With the rapid growth in economy, careers in finance and accounts have gained tremendous popularity and the most prestigious career option in this filed is that of Chartered Accountant. Chartered Accountancy is a dynamic, challenging and rewarding profession. All the countries have their own Accountancy Association which regulates the quality and quantity of the professionals in this field. Chartered Accountancy Course is a professional course in Accounting introduced in our country in 1949, with the enactment of the Chartered Accountants Act.
The Institute of Chartered Accountants of India (ICAI) was formed the same year. This Institute is both an examining and a licensing body. It is the responsibility of the institute to conduct the Chartered accountancy (CA) Course. The course involves a blend of theoretical education and practical training which run concurrently for a period of three years and equips a student with knowledge, ability, skills and other qualities required of a professional accountant.
Chartered accountant (CA)
A Chartered accountant is one who is specialised in accounting, auditing and taxation. He also serves as a management and corporate caretaker. In recent times, accountancy has become popular as a profession. The services of a CA are required in money matters even in a small business.Moreover, according to the Company Act only CA's in professional practice are allowed to be appointed as auditors of companies in India.
A chartered accountant is a person who is accepted as a member of the Institute of Chartered Accountants of India (ICAI) after having passed the Final examination of the Chartered accountancy course conducted by the institute.
A Candidate who has passed the 10th examination conducted by an examining body constituted by law in India (or an examination recognized by the Central Government as equivalent thereto) can register for the Common Proficiency Test (CPT) of the CA programme. But they can write the examination only after passing the Senior Secondary Examination (10+2) or waiting for the 10+2 exam results. There are no restrictions with regard to the age of the candidate or marks secured in Senior Secondary Examination.
Commerce graduates with 50% marks, non-commerce graduates with subjects other than Mathematics with an aggregate of 55% marks and non-commerce graduates with Maths with an aggregate of 60% marks are exempted from the Common Proficiency Test (CPT) and are permitted to register for Integrated Professional Competence Course (IPCC).
Candidates who have passed the Final Examination conducted by the Institute of Cost & Works Accountants of India (ICWAI) or the Institute of Company Secretaries of India (ICSI) can register for Professional Competency Course.
CA programme is a professional course which has three sections:
· Common Proficiency Test (CPT);
· Integrated Professional Competence Course (IPCC) and
· Final Course.
The registration for CPT and IPCC is open throughout the year. A student may register at any time during the year. However, as the examinations will be held twice a year in May and November, it is necessary that a student must register at least ten months before the examinations. After passing the Integrated Professional Competence Course (IPCC) candidates are eligible for registration as articled clerks/ audit clerks for practical training. Computer Training Programme, ie 100 hours Information Technology is compulsory for the candidates who wish to register themselves as auditor clerk. Students can undergo this programme while pursuing CPT or IPCC. Articled clerk is a trainee attached to a practicing chartered accountant under a Deed of Articles for the duration three years. During this period the articled clerk will also need to continue studies for the CA exam. An audit clerk is a person who has served as a salaried employee for a minimum period of one year under a practicing chartered accountant. During the training period, candidates would be required to work in different areas learning the basics of auditing and taxation. This training enables them to learn the technical details of the job as well as to get an idea of the working environment of the profession.
Common Professional Test (CPT)
The entry level examination for the Charted accountants, Common Professional Test (CPT), earlier known as Professional Education (Examination - I), conducted by the institute once in a quarter is designed in the pattern of entry level test for engineering, medical and other professional courses.
Eligibility : Anyone who has a 10 + 2 can enroll for the Common Professional Test (CPT). A student who has passed the 10th examination can also register with CPT but could write the exam only after the Plus Two examination. Duration of the course is 10 months. Graduates who doesn't have the request percentage of marks have to do the Common Professional Test.
CPT examinations are held twice a year in June and December.
CPT Exam : The four-hours duration CPT examination comprise two sessions of 2 hours each, with a break between two sessions and carrying a total of 200 marks consists of four subjects namely fundamentals of accounting, mercantile law, general economics and quantitative attitudes. CPT is an objective type test with negative marking.
Subjects for CPT
Session - I ( Two Sections- Two hours - 100 Marks)
• Section A: Fundamentals of Accounting ( 60 Marks )
• Section B: Mercantile Laws ( 40 Marks )
Session - II (Two Sections- Two hours - 100 Marks)
• Section C: General Economics ( 50 Marks )
• Section D: Quantitative Aptitude ( 50 Marks )
Students have to ensure their registration at least 60 days prior to the first day of the month in which CPT examination is to be held i.e. on or before 1st April and 1st October, can appear in the CPT examination to be held in June and December respectively.
Integrated Professional Competency Course (IPCC)
The CA Programme is mainly divided into Integrated Professional Competence Course (IPCC) and Final course. IPCC is the first stage of theoretical education of Chartered Accountancy Course. After completing the CPT or graduation with required marks one can go for Integrated Professional Competency Course (IPCC). The registration for PCC is open throughout the year. A student may register at any time during the year. The exam will be held twice a year in May and November, it is necessary that a student must register at least ten months before the examinations.
IPCC is composed of two level i.e., Group I, Accounting Technician Course (optional) and Group II. A candidate may opt for enrolment to Group I OR Group I and Accounting Technician Course OR Accounting Technician Course and/or Group II OR Group I and Group II Or for all the levels referred to above. In IPCC only working knowledge of core and allied subjects to accountancy profession is imparted, while at the Final level, advanced application knowledge of core and allied subjects is being inculcated.
- A candidate is eligible for enrolment to any of the level (s) of the Integrated Professional Competence Course (IPCC) on passing the Common Proficiency Test and Senior Secondary Examination (10+2 examination) conducted by an examining body constituted by law in India or an examination recognized by the Central Government as equivalent thereto.
- A candidate who has already passed Entrance Examination or Foundation Examination or Professional Education (Examination-I) shall be eligible for enrolment to Integrated Professional Competence Course subject to complying with relevant conditions.
- A candidate who was already registered for erstwhile Intermediate Examination or of Professional Education (Course-II) or Professional Competence Examination cum articleship shall be eligible for enrolment/ conversion to Integrated Professional Competence Course subject to complying with relevant conditions.
In IPCC, a student would undergo theoretical education and three years of practical training after passing Group-I of IPCC/ Accounting Technician course. In order to develop a strong theoretical base, students of IPCC have to undergo nine months study course before appearing for the first time in the Integrated Professional Competence Examination (IPCE). Besides this, they are also imparted 100 hours Information Technology Training (ITT) and have to undergo 35 hours Orientation Programme.
Subjects for Integrated Professional Competency Course (IPCC)
The subjects of IPCC are classified into two groups namely Group I and Group II that comprise of four papers and three papers respectively. A student can study and appear in the examination group-wise or both the groups together.
• Paper 1 - Accounting (100 Marks)
• Paper 2 - Business Laws, Ethics and Communication (100 Marks)
Part I : Law (60 Marks)
Business Laws (30 Marks)
Company Law (30 Marks)
Part II: Business Ethics (20 Marks)
Part III: Business Communication (20 Marks)
• Paper 3 - Cost Accounting and Financial Management
Part I : Cost Accounting (50 Marks)
Part II : Financial Management (50 Marks)
• Paper 4 - Taxation
Part I : Income-tax (50 Marks)
Part II: Service Tax (25 Marks) and VAT (25 marks)
• Paper 5 - Advanced Accounting (100 Marks)
• Paper 6 - Auditing and Assurance (100 Marks)
• Paper 7 - Information Technology and Strategic Management
Section A: Information Technology (50 Marks)
Section B: Strategic Management (50 Marks)
The student should get 40% mark minimum with an aggregate of 50% in a group. On passing either Group I or both the Groups of IPCE, a candidate can register as Articled Assistant for a period of 3 years.
Accounting Technician Course (ATC)
Accounting Technician Course (ATC) is equivalent to Group I course of Integrated Professional Competency Course (IPCC). Candidates who do not wish to complete erstwhile Intermediate/ PE-II/ PCC/ IPCC can opt for the Accounting Technician Course. Those candidates who opt for ATC has to undergo a study course of nine months, 35 hours Orientation Programme and 100 hours ITT before appearing in Accounting Technician Examination (ATE). After passing Accounting Technician Examination (ATE), the candidates will also be required to complete 12 months of work experience, as per the guidelines of the Council and on production of a certificate to this effect he will be issued Accounting Technician Certificate.
Eligibility criteria is as same as that of IPCC.
Final course which impart expert knowledge in financial reporting, auditing and professional ethics, taxation, corporate laws, systems control, strategic finance and advanced management accountancy is the last stage of Chartered Accountancy course. In the Final course of the chartered accountancy curriculum, advanced application knowledge of core and allied subjects to accountancy profession has been intended. While undergoing final course, a student has also to complete General Management and Communication Skills (GMCS) Course.
The candidate could register as a final student and write the final exam once they passed the IPCE and the Information Technology training. The final examination also has similar type of papers of two groups, four papers each.
Subjects for Final Course
• Paper 1 - Financial Reporting (100 Marks)
• Paper 2 - Strategic Financial Management (100 Marks)
• Paper 3 - Advanced Auditing and Professional Ethics (100 Marks)
• Paper 4 - Corporate and Allied Laws (100 Marks)
Section A: Company Law (70 Marks)
Section B: Allied Laws (30 Marks)
• Paper 5 - Advanced Management Accounting (100 Marks)
• Paper 6 - Information Systems Control and Audit (100 Marks)
• Paper 7 - Direct Tax Laws (100 Marks)
• Paper 8 - Indirect Tax Laws (100 Marks)
Section A: Central Excise (40 Marks)
Section B: Service Tax & VAT (40 Marks)
Section C: Customs (20 Marks)
The person should get minimum of 40% mark with an aggregate of 50% in a group and once the final examination and article ship completed, the Charted accountant should under go a communication and management course that would help him for better communication. On successful completion of the Final examination one becomes the member of the Institute. Member of the Institute may either practice as a Chartered Accountant on his own or go for employment.
Indira Gandhi National Open University (IGNO) has entered in an agreement with the Institute of Charted Accountants of India to conduct a B.Com course for CA student. Those who are enrolling as CA student, can go for B.Com course of IGNO, where they need not write all the papers, they will have certain exemption. They will get a guaranteed graduation along with they do the CA course.
Scope for CA
Many multinational companies have come forward in the Chartered Accountancy field. ICICI Prudential, Om Kotak Mahindra, Birla Sun-Life, Tata AIF Life, Reliance, HDFC Standard Life-Chartered Accountancy Co., Max New York Life, SBI Life Chartered Accountancy, ING Vysya Life etc. are the top companies in the private sector. In non-life Chartered Accountancy segment, major private players are ICICI Lombard, Royal Sundaram, Cholamandalam, IFFCO Tokyo, Tata AIG etc.
All Chartered Accountancy companies come under the Chartered Accountancy Regulatory and Development Authority (IRDA) which is established to regulate, promote and ensure orderly growth of Life and General Chartered Accountancy industry in India.
The scope for this lucrative career is bright in an economically developing nation like ours and as such the career can be termed as challenging and rewarding for competent professionals in the field.
A qualified Chartered Accountant has the option of joining the Government Service, Public Sector undertakings or taking up a lucrative assignment in the private sector. The duty of Chartered accountant is to ensure that the financial transactions of an organisation are maintained according to the law, they also keep track of cost of management of the company and manage tax matters.
Chartered accountants work as Finance Managers, Financial Controllers, Financial Advisors or Directors (Finance) and watch over the finances in the day to day management of companies. Their main areas of work include Accountancy, Auditing, Cost accountancy, Taxation, Investigation and Consultancy.
Some of the opportunities available for Chartered Accountants are in capital markets, business houses and industry. They can also have their own consultancy or private practice which could be more lucrative and satisfying. With the country liberalizing its policies and approach, opportunities are expected to grow further.
They are also well placed in government sector as director finance, chief executive or the Head of the Department of the accounts, information technology etc. They help the government for proper implementation of accounting system.
Other career option: After passing the CA examination one could go for management Accountancy course; courses like Diploma in Insurance and Diploma in Information System Auditing.