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Keeper of books

Chartered accountancy is primarily about accounting, auditing and taxation. A chartered accountant is trained in various aspects of finance and accounting.

education Updated: Sep 22, 2011 11:43 IST

The lowdown
Chartered accountancy is primarily about accounting, auditing and taxation. A chartered accountant is trained in various aspects of finance and accounting. S/he helps companies and individuals in tax planning and compliance. Styled as complete business solutions provider, these professionals have to ensure compliance with regulatory requirements, capital structure and planning, organisational development, conducting and preparing feasibility study and project reports, mobilising financial resources, installing internal accounting and budgetary controls, to giving advice on issues such as joint ventures, foreign collaborations, amalgamation, merger, diversification, product pricing, BPO, restructuring etc.

Clock Work
Average day of a CA in a company:
9 am: Reach office. Record transactions (for example, process payments to vendors and employees, claims, investments, receipts)
12 pm: Check if all compliances are taken care of. In the first week of the month, see if company has paid service tax, excise, etc (depending on the industry)
1 pm: Lunch
2 pm: Prepare budget, monitor it. Make reports
4 pm: Finalise financial statements
7 pm: Leave for home

The pay off
A fresh CA's average pay package is between Rs5lakh to Rs10lakh lakh per annum. Recently, one of the Big Four consulting firms offered an annual package between Rs6.2 to Rs6.8 lakh to fresh chartered accountants. Multinational companies pay even more, sometimes more than Rs10 lakh per annum to a fresh chartered accountant.

. Very analytical mind
. Quantitative aptitude
. Be driven to continually updating oneself (e.g., as taxes are repealed and new regimes introduced)
. Strategic management skill
. Ability to minutely study and analyse facts and figures
. Perseverance
. Integrity

How do i get there?
Following are the steps to becoming a CA:
After passing class X, one can enrol for the Common Proficiency Test (CPT)
Prepare for CPT while studying in Class 11 and 12. Take the CPT after Class 12 in June (or December)
Register for the Integrated Professional Competence Course (IPCC) and 100-hour Information Technology Training (ITT). There must be a gap of ten months between CPT and IPCC, given after you have completed your ITT and a five-day orientation programme
On cracking IPCC, you do the CA Final course and are mandated to undergo a three-year articleship under a practicing CA. Attempt the final examination during the last six months of your articleship. Another short training called general management and communication skills (GMCS) course is required before you apply for a CA membership

More details at the institute website

Institutes & urls
. Institute of Chartered Accountants of India
Under an MoU, Indira Gandhi National Open University offers a special BCom in accountancy and finance. Students enrolling for the BCom degree are
exempted from certain subjects covered in the CA programme. Similarly, IGNOU also offers a specialised MCom programme in finance and taxation to CA
Final enrolees

Pros and Cons
. A profession of trust and it’s challenging to live up to it
. You are an essential part of a company
. Updating yourself is challenging and requires effort
. No big investment required. The total investment in the entire programme is R42,450
. Though a CA has legal responsibility, in general, the pay is relatively lower than an MBA’s