How to become a Chartered Accountant

Overview, Courses, Exam, Colleges, Pathways, Salary

Finance and Accounts


Who is Chartered Accountant ?

In the field of accounting, a chartered accountant is a qualified accounting professional who has undergone extensive training in specific, robust accounting activities. Organizations, enterprises, the government, and individuals are all examples of their clientele. They oversee and provide advice on the client`s financial affairs, which may include account data, tax reports, and investment decisions. They play a critical role in assisting their customers in resolving disputes, dealing with litigation, and avoiding financial ruin. They do this by obtaining, arranging, and analysing their client`s financial records.

They then use this information to manage their client`s money in line with the law. Simple as that. Their services are targeted at increasing the profitability of their clients by implementing strategic financial management on their clients` behalf. In some organisations, a Chartered Accountant is in charge of all accounting needs, while in others, they are in charge of a narrower aspect such as tax management or auditing. Their job title might range from Auditor to Cost Accountant to Tax Accountant to Financial Controller to Chief Financial Officer, among other positions, depending on their chosen speciality.

Here are the Steps to becoming a Chartered Accountant

  1. Education: Complete your secondary education (typically 10+2) with a strong foundation in mathematics and commerce subjects.
  2. Register for CA Course: Register with the Institute of Chartered Accountants of India (ICAI) for the CA course after completing 10+2 or during your undergraduate studies.
  3. Appear for CA Foundation: Clear the CA Foundation exam after passing the 10+2 examination. It consists of four papers covering Accounting, Economics, and Commercial law.
  4. Articleship Training: Undergo a 3-year articleship training program after clearing the CA Foundation or Intermediate exams. Work with a practicing Chartered Accountant during this period to gain practical experience in accounting, auditing, taxation, and other relevant areas.
  5. CA Intermediate Examination: After nine months of articles, appear for the CA Intermediate exam, which consists of eight papers covering subjects like Accounting, Taxation, Audit, and Law.
  6. Complete Articleship: Complete the remaining 2.5 years of articleship training.
  7. CA Final Examination: After completing the articles, appear for the CA Final exam, which consists of eight papers divided into two groups. It covers advanced Accounting, Auditing, Taxation, and Financial Management topics.
  8. ICITSS Training: Complete the Information Technology (IT) and Orientation Course (ICITSS) during the articleship period.
  9. AICITSS Training: After passing the CA Final Group-I, complete the Advanced Integrated Course on Information Technology and Soft Skills (AICITSS).
  10. Practical Training: After completing Group II of the CA Final, undergo three years of practical training under a Chartered Accountant or in an approved organization.
  11. ICAI Membership: Apply for ICAI membership after completing the CA Final examinations and practical training.
  12. CA Membership: After approval, you will become a member of the ICAI and officially be recognized as a Chartered Accountant.

Typical day at work

What does Chartered Accountant do?

The core responsibilities of a Chartered Accountant's job include:

  • Perform in-depth internal and external audits of financial statements to ensure accuracy  
  • Conduct financial risk analysis and recommend preventive measures for the same
  • Maintain thorough records of the employer's accounts, financial transactions, investments 
  • Identify financial discrepancies, detect fraudulent practices, and take measures to rectify it
  • Assist in tax planning, calculate taxation amounts, prepare and file tax returns for the employer
  • Analyse financial statements and expenses
  • Guide financial decisions for long-term financial planning strategies and business practices, including acquisitions and mergers
  • Prepare monthly financial reports, budgets and annual reports  
  • Ensure that the financial practices are in compliance with the state and national laws
  • Manage and supervise the activities of the finance and accounting team

Abilities and Aptitude needed

What are the skills, abilities & aptitude needed to become Chartered Accountant?

A Chartered Accountant must possess a number of critical abilities in order to effectively perform this function. They should be meticulous, diligent, and self-motivated people with a strong aptitude for math and numbers. An experienced Chartered Accountant must be thorough in their attention to detail and exhibit great analytical abilities in order to effectively lead their clients through the financial decision-making process.

It is one of the most challenging components of the process of becoming a chartered accountant to get a training contract with an employer who has been authorised by one of the institutions to do so. Because your numeracy abilities will be examined as part of the selection process, you'll need to be well-versed in mathematics and have shown proficiency in it. Additionally, since they are being entrusted by their employers with the management of critical financial resources, they must demonstrate a high degree of honesty, integrity, and a strong work ethic.

It will be necessary for the Chartered Accountant to have excellent organisational skills as well as expertise with accounting software and tools in order to keep track of numerical data and conduct other related jobs without difficulty. To connect with stakeholders, report to key decision-makers, and manage the finance team, excellent oral and written communication skills are required. A full understanding of all applicable national, regional, and municipal legislation pertaining to taxes and finance is also demanded of these professionals. As a Chartered Accountant, being abreast with the latest developments in finance and business is essential to your success.

Advice for Chartered Accountancy students

For those considering or already pursuing Chartered Accountancy, here are some valuable tips:

  • Acknowledging that the course is challenging, it's essential to maintain a positive mindset throughout your journey. Success may take time, and patience is key when facing obstacles.
  • Learn from others' experiences; even top performers faced setbacks. Adopt a determined attitude and keep pushing forward, as exemplified by CA Intermediate topper Jyoti Agrawal, who secured AIR 2 after initially failing.
  • Rely on the official ICAI study material for comprehensive preparation. Only explore additional books or notes once you've thoroughly covered the recommended material.
  • Balance your preparation strategy between "Hard Work" and "Smart Work." Focus on lengthy, frequently asked topics initially, leaving shorter or less commonly tested subjects for later study.


Salary for Chartered Accountant?

The minimum and maximum monthly salary and annual salary of a "Chartered Accountant" (CA) can vary based on factors such as experience, the type and size of the firm, the city or country of employment, and additional certifications.

  • Minimum Monthly Salary: The monthly salary can be from INR 30,000 to INR 50,000.
  • Maximum Monthly Salary: The monthly salary can be from INR 1,00,000 to INR 2,50,000 or more.
  • Annual Salary: The annual salary can be from INR 3,60,000 to INR 30,00,000 or more.
  • Highest Paying Job and Scope: The highest paying job for a Chartered Accountant is often in senior management positions, such as Chief Financial Officer (CFO), Finance Director, or Partner in a prestigious accounting firm. The scope for Chartered Accountants is diverse and promising. They are in demand across various industries and sectors, including public accounting firms, private corporations, financial institutions, government organizations, and non-profit entities.

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How to become an Chartered Accountant?

Entrance Exam

Entrance Exam for Chartered Accountant ?

Aspirants who want to become a member of the ICAI (?Institute of Chartered Accountant of India) have to first register. As Chartered Accountant is a professional course, there are various exams and stages to be cleared. 

  1. CPT or Common Proficiency Test. 
  2. IPCC or Integrated Professional Competence Course. 
  3. Three years article ship training under a practicing CA. 
  4. CA Final Exam.


Which course I can pursue?


Which Industries are open for Chartered Accountant?

  • Audit Manager in a Firm. 
  • Banking Sector. 
  • Finance Line- function. 
  • Taxation (People advisory or Corporate or Direct – Indirect Taxation) 
  • Risk Advisory or Internal Audit. 
  • Assurance or Statutary Audit. 
  • SAP Executive (IT Management) 
  • Foreign Jobs 


Are there internships available for Chartered Accountant?

Yes, internships are available for individuals pursuing a Chartered Accountant (CA) career. Many accounting firms, financial institutions, corporate organizations, and auditing firms offer internship programs for aspiring CAs. These internships provide hands-on experience in financial reporting, audit and assurance, taxation, and advisory services.

To find internships as a Chartered Accountant, you can explore the career websites of accounting firms, financial institutions, and corporate companies. Additionally, professional accounting bodies and institutes often have resources and job boards dedicated to internship opportunities for aspiring CAs.

Networking with professionals in the field, attending career fairs, and connecting with university career services departments can also help identify internship openings. It is essential to tailor your application materials, including your resume and cover letter, to highlight your accounting coursework, skills, and any previous experience or internships related to the field.

Securing an internship as a Chartered Accountant can provide the following:

  • Valuable practical experience.
  • Exposure to professional accounting practices.
  • An opportunity to work with experienced professionals.

It can also contribute to your professional development and increase your prospects for future job opportunities as a qualified CA.

Career outlook

What does the future look like for Chartered Accountant?

Employment opportunities for Chartered Accountants are present in nearly every organization since financial management is required for each, regardless of the industry. Typically, Chartered Accountants work at business organizations, financial institutions, investment companies, consultancy firms, stockbroking firms, banks, and legal firms to name a few. Their work is in high demand in both the private and public sectors, including not-for-profit organizations.

Due to the in-depth training required to enter this profession, it makes for a well-respected, secure career option with a hefty salary. While many Chartered Accountants occupy full-time positions, other highly skilled CAs shall work independently, on a freelance basis or as a consultant for hire. The opportunities for CAs are only to rise as the number of startups and businesses continue to climb. For a Chartered Accountant, work hours may vary in relation to the specific employer. However, it is quite common for them to work extra hours in the evening or on weekends to meet deadlines, especially during tax season.

Frequently Asked Questions: 

What are the steps to become a CA?

Answer: The steps to becoming a Chartered Accountant (CA) are as follows: 

  • a. Register for the CA Foundation course after completing 10+2. 
  • b. Clear the CA Foundation exam to progress to the next level. 
  • c. Undergo 3-year articleship training after passing either Group-I or both groups of CA Intermediate. 
  • d. Complete the Advanced Integrated Course on Information Technology and Soft Skills (AICITSS). 
  • e. Appear for the CA Final examination after completing both Group-I and Group II of CA Intermediate. 
  • f. Completed the practical training and, after approval, became a member of the Institute of Chartered Accountants of India (ICAI) to be recognized as a CA.

2. How many years does it take to become a CA?

Answer: Becoming a CA in India typically takes a minimum of 4.5 years. This duration may vary based on the time to clear the exams and complete the article ship training. After completing 10+2, students can appear for the CA Foundation exam, followed by the CA Intermediate exam. After passing both groups of CA Intermediate, they undergo three years of articles and complete the CA Final exam.

3. What qualification is required for CA?

Answer: Candidates should have completed their secondary education (10+2) from a recognized board to pursue the CA course. There are no specific subject requirements at the 10+2 level, but having a strong foundation in mathematics and commerce-related subjects can be advantageous.

4. How can I join CA after the 12th?

Answer: After completing the 12th (10+2), students can join the CA course by following these steps:

  • a. Register with the Institute of Chartered Accountants of India (ICAI) for the CA Foundation course.
  • b. Prepare for and clear the CA Foundation exam.
  • c. After passing the CA Foundation, enroll in the CA Intermediate course.
  • d. Complete articleship training after passing either Group-I or both groups of CA Intermediate.
  • e. Complete the CA Final course and practical training to become a certified CA.

5. How many attempts are there for CA?

Answer: There are no restrictions on the number of attempts for the CA Foundation, CA Intermediate, and CA Final exams. Candidates can appear for the exams as often as needed to pass, provided their registration remains valid. However, completing the course within the maximum duration allowed by the ICAI from the registration date is essential.