Finance Profession – By Chance OR Choice ?

Salman K K

Salman K K (, CA, CMA)

Asst. General Manager, Securities and Exchange Board of India, Mumbai

The Sea is common for all… 

Some take pearls, 

Some take fishes,
Some come out just with wet legs!
The World is common to all- what we get, is what we try for!

 CA, CS, CMA, etc. are excellent career choices and its career potential is increasing day by day. Most people will be surprised to know that you don’t actually need a degree to become a Chartered Accountant/Cost Accountant/Company Secretary. You may be aware that the gateways to these professions are Common Proficiency Test (CPT) / Foundation Course, etc. A student who has passed the Class 10 examination may register for CPT and appear in CPT examination after he has appeared in the Higher Secondary Examination (10+2 examination). Similarly, a student who has appeared in the Higher Secondary Examination (10+2 examination) may register for Foundation Course and appear Foundation examination.   Thus, one can start pursuing these professions along with higher secondary education itself.

Unfortunately, most of the students, especially from rural areas, still pursue these professions ‘by-chance’…that too…only after completion of their graduation.  This is mainly due to lack of planning / failure to make a prompt choice.  Don’t worry…you can add graduation also to your armoury under correspondence/distance education stream without wasting precious 3 years. ……If one can become an International Tennis Player/Cricketer at the age of 21, why one should wait till the age of 26 – 28 to become a CA/CS/CMA…..!!!

Course Structure:

Chartered Accountancy

CA course is a mix of theoretical study and on the hand job experience. You need to get on the hand experience for three years under a practicing Chartered Accountant. This is known as articleship. As per the latest training scheme, you can complete CA within Four and half years.

The Chartered Accountancy course has three stages:

  • Common Proficiency Test (CPT) *
  • Intermediate (Integrated Professional Competence) Course
  • Final Course

* Dear Graduates, doors are still open….you may be aware that Commerce Graduates/Post-Graduates (55%) or Other Graduates/Post-Graduates (60%) or Candidates who have passed Intermediate level examination of ICSI or ICMAI can directly enrol for Intermediate (Integrated Professional Competence) Course of Chartered Accountancy.

Company Secretary

The Company Secretary course involves three levels:

  • Foundation Programme @
  • Executive Programme
  • Professional Programme

In addition to passing the above exams, the students are required to undergo a practical training for 15 months.

@  Those who are little late in making a choice…don’t be disappointed….please note that Graduates/Post-Graduates or Candidates who have passed Intermediate level examination of ICAI or ICMAI can directly enrol for Executive Programme of Company Secretary course.

Cost & Management Accountancy

The Cost Accountancy course is divided into three levels:

  • Foundation Level #
  • Intermediate Level
  • Final Level

#  You are still not too late…. you know?…Graduates/Post-Graduates or Candidates who have passed Intermediate level examination of ICSI or ICAI can directly enrol for Intermediate Course of Cost Accountancy.


Regional councils and chapters of ICAI/ICSI/ICMAI offer oral coaching for the courses and this is optional. You can also utilize the service of reputed private coaching centres.

Career Prospects:

You, as a Chartered Accountant, have to play a very significant role in the economic & tax administration system of our country. As per the Companies Act and various other statutes, only CAs can be appointed as auditors. There are a lot of documents and applications which need the authorization of a Chartered Accountant. Management Consultancy is another area in which you can extent your professional service.

Growing economy always require legal checks and balances to avoid deviations. As we all aware, compliance with all these legal requirements related to a company falls under the purview of a Company Secretary. Obviously, the employment potential of company secretaries in the corporate sector is very high. The ICSI estimates that India will need nearly 50,000 Company Secretaries by the year 2020. Currently it has only half of this number as membership. Hence, you have a highly promising career as a Company Secretary at present as well as in future.

The demand for Cost Accountants is much greater than their availability. So, numerous job openings will be looking forward for ‘the professional’ in you. You can set up own practice and consultancy as well. Cost Audit/ Special Audit/ Excise Audit/ Export & Import certification / Consultancy assignments etc. need the service of Cost Accountants.  Your support as a Cost Accountant is vital to the management in taking informed decisions in areas like pricing, cost reduction, acquisition, competition strategies, etc.

The statutory position as well as professional expertise make CA/CS/CMA, etc. a dream career. A qualified professional can join in the Accounts, Finance, Corporate affairs, Internal audit and Compliance departments of companies, Banks, PSUs etc. You can also start independent professional practice. Every day, the demand for these professions and its career potential is increasing.

Both the government and the business world need an independent professional support in addressing various issues. World over these professionals occupy high and respectable positions in the functioning of the larger economic system as a whole.

Climax :

My sincere appeal to dear brothers & sisters is that please don’t fail to plan / to make a choice of your own promptly.  If you don’t decide your choice today, ….. tomorrow, chance may decide against you. The famous management principle may be apt to quote here…..”Planning bridges the gap between where we are and where we want to go”….

Relevant websites you may like to browse through are:  – The Institute of Chartered Accountants of India – The Institute of Company Secretaries of India –  The Institute of Cost Accountants of India

Life is similar to a Boxing match.
Defeat is NOT declared when you ‘Fall Down’ –
It is declared when you refuse to ‘Get Up’!

 Nota Bene: All the views expressed above are fully in my personal capacity and not in official capacity.

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