CFA vs CA – Which is the Best Option?

October 11, 2022
cfa vs ca

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Choosing the right career path is a very crucial decision for a student. Almost every other finance student gets this question in mind, which is the right career for them? They need to choose between CFA vs CA. The idea of whether the career they are choosing is meant for them or not confuses students.

Being conflicted while choosing between Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA) and Chartered Accountant (CA) is quite natural as both are well-paid jobs with very high perks.

A majority of aspirants seeking a career in the financial field are baffled and have to weigh every aspect between CFA vs CA. These are two of the most captivating and intriguing jobs in the financial corporate world. Hence it is very usual for people to get stuck in a dilemma while choosing between the two. It’s better to understand and consider all the factors related to these two jobs before reaching a definite conclusion.

This article will help you decide the right choice, CFA or CA. We have articulated all the points that you need to know before making your final decision. But, first, let us understand both of these jobs separately.

Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA)

Chartered Financial Analyst or CFA is conducted by the CFA institute globally. The CFA course mainly consists of investment management and wealth management analysis. The CFA program focuses primarily on knowledge and expertise applicable to the investment and management profession.

CFA Eligibility Criteria

According to the CFA Institute, the following is the minimum required time to acquire the CFA designation:

  • Graduation in any discipline from any recognized institute.
  • Four years, approximately, to complete the program.
  • Six months of preparation for each exam.
  • Over 300+ hours of study time.

The difficulty level of the CFA exam is quite high. There is cut-throat competition for this job. This course is divided into three levels and requires four years of work experience. Being a CFA, you can even work internationally.

Having a CFA institute certification helps one become a member of the global investment network and join a reputable group of elite investment professionals. It also makes the candidate eligible for several investments and related fields.

Scope of CFA

Individuals with CFA certification are immediately hired by big Multi-National Companies such as JPMorgan Chase, Royal Bank of Canada, Morgan Stanley Wealth Management, BofA Securities, HSBC Holdings, Wells Fargo and Company, PricewaterhouseCoopers, BlackRock, TD Bank Financial Group, and more.

Also Read: Scope of Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA) in India

Responsibilities

  • Credit analysis.
  • Coming up with investment strategies and opportunities.
  • Investment banking.
  • Helping and consulting companies with stocks, financial assistance, and money-making investment opportunities.
  • Research and track the financial position of the company or an individual.

CFA – Job Prospects

  • Research Analyst
  • Corporate Financial Analyst
  • Accountant or Auditor
  • Consultant
  • Risk Analyst/Manager
  • Relationship Manager/Account Manager
  • Credit Analyst
  • Portfolio Manager

CFA Average Income:

The average salary of a Chartered Financial Analyst is INR 6.87 Lakhs per annum.

Chartered Accountant (CA)

Chartered Accountancy (CA) is conducted by the Institute of Chartered Accountants of India (ICAI). A chartered accountant, also known as Certified Public Accountant, is a professional accountant working with various accountancy firms or companies related to the same. A CA regulates accounting systems, prepares monthly financial status, files tax returns, and provides consultancy. Most CAs opt for specialization in the auditing and taxation process.

CA Eligibility Criteria

According to ICAI, the eligibility criteria for the Chartered Accountant program are as follows:

For Non-Graduates:

  • Candidates must clear the 10+2 examination from a recognized board/institute.
  • A minimum aggregate of 50% in class 12 examinations.
  • No age restrictions.

For Graduates:

  • A minimum aggregate of 50% for commerce graduates.
  • A minimum aggregate of 60% for non-commerce graduates.

Scope of CA

Being a CA allows you to work as an analyst, auditor, accountant, or consultant in various companies. CA’s can even offer their services in capital markets. CA’s can form their private firms, develop a client base, and offer financial services and taxation help to individuals or join the government, public or private sectors.

CA’s are always in high demand within the manufacturing and financial fields. Most aspirants in the commerce field consider it a very feasible settled career option.

Responsibilities:

  • Head of the accounting department and overlook the duties for the same.
  • Creating and maintaining the accounting systems and processes.
  • Coordinate financial statements.
  • Prepare monthly financial reports.
  • Review and release online banking payments.
  • Ensure compliance with state revenue service.
  • Provide ongoing accounting and reporting support.
  • Manage the full financial process.
  • Prepare an expense budget report.
  • Financing reporting and auditing

CA – Job Prospects

  • Tax Auditing
  • Internal Auditing
  • Public Accounting
  • Forensic Auditing
  • Management Accounting
  • Investment Banker
  • Management Consultant
  • Government Accounting

CA average income:

The average salary of a Chartered Accountant is INR 8.04 Lakhs per annum.

Related Articles:

What To Do After CA?
Salary of a Chartered Accountant in India

CFA vs CA

Both of these certifications have various classifications that are essential to differentiate. CFA has to be a viable option for you if you want to acquire more knowledge and expertise in training in the financial or investment sectors as an analyst.

On the other hand, if you want to better your number-crunching skills, accounting, auditing, and taxation, you must consider CA as your career option. That makes choosing a little simpler to choose between CFA vs CA.

Now, let’s factor in and compare all the differences between CFA and CA.

At a Glance

This table below can help you decipher which job is most compatible with you according to your interest, qualification, and skills.

ComponentsChartered Financial Analyst (CFA)Chartered Accountant (CA)
OrganizationChartered Financial Analyst Institute (CFAI)Institute of Chartered Accountants in India (ICAI)
Academic Qualification Required10+2 ExaminationGraduation
Duration of the courseDivided into three levels, CFA requires a minimum of 4 years of work experience.Divided into three levels, CA requires a minimum of 3 years of work experience.
Exam TypeMCQ paper-based examSubjective paper-based exam
Pass Percentage (Overall)34.6%25.28%
Core AreaFinanceAccounting, Taxation, Audit, Law, Finance
Focus subjectsEthics
Accounting
Fixed Income
Corporate Finance
Equity Investments
Portfolio Management 
Business environment and its concepts Financial Accounting and Reporting
Audit and Attestation Regulations 
Job ScopeInvestment Banking
Portfolio Management
Equity Research
Credit Analyst
Public Accounting
Government Accounting
Management Accounting
Internal Auditing 
Average IncomeFresher: 6 Lakhs
Experienced: 8 – 10 Lakhs
Fresher: 7 Lakhs
Experienced: 10 – 20 Lakhs

You can analyze your choice of CFA vs CA by keeping the above-shared information in mind.

CFA + CA Certifications

You might be confused about CFA vs CA, but what about a combination of both of these degrees? Having a CFA certification along with a CA certificate is also possible. Pursuing CFA after completing CA is considered a deadly combination in the finance domain and will make you stand out among others. This path will certainly open new avenues for you in financing.

Chartered Accountants can easily clear the CFA level 1 exam. That’s one of the advantages of doing CFA after CA, as the syllabus for CA course overlaps with the syllabus of the CFA level 1 exam and is almost similar. A combination of CA+CFA not only broadens your horizon but also helps you understand the financial and auditing field better. You will acquire new skills and a lot of knowledge, which can help you enhance your professional career.

While most finance students are perplexed regarding CFA vs CA, most CA aspirants head towards CFA, as it increases their hiring potential and demand within high-end firms. Companies always prefer individuals with deeper knowledge and expertise in the financial domain.
Hence, the CA+CFA combination automatically makes you a suitable candidate for the position and increases your chances of getting associated with top-tier global companies.

Average Income:

After completing your CA, pursuing a CFA course eventually makes you eligible for a very high raise in your income. A candidate combining CA and CFA can earn an average salary of INR 6-15 Lakhs per annum, which increases with experience.

You can also read our blog on CFA vs MBA.

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Conclusion

In this article, we tried to give you a fair comparison of CFA vs CA to make it easy for you to find the right career path. Both of these certifications carry high credentials and weightage for flourishing jobs in the finance industry. Both require absolute hard work, sincerity, and dedication to get through.

So, now is CFA better than CA or vice versa? No one but you can answer this question for yourself. CFA is a preferred choice by individuals keen on learning the insights of finance and risk management and, hence, investment banking and portfolio management.

At the same time, CA is an ideal choice for students interested in gaining expertise in accountancy, auditing, and taxation. Both of these jobs are very reputed and highly in-demand jobs. CA is more in demand within India, while CFA is the most popular option globally as a professional career.

Accomplishing such great professions as a full-fledged career earns you a lot of recognition and respect along with excellent earnings. The decision of CFA vs CA is now yours to make. You can jot down all your qualifications, skills, knowledge, and work experience and consider the option most feasible and suitable for you.

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