Skip a step, get direct entry

Skip a step, get direct entry

Significant changes have been made to the format of the Chartered Accountancy course in India. Find out from Dr B Krishnamurthy how this may leverage your chances at a career in the same

Hereinafter, any graduate can join a Chartered Accountancy course directly by registering for the intermediate course i.e., the second stage of CA. This change has been made by amending the Chartered Accountants Regulations Act, CARA, 1988.

According to the amendment, graduates or postgraduates with specified marks are exempt from passing the Common Proficiency Test — which is the first level of examination. This rule also applicable to those students who have registered for the Chartered Accountancy Course from August 1, 2012.

However, graduates or postgraduates of  Commerce should obtain at least 55 per cent marks in any three papers, out of Accounting, Auditing, Mercantile Laws, Corporate Laws, Economics, Management, Taxation, Costing, Business Administration or Management Accounting during college. But for other streams, the minimum marks is 60 per cent. This amendment is aimed at boosting the number of takers for chartered accountancy.
Institutes such as Cost and Works Accountants of India, ICWA, and Institute of Company Secretary of India, ICSI, have already made a provision for direct entry to the intermediate level. With this change, all professional courses will have the same pattern of admission to the course.

The new amendment also allows candidates who have passed the Intermediate Examination of Cost Accountancy conducted by the Institute of Cost and Works Accountants of India or the Company Secretary course conducted by the Institute of Company Secretary of India to skip the Common Proficiency Course. Earlier, there was no such provision. By this amendment, students need not repeat the examination which they have already passed under a different name. Now, they also have the choice of shifting from one course to another without sitting for the entry level examination.
The registration for direct admission to the Intermediate Course of Chartered Accountancy has been extended to September 30, 2012 for the May 2013 examination

Provisional registration

Students in the final year of graduation, who wish to pursue chartered accountancy can also make a provisional registration for the Intermediate Course.  But they will be required to submit a proof of having completed graduation with the minimum required marks within six months of the final year examination. However, during this time, they can opt to study Information Technology Training and Orientation Course as the Articleship Training will commence only after graduation or post-graduation with minimum specified marks.

There has been a change in the name of the tests too. The Common Proficiency Test will hereafter be referred to as the Common Proficiency Course and the Integrated Professional Competence Course will be called the Intermediate Course.

Under the new regulation, a chartered accountant with a full-time job can train one articled assistant (enrolled as a student of chartered accountancy). Earlier, there was no such provision. But with the amendment, the number of candidates admitted for articleship training by a practising chartered accountant will depend on the former’s work experience. With students finding it difficult to come by articleship training, this change has certainly helped ease out the process. 

The course

The Institute of Chartered Accountants of India is a nodal authority that conducts the Chartered Accountancy course in India.  The course can only be learnt through correspondence with study material supplied by the institute to the registered candidates by post.

The ICAI does not have any training institute with regular classes. But in metros, ICAI has authorised certain coaching centres to help students through oral lessons and tuitions. The course has both theory and practical examinations, which are held twice a year.  The course has three levels of study. They are:

*Common Proficiency Course
*Intermediate  Course
*Final Course

Level-I: Common Proficiency Course is the entry-level examination. The registration for CPC is open throughout the year. The eligibility for registration to the course is a pass mark in Class 10. After completing 60 days of registration and appearing for the 10+2 or equivalent examination, they may register for the CPC examination.

The examination will be held twice a year — in June and December. However, the cut-off dates for registering for the June examination is on or before April 1 and October 1 for the exam in December.

CPC course consists of two parts with four basic subjects carrying 200 marks — Fundamentals of Accounting, Market law, General Economics and Quantitative Aptitude. The test will be objective with multiple-choice questions and negative marking for wrong answers. The candidate will be declared as passed only when if he/she has obtained a minimum of 30 per cent marks in each section and a minimum of 50 per cent aggregate from all the sections, subject to the principle of negative marking.

Level – II: Those who have passed CPC, graduates or postgraduates with the prescribed minimum marks can directly register for the second level, IC. The course consists of six subjects and seven papers, divided into two groups. Group I consists of Accounting, Business law, Ethics, Communication, Cost Accounting, Financial Management and Taxation (Income tax & Service Tax). Group-II consists of Advanced Accounting, Auditing and Insurance, Information Technology and Strategic Management. A student may appear for the exam group-wise or both the groups together.

Level - III: The last leg of the Chartered Accountancy Course is considered to be one of the toughest exams in the country.  Those who have passed the IC can appear for the final examination during the last six months of their articled training period. The final course consists of two groups. After passing the final examination and completing 15 days of General Management and Communication Skills Course, one then becomes a registered chartered accountant. If one desires to practise, he/she has to obtain a ‘Certificate of Practice’ from the ICAI.

A chartered accountant who is registered as a member of the ICAI is named  associate chartered accountant and those who have successfully continued their practice for a period of five years will be named Fellow Chartered Accountant. As of April 2010, there are 1,61,516 members in ICAI, out of which 94,991 are Associate Chartered Accountants and 66,525 are Fellow Chartered Accountants.

All the three professional courses — CA, ICWA and CS have similar weightage in the field of business/trade activities, but allow for specialisations in different fields. Chartered accountancy offers specialisation in financial accounting, auditing, taxation, where as Company Secretary offers a specialisation in company laws and ICWA in cost and management accounting. For registration and other details, visit  www.icai.org.

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