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.
The path to becoming a chartered accountant or CA is tough and it can be easily said that it is one of the, if not the toughest profession.
We like to keep our career guides very real and honest, so we had to open with the harshest truths about this profession.
If you think you are determined and dedicated, then let us move into this career guide!
What is chartered accountancy?
Chartered accountancy or accountancy essentially means the same. The profession involves management of finances for an entity. This includes managing financial accounts, budgeting, auditing, business strategy and taxation.
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.
What does a chartered accountant do?
Chartered accountants are professionals who work in various sectors of the economy, managing the finances of an entity, providing financial advice and helping out with money management. This can be for a business, individual or government.
Why build a career in chartered accountancy?
The simple reason to build a career in chartered accountancy is that it is a very well paid and secured profession. The whole world runs on money and every business needs someone to manage their finances, help in filing taxes and do audits.
As a chartered accountant, the opportunities to work are endless. Regardless of the industry, every organisation needs finance management and chartered accountants are the solution.
Scope of chartered accountancy
As a chartered accountant, you can work in the following sectors:
- Businesses and industries
- Chartered accountant firms
- Consultancy firms
- Capital market services
- Financial institutions
- Independent practice
Chartered accountants are always in high demand in the sectors mentioned above. You can either work for a business or an organisation 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.
Demand for chartered accountants
According to Times of India, in the April of 2018, there were only 2.82 lakh CAs in India and out of which only 1.25 lakh were in full-time practice. This means only 44% of total CAs were actively working. Given the fact that there are 6.8 crores taxpayers in India and more businesses getting established each year, the demand for CAs is more than ever.
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.
Pros and cons of a career in chartered accountancy
|Six figure salary||Ongoing learning|
|High demand job||Long monotonous working hours|
|Growing industry and opportunities||Difficult deadlines at the end of the financial year|
|Stable income||Lots of stress|
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 figure out whether this profession fits your personality or not.
Qualification required for chartered accountancy
You can start your path in becoming a chartered accountant either after your XIIth or even after completing your graduation or post-graduation. The paths are similar but if you are a graduate or postgraduate, you can skip a few steps which are compulsory for someone who just passed their high school.
Foundation course route (after XIIth)
To become a chartered accountant, you would need to pass a series of tests, but before taking these set of examinations, you need to pass your XIIth. Once you have cleared your high school, this is the list of exams you need to clear in the given order.
- CA Foundation course (previously known as CPT or Common Proficiency Test)
- Integrated Course on Information Technology and Soft skills (ICITSS)
- CA Intermediate (previously known as IPCC or Integrated Professional Competence Course)
- Articleship (3-year training)
- Advanced Integrated Course on Information Technology and Soft Skills (AICITSS)
- FC (Final course)
So, you need to take a step by step approach to all the courses and exams mentioned above. Here’s how you need to go about it.
Step 1: Enrol yourself in the CA Foundation Course after completing XIIth.
Step 2: Complete a 4 month study period and appear in the CA Foundation Examination.
Step 3: Enrol into CA Intermediate Course after clearing CA Foundation Exam.
Step 4: Complete 4 weeks of Integrated Course on Information Technology and Soft skills (ICITSS). This course needs to be completed before your articleship.
Step 5: Complete 8 months study course of CA Intermediate and appear for the exam. There will be 2 groups of exams, you need to pass at least one before moving forward.
Step 6: Join 3-year article training after passing either group of CA Intermediate Exam and complete ICITSS before starting your articleship.
Step 7: Clear the remaining group of CA Intermediate Exam (if there’s any).
Step 8: Enrol yourself for the CA Final Course.
Step 9: Complete 4 weeks of Advanced Integrated Course on Information Technology and Soft skills (AICITSS) in the last two years of your articleship and before appearing for the final exam.
Step 10: Appear for the final exam either after completing your articleship or during the last 6 months of it.
Step 11: Complete your article training, in case you decide to appear for the final exam while serving your articleship.
Step 12: Clear the CA Final Examination.
Step 13: Enrol yourself as a member of the ICAI to be designated as a “Chartered Accountant”.
Direct entry route (after graduation or post-graduation)
To become a chartered accountant after completing your graduation or post-graduation, the path is quite similar to the one mentioned above. But, you can only pursue this path if you have scored at least 55% aggregate in your commerce graduation/post-graduation, or at least 60% if you are not a commerce graduate/post-graduate.
If you are eligible as per your graduation/post-graduation results, then following is a step by step process you need to follow.
Step 1: Enrol into CA Intermediate Course.
Step 2: Complete 4 weeks of Integrated Course on Information Technology and Soft skills (ICITSS). This course needs to be completed before your articleship.
Step 3: Register for 3-year articleship or practical training.
Step 4: Appear for the CA Intermediate Examination after 9 months of your training.
Step 5: Clear both groups of CA Intermediate Examination.
Step 6: Register for CA Final Course.
Step 7: Complete 4 weeks of Advanced Integrated Course on Information Technology and Soft skills (AICITSS) in the last two years of your articleship and before appearing for the final exam.
Step 8: Appear for the final exam either after completing your articleship or in the last 6 months of it.
Step 9: Complete your 3-year training.
Step 10: Clear the CA Final Examination.
Step 11: Enrol yourself as a member of the ICAI to be designated as a “Chartered Accountant”.
Chartered accountant jobs in India
Opportunities for chartered accountants are huge when it comes to vacancies in India. Here is a comprised list of jobs for chartered accountants in India as of September 2019:
Job roles in chartered accountancy
|Financial Accounting||Manage accounts, Perform internal audits, Manage salaries and wages, Send out invoices, Managing tax|
|Auditing||Perform statutory audits as per Company Act, Internal audits|
|Cost Accounting||Forecasting, Budgeting & control, Expenditure control|
|Tax Management||Advise on taxes as per changes in business plans|
|Consultancy||Corporate law advice on financial aspects, Project planning, Business advise regarding profits, expansion and more, Information systems management|
Chartered accountant salaries
The average salary of a chartered accountant in India is Rs 786,098. The salary of a chartered accountant like any other profession varies depending upon the years of experience.
|Experience||Annual Average Salary|
|1-4 years||₹3 lakh to ₹11 lakh|
|5-9 years||₹4.5 lakh to ₹20 lakh|
|10-19 years||₹6 lakh to ₹25 lakh|
Data source: AmbitionBox
Chartered accountant skills
|Communication||Explain complex financial information to non-CA colleagues.|
|Commercial Awareness||Understanding of day to day changes in the business world affecting organizations.|
|Ethics||CAs deal with money and require great ethics to be professional and to be trusted by companies.|
|Analytics||It is a profession of numbers and so, requires great analytical skills to make the right business decisions.|
|Self Motivation||CAs are required to constantly work and learn at the same time. This requires self-motivation to keep learning and adapting.|
Chartered accountant tools
Chartered accountants, back in the days, relied on manual logs and registers to keep a track of important data and accounts of a business. This has changed since automation and SaaS-based tools.
There are multiple softwares out there that allow chartered accountants to maintain accounts and perform all sorts of tasks online.
Here is a comprehensive list of some of the popular accounting tools used worldwide:
Tips to get a job as a chartered accountanct
Becoming a chartered accountant or CA is the first step in the right direction but the next one is equally important. Getting the right job!
When it comes to getting a job, focus on your overall personality. Every employer looks for specific traits in any employee. So, it is equally important to work both on your overall personality and your skills as a CA.
Here are some of the common traits or behaviours that can make you stand out in an interview and land your dream job.
Written as well as oral communication is of utmost importance to land any job. As a chartered accountant, you will need to interact with peers, stakeholders and decision-makers, and so it is significant that you are able to get your message across in a professional way.
Chartered accountants help a business in budgeting, forecasting, taxation and much more. So, it is expected of them to have an understanding of the latest business trends and financial market, which is ever-changing. So, keep reading and stay up to date with all such changing trends.
Chartered accountants have a tough and hefty work-life which requires a lot of patience. As a CA, you are handling an entity’s finances, accounts and much more, any hasty decision can lead to dire consequences. So, work on your patience. This will help you in having a much stable career.
Chartered accountants are on a constant learning curve. When you become a chartered accountant, you need to keep educating yourself with advancements in the financial world. This constant learning will keep you sharp and make you stand out among your peers. This constant learning reqeuires self motivation as nobody will ask you to learn these new advancements.
Chartered accountants need to possess analytical skills but more than that, you need to possess an analytical mind. To constantly evaluate is a habbit that every chartered accountant should possess. Having an analytical mindset will sharpen your analytical skills as well.
Chartered accountancy blogs
Here is a list of popular finance and chartered accountant blogs:
Chartered accountancy books
Here’s a list of chartered accountancy books:
- CA Foundation Scanner Cum Compiler by Dr S.K Agrawal
- Principles and Practice of Accounting by DR S.K Agrawal
- Business Laws by Dr V.K. Jain and CA Shashank S. Sharma
- Business Mathematics Logic Reasoning & Statistics by Kailash Thakur
- Business Economics and Business & Commercial Knowledge by Dr P.M Salwan and Dr C.B Gupta
- Business Correspondence & Reporting By Dr C.B. Gupta
- Business Laws by Dr V.K. Jain
Chartered accountancy YouTube videos and channels
Here’s a list of YouTube channels:
Chartered accountancy forums
Here’s a list of chartered accountancy forums: