CA is to Commerce students what Engineering is to Science Students; unless of course, if one is wanting to go straightway for an MBA.
The Institute of Chartered Accountants of India (ICAI), operating under an Act of Parliament, is the second-largest professional body of Chartered Accountants in the world with 280,000+ members.
The motto of ICAI literally means “a person who is awake in those that sleep”. It is a quotation from the Upanishads (Kathopanishad). It was given to the ICAI at the time of its formation in 1949 by Sri Aurobindo.
Chartered Accountancy Career
Starting as a CA, you can expect to climb up the ladder up to the CFO position in a company. Alternatively, you can set up your own practice. Apart from being investors and entrepreneurs, CAs are journalists, film producers and actors as well. Illustrious CAs include Kumar Mangalam Birla, Naina Lal Kidwai, Piyush Goyal, Suresh Prabhu, Motilal Oswal, Rakesh Jhunjhunwala, S.Gurumurthy, and T.V. Mohandas Pai.
The CA qualification opens avenues across a wide range of exciting career opportunities, both in India and internationally. Certain segments such as accounting, auditing, and taxation are zones of exclusivity for CAs while areas such as Treasury, Investment Banking, Mergers and Acquisitions, Private Equity and Venture Capital see them battling for dominance with the MBAs.
To be honest, MBAs are often preferred for the same as compared to CA. This is because an MBA is an on-campus course and is assumed to have been professionally groomed in course of the 2 year MBA program on campus and have better communication skills. CA, on the other hand, is a correspondence course. And the articleship experience that you get is non-standardised, ranging from a Big 4 firm like Deloitte, EY, PwC and KPMG to a small-mid size CA in practice.
Nowadays the preferred option is to complete both CA and MBA to become a highly sought after professional in the corporate finance space.
CA Course Details
You can initiate your CA journey immediately after Class XII and appear for CA Foundation, followed by clearing the Intermediate exam, completing the 3-year articleship and then completing the CA Final. There are also courses in Communication and Information Technology that are to be taken.
One of the facts about the course is that its entry is easy and exit is tough. ~ 40%+ students clear CA Foundation but only a fraction of these students end up qualifying as Chartered Accountants because the CA Final exam is tough to qualify.
A lot of students clear both groups of CA Final in one go. Often they clear one group and then opt for the other group in the next attempt i.e. May/Nov. Others take it one at a time.
The trends in pass % are as follows:
For Group 1, the average pass percentage is 14.7% with a standard deviation of 6.7% (10 terms) while For Group 2, the average pass percentage is 13.5% with a standard deviation of 5.5% (10 terms)
CA as a qualification, at a low course fee, earns you respect for life. And interesting, without any reservation for SC/ST/OBC. The New Course that they have launched is also significantly in sync with the market expectations.
But you should take this qualification up only if you are reasonably sure about your abilities to devote the time and efforts required for the course, be it the articleship or the unpredictable CA Final. And take the risk that you may land up not being a Chartered Accountant eventually.
Sonia Singal is a Chartered Accountant and holds an MS degree in Finance. She had worked with Deloitte (Hyderabad), before starting CA Job Portal (cajobportal.com) – India’s first recruitment website, exclusively for Chartered Accountants.