Who are Chartered Accountants?
A Chartered Accountant is a professional accountant who is qualified to perform work in the specific activities within the spectrum of accountancy. They work with financial statements, taxation and financial advising. The person gets to work in public practice firms, commerce industry, private and public sectors with the aim of maximising the profitability on behalf of employer or client.
Role of a Chartered Accountant
As a chartered accountant, you’ll own the following responsibilities:
- Give financial advice
- Manage budgets and financial systems
- Manage financial audits
- Review company systems and analyse risks
- Council clients for dealing with insolvency and business improvements
- Detect and prevent any fraud or scandal
- Manage junior associates
- Advice on treasury issues and tax
The duration of office or working hours can vary depending on your role, position and organisation. They are not often limited to 9 am and 5 pm. In large firms, one can be expected to work extra hours and weekends to meet major deadlines. As a trainee, the work hours are compensated with monetary benefits. One can also get flexible working time after graduation and required qualification as a sole practitioner.
Salary of Chartered Accountant
The initial salary for practicing accountants can vary upon the sector, size, location and type of firm. Graduates can expect up to get an average salary of 7.26 LPA which can maximise up to 18 LPA if you’re working for an MNC. The average earning potential which includes basic pay and bonus after two to four years of work experience can be around 2 to 5 lakh rupees monthly. These may also include profit sharing schemes, medical insurances, pensions etc.
Requisite Qualification for Chartered Accountants
Entry is open to graduates from all disciplines, as firms offering training arrangements are seeking graduated from a diverse range of backgrounds. Entry into this profession is also possible without a college degree but graduates will have an edge over the other candidates. A person Certified in Finance, Business or Accounting will have a benefit over others between the degree and the training contract.
A candidate who has qualified the 10th examination conducted by an educational institute recognised by Central Government can appear for the Common Proficiency Test (CPT) but can take the exam after 12th results. Those who graduate with commerce (50% marks) or non-commerce subjects (55%) marks are exempted from CPT and can register for Integrated Professional Competence Course (IPCC).
Those who have passed the final examination by ICWAI – Institute of cost and works accountants of India or ICSI – Institute of company secretaries in India are also eligible for the Professional Competency course. After passing IPCC, one can get registered as an Articled clerk for training and get admission in the final course for Chartered Accountant. To register as an audit clerk the minimum age requirement is 18. Computer Training programme and 100 hours of IT coursework along with IPCC are mandatory.
Skills needed in a Chartered Accountant
- Interest in general business and awareness
- Self-motivation and multi-tasking with efficiency
- IT proficiency
- Numerical Aptitude
- Leadership Quality
- Trustworthiness and Integrity
- Communication skills and expressive personality
- Analytical and problem-solving skills
A chartered accountant has several job opportunities under employers of various sectors and organisations among which majority of training opportunities are in public organisations. Before applying for the position at any firm, check its authorization with relevant institutes. Employers include:
- Public practice: It majorly includes SMPs which are small and medium practices with a variety of accounting and business services for clients
- Industry and commerce: Big names in corporate such as manufacturing, telecom, IT or retail
- Public sector: Central and state government, regulatory bodies such as courts
Most of the chartered accountants get their training in public practice and during their first three years they are devoted to achieve the CA or ACA qualification. There is a very strong focus on professional development which one learns by taking on additional responsibilities such as liaising with clients, getting contracts and supervising junior staff.
Climbing the ladder in this industry is structured and organised. There are plentiful opportunities for development and promotion. After two years of experience, one can be promoted for managerial roles. Within 10 to 15 years of experience, it is possible to attain the position of finance director at a global company. It is a very quantitative and lucrative career option for graduates in this era as digitalization and globalization are rapidly growing phenomenon.
After attaining the qualification of CA, one can indulge in the following stream of subjects –
- Chartered Financial Analyst
- Certified Information System Auditor
- Cost Accountants
- Company Secretary