What is CA and the Pathway to Becoming a Chartered Accountant in India

June 27, 2024
what is CA

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The CA profession in India has a rich history that dates back to 1949 when the Institute of Chartered Accountants of India (ICAI) was established by an Act of Parliament. Since its inception, the profession has continuously evolved to meet the changing demands of the business world. The ICAI, entrusted with regulating and nurturing the CA profession, has played a pivotal role in ensuring its growth and relevance in the fast-paced financial landscape.

In this blog, we will delve into the intricacies of the CA profession in India, and answer questions like What is CA? How can one become a CA? What is CA role and responsibilities, the importance of practical training and articleship, and their contribution to economic development and nation-building.

Additionally, we will shed light on the professional bodies and regulations governing the CA profession, and the career opportunities available for Chartered Accountants.

What is a Chartered Accountant?

The answer to the question What is CA is a simple yet difficult one to explain. The CA profession in India holds immense significance in the country’s economic landscape. Chartered Accountants act as financial guardians, offering their expertise to individuals, businesses, and the government. They are instrumental in promoting transparency, maintaining financial integrity, and fostering investor confidence. Moreover, CA professionals play a critical role in tax planning, auditing, and financial reporting, which are crucial for sustaining a robust and stable economy.

What is CA

How To Become a CA in India?


To fully understand what is CA and how to become a Chartered Accountant, aspiring candidates need to meet certain eligibility criteria.

They must have completed their senior secondary education (10+2) from a recognized board and have enrolled in the CA course offered by the ICAI.

Additionally, candidates must possess strong mathematical and analytical skills, along with a passion for finance and accounting.

Entrance Exams and Selection Process

Here is the chartered accountant course details:

It comprises of three levels:

  1. Foundation
  2. Intermediate
  3. Final

The Foundation level serves as the entry point and requires candidates to pass the Common Proficiency Test (CPT), which tests their aptitude in fundamental accounting and related subjects. Subsequently, candidates progress to the Intermediate and Final levels, where they need to clear the respective examinations to advance in their CA journey.

What is CA Course? Duration & Structure

The CA course is designed to provide comprehensive knowledge and practical training to aspiring Chartered Accountants. The duration of the course typically ranges from three to five years, depending on the candidate’s progression and individual pace. The curriculum covers subjects such as accounting, auditing, taxation, financial management, corporate law, and ethics, equipping candidates with a holistic understanding of the financial domain.

Recommended Read: CA Course – A Comprehensive Guide

What is CA Articleship? Is it Important?

One of the defining aspects of the CA course is the mandatory practical training, known as articleship.

This training period, which lasts for a specified duration, allows candidates to gain hands-on experience in diverse areas of accounting, auditing, and taxation. Articleship provides invaluable exposure to real-world scenarios, enhances professional skills, and prepares individuals for the challenges they will face as Chartered Accountants.

What is CA Role and Responsibilities?

1. Financial Accounting and Reporting:

As experts in financial accounting, Chartered Accountants play a crucial role in maintaining accurate and transparent financial records for businesses and organizations.  Their responsibilities include:

Preparation of financial statements:

Chartered Accountants are responsible for preparing financial statements such as balance sheets, income statements, and cash flow statements. Maintaining records & keeping track of financial statement receipts are usually what is CA requirements. These statements provide a snapshot of an organization’s financial health and performance.

Compliance with accounting standards:

CAs ensure that financial statements adhere to the relevant accounting standards and regulatory requirements, ensuring transparency and consistency in reporting.

Financial analysis and interpretation:

Chartered Accountants analyse financial data, identify trends, and provide insights into an organization’s financial performance. This analysis aids decision-making processes and helps stakeholders understand the financial implications of various strategies.

2. Auditing and Assurance Services:

Auditing is a critical function performed by Chartered Accountants to assess the accuracy and reliability of financial statements. Their responsibilities in this area include:

Statutory audits:

CAs conduct audits in accordance with applicable laws and regulations to ensure compliance and provide an independent opinion on the fairness and accuracy of financial statements.

Internal audits:

Chartered Accountants perform internal audits to evaluate an organization’s internal control systems, risk management processes, and compliance with policies and procedures.

Assurance services:

CAs provide assurance on financial information, internal controls, and other aspects of an organization’s operations to enhance stakeholders’ confidence and credibility.

3. Taxation and Tax Planning:

Taxation and planning are usually what is CA’s daily task. Chartered Accountants are well-versed in tax laws and regulations, making them essential for effective tax planning and compliance. Their responsibilities in this domain include:

Tax planning:

CAs help individuals and businesses optimize their tax liabilities through effective tax planning strategies, taking advantage of tax incentives, exemptions, and deductions.

Tax compliance:

Chartered Accountants ensure that individuals and organizations comply with tax laws, file accurate tax returns, and meet their tax obligations within the prescribed deadlines.

Tax advisory services:

CAs provide guidance on complex tax matters, assist in tax dispute resolutions, and help clients navigate the ever-changing tax landscape.

4. Financial Management and Advisory Services:

Chartered Accountants possess a deep understanding of financial management principles and provide valuable advisory services to organizations, including:

Financial planning and analysis:

CAs assist in developing financial strategies, budgeting, forecasting, and financial modeling to optimize resource allocation and support business growth.

Investment and risk management:

Chartered Accountants analyse investment opportunities, evaluate risks, and provide advice on investment decisions to maximize returns and mitigate financial risks.

Cost management and control:

CAs help organizations analyse and manage costs, identify areas of inefficiency, and implement cost-saving measures to improve profitability.

5. Corporate governance and compliance:

Chartered Accountants play a crucial role in promoting corporate governance and ensuring compliance with legal and regulatory requirements. Their responsibilities include:

Corporate governance: CAs help establish robust governance frameworks, ethical practices, and internal control mechanisms to enhance transparency, accountability, and stakeholder confidence.

Compliance and regulatory reporting: Chartered Accountants ensure that organizations comply with company laws, corporate governance norms, and regulatory reporting requirements, avoiding legal and financial penalties.

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Professional Bodies and Regulation

Institute of Chartered Accountants of India (ICAI):

The Institute of Chartered Accountants of India (ICAI) is the regulatory body and professional institute responsible for the Chartered Accountancy profession in India. With more than 3.75 lakh members and over 7.80 lakh students, ICAI is the world’s second largest accounting body. It was established under an Act of Parliament and serves as the authoritative body for CA education, training, examination, and professional standards.

Functions and responsibilities of ICAI:

The ICAI has several key functions and responsibilities, including:

  1. Education and Training: The ICAI designs and regulates the CA curriculum, ensuring its relevance and adherence to global accounting standards. It provides comprehensive education and training to aspiring Chartered Accountants, including conducting examinations and practical training programs.
  2. Examination and Certification: The ICAI conducts examinations at different levels of the CA course and awards the Chartered Accountancy certification to successful candidates. It ensures the integrity and rigor of the examination process, maintaining the professional standards of the CA qualification.
  3. Professional Standards and Regulation: The ICAI establishes and enforces professional standards and ethics for Chartered Accountants in India. It regulates the conduct and practice of its members, promoting accountability, integrity, and excellence in the profession.
  4. Research and Development: The ICAI engages in research and development activities to enhance the knowledge base of Chartered Accountants and promote innovation in the field of accountancy. It continuously updates the curriculum and professional guidelines to keep pace with emerging trends and changes in the financial landscape.

Code of Ethics for Chartered Accountants:

Chartered Accountants are bound by a strict Code of Ethics established by the ICAI.  The code sets out the fundamental principles of integrity, objectivity, confidentiality, and professional behaviour that CAs must uphold in their practice. It provides guidelines for ethical conduct in areas such as independence, professional competence, and client confidentiality.

Continuing Professional Development (CPD) Requirements:

To ensure the ongoing professional development of Chartered Accountants, the ICAI mandates Continuing Professional Development (CPD) requirements. CAs are required to engage in lifelong learning and regularly update their knowledge and skills. They must participate in training programs, seminars, workshops, and other learning activities to stay abreast of developments in accounting standards, laws, and industry practices.

Career Opportunities for Chartered Accountants

Career Paths for Chartered Accountant


Approx Salary

Public Practice

Accounting, Auditing, Tax Advisory, Financial Consulting

INR 5-25 Lakhs.

(Note: The salary varies depending on experience of CA and the size of the firm)

Corporate Sector

CFO, Financial Controller, Internal Auditor, Finance Manager

CFO: INR 25-60 lakhs

Financial Controller: INR 15-40 lakhs

Internal Auditor: INR 8-20 lakhs

Finance Manager: INR 10-25 lakhs

Government and Public Sector

Public Accounting, Budgeting, Financial Management, Tax Administration

INR 5-20 Lakhs.

(Note: Varies depending on the position and level of government)

Financial Institutions

Risk Management, Financial Analysis, Credit Assessment, Compliance

INR 8-30 Lakhs

(Note: Varies depending on the organization and position)

Academia and Research

Teaching, Research, Accounting Principles, Taxation, Governance

INR 6-20 Lakhs

(Note: Varies depending on the institution and experience level)

International Opportunities

Multinational Corporations, Accounting Firms, International Organizations

INR 10-40 Lakhs

(Note: Varies depending on the organization and location)

Suggested Read:
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Challenges and Trends


Technological advancements

The profession is impacted by rapid technological changes, such as automation, artificial intelligence, and data analytics. CAs need to embrace these advancements and develop new skills to stay relevant.

Globalization and cross-border regulations

With the increasing globalization of business, CAs face challenges related to understanding and complying with international accounting standards, cross-border transactions, and complex taxation laws.

Changing regulatory landscape

Regulatory frameworks are constantly evolving, requiring CAs to stay updated on changes in laws, regulations, and reporting standards. Compliance requirements are becoming more stringent, necessitating thorough knowledge and adherence to ensure ethical practices.

Emerging areas of specialization

The CA profession is expanding into specialized areas such as forensic accounting, sustainability reporting, risk management, and data analytics. CAs need to acquire new expertise and adapt to these emerging fields to meet evolving client demands.

Final Words

The world of Chartered Accountancy (CA) is a dynamic and indispensable field that holds great significance in today’s complex financial landscape. Throughout this blog, we have explored the essence of what is CA, what is CA role and responsibilities, as well as the professional bodies and regulations governing this esteemed profession.

In conclusion, the field of Chartered Accountancy is an ever-evolving profession that offers a rewarding career path for those who possess a passion for numbers, a commitment to integrity, and a desire to make a significant impact on the financial world. As we move forward, the role of Chartered Accountants will continue to be instrumental in driving economic progress and building a secure future for businesses and individuals alike.

Evaluate numerous career choices to choose the right career path for yourself. Dive into our guide on Career Advice.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the work of CA in India?

As a chartered accountant, you will offer guidance, audit financial records, and disseminate reliable information. This might entail accounting systems and procedures, taxation, auditing, financial reporting, forensic accounting, corporate finance, company recovery, or bankruptcy. Chartered accountants deal with economic planning, finance, capital formation, management accounting, and all the taxation procedures. 

What is a CA salary?

Candidates who get placed in the top recruiting firms get astounding salary packages. The salary package of a CA ranges from INR 2 lakhs per annum to INR 14 lakhs per annum. However, the average salary of a CA is around INR 8.19 lakhs per annum.

What are the 7 subjects in CA?

According to the Institute of Chartered Accountants of India (ICAI), the 7 subjects in the CA course syllabus are:

1. Business & Accounting Law
2. Auditing and Assurance
3. Direct & Indirect Tax
4. Ethics and Communication
5. Advanced Accounting
6. Cost Accounting
7. Financial Management

What is the total cost of a CA course in India?

The Chartered accountancy program is one of the most reasonable certificate programs compared to other courses. The course offers a rewarding career with exciting salary packages to students. The approximate cost of chartered accountancy including course fees and all other expenses is within INR 3 lakhs. They cover the estimated price of tuition, enrolment fees, and textbooks.

Which course is best to pursue after CA?

The Chartered Accountancy course is highly oriented towards accounting and financial planning. However, students who wish to pursue higher studies can consider the following courses after CA.

1. DISA (Diploma in Information System Audit)
2. ACCA (Association of Chartered Certified Accountants)
3. CISA (Certified Information System Auditor)
4. CFA (Chartered Financial Analyst)
5. CIA (Certified Internal Auditor)

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