There are many career options for aspirants who want expertise in the field of finance, accounting, taxation, business, etc. that offer good pay and better employment opportunities. Out of many courses, CPA (Certified Public Accountant) and CA (Chartered Accountant) designations conferred to qualified accountants.
But, which one is better? Let’s go into detail about both the courses.
Certified Public Accountant (CPA):
A Certified Public Accountant (CPA) is a professional who has passed the Uniform CPA exam administered by AICPA (American Institute of Certified Public Accountants). The designation of CPA enforces good professional standards in the field of accounting. CPAs are experts in US federal income tax, US GAAP, and many other areas of US financial and accounting laws. The CPA certification is respected all over the world, and its US designation certifying the professionals in the US accounting to perform taxation and auditing tasks.
Chartered Accountant (CA):
A Chartered Accountant (CA) is a professional who has passed the CA exam. Many organizations provide an examination for CAs such as the Institute of Chartered Accountants of India (ICAI), the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Scotland (ICAS), the Canadian Institute of Chartered Accountants (CICA), and the Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales (ICAEW).
The Chartered Accountants in Australia, Canada, Ireland, New Zealand, and Mexico have a reciprocity agreement with the U.S. They can work as CPAs in the United States by clearing the equivalent exam. Besides, CAs are experts in international accounting standards and IFRS.
|BASIS FOR COMPARISON||CPA||CA|
|Meaning||It’s an accounting designation given to a qualified accountant in the US.||It’s a degree offered to qualified accountants in India.|
|Course Duration||Within 1 year||Minimum 4 years|
|Governing Body||American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA)||Institute of Chartered Accountants of India|
|Who is Eligible?||Must have 120 credits (150 credits in some states) from a NAAC recognized college to become eligible for the CPA exam.||Students who cleared 10+2 education are eligible to pursue the CA course.|
|Exam Pattern||4 exams||3 levels of exam|
|Exam Testing Windows||4 testing windows: January 1 – March 10 April 1 – June 10 July 1 – September 10 October 1 – December 10||Level 1 – June & December.Level 2 & 3 – May & November.|
CPA Exam Format:
There are four sections in the CPA exam:
- Regulation (REG)
- Auditing and Attestation (AUD)
- Financial Accounting and Reporting (FAR)
- Business Environment and Concepts (BEC)
The AICPA administers the CPA exam. The total duration of the exam is 16 hours (4 hours for each section).
|Section||Section Time||Multiple-Choice Questions||Task-Based Simulations||Written Communication|
Multiple-choice questions vary from being one sentence to paragraph length questions with 4 potential answers. Whereas, the Task-based simulations require the candidates to type in answers, and may include journal entries, research questions, reconciling accounts, filling out a form with multiple questions, or filling out report sections. Written communication tasks test the ability of a candidate through writing; these are essential in the business environment.
CA Exam Format:
There are 3 exam levels in Chartered Accountancy.
- Level-1: CA Foundation
- Level-2: CA Intermediate
- Level-3: CA Final
Level-1: CA Foundation is an entry-level exam for the students who have passed their class-12. It’s an offline mode of exam and 4 months of study is a must to appear for this exam. The candidates who passed this level-1 are allowed for the level-2 (CA Intermediate) exam.
Level-2: CA Intermediate exam of Chartered Accountancy is for the candidates who cleared the CA foundation exam. Besides, the candidates who also qualified for the CA CPT are also eligible for the CA Intermediate exam.
Level-3: CA Final exam is conducted for the candidates who passed the CA Intermediate exam and have completed at least 2.5 years of articled training.
Career Paths: CPA vs CA
Both Certified Public Accountants and Chartered Accountants focus on providing financial services for clients – either large corporations or small businesses. Areas of expertise include financial reporting, taxation, auditing, and business/managerial accounting. Both CPAs and CAs work in the public and private sectors.
The CPA degree paves countless opportunities to work for some of the most renowned companies around the world.
Becoming a CPA can lead to several career options:
Public Accounting: In public accounting firms, CPAs provide services encompassing accounting, auditing, tax, and consulting services for clients of any size. The auditing of financial statements of public and private companies is a highly coveted job.
Business, Government, and Not-for-Profits: In this broad field, CPAs can hold a variety of positions ranging from financial analysts and staff accountants to CFOs. They are responsible for recording, analyzing, and reporting financial information for organizations. Additionally, they perform budgeting and internal auditing functions.
Specialist: CPAs also provide services in specialized areas. CPAs assist organizations by conducting risk assessments as well as analyzing, implementing systems improvements and revisions, in managing their information technology, including the massive amounts of data collected.
Financial Advisor: CPAs also serve as financial advisors to individuals by making informed financial decisions on their behalf to help them, manage their finances related to home purchases, college savings, starting a business, and retirement planning.
The CPA certification paves countless opportunities to work for some of the most renowned companies around the world.
Mentioned below are some of the best jobs in India for a CPA:
- Senior Financial Analyst
- Risk and Compliance Professional
- Corporate Controller
- Accounting Software Developer
- Information technology Accountant
- Personal Financial Advisor
- Finance Director
A Chartered Accountant can pursue a career in the following firms:
- Internal Auditing
- Forensic Auditing
- Tax Auditing
- A career in Accounting and Finance
- Managing Treasury function
- Statutory Audit under applicable statutes
- Taxation Advisory (Both Direct and Indirect)
- Finance Controller, Bookkeeping
When it comes to which course is best between CPA and CA, we can say both are good in their places. If you pursue CPA, you can go through international laws, standards, and principles, whereas if you pursue CA, you will get to know more about Indian standards, accounting laws, and principles. One of the greatest advantages of CPA is that the CPA credential is recognized globally. Hope these detailed insights of CPA and CA help you choose the best course suitable for your career. If you still have any queries, feel free to comment below.
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