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Professions sans college study

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MAINTAINING STANDARDS: On the campus of the Southern India Regional Council of the Institute of Chartered Accountants of India in Chennai. —
MAINTAINING STANDARDS: On the campus of the Southern India Regional Council of the Institute of Chartered Accountants of India in Chennai. —

We continue to explore higher study options after Plus Two and look at finance-related professions.

There are three finance professions with statutory powers for specific functions. You can choose these without having to attend any regular college. You may take it as an advantage. But some others may feel that studying without attending a college is inconvenient, since you do not have the opportunity to float and flow in the academic stream along with a peer group. That would have helped you to compare regularly your performance and progress with others. When you go for self-study, on the other hand, you work alone without the compulsions of a regular time table in a college. You should therefore have exceptional will to keep away from distractions and focus on your studies.

The fees to be paid are nominal compared to those for professional courses like medicine or engineering in premier institutions. Instruction is mostly in the distance mode. The respective institute will send you study material and guidance. The branch or chapter of the institute may arrange classroom lessons for some of the subjects. But you cannot depend on them exclusively, since oral coaching classes may not be available, especially at the higher levels of the programme.

The three programmes indicated above would help you to become a chartered accountant, a company secretary or a cost and works accountant

One significant merit of training for these professions is that you do not have to undergo any high voltage entrance examination. You can slowly yet steadily work in your own pace and reach a profession of prestige. Normally you would be able to complete the programme in nearly four years after passing the higher secondary examination.

Several candidates register as private students for B.Com. in a university, so that they get the benefit of a degree through simultaneous study. Certain areas of study would be common to the commerce degree and the finance profession of your choice.

Basically, training for the three professions has three stages: Foundation, Intermediate and Final.

There are, however, differences in terminology, which we will see soon. The requirements of practical training for the three professions are different.

Chartered accountant

Chartered accountancy is a profession that offers job opportunities in the areas of accounting; auditing; corporate finance; project evaluation; company and other business laws; taxation; and corporate governance. The Institute of Chartered Accountants of India ( www.icai.org) regulates the profession. It trains students, conducts examinations and grants membership. The steps to become a chartered accountant are the following.

•Enrol with the Institute for Common Proficiency Test (CPT) after passing the 10th standard examination.

•Appear in the CPT after appearing in the higher secondary examination.

•After passing CPT and the higher secondary examination, join the professional competence course (PCC) and articled training, and also register for 100 hours of information technology training.

•Complete 15 months as articled assistant in the office of a chartered accountant and the prescribed IT training, and then appear in the professional competence examination (PCE).

•After passing PCE, register for the Final course. Complete the articled training of three and a half years, and pass the Final examination. May undergo the general management and communication skills course (GMCS) while doing the Final course.

•Enrol for membership.

Subjects of study

•CPT

Fundamentals of accounting; mercantile laws; general economics; and quantitative aptitude

•PCE

Advanced accounting; auditing and assurance; law, ethics and communication; cost accounting and financial management; taxation; and information technology and strategic management

•FINAL

Financial reporting; strategic financial management; advanced auditing and professional ethics; corporate and allied laws; advanced management accounting; information systems control and audit; direct tax laws; and indirect tax laws

Company secretary

The Institute of Company Secretaries of India ( www.icsi.edu) regulates this profession. It imparts training in company secretaryship (CS) mainly through correspondence. There may be oral coaching classes also to help you.

A company secretary is a finance professional who enjoys status, prestige and opportunities for facing challenges in top management. He is an in-house legal expert, and a ‘compliance officer’ of the company

Company secretaries are in great demand in the corporate sector. Companies with a paid up share capital of Rs.2 crore or more should have a fulltime company secretary. If the paid-up share capital is between Rs.10 lakh and Rs.2 crore, the company should engage a company secretary in whole-time practice for the issue of the prescribed Compliance Certificate.

All companies seeking listing on stock exchange are required to appoint a fulltime company secretary. Members of the institute can go in for independent practice. After passing the higher secondary examination, the student should pass through three stages — the foundation, executive and the professional programmes.

Graduates, except those in the fine arts stream, may skip the foundation programme, and start at the executive stage. The professional programme can be taken up after clearing the executive programme.

The student should further undergo management training in companies sponsored by the institute for 15 months, after passing the executive or professional programme. Alternatively, training can be under the guidance of a practicing company secretary. After qualifying in the professional examination and completing the training successfully, the candidate is admitted as an associate member of the ICSI. Admission to the company secretaryship course is open throughout the year.

Subjects of study

•Foundation

English and business communication; economics and statistics; financial accounting; and elements of business laws and management

•Executive

General and commercial laws; company accounts and cost and management accounting; tax laws; company law; economic and labour Laws; securities laws and compliances

•Professional

Company secretarial practice; drafting, appearances and pleadings; financial, treasury and Forex management; corporate restructuring and insolvency; strategic management, alliances and international trade; advanced tax laws and practice; due diligence and corporate compliance management; and governance, business ethics and sustainability.

Guidanceplus archives: http://www.hindu.com/thehindu/nic/0051


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