A chartered accountant plays pivotal role in areas of accounting, auditing, corporate finance, project evaluation, company and other business laws, taxation and corporate governance. He is a business solution provider to the corporate with his multi-faceted knowledge through unique academic programs blended with practical training to provide accounting and audit functions in a computerized business environment. A chartered Accountant is what the business and industry need in the advent of liberalizations, privatization and globalizations. CA`s handle just about every aspect of finance for organisations as well as individuals. He not only conducts audits, but also provides financial advice in terms of investment advice to minimise tax and helps in filing returns. So if number crunching is your obsession which can last day in and day out then being a CA is the right choice for you.
To practice as a Chartered accountant you have to clear the examination conducted by The Institute of Chartered Accountants of India which is not an easy one as it takes a lot of dedication and perseverance to even sit for the exams. You need years of articled and other training to even appear for the exam. Once on the job the chartered accountant provides a wide gamut of services from accountancy, auditing, taxing to cost accountancy and law. This makes it mandatory to be updated with the latest laws as well and latest financial and accounting soft wares. While conducting audit you need to be prepared to work long hours. You should also be prepared to travel as many companies have international offices and even local companies sometimes have many offices in different parts of the country.
To practice as a CA, one has to clear the examination conducted by The Institute of Chartered Accountants of India (ICAI) and can thereafter become a member of this institute. The professional course offered by ICAI provides the required theoretical knowledge as well as practical training. The three stages of exams are:
Common Proficiency Test (CPT): This is an entry level test and you can enroll after class 10, but can appear for the exam only after appearing for 10+2. The test has four subjects: Accounting, Mercantile Laws, General Economics and Quantitative Aptitude. ICAI provides the required study material. It’s an objective type test with negative marking and the passing percentage is 50%.
Professional Competence Course (PCT): Candidates who have cleared the CPT and 10+2 can appear for the PCT. Students are also required to complete 15 months as articled assistant and 100 hours of Information technology training three months before the month of examination. The subjects are classified into two groups and students can appear for exams for both groups together or one group at a time. The pass percentage is 50% in aggregate.
Final Course: The final course provides in-depth knowledge and training to take on challenges as a financial strategist. You should have completed three and a half years of articled training along with 15 day of general management and communication skill course to be eligible for the exam. The exam comprises of two groups of four papers each. Group I includes Financial Reporting, Strategic Financial Management, Advanced Auditing and Professional Ethics and Corporate and Allied Laws. Group II comprises Advanced Management Accounting, Information Systems Control and Audit, Direct Tax Laws and Indirect Tax Laws. After clearing the final examination you need to enroll for membership with ICAI to become a registered chartered accountant.
To be a successful chartered accountant you need to take initiative, intelligence and integrity. Honesty and an ability to be almost a wizard with mathematics is essential in this profession. You need to have good communication skills and an analytical mind. Your task would be to analyse and evaluate financial information before advising your clients on the financial state of their business. You need to have the intelligence, flexibility to take the initiative to audit many different types of businesses and industries. A chartered accountant should have the inclination to keep himself updated with the latest information concerning taxation, financial management, company law, politics, marketing and information technology. You need to be a team player if you are working as a part of an audit team.
You need to plan your finances while you studying to clear the exams for becoming a CA. As an apprentice you might be paid for it but you cannot rely solely on that. You can take up a personal loan to take care of expenses while you prepare for the various exams.
Irrespective of whether a company is big or small, individuals in the service/ govt. sector, everyone requires help of a CA to manage money matters. Chartered accountants are statutorily recognized audit practitioners. They are highly demanded and sought-after professionals in the practice of Income-tax, Service-tax and other indirect tax areas and are technically equipped to act as management consultants. CAs can be employed with a government office or a private firm, or choose to get into a private consultancy. With adequate knowledge in systems and information technology, chartered accountants assist in development of advanced IT systems for the organisations in areas of finance and accounting. They can also be involved in management consultancy services such as preparation of project reports and feasibility studies, market research and demand studies, budgeting, inventory management, working capital management and corporate governance.
Tax management includes suggesting investments and working out means to reduce taxes (both direct as well as indirect taxes). Chartered accountants have to work in accordance with various national and international tax rules governing a clients business or requirements. Tax managers also help individuals calculate their taxes and file returns.
Chartered accountant are involved in the evaluation and assessment of financial records of companies as according to the Company Act only professional CAs are authorised to conduct audits. An auditor reviews the accounts as presented by the concerned authorities of the respective company in relation to the expenses and profit earned. Internal auditors do a thorough review of all the records and point out loop holes or inaccuracies that are fixed before external auditors are called upon. An auditor examines accounting records and gives his opinion on the financial position of the company and the results of its operations.
Chartered accountants help in maintaining accurate financial records for big and small companies. Financial accounting is basically preparing the financial statements for a company based on the expenditures and income giving management and the stakeholders a clear picture of the firms` financial status. The chartered accountants specializing in this field assist in planning and arranging finances, cash projections, capital budgeting, mergers and acquisitions, raising capital or loans, purchase and sale of assets and investment management.