How To Become a CA: Complete Guide To Chartered Accountants
Updated 26 January 2023
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Chartered accountants, or CAs, are general financial professionals who can work for entities or individuals. If you are detail-oriented and passionate about mathematics, a career as a CA may be rewarding for you. Knowing more about the specifics of this profession will help you decide if this career path is right for you. In this article, we will discuss how to become a CA, what these professionals do and how much they earn.
What Is A Chartered Accountant?
A chartered accountant, or CA, is an internationally recognised, registered financial professional. A CA may work for businesses, organisations, financial institutions and the government. When working within an organisation, CAs usually provide auditing, tax and financial management services. When working with individual clients, CAs can advise their clients on financial matters, provide money management aid and manage company finances.
What Does A CA Do?
Though a CA can work in many sectors, from private to government, they may perform many of the same tasks regardless of where they are employed. These are some of the primary job responsibilities of a CA:
Advise on financial matters: because a CA is knowledgeable in financial strategy and information, they might provide advice to individual clients or to their company. This can include strategies for improving profits or for investing or saving money.
Audit financial documents: an audit is an unbiased evaluation of a financial statement, and CAs can perform them for companies and individuals. This may include inspecting tax filings or other financial reports to ensure are accurate.
Ensure compliance with regulations: if the CA works for a company, they may provide support by ensuring all financial transactions and reports comply with government regulations.
Implement accounting systems: when a company hires a new accounting team or consulting CA, they may want them to aid in implementing new accounting systems.
Manage finance information: for individual clients, this may mean tracking and documenting information about private investments, retirement savings and other family financial data. For companies, managing finance information can mean monitoring spending, profits and taxes.
Prepare tax information: CAs can help people and organisations file and pay their taxes by consulting on income tax, property tax and capital gains taxes.
Manage financial accounts: chartered accountants often help manage their client's financial accounts, including tracking income and expenses, generating reports on financial activity or helping clients establish financial goals.
Analyse budgets: these professionals may help businesses analyse and maintain their budgets, help reduce costs and increase profits.
Structure debt for long-term liabilities: you may also help businesses restructure debt and address long-term financial liabilities to reduce risk.
Is It Difficult To Become A CA?
The process to become a chartered accountant can be very rewarding. Becoming a chartered account requires education, skills and that you can pass several accounting exams. It can be challenging and worthwhile to obtain the necessary skills, training and professional experience to be a CA.
Important Skills To Be A Successful CA
Regardless of their place of employment, chartered accountants usually work with others and provide financial advice. These are some skills a CA needs to be successful:
Accountants often work with other financial professionals, other departments and directly with their clients. This makes communication an important skill because they may need to relay important information effectively. Excellent communication skills are also important because an accountant may need to explain complex financial concepts to their clients or to their colleagues.
Related: Building Communication Skills: 10 Types of Listening
Tax regulations, financial laws and general accounting practices may evolve during your career. Flexibility is important because it allows you to identify these new developments and understand them quickly. Depending on your working environment, you may need to work on different projects or respond quickly to requests.
As an accountant, you will likely need to organise large amounts of financial data. Accountants often work with spreadsheets and depending on the number of clients or projects you have, you may need to manage many files at once. Organisational skills are important because to efficiently access this data, you may need to develop a system for storing it. Organising files according to alphabetisation or using corresponding labels or colours is a great way to stay organised.
There are often time constraints associated with accounting work, like tax deadlines, project timeframes and budget proposals. Excellent time management allows you to provide punctual and high-quality work to your clients and colleagues. To improve your time management, consider creating detailed work schedules, small goals throughout the day and timers or other reminders to stay on task.
How To Become A CA
Though it can be challenging to become a chartered accountant, it can also be very rewarding. The path you take can vary depending on your schooling and personal choices, but these are the general steps you can follow to become a CA:
1. Determine if being a CA is best for you
The first step to becoming a chartered accountant is making sure it is the right decision for you. Consider your skills and passions when determining if becoming an accountant is the right choice for you. If you are passionate about math and finances and excellent at identifying mistakes within extensive sets of numbers, being a CA might be right for you. You can also consider the time and training commitment, as it can take a few years to take the courses, pass the exams and become officially registered as a chartered accountant.
2. Take and pass the intermediate CA course
Once you are sure that you want to become a chartered accountant, the next step is to enrol in an intermediate CA course. To enrol in an intermediate CA course you must be a graduate with an equivalent degree and clear the common proficiency test. These courses typically last nine months and cover eight subjects pertaining to accounting. Once you have finished the course, you must pass several intermediate chartered accountant exams.
3. Register for a three-year practical training
After you have completed the intermediate course, you can begin practical training. During your practical training, you work alongside registered CAs and complete tasks related to accounting. The purpose of the practical training is to gain experience working as a chartered accountant. During your practical training, you must also enrol in the CA final course and complete a four-week course on technology and soft skills.
Related: Types of Workplace Training: Definitions and Examples
4. Take the final course and pass the final exam
The CA final course is available to you during your last six months in practical training, or once you have completed it. In the final course, you study topics like financial reporting, auditing, ethics, cost management and tax laws. These subjects allow you to improve your accounting abilities and prepare for the final exam.
5. Enroll in the Institute of Chartered Accountants
Once you complete the final exam, you must enrol in the Institute of Chartered Accountants of India, or the ICAI. The ICAI is a professional body of chartered accountants that determines the qualifications and requirements one must have in order to become a chartered accountant in India. They also regulate professional accountants in India, providing continuous professional education and establishing accounting standards.
What Is The Salary Of A Chartered Accountant?
The average national salary for a CA in India is ₹2,44,420 per year. The salary you earn may depend on your level of experience, the industry you work in and which company or organisation you work for. The highest paying cities in India for chartered accountants are New Delhi, Gurgaon, Ahmedabad and Mumbai.
Benefits Of Becoming A Chartered Accountant
Becoming a chartered accountant is a great opportunity to find flexible, steady work in the financial, legal or other growing job industries. Here are some benefits of becoming a chartered accountant:
High demand: once you are a chartered accountant you may have access to more career opportunities. Many companies and organisations are hiring CAs, which may positively impact your job security.
Flexible work: some chartered accountants work as freelancers, offering flexibility in their jobs. This flexibility can allow you to travel to different areas and find consistent work and allows you to build your own client base.
Variety of skills: learning to work with numbers can increase your analytical, mathematical and critical thinking skills. Collaborating with others also allows you to improve your communication and articulation abilities.
Personal finances: as an accountant, your ability to strategise with money, track transactions and maintain detailed financial documents improves. These skills and abilities may allow you to enhance your own personal finances by saving money and diligently selecting purchases.
Salary figures reflect data listed on Indeed Salaries 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, institutions or organisations mentioned in this article are associated with Indeed.
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