Chartered accountants are said to be the supporting pillars that reinforce the economy of a country. That said, this is the single most competitive field related to commerce. It is the most challenging profession and requires every bit of hard work, discipline, time and energy you can muster up the courage to put together.
The history of accounting as a profession can be traced back to the Mauryan empire, when Chanakya wrote the financial management book, “Arthashastra”. The modern profession of the chartered accountant originated in Scotland in the nineteenth century.
In India, the Chartered accountant’s act was passed in 1949 which established the Institute of Chartered Accountants of India as a corporate body.
Courses and exams
Becoming a member requires passing the prescribed examinations, three years of practical training (known as articleship) and meeting other requirements under the Act and Regulations. A member of ICAI can use the title CA before his/her name. A member of ICAI may either be an Associate Chartered Accountant (A.C.A.) or a Fellow Chartered Accountant (F.C.A.) based on his experience. Further based on holding Certificate of Practice, they may also be classified as practising and non-practising Chartered Accountants.
The required details about the Chartered accountant course and the examinations may be found at the link below.
The total time taken to become a CA is 5 years provided you clear all the exams on the first attempt.
- The first step is to clear the foundation exam earlier known as CPT (Common proficiency test).
- After CPT, the next step is to clear either group 1 or group 2 of the intermediate exam known as the IPCC (Integrated professional competency course). The period of study before this exam is 8 months.
- After IPCC exam, you have to join articleship to gain experience. This takes up a period of 3 years. During Intermediate Examination, it is required to engage in a four-week-long Integrated Course on Information Technology and Soft skills (ICITSS) consisting of Courses on Information Technology and Orientation Course at the earliest although these can be completed any time before the commencement of the articleship.
- The final step is to register yourself for the final exam and clear it to officially become a member of the ICAI.
Level of difficulty
The CA course is regarded as one of the toughest courses today. The overall passing percentage for the final exam in 2017 was 22.76.
The various job roles of a chartered accountant include the following-
- Manage financial systems and budgets.
- Prepare financial statements including monthly and annual accounts.
- Manage junior colleagues.
- Advise on tax and treasury issues.
- Detect and prevent fraud.
- Analyse the companies’ systems and minimise risk.
- Negotiate terms with clients.
- Undertake financial audits.
- Advise clients on business transactions, such as mergers and acquisitions.
In addition to these, there are multiple other responsibilities that come with the job.
- Chartered accountants are respected everywhere.
- They understand businesses quite early and quite fast as they are well versed with things related to finance, accounts, laws, etc.
- Once you get a license, you can set up a career anywhere, be it a small town or a large city.
- The pay of a Chartered accountant is huge and more than enough to live a luxurious life if you play your cards right.
- You’ll get many choices in life. Teaching, job or opening up your own office. Any industry. Any scale. It’s up to you. The sky is the limit.
- Timings are not too hectic and you get leisure time once you make it.
- They have a certain job security.
- It can seem like a boring 9 to 5 job after some time.
- There is lack of creativity and flexibility on the job.
- If you work for a company instead of on your own, it can become suffocating with always working according to the will of your boss.
- The more you work, the more the company grows, not you eventually.
It is said that the toughest part of being a CA is actually becoming one. All the trials and tribulations are faced by you in the initial stages. Although the career part is no cake walk either, it does come with its own perks and pitfalls. But Chartered accountants lead a very respectable life and has faced a lot in the initial exams, they know how to deal with the problems they might face later on. This is normally a job that is entirely done within the office. However, a certain amount of travelling may also be required as some clients wish for their financial services to be done on their premises.
This is traditionally considered as a 9 to 5 job but sometimes extra work might be necessary and can lead to overtime.
Salary and growth
The average salary for a Chartered Accountant is Rs 726,100 per year. The highest paying skills associated with this job are Budget Management, Evaluation and Management Auditing, Financial Advisor, Strategic Accounts, and Accounting.
Even though they are well paid, chartered accountants receive various benefits, ranging from free transportation to even house and car leasing. They also normally get health insurance, life insurance and property insurance free of cost if they work for a large corporation.
Top firms for articleship
- Ernst and Young
- Pricewaterhouse Coopers
This career path is suitable for people with a natural inclination towards numbers and problem-solving. It requires a lot of hard work, dedication and willpower. Organised people are generally able to succeed more in this line of work.