What is Chartered Accountancy and How to become a CA

TheCareerHub, 1st December, 2020


Chartered accountancy is a specialised study in accounting, which extends into taxation, auditing, business law and ethics, financial management, and business economics. It is regulated by the Institute of Chartered Accountants of India (ICAI).

It takes nearly 4 years of hard work, persistence and determination to make it to the list of charter holders and be called a ‘Chartered Accountant’. This journey of 4 years shapes you into an all-rounder as you get equipped with extensive knowledge, practical experience and the ability to solve various real-life problems.

Recommended Read: Best 20+ Central Government Exams after Your Graduation

The ICAI has revamped their course structure and curriculums at regular intervals to make it more relevant and standardised compared to a global level. Also, it is considered one of the toughest exams in India, which has a steep pass ratio year after year. This itself accords to its value and prospects.

What role does a Chartered Accountant perform?

By definition, a Chartered Accountant is a professional who prepares, maintains, analyses summarises and reports data related to financial transactions of an individual or business. These are required to comply with various statutory regulations of auditing and taxation like filing Income Tax Returns, Sales Tax, Goods and Services Tax, etc. Additionally, such evaluation is also necessary to make crucial business decisions like investment, strategy, M&A and restructuring.

Now the critical question that arises is How to become a Chartered Accountant?

There are three primary levels to this course and two routes you can take to become a qualified C.A. The overview of this journey is as follows

A] Foundation Route:
  1. You need to register for the foundation course (level 1) after appearing for your Higher Secondary Certificate Exam (H.S.C.).
  2. Clear your H.S.C. examination and complete the 4 monthly study window to become eligible to appear for the foundation level examination. This exam is conducted twice a year.

As per the recent changes declared by ICAI, you can register for the Foundation course after your Secondary School Certificate (S.S.C.) Examination. However, you can only appear for the course examination after clearing your H.S.C. exam. This will enable you to cover the 4 months of study period during your First Year of college and appear for the foundation level exam right after clearing your H.S.C. in May instead of November. As a result, you will save 6 months of your time.

  1. Then register for the Intermediate course (level 2), where you are allotted a study period of 8 months.
  2. Appear for the Intermediate level exam and clear either of the two groups.
  3. After this, you are also expected to complete the 4-week training called Integrated course of Information Technology and Soft Skills (ICITSS)
  4. I registered for the 3-year practical training, also known as ‘Articleship’ with a practising C.A. or as part of an accounting department in a company.
  5. Register for the Final CA course (level 3) after passing the remaining Intermediate courses, if any. The final exam is conducted twice a year.
  6. Complete a 4-week Advanced Integrated course of Information Technology and Soft Skills (AICITSS) in the last 2 years of your practical training.
  7. Appear for the final course examination after completing AICITSS in the last six months of your practical training.
  8. After completing your 3-year training and passing the final exam, you can enrol as a member of the ICAI to be designated as a Chartered Accountant.
B] Direct Rout

1. This is another option for students who belong to the following categories

  • Intermediate level students of the Institute of Cost Accountants of India (ICWA).
  • Intermediate level students of the Institute of Company Secretaries of India (C.S.).
  • Graduate and postgraduate degree holders with minimum percentage criteria of 55% (Commerce) and 60% (Other streams). The main reason for this is that Accounting and Book-keeping is one of the critical subjects in Commerce.

2. These students can directly start their journey from the Intermediate course (level 2). All the other aspects remain the same with the fulfilment of minor criteria like completing 9 months in practical training before appearing for the Intermediate course examination for graduate and postgraduate students.

Sounds exciting, right? This course is a go-to option for any candidate with a strong knack for numbers and a good business acumen. With constantly evolving business models, accounting software, reporting principles and economic trends, the demand for qualified Chartered Accountants are on the rise. It gives way to abundant opportunities in every area of business. 

So, if you have the aptitude and attitude to become a C.A., you could be the hero of the next big financial story.


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