Chartered Accountancy as a profession is attracting a lot of young and witnessing a rapid growth, thanks to the growing corporate sector. Chartered Accountants usually occupy high and respectable posts in a given organisation. They are the ones responsible for handling accounts and finance related matters, deal with money management, prepare, analyse and audit accounts alongwith providing financial advice.
Only members of the Institute of Chartered Accountants can call themselves Chartered Accountants, upon attaining the certificate from the Institute. Legally only qualified Chartered Accountants are authorized to audit and certify a company's books of accounts. They ensure that the financial transactions of an organisation are maintained as per the guidelines laid down by the law. The accounting department prepares, analyses financial reports and documents of an organisation. Also they keep track of cost of management of the company and manage tax matters. Later these figures and statements are examined, verified and then certified by auditors.
Nature of Work
Chartered Accountants are generally found to be working either as employees in a firm or they indulge in their private practice. The range of work in both the cases depends on the size of practice. Some of the areas suited to the services of Chartered Accounts are as follows
Maintaing financial records of an organisation is of utmost importance. Financial accounting is a branch of accounting which deals maintaining the financial records. It involves operating accounts, interpreting, supervising, controlling and organising income and expenditure, doing internal audits, dealing with wages and salaries, paying accounts and sending out invoices, and coping with taxes etc.
One of the important tasks performed by Chartered Accounts is auditing. It is the methodical examination and review of the accounts. Chartered Accounts examine and verify the books of accounts and other necessary documents of their employers or clients. On satisfaction, they issue a certificate about the company's financial state. Auditing can be further classified into sub-categories.
- Statutory audit
- Internal audit
- Compulsory tax audit
- Certification and audit
Cost accounting deals with working out the cost of a particular operation or job, taking into account relevant overheads. It is quite a complex task usually undertaken for monitoring expenditure, preventing it from over-shooting, minimizing costs, forecasting future needs and providing reports for management accounting etc. It also helps in drawing comparisions, analysing costs and explaining financial information.
Sometimes Chartered Accountants specialize in tax management. Their job is to legally ensure minimum incidence of tax. In doing so they have to cope with taxation laws and policies on national as well as international scale depending on the kind of company they work for. Tax management relates not only to direct taxes e.g. income tax but to indirect taxes like sales tax, excise tax, agricultural income tax etc.
The changing scenario in the business world has opened promising and challenging career opportunities for the aspiring young. Consulting services is one such opportunity which has drawn a lot of attention these days. Chartered Accounts often indulge in providing these services in the fields related to finance and accounts. They can effeciently provide services in areas like corporate law advice, project planning and finance, investigations relating to share valuation for takeovers, amalgamation, business advice, secretarial work etc.
Accountants must have good numerical ability and analytical mind to interpret facts and figures correctly. They should have logical and methodical approach. Concentration and attention to detail are critical. As their work often relates to discussing financial matters with number of people, sometimes with people who don't have background in finance, they should be able to express themselves clearly. This makes it imperative to have good understanding of the subject with equally good verbal and written skills. Sometimes the work can be extremely strenuous and exhausting especially during financial year closing, so stamina both physical and mental with patience to handle such situation are of added advantage. For accountants practicing privately, it is important to have necessary business skills and shrewdness to generate clientele.
Chartered Accountancy can be pursued after 10+2 or graduation. The whole course can be divided into three stages i.e. Foundation. Intermediate and Final. The following section gives information about them.
The Institute of Chartered Accountants of India offers CA foundation course to students passing 10+2 in any subject. The duration of the course is one year. On registration with the institute, students are provided with the study material by the Board of Studies. Students have to complete their study and clear the test papers under the postal tuition scheme. They also have an option to attend contact classes organised by accredited institutions. Students opting for these classes are exempted from taking the test papers under the postal tuition scheme.
After 12 months of registration and satisfactory compliance with the requirement of the Board of Studies, the Foundation examination can be taken up. The examination is conducted twice every year i.e. in the months of May and November. The course has four papers in the following subjects.
- Fundamentals of Accounting
- Mathematics and Statistics
- Mercantile Law
After clearing the papers of the foundation course, candidates can register for articleship (apprenticeship) under the practicing CAs or CA firms. Articleship has to be done for a period of over 3 years. The training begins under close supervision and later on, articles can manage bigger assignments. The purpose of articleship is to impart practical training and exposure of the profession. During the articleship, after 12 months, the articles can take up intermediate examination. Articleship also includes a year of industrial training which can be done in the last year after clearing Intermediate examination. After completing articleship, seeking membership of the Institute is essential for practicing as a Chartered Accountant. After 5 years of membership fellowship of the Institute can be taken.
Many students prefer to pursue Chartered Accountancy professional training and course after graduating. These students have to take entrance test in 4 subjects (Elements of Accounting, English, Mathematics and General commercial knowledge and Economics). Graduates who have secured 50% marks in subjects (Accounting, Auditing and Commercial or Mercantile Law) are exempted from taking the entrance test. Other graduates with 55% marks are also exempted from the entrance test. Rest all is same as those who have taken the Foundation Course.
Registered students who have completed 9 months of training as articled or audit clerks and have completed the oral/postal tuition scheme imparted by the Board of Studies, are eligible to take the Intermediate Examination. The Examination has the following subjects.
- Group I: Accounting, Law, and Auditing
- Group II: Cost accounting, Income-Tax & Central Sales Tax, and Oganisation&Management and Fundamentals Of Electronic Data Processing
Students who successfully clear both the groups of Intermediate Examination of the Institute and complete the prescribed period of practical training (3years) or have yet to serve a period not more than 9 months of such services can take the Final Examination. The Examination has the following groups.
- Group I: This group consist of the following subjects:
- Advance Accounting, Management Accounting, Auditing and Company Law
- Group II: This group consist of the following subjects:
- Direct Tax Laws,
- Corporate Management, Secretarial Practice, Managerial Economics and National Accounting
- Operational Research and Statistical Analysis, System Analysis and Data Processing, Costs Systems and Cost Control
- Management Information and Control Systems, Tax Planning and Tax Management, Management and Operational Audit.
Institute of Chartered Accountants of India
The Institute of Chartered Accountants of India was formed for the purpose of regulating the profession of Chartered Accountants in India. The headquaters of the Institute is at New Delhi and 5 regional offices at Mumbai, Chennai, Calcutta, Kanpur and New Delhi. Apart from these their are 87 branches located in different parts of the country. The Institute also has 9 Chapters outside the country. The functions of the Institute are enrolment of eligible members, engagement and training of articled/audit clerks, conducting examinations, granting or refusal of Certificate of Practice etc.
The profession of Chartered Accountancy is one of the most respectable profession amongst the various others present in the commerce field, particularly finance. A career in finance promises a challenging and extremely rewarding professional life. On attaining qualification of a Chartered Accountants, ample of opportunities open up. Whether they work in a firm or they carry on with their own private practice, there is so much to do. Some of the opportunities available for Chartered Accountants are in capital markets, business houses and industry, consultancy firms etc. They are also engaged in activities like preparing project reports, markets research, management accounting, cost analysis, budget planning, working capital management, inventory control, policy planning, securities consultancy, registrar of issues of securities, auditing etc. With the country liberalizing its policies and approach, opportunities are expected to grow further.