CA or CS? Your skills determine your decision!
Commerce students often wonder what is better for them – a career in Chartered Accountancy or a career as Company Secretary. A general view is that those who love practical accountancy must go for CA and those who like laws and theory, must go for CS. However, there are many other factors that need to be seriously considered before deciding between the two career options.
The table below gives a precise overview of both the courses and their career paths in order to help you choose which one of the two suits you the best.
|Criteria||Chartered Accountant (CA)||Company Secretariat (CS)|
|What does the course have?||Chartered Accountancy course is a professional course in the field of Accounting offered by the Institute of Chartered Accountants of India (ICAI). It consists of about financial management, taxation and accounting.||
The Company Secretary (CS) is a professional course which is conducted by the Institute of Company Secretaries of India (ICSI). In order to register as a Company Secretary, the candidates need to pass the Foundation Program, Executive Program, and Professional Program.
|Where does the career take you?||
The scope of a CA career is very wide. You can either start your private practice or join an organisation's financial accounting department or serve in taxation departments. you can also work in fields of Finance,Corporate finance, Management consultancy,Tax Compliance,Change management. Chartered accountants mostly deal with studies like market research, budget planning, planning of policies; management of working capital of an organisation, etc.
A Company Secretary has several options of working in government accounts or law departments or he/she can become a Managing Director or Chairman of a Company and be a part of the Board of Directors of a Company. The role of a Company Secretary is that of an advisor for legal matters.
A Chartered Accountant’s duty is to ensure that the company is maintaining its financial transactions as per the Companies Act and other laws of the country. He manages the cost and taxation related matters of a company’s account.
A company secretary holds a variety of responsibilities including management of public issue, holding annual general meetings, recording the minutes of the meeting, offering legal advice and investment advice, taking care of administration and liasoning.
|What skills do you need?||In order to be a CA, you should have Good aptitude skills with concentration ability. You must be good with numbers, have good analytical skills, you must be able to work under pressure, have systematic way of working.||As a CS aspirant Proficiency of law and management, must have good communication skills to deal with all types of people, should sound convincing and the have capacity to fit in the corporate environment.|
|Authority||A CA can act as a lawyer and appear before various appellate authorities of direct and indirect tax departments like the Commissioner of Income tax, Income tax appellate tribunal, etc and defend his client.||A CS does not have the authority to defend his client or represent him in a case. However, a CS has the authority to negotiate, communicate and co-ordinate within the capacity of an official in the company.|
|Legal Power||In India, it is only a CA who can conduct various statutory audit under Income Tax Act called Tax Audit etc.||A CS does not have the power to conduct such audits.|
|Institute Membership||The CA is a member of the Institute of Chartered Accountants of India. A Person can only become a CA after passing exams conducted by the Institute of Chartered Accountants of India (ICAI).||
A CS is a member of The Institute of Company Secretaries of India. A person can become a CS only after passing exams conducted by the Institute of Company Secretaries of India (ICSI).
|Which companies may hire you?||PwC, Ernst & Young, HSBC Bank, Neeraj Bhagat & Co., KPMG, Alok Sinhal, ICICI Prudential, Om Kotak Mahindra, Birla Sun-Life, Tata AIF Life, Reliance, HDFC Standard Life-Chartered Accountancy Co., Max NewYork Life, SBI.||Banks like SBI, HSBC, Bureau of Public Enterprises, government financial institutions and stock exchanges, universities, or companies with paid-up share capital of Rs 50 million or more etc.|
|Institutes Offering the Course||The Institute of Chartered Accountants of India (ICAI) is both an examining and a licensing body. It is the responsibility of the institute to conduct the Chartered accountancy (CA) Courses throughout the country. A CA program is of two years apart from the training period. It has three sections,Competency Professional Test (CPT) that was earlier known as Professional Education exam PEE-1, Professional Competency Examination (PCE) and Final examination.||
The minimum eligibility required for the foundation course for training as a Company Secretary is 10+2. Graduates or post-graduates in commerce, or any other discipline are allowed to skip the foundation course and enroll directly for the intermediate examination.This exemption is also extended to those who have passed out of the Institute of Cost and Works Accountancy or the Institute of Chartered Accountants of India. For better career prospects one may opt for the Company Secretary course after having completed either the Cost and Works Accountancy course or the Chartered Accountancy course or both. The Institute of Company Secretaries of India conducts examinations for different levels of competencies throughout the country. Those who clear these examinations are granted membership to the Institute.