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Updated: July 6, 2011 20:38 IST

Q & A: Course and career related queries

GOPAKUMAR KARAKONAM
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Bull run: An emerging economy spews out a surfeit of jobs for finance sector professionals.
Bull run: An emerging economy spews out a surfeit of jobs for finance sector professionals.

Queries on courses and careers can be e-mailed to ep@thehindu.co.in or sent to EducationPlus, The Hindu, Vyttila, Kochi.

Commerce

I have completed Plus Two with commerce, economics, and accountancy as the main subjects. Kindly advise me about suitable options for higher studies. Also let me know the best institutions in India offering degree and postgraduate courses in economics.

GAYATHRI S. E-MAIL

Those who score high marks in Plus Two studying commerce, economics, and accountancy have higher study options in the professional line, such as chartered accountancy, cost and works accountancy, company secretary course, chartered financial analyst course, business administration or management, law, and so on. Commerce and economics are also good options. The choice must be based on aptitude and interest.

Chartered accountancy

The chartered accountancy (CA) course offers a career in the specialised areas of accounting, auditing, corporate finance, laws, and taxation. The Institute of Chartered Accountants of India (ICAI) has revamped its scheme of education and training. Candidates have to register with the Board of Studies of the institute for an entry-level common proficiency test in accounting, mercantile laws, general economics, and quantitative aptitude. The 200-mark objective-type test is held in two two-hour sessions. Wrong answers carry negative marks.

Students can appear for the test after completion of 60 days from the date of registration. After clearing the test, register for the Integrated Professional Competence Course. This is the first stage of the chartered accountancy curriculum, giving a working knowledge of the core and allied subjects. It has two groups. Group I subjects cover accounting, business laws, ethics and communication, company laws, cost accountancy, financial management, and taxation. The students can take the examinations for each group separately or together.

They should successfully complete the nine-month course, a week's orientation course covering personality development, communication skills, office procedure, business environment, and general commercial knowledge, and 100 hours of information technology training before articled training. On clearing the group I examinations, they can register as articled assistant for a three-year training.

A pass in the group I examination is equivalent to the newly introduced accounting technician certificate, which is sufficient to be employed as accounting technician or accounts assistant.

After passing both the groups, register for the final course and prepare for the final CA examinations. The students should compulsorily undergo a 15-day general management and communication skills course. On completion of three-year practical training or while serving the last six months of articled training, the candidate should appear for the final examination.

The final course has been designed to give expert knowledge in financial reporting, auditing and professional ethics, taxation, corporate laws, systems control, and strategic finance and advanced management accountancy.

The final (new) course consists of two groups and covers eight papers, including financial reporting, strategic financial management, advanced management accounting, advanced auditing, professional ethics, and information systems control and audit.

Those who pass the final examination and complete the 15-day course will be enrolled as members of the ICAI and designated chartered accountants. The whole process takes four or five years. Details may be had from www.icai.org or from the ICAI branches.

Cost accountancy

Students aspiring to be a cost accountant should register with the Institute of Cost and Works Accountant of India (ICWAI), a statutory body giving education and training in cost accountancy. There are foundation, intermediate, and final courses. Those who have passed Plus Two or equivalent examinations may register for the foundation course. Those who pass the foundation course or take a degree in any discipline are eligible for admission to the intermediate course. Those who clear the intermediate examination can enrol for the final course. The institute offers postal and classroom coaching.

The ICWAI also offers a one-year certificate course in accounting technician, along with the cost accountancy course. A pass in Plus Two is the entry qualification. Cost accountants have higher study options in management accountancy. Details may be had from www.icwai.org or www.icwaicochin.com or from the institute's chapters, including those at Vellayambalam in Thiruvananthapuram and at Kaloor in Kochi.

Qualified cost accountants get managerial and executive posts in public and private companies. Cost accountants can practise as auditors and take up consultancy assignments.

Company secretary course

The Institute of Company Secretaries of India (ICSI) offers foundation, executive, and professional programmes. Those doing Plus Two or equivalent courses or have passed them may enrol for the eight-month foundation programme covering English and business communication, economics and statistics, financial accounting, and elements of business laws and management. Those who clear the foundation programme and take a degree may register for the executive programme covering general and commercial laws, company accounts, cost and management accounting, tax laws, company laws, economics and labour laws, securities laws, and compliances.

After passing the executive programme, one should undergo a 15-month practical training under a practising company secretary and register for the professional programme covering company secretarial practice, drafting, financial, treasury and forex management, corporate restructuring and insolvency strategic management, alliance and international trade, advanced tax laws and practice, governance, business ethics, and sustainability. Details can be had from www.icsi.edu or the ICSI chapters.

Financial analyst course

The Institute of Chartered Financial Analysts of India (ICFAI) University conducts the Master of Investment and Financial Analysts (MIFA) programme for graduates in any discipline who have scored at least 55 per cent marks. The subjects to be taught include financial accounting, economics, quantitative methods, financial management, financial markets, financial statement analysis, equity analysis and valuation, fixed income securities analysis and valuation, derivatives analysis and valuation, portfolio management, and mutual and other funds. Details may be had from www.icfai.org or www.iutripura.edu.in. Those who pass the course can find jobs in the field of corporate finance, capital market services, sharebroking, investment analysis, and so on.

Business management

Business administration or management is another suitable option. BBA or BBM courses are available at the degree level. After graduation in any discipline, one can go for MBA or postgraduate programme in management. Choose reputable intuitions for doing MBA. The Master of Financial Control course is another option.

Commerce and economics

Many universities and colleges offer undergraduate, postgraduate, and doctoral programmes in economics and commerce. The B.Com. (Hons) course and the BA (Hons) programme in economics are offered by some top colleges under Delhi University such as Shriram College of Commerce, Indraprastha College for Women, Hindu College, Ramjas College, Hansraj College, Kirorimal College, Miranda House College for Women, Lady Shriram College, Sri Venkateswara College.

The cut-off marks for selection is high, sometimes even 100 per cent. Quality education and infrastructure and discipline are the features of these colleges. Bright and intelligent students across the country seek admission to them during May-June every year. Academic excellence and achievement make these institutions the finest for higher learning in social sciences, humanities, and commerce.

St. Stephen's College, Delhi; Loyola College, Madras Christian College, and Presidency College, Chennai; St. Xavier's College, Kolkata; and St. Xavier's College, Mumbai; are some other premier colleges. Those who aim for a Civil Services career prefer these institutions. The Indian Institute of Technology, Madras, offers a five-year integrated Master's course in economics. Selection is through the Humanities and Social Sciences Entrance Examination (HSEE) conducted by the institute. Economics is one of the best social science subjects and those who seriously approach this discipline can become economists or research officers, take up teaching, and opt for a career in the Indian Economic Service or the Indian Administrative Service.

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