What Are the Qualifications Required to Become a CA?
Updated 14 September 2023
A chartered accountant, commonly called a CA, is one of the most prestigious and high-income professions in India. If you are interested in business, taxation, auditing, budgeting, accountancy, statistics and financial management, this might be a great career option for you. In this article, we describe the role of a chartered accountant, the different job opportunities in the career and the qualification requirements to become one.
Chartered accountant qualifications
There are three levels in the CA course. You need to complete all three levels to become a certified CA. The eligibility criteria for the different levels are:
Level 1: Foundation
The first level is the CA foundation course, also called the common proficiency test. The course duration is four months, and the minimum eligibility criteria are 10+2 in any stream. You need to clear the CA foundation exam after completing the course.
Level 2: Intermediate
The second level is the intermediate course and its duration is three years. The eligibility criteria for this course is graduation with 55% aggregate marks in commerce or 60% aggregate marks in non-commerce subjects or qualifying the first level. There are two groups of CA intermediate exams and you need to clear both the exams.
Level 3: Final
The third level is the CA final course, and the course duration is two years. You need to pass level 2 and should have completed two and half years of articleship to be eligible for this course. You need to clear the CA final exam after the course and articleship to become a CA. The Institute of Chartered Accountants of India (ICAI) regulates chartered accountants in India. ICAI conducts CA exams and certifies the candidate as a qualified chartered accountant after completing the three-level course.
Steps to become a CA
There are two ways to become a CA. The first option is to start at the foundation course after 10+2 (senior secondary examination) and clear all three levels. The second option is the direct entry route where you can bypass clearing the foundation course. For the direct entry option, you need a bachelor's degree with 55% aggregate marks in a commerce discipline or 60% marks in a non-commerce discipline. You can follow any route to become a CA.
Here are the steps to become a CA through the foundation route:
Register for the CA foundation course from the ICAI website when you finish your 10+2 (senior secondary examination).
After completing your 10+2 and four months of study in the foundation course, you must fill the foundation exam form.
To qualify CA foundation exam, you need to secure a minimum of 30% marks in each section and 50% aggregate marks.
After qualifying for the CA foundation exam, register for the intermediate course.
Complete eight months of study in the intermediate course.
Qualify for at least one of the two groups of exams in CA intermediate to proceed further.
After the intermediate registration, complete four weeks of Integrated Course on Information Technology and Soft Skills (ICITSS) before articleship or practical training.
Register for a three-year articleship or training program after qualifying for either or both of the groups of CA intermediate exams.
Pass the remaining CA intermediate exams (if any) and register for the CA final course after qualifying.
During the last two years of articleship, finish the four weeks of Advanced Integrated Course on Information Technology and Soft skills (AICITSS) before appearing in the final exam.
Appear in the final exam after finishing the articleship or during the last six months of articleship.
After the qualifying CA final exam, register yourself as an ICAI member to become a licensed CA.
Here is the process to become a CA through the direct route to enter:
After graduation, register for the CA intermediate course with ICAI.
After the registration, complete four weeks of Integrated Course on Information Technology and Soft Skills (ICITSS) before articleship or practical training.
Register for a three-year articleship or training program.
After nine months of articleship, write the CA intermediate exams.
After clearing CA intermediate exams, register for the final course.
During the last two years of articleship, complete the four weeks of Advanced Integrated Course on Information Technology and Soft skills (AICITSS) before writing the final exam.
Write the final exam after finishing the articleship or during the last six months of articleship.
After qualifying for the CA final exam, register yourself as an ICAI member to become a licensed CA
What is the age limit for the CA course?
There is no age limit to qualify for the CA exam. You can register for the foundation course at any age if you have completed your 10+2. You can directly enrol for the intermediate course at any age if you are a commerce graduate with a minimum of 55% aggregate marks or a non-commerce graduate with a minimum of 60% aggregate marks.
Key skills for a chartered accountant
Here are the key skills needed to succeed as a chartered accountant:
As a chartered accountant, you may interact with multiple people and businesses in a day. You need good communication skills to prove your knowledge before the client, build trust and close the deals. Similarly, to explain complex financial or tax-related concepts easily, strong communication skills are necessary.
Being aware of the changes in the market and the tax code is necessary for CAs to do their job successfully. When you are updated with the latest tax laws and regulations, you can service your clients better and more accurately. Furthermore, you can offer better financial and investment advice to your clients based on the most recent trends and developments.
An analytical mindset helps you to evaluate information and numbers logically and accurately. Having analytical skills will allow you to analyse and assess critical details and help you give better financial advice to your client. Analytical skills also help you stay ahead of the curve and predict trends.
Attention to detail
Chartered accounts have to work a lot with numbers, data and formulate complex calculations while filing tax returns. You must be detail-oriented to spot inaccuracies and errors. You can learn how to increase your precision and accuracy by learning how to focus better.
A CA has access to their clients' private and confidential financial information. Under no circumstances should a CA disclose this information to others without the permission of clients or unless the law requires. Only when you maintain confidentiality with your clients can you earn their trust.
It is your responsibility to be honest, ethical and loyal to your duties as a CA. Being trustworthy is one of the core values of being a CA. If you maintain your professional ethics, people can trust you more and consider you more reliable.
Job roles in chartered accountancy
Some careers to consider after completing the CA course are:
National average salary: ₹10,26,409 per year
Primary responsibilities: A CFO works closely with the senior management of a company. Their prime responsibility is to make decisions on the company's financial matters. They analyse the finances and predict and plan the company's future economic growth.
National average salary: ₹4,13,611 per year
Primary responsibilities: Financial analysts track the financial performance of a business. They work closely with the accounting team to ensure accurate reporting. They analyse the financial data and plan financial models to help the management team in making thoughtful and strategic decisions.
National average salary: ₹6,38,698 per year
Primary responsibilities: A company secretary is an expert in the capital market and corporate governance. They oversee many regulatory functions in an organisation. Their primary role is to ensure compliance with legal and administrative requirements.
National average salary: ₹21,262 per month
Primary responsibilities: Auditors audit the financial activities and review the accounts of businesses. Their role is to verify the financial health of the company. They may also advise on possible cost savings and prepare financial reports.
National average salary: ₹9,02,670 per year
Primary responsibilities: Tax managers plan, manage and develop all aspects of a company's taxation. Their main role is to prepare, review and file taxes and improve the company's tax processes. They develop strategies to minimise the company's tax liabilities legally.
National average salary: ₹20,991 per month
Primary responsibilities: A financial advisor's role is to provide financial consultation and advice. They assist individuals and businesses in reaching their financial goals. They understand the needs of their clients and recommend strategies to address them.
National average salary: ₹6,93,743 per year
Primary responsibilities: The accounting manager's main role is to manage the functioning of the accounts department. They monitor accounting data to prepare reports and financial statements. They implement rules and policies and solve important financial issues.
Salary figures reflect data listed on Indeed Salaries and the quotes websites at time of writing. Salaries may vary depending on the hiring organisation and a candidate's experience, academic background and location. Please note that none of the companies mentioned in this article are affiliated with Indeed.
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