or the Common Proficiency Test
2. The IPCC or the Integrated Professional Competency Course
3. The CA finals
If we talk about phases, then there are three phases to complete the CA.  The foundation course, the articleship and the finals. 
The foundation course is for students who complete their class 12. It is a yearlong course, mostly taken up in a distance education format. Upon successful completion, students can apply for internship (article ship) with any experienced CAs.
During article ship, students are paid a stipend and get a first-hand experience into the functioning of finance, audit, tax or any other chosen specialisation
Once you pass the intermediate examination, you can serve in any financial, commercial or industrial project as part of the training. This training ranges from about 9 months to a year.
After the final examination, students need to gain membership to the ICAI before they can start practicing as a CA.

Career Prospects

The best thing about having a professional qualification like CA is that one doesn’t have to start their career with an entry level job. As a CA, one can start their careers as
Finance Managers
Accounts Manager 
Internal Auditor
With experience, in future, they can move on to become  
Financial Controllers
Advisors
Directors
However, to reach the said roles, it may take a professional experience of 10 years. Chartered Accountants can also work in the following sectors:
Capital Markets (share and bond markets)
Business Houses (multinational conglomerates or big blue chip companies)
Banking
Investment Companies
Financial Consultancies
Professionally qualified Chartered Accountants are also hired for research, to prepare project reports and most importantly; for budget planning and cost analysis.

Jobs & Salary

Chartered accountants perform a variety of functions. A few of them are listed below.

  • Accountancy
  • Auditing 
  • Taxation 
  • Cost Accountancy
  • Special Company Work 

A chartered accountant can also act as an arbitrator to settle disputes concerning insolvency and company fraud. 

Salaries of CAs employed in public or private sector companies vary depending upon qualification and experience. Average salaries at junior level are 10000 to 15000 per month while person with 5 years’ experience can expect to get 50000 to 60000 per month.
Chartered Accountants who are engaged in consultancy and private practice also earn enviable incomes depending upon the numbers and kinds of clients they have.

Pros & Cons

Pros:

The profession is highly challenging.
It pays well and provides opportunities for fast growth within a few years of leaving high school. No other profession affords lucrative career opportunities so soon, not even Engineering or Medicine
One also has the advantage of offering competent services across the board or specialising in one or more domains within Chartered Accountancy
Jobs are practically guaranteed on enrolment at the institute and the training makes candidates career-ready even before they received the official certification

Cons:

The course is very demanding and the examinations are difficult with very low pass rates. In 2016, only 11.36% students passed in the finals
Chartered Accountancy requires constant updating of knowledge as new rules and regulations are added continuously by the lawmakers and one could get left behind and cause immense losses to clients if they are not aware of the changing scenario
The course takes a minimum of 5 years even if the student doesn’t fail any exam. And if they fail in any exam, the time to complete the course becomes longer

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