Charter a successful course

Chartered Accountants manage the financial health of a company, and as such are important for all organisations. Arvind Vaish provides details of what the career entails.

ACCOUNTS WIZARD An important task performed by a chartered accountant is auditing of accounts.

Chartered Accountancy as a profession is attracting the young and witnessing a rapid growth, thanks to the growth in the corporate sector.

Chartered accountants usually occupy a high and respectable post in an organisation. They are the ones responsible for handling accounts and finance related matters, dealing with money management, preparing, analysing and auditing accounts, along with providing financial advice.

Nature of work

Some of the areas suited to the services of Chartered Accounts are as follows:

*Financial Accounting: Maintaining the financial record of an organisation is of utmost importance. Financial accounting is a branch of accounting which deals with the maintenence of 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 handling taxes, etc.

*Auditing: One of the important tasks performed by a chartered accountant is auditing. It is the methodical examination and review of accounts. Chartered accountants examine and verify books of accounts and other necessary documents of their employers or clients. Auditing can be further classified into sub-categories, such as, statutory audit, internal audit, compulsory tax audit and certification and audit

*Cost Accounting: 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 to monitor expenditure and prevent it from over-shooting, to minimise costs, forecast future needs and provide reports for management accounting etc.

*Tax Management: Sometimes, chartered accountants specialise in tax management. Their job is to legally ensure minimum incidence of tax. In doing so they have to be well versed in taxation laws and policies on a national as well as an international scale, depending on the kind of company they work for.

*Consultancy: The changing scenario in the business world has opened up 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 accountants often indulge in providing these services in the fields related to finance and accounts.

Professional courses

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.
nFoundation: The Institute of Chartered Accountants of India offers the 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 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 the option of attending contact classes organised by accredited institutions.

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, Economics and Mercantile Law.

*Intermediate Examination: Registered students who have completed nine 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 and Central Sales Tax,  and Organisation and Management and Fundamentals Of Electronic Data Processing.

*Final Examination: Students who successfully clear both the groups of Intermediate Examination of the Institute and complete the prescribed period of practical training (three years) or have yet to serve a period of not more than nine months of such services can take the Final Examination. The Examination has the following groups: Group I: Advanced Accounting, Management Accounting, Auditing and Company Law; Group II: 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.

Pay packet

Generally candidates holding CA inter qualification are paid somewhere between Rs 7,500 and 15,000, depending on the type of firm they work in. Payments can be higher for candidates possessing other qualifications such as M.Com or an MBA. On the other hand, starting salaries can be as low as Rs 4,500 to 5,000 in some small towns of the country.

A full fledged CA can expect a salary between Rs 30,000 to 75,000 after serving for more than five years at a top firm.

Opportunities

CAs can find opportunities in:

*Banks (both private and public)
*Public limited companies (mandatory for the purpose of law)
*Auditing firms (such as KPMG, Price Waterhouse, etc.)
*Finance companies, mutual funds, portfolio management companies, investment houses, stock broking firms
*Legal firms, legal houses, patent firms, attorneys, trade mark and copyright registers

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