The Complete Guide to Chartered Accountancy

CA career explained

Well…just like every parent want their child to opt science or biology in their +2, with an aim to become an engineer or a doctor similarly every student who enters the field of commerce has to become a CA.

Here, we discuss

  • Chartered Accountancy (CA): What it is?
  • Course Structure and Duration
  • What is Articleship?
  • Life After CA : How is it?
  • Roles and Responsibilities of a CA
  • CA and Salary at a Glimpse
  • How to get started with CA as a Career?

While this trend still continues in almost every household, have you ever wondered Why this happens? Why our parents are so obsessed with it as a career option?  Well…if you haven’t figured it out, then you need not to worry; just stick to this blog and read it till the very end to understand “Why they say so?” as today in this blog we are going to take a quick insight in the world of Chartered Accountancy (CA) and the life of Chartered Accountants especially in India.

So let’s start building our foundation blocks, by taking a look on:-

Chartered Accountancy (CA): What it is?

As per the sources, Chartered Accountancy is one of the most reputed and respected profession across the globe. It is the core activity of a business. It was established in 1854 in Britain. Looking at it’s market demand, it is one of the best options for students (both who belong to commerce background and those who don’t belong to commerce background) and have a keen interest and knowledge in accountancy. However, it takes knowledge, skills and patience for a student to believe the process and commit themselves to this journey which makes it one of the most challenging career fields as well.

In India, the CA course is conducted by ICAI (Indian Chartered Accountants Institute) and the students who enroll themselves for the course, are known as Chartered Accountants after completion of the course.  Chartered Accountancy subjects, mostly deal with studies such as budget planning, market research, planning of policies, management of working capital of an organization, etc.

Now that you have an idea about the CA profession, let’s talk about:

Course Structure and Duration:

What it consists and How long it would take ?

For all the CA aspirants, the ICAI has launched the course into 3 levels based on their difficulty. They are :-

CPT ( Common Proficiency Test)

CPT is just a foundation which ensures your entry into the course. If you aspire to become a CA, in the future then this is the first stepping stone in this profession. You are eligible for this exam after you clear your Class 12th (popularly known as Board Exams). Basically, the questions asked in the test are from the topics such as :- mercantile laws, general economics, accounting and quantitative aptitude. In order to clear the exam, a candidate needs to score a minimum of 30% marks in each section along with an over-all score of minimum 50%.

IPCC (Integrated Professional Competence Course)

The IPCC covers the working knowledge of the core subjects. It consists of seven papers which are divided into 2 sub groups. They are:-

Group 1

The students who have cleared the CPT exam move up to this level and start preparing for their GROUP-1 IPCC exam which includes 4 papers. A student who is appearing for the Group-1 IPCC exam has to cover the following subjects:-

  • Accounting which holds up 100 marks.
  • Business laws, Business Ethics & Business communication which holds up 60 marks, 20 marks and 20 marks respectively.
  • Cost Accounting & Financial Management which again holds up 50 marks each.
  • Taxation which involves Income Tax of 50 marks and Service Tax and VAT of 25 marks each.

A student has to obtain a minimum of 40% marks in each subject along with an aggregate score of  50% to clear the Group-1 exam.

Group 2

The students who have cleared the Group-1 exam move up to this level and are eligible for appearing in Group 2 exam. It consists of 3 papers and the students are expected to cover the following subjects:-

  • Advanced Accounting which comprises of 100 marks.
  • Auditing and Assurance which consists of 100 marks.
  • Information Technology and Strategic Management which consists of 50 marks each.

The student has to obtain a minimum of 40% marks in each subject along with an aggregate score of  50% to clear the Group-2 exam.

Also, the students have to undergo a mandatory training period of 3 years which is known as “Articleship.”

What is Articleship?

  • During this period, the students basically have to do auditing and accounting under an accounting or audit firm. Most of these firms are run by CA themselves who train these aspirants by giving them a feel of actual work and guiding about how the work is done in the industry.
  • This is basically done to provide a practical hands-on experience to the future CAs.
  • The students can undergo this training period either after clearing Group-1 IPCC exam or after clearing Group-2 IPCC exam.

CA Final Exam

  • After clearing both GROUP-1 and GROUP-2 IPCC exams and completing the training period of 3 years, a student is eligible to appear for the CA FINAL exam.
  • This is the last stage after which an individual student will become a professional CA.
  • The CA final covers topics such as:- advanced knowledge of financial reporting, management accounting, strategic financial management, professional ethics, information systems control and advanced auditing.
  • The student has to score a minimum of 40% marks in each paper individually along with an over-all aggregate of 50% marks to clear the CA Final exam.

Basically, 5 years is considered as an average time for completing the course but it ranges from student to student as per their skills, knowledge and circumstances. Some of the dedicated students complete it within a time frame of 5 years while others find it relatively difficult and take as long as 10-12 years to complete this course.

So by now, you have got an idea about the struggles and hardships in the life of CA. Let take an insight into the life after CA:

Life After CA : How is it ?

After you have done all the hard work and fought all these lonely battles, now is the time when you are officially welcomed into the Chartered Accountancy profession. Now, you can enroll yourself to become a member of ICAI which will allow you to use the prefix “CA” before your name. Also, you have to keep on renewing this membership by paying a sum of Rs 400 to ICAI every year. After this, you are considered to be a professional CA and you cannot work in fields which are not mentioned in your certification from the ICAI.

In case, you wish to work in fields apart from the ones mentioned you have to take prior permission of the ICAI before doing so.

Now talking about the job opportunity, CA is regarded as one of the most reputed and prestigious profession. Every industry, organization and business needs a CA for its accounting department. The job opportunities in this field is so vast that a CA can choose whether he want to work in the government sector or private sector companies.

Some of the top recruiters for CA are :-

  • Banks
  • Auditing Firms
  • Finance Companies
  • Mutual Funds
  • Portfolio Management Companies
  • Copyright Registers

They can also open their own firms and start their practice. Their versatility and skills that they develop over the course duration remains the prime reason for their success.

 Roles and Responsibilities of a CA

  • Operating Accounts
  • Managing Tax
  • Budgeting and Budgetary Control
  • Dealing with wages and salaries of people in the organization
  • Preparing Internal Audits
  • Forecasting about future business and economic scenarios
  • Monitoring the overall expenditure of the business
  • Settling accounts and paying out the invoices

CA and Salary at a Glimpse

  • CA is one of the most high paying career options in India. Not only money, after completing the course the amount of respect and status they earn in the society is just humongous.
  • The salary of a fresher in this field generally lies between 3-5 lakhs per annum depending upon the employing firms.
  • The starting salary may not be handsome but slowly and gradually as they gain experience down the line the package also increases.
  • They also can open up their own firms and can earn huge profits depending on their experience and knowledge.
  • They can also open up their own coaching institutes or can teach online and can supplement their income in the due course of time.

Now that you know all about CA as a profession, you have already started dreaming about your life as a CA probably 5-7 years down the line. Being impressed by what this profession is, what value it could add and the opportunities that it could open up to you, it’s normal to fantasize about it but still confused on how to begin? Well…don’t fuss, as we discuss about:

How to get started with CA as a Career?

Well, if you love commerce as a field and particularly accounting as a subject and want to achieve something big out of it then you don’t need much to worry about.

  • Just keep your basics right. While you are in +2( particularly in class 11th) start working on your skills such as your perseverance, ability to work with numbers, developing a good understanding about social and economic conditions in which businesses survive, developing better communication skills to deal with different people etc.
  • Start exploring and acquiring more and more information about this domain through daily newspapers, financial newspapers, YouTube etc.
  • By the time you enter class 12th , it should be clear in your head if you want to pursue it or not. Start preparing yourself for it, seek help from your seniors and give adequate time for CA preparations along with your regular studies.
  • Once you have given your boards exams, take a short break which is indeed the most necessary part before starting your CA preparations at stretch. This will relieve your mind from the stress of becoming a CA.
  • After coming back from break, set a routine and dedicate yourself towards it. You must clear the CPT exam before getting into your college to start well. Then along with your college studies prepare for your IPCC exam. The exam is tough but if you try your best then by the time you finish your graduation you will complete both the groups in your IPCC exam.
  • Now you are all set to go for 3 year long training i.e. Articleship. You will have to toil hard and fight those lonely battles during this period. This will teach you the work ethic, which will be helpful for you down the line. Now after you have completed your training, you again need to prepare for your Final Exam.
  • CA Final Exam will be the decider and will be standing in between you and your dream career. After all these hardships and living through the dark days, the day you clear the finals ,that will be the day when the sun will shine and the rays will welcome you into the world of a professional CA.


Wrapping it up, all we would like to say is “the journey is not going to be easy. CA being one of the most professional course and high paying profession will demand a better version of yourself at each and every level.” At this point if you can believe in yourself and dedicate yourself for the CA preparation, than only you will get closer to your dream. You will experience a rollercoaster ride which will be full of ups and downs, sacrifices, hardships and perseverance, but yes! If you can dream it you can certainly achieve it.

Well…we will leave that up to you to decide whether to step on the peddle and begin the journey or not, but what we would love to hear is your stories while you are hustling into the roads that are less travelled by.

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