I am studying in Class 12 and registered for the Common Proficiency Test (CPT) of the Chartered Accountancy (CA) course last year. Should I go for coaching to clear the test? Where should I study after that? Is Chennai a good destination? Kindly explain the means to achieve the CA qualification.

AKHIL MATHEW

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Chartered Accountancy is a good higher study option after Plus Two, promising a dream career in accounting, auditing, corporate finance, corporate laws and taxation. Chartered accountants can rise to top managerial positions in public and private companies. They can work as accountants, auditors or management consultants. Multinational companies and public sector undertakings offer high salaries and incentives to experienced chartered accountants.

The chartered accountancy programme involves private study. Postal and classroom coaching is available. The Institute of Chartered Accountants of India (ICAI) provides comprehensive reading material, including a question bank and model test papers.

ICAI

The ICAI, with its headquarters in New Delhi, revamped its scheme of education and training a few years ago.

The institute, the professional statutory body that regulates the chartered accountancy programme and conducts examinations, has branches across the country, including in Thiruvananthapuram (Pound Road, Thycaud), Ernakulam, Thrissur, Kozhikode, Tiruchirapalli, Coimbatore, Bangalore and Hyderabad.

These centres conduct coaching classes and offer guidance to the students and have libraries with good collections of books and study materials.

Chartered accountancy education and training has three stages: the CPT; the Intermediate/Integrated Professional Competence Course (IIPCC); and the final CA course. Dedication and hard work is a must to make the grade.

CPT

Students can enrol with the institute for the entry-level test for the Common Proficiency Course (CPC) after Class 10 and take the test after Plus Two. The course content comprises Accounting, Mercantile Laws, General Economics and Quantitative Aptitude. The registration fee is Rs. 6,000.

The CPT is an objective-type test of 200 marks divided into two sessions of two hours each. Wrong answers carry negative marks. Score at least 50 per cent marks to qualify.

The Board of Studies of the ICAI has prepared a comprehensive study plan, along with model test papers covering all four subjects. Students can take the test after 60 days from the date of registration. Students who have registered for the test before April 1 or October 1 can take it in June or December, respectively.

IIPCC

After passing the CPC, students can register for the IIPCC. The registration fee is Rs. 9,000. This first stage of the Chartered Accountancy curriculum offers a working knowledge of core and allied subjects. Group I subjects cover Accounting, Business Laws, Ethics and Communication, Cost Accounting and Financial Management and Taxation. Group II covers Advanced Accounting, Auditing and Assurance, Information Technology and Strategic Management.

A student can study and appear for the group examinations one by one or both together.

They should complete nine months of course study; a week’s orientation course on topics such as personality development, communication skills, dynamics of professional environment, business environment and general commercial knowledge; and 100 hours of information technology training (fee is Rs. 4,000) before articled training.

On passing Group I, which is equivalent to the accounting technician certification sufficient to be employed as an accounting technician or an accounts assistant, a student can register as an articled assistant for three years. The fee for articled training, important for the CA course, is Rs. 2,000.

Final phase

After clearing the IIPCC examination, register for the final course, paying a fee of Rs. 10,000, and prepare for the final CA examination. Students should compulsorily undergo two general management and communication skills courses of 15 days’ each. The fee required for each course is Rs. 4,000.

On completion of the three-year practical training or while serving the last six months of articled training, the candidate should appear for the final CA examination. The final course has been designed to impart expert knowledge in financial reporting, auditing and professional ethics, taxation, corporate laws, system control, strategic finance and advanced management and accountancy.

The new course consists of groups I and II with eight papers — financial reporting, strategic financial management, advanced management accounting, advanced auditing and professional ethics, information systems control and audit. Those who pass the final examination and complete the general management and communication skills courses are enrolled as a member of the ICAI and designated as chartered accountants.

Students who desire to take the CPT have to register their names online or using an application form available in any of the branches of the ICAI. One can complete the three stages of the course within four years. The expenses may come to around Rs. 47,000.

The ICAI branches in Kerala provide good coaching and study facilities. The Chennai branch is also a good choice.

Complete details of the course may be had from www.icai.org or from the nearest ICAI branches.

Gopakumar Karakonam