Almost every commerce student is asked atleast┬á50 times- so are you planning to do CA? And if somehow you say no, people think you are directionless. That’s the story of every commerce undergrad in this country.
Let me begin by saying that I got consumed by this too so let me lay it down for you. CA is basically 4 steps-
1. CPT: This is like an entrance test for getting into the course which is supposed to be given after HSC. Incase you are a graduate, you can skip this step.
2. IPCC: This is the second stage during which you get the true taste of what CA is all about. There are 2 groups, and to begin internship passing the 1st group comprising of law, accounts, costing and financial management is compulsory. The 2nd group comprising of advanced accounts, IT and audit is important to be eligible for CA final.
3. Internship: After passing atleast the 1st group you arrive clueless in a firm and work for about 2.5 years as an articled clerk, while completing courses certified by ICAI side by side. You learn your main work here.
4. Last and the most crucial stage, CA final. CA final is the biggest exam of your life comprising of three groups and passing all is essential. It is one of the toughest exams in the country.
The main key pointers here are, pursue CA only if you are: 1. Good at accounts 2. Seriously interested in becoming a CA. CA is not something you can do in timepass, it requires skills, sincerity and a whole new level of hardwork. If you are good at accounts by all means go for it because this is one of the most knowledgeable and respected fields, not just in India but also outside India.
A lot of people wish to pursue other streams with this. If you manage CA final and are still alive and breathing (just kidding) you can go for law,┬áMBA or study shares. CAs cannot work in shares without the training courses so you will have to study further.┬áCS does not make much sense because even though the study is very similar the work is very different and you can only work as on- CA or CS.
If somewhere along the way you feel that CA is not for you, during IPCC you can pass the 1st group and get the certificate of ‘accounting technician’. This too requires an internship of one year, although it isn’t a very known career line but just adds to your CV in a small way, especially if you are doing BCom on the side, placements might be easier for you.
The demand for CA is just the same as everyone else- it’s existent but a lot of CAs are out there. But if you intern well, the firm may retain you and offer very attractive packages.
On the other hand the experiences┬áyou get with CA are very different. You have to take classes for every stage- IPCC and CA Final classes are indispensable, and the early exposure to work and clients, it teaches you a lot, makes contacts for you and gives even the most boring people, a buzzing social life. As a CA student the most memorable things are your classes, the stress is ofcourse present but you learn to manage it and laugh and joke your way around your worries and soon enough, you handle it too. Office outings, office parties, college life are a few highlights of the life of a CA student.
Not to discourage, but the passing percentage of CA IPCC both groups never exceeds 20% and this was a few years back. Recently the percentage has fallen down to 8%. Even individually, passing per group is around 25%. CA Final on the other hand is even worse, with the most recent passing percentage being 3%. Will this change? Only time will tell. But what you need to take from this is that you cannot take this lightly. A CA is a professional and you don’t become a professional without hardwork and dedication.
There is certainly an uncertainty of whether you will actually emerge as a CA or not and if you will, when it will happen but that is secondary I think, if you are determined. The want to do it and do it well is very important in a course like this, although keeping a backup plan ready will be a very good idea. All you have to do is ask yourself- ready or not?
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