Career choice

Do the maths: Unending great demand of chartered accountants role in job market

Moumita Chaudhuri
Moumita Chaudhuri
Posted on 23 Apr 2024
08:56 AM


Sanskruti Atul Parolia, 22, is soon going to join an investment bank as a chartered accountant or CA. So will Madhur Jain, who topped the final examination conducted by the Institute of Chartered Accountants of India (ICAI) this year. He is also 22 years old. Both of them come from business families, but neither will be joining the family firm, at least not now. “Jobs are aplenty,” says Madhur, who got his placement through a campus interview.

“There is no dearth of jobs for a chartered accountant (CA),” says Ranjeet Kumar Agarwal, president of ICAI. “Chartered accountants will continue to be relevant as long as there are businesses. Not only have these students got jobs in companies, their pay packages are also quite high,” he adds.

Agarwal was addressing the press on the sidelines of the ICAI All India Managing Committee Members Meet at Calcutta, when he announced that from now on ICAI will hold the Foundation and the Inter examinations for CA — the two preliminary exams — thrice a year instead of twice. This means a student will not have to wait for half a year to appear for an exam if he or she fails to clear it at first go.


A chartered accountant is one who has a certificate from ICAI, a body established by the Chartered Accountant Act of 1949 that is under the administrative control of the Union ministry of corporate affairs. Associate members of the ICAI are entitled to add “CA” after their names once they complete the course. There are 4,00,000 CAs in India and over 8.5 lakh students.

“The three things a CA is expected to do are accounting, taxation and auditing,” says Madhur. He adds, “These are basic requirements of every organisation.” Sanskruti says, “Chartered accountants are required in law, internal and factory audits, and in forensics and banking.”

Who can become a CA?

A student who has done a bachelor’s in commerce with accountancy as a major can choose to take up the course. “But one has to have a lot of patience and perseverance to become an accountant. One has to be very hardworking as well,” says Agarwal. Other than that, accountancy requires you to be competent in mathematics. “Numbers fascinate me and I love juggling with numbers,” says Sanskruti.

The course

Chartered accountancy is a four-and-a-half-year course. A person can appear for the Foundation exam after four months and for the Inter exams after another four months. Students who cannot qualify in either of the two exams on the first attempt can appear again after four months. The chartered accountancy course is very tough and the benchmark for qualifying for the Foundation and the Inter exams are pretty high. Also, ICAI does not provide any offline or online classes for students.

There are eight papers in all and students have to register with private coaching classes. “In my case, I took coaching for each of the eight subjects from eight different teachers. The private coaching classes were online so I had the opportunity to choose people I thought were the best in the field,” says Madhur.


After completing the two basic exams, ICAI encourages students to go for articleship, which is an internship programme by another name. “Articleship has to be done from a practicing CA firm. Without this, a person will not get the CA certificate,” says Agarwal.

Besides learning accounting and auditing, the CA course also trains a person in information technology, soft skills, general management and communication skills.

“While about 600 to 800 MBAs are produced each year, the number of students completing CA courses is four times higher,” says Agarwal. According to him, 25,000 CAs graduate from ICAI every year and all of them find jobs, be it within India or abroad.

“As per our records, this year during campus recruitment the highest salary offered in India was Rs 28 lakh per annum,” says Agarwal and adds, “The salary offered to the person who went abroad was Rs 49 lakh per year.”

In any case, the average salary of a CA fresher is around Rs 12 lakh per annum.


But this is not all. A CA can enhance his skills with further certification after completing his course. One can specialise in GST, income tax, insolvency, forensics, audit, corporate law, banking, and mergers and acquisitions. There are 14 such post-qualification subjects one can take up.

Madhur has enrolled in the Chartered Financial Analyst course. “It is a US-based one-and-a-half-year course with three levels. I have already completed CFA Level 1,” he says.

In the meantime, while ICAI has relaxed its rule and is going to allow students to appear for exams every four months, it is definitely not going to make the course any easier. “Chartered Accountancy is a course that is accepted globally. We cannot compromise on our standards or lower our benchmarks,” says Agarwal.

Last updated on 23 Apr 2024
09:00 AM
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