Last Updated On July 27th, 2016 at 08:47 pm
Chartered Accountant, commonly known by its acronym CA, is a key professional position in the finance and business matters. The position of a CA has a long history that is equally interesting to note. So, before we dwell on the various aspects of CA course, let us dig deeper into its history, functions, and status in India.
The position of a CA was originally founded in Scotland in the year 1854. CAs were essentially first accountants that were part of a professional accounting body. Back then in Scotland, there were three royally recognized accounting bodies, namely: the Glasgow Institute of Accountants, the Aberdeen Society of Accountants, and the Edinburgh Society of Accountants. With time, CA became a prominent position in other countries. Now, it is an internationally recognized designation that is usually regarded equivalent to the designation—American Certified Public Accountant.
The CAs have wide functionalities in finance and business areas, covering taxation, Audit, General and Financial Management. Some CAs are involved in public practice areas whereas many are engaged in the private sector. There is a substantial number of CAs that are working with government bodies.
In every country where the position exists, institutes have been established for the purpose of regulating CAs. These institutes mandate from fresh CAs to undergo a minimum standard of training for maintaining their professional competitiveness. These institutes facilitate to these individuals necessary support in the form of advisory services, technical libraries, and technical help lines. Additionally, they also provide professional networking, business and career development.
In India, the Institute of Chartered Accountants of India (abbreviated as ICAI), founded vide the Chartered Accountants Act 1949, is the principal regulatory body for CAs. Associate members of the institute are entitled to prefix their names with CA and members who are engaged in full-time practice as well as have finished five years of practice are entitled to prefix their names with FCA.
The reputation and goodwill that a CA enjoys in India and for that matter across the world are phenomenal. He is tasked with many critical financial functions, which makes him all the more professionally important. However, it is not simple to become a CA, as one has to go through some of the most rigorous examinations and tedious training sessions to successfully start practicing. This article will highlight some important aspects of a CA course and other necessary details relevant. So, here a few points about the CA course:
Eligibility Criteria for CA Course
A CA course commences with three different stages, namely: the Common Proficiency Test (abbreviated as CPT), then Integrated Professional Competence Course (abbreviated as IPCC), and finally, the Final Course. The registration window for both the CPT and the IPCC remains open throughout the year for those who qualify the minimum eligibility of 10+2.
The ICAI has formulated two ways of entries, namely: Right after 12th through CPT and Direct Entry post graduation. Each stage has a long list of requirements that must be met and can be found at http://www.icai.org/post.html?post_id=3923.
Course Structure of CA Course
Let us begin with the course details of CPT, which has four test papers. The pattern of paper is objective in nature with total 200 marks. In order to qualify the examination, a candidate is required to secure minimum 100 marks, which is 50 percent of the total marks. There is a provision of negative marking for every wrongly answered question.
A typical CPT examination covers Fundamentals of Accounting, General Economics, Mercantile Laws, and Quantitative Aptitude. From 2016, the CPT has been rechristened as CA Foundation Course, with two new subjects added to the original course. These two subjects are General English and Business Communication.
In IPCC, the course comprises two groups. It comprises subjects such as Accounting, Company Laws, Cost Accounting, Direct tax laws, Indirect tax laws, Advanced Accounting, Business Economic Environment, Informational Technology, Strategic Management, and Assurance and Auditing. For qualifying IPCC, a candidate is required to secure minimum 40 percent in every subject and an aggregate of 50 percent.
The CA Final Course covers subjects such as Financial Reporting, Advanced Auditing, Information Systems Control and Audit, Corporate Laws, Advanced Direct and Indirect Laws, Financial Services, Capital Markets, Advanced Tax laws, and International Taxation. For qualifying the final examination, a candidate is required to secure minimum 40 percent in every subject and an aggregate of 50 percent. On passing this course, the candidate is entitled to use the prefix CA.
CA Course Specializations
After becoming a CA, it would be presumed that you have enough accounting knowledge and this presumption often helps in specialization courses.
- The ICAI offers the course on Cost Accountants. A CA can enroll for this course and be awarded a CMA. You can even pursue this course while pursuing the CA course.
- If you wish to pursue a career as Financial Analyst, then the best course for you is that of a Chartered Financial Analyst (abbreviated as FCA). Notably, the CFA is the sole designation that has been internationally recognized in the investment world. The famed Chartered Financial Analyst Institute located in the United States of America has established its branches across various countries.
- Another international recognized designation is that of a Certified Information System Auditor (abbreviated as CISA). This course highlights knowledge on accounting and IS audit and can be pursued along with CA. It will open gateways to international accounting for you.
Job and Career options after CA Course
The scope of a CA is vast, considering the nature of work he does. The following are the options available to a CA:
- He can start his own independent practice.
- He can work with a professional firm in the capacity of a CA.
- A CA is highly in demand in government bodies as well as in private sector.
- ICAI is a recognized body in countries such as Australia, Wales, and England and thus, a CA can start his practice abroad if he desires.
- In the financial and manufacturing services, there is a huge demand for CAs.