Chartered Accountancy (CA), Cost and Works Accountancy (ICWA) and Company Secretaryship (CS) are some of the most suitable higher study options for commerce students.

All these programmes involve private study. Postal and oral coaching classes are available. One can simultaneously study the foundation and intermediate courses while doing regular degree programmes in colleges.

The Institute of Cost and Works Accountants of India (ICWAI) is a statutory regulatory body that imparts cost and works accountancy education and conducts examinations. There are three stages prior to qualifying for the ICWAI membership: foundation, intermediate and final examinations.

Foundation

Those who are above 17 years of age and have passed or appeared for 10+2 or equivalent examinations are eligible to enrol for the foundation course. Foundation examinations are held twice a year — in June and December. For the June examination, one should register with ICWAI before December 17 of the previous year, and for the December examination, before June 25. Prospectus and application form can be either obtained from the ICWAI chapters or from the Regional Council Offices. Address: Southern India Regional Council, Egmore, Chennai-600 008, Ph: 044-28554443, 28554326, website. www.sircoficwai.com. Students belonging to Kerala, Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, Pondicherry and Lakshadweep should register with the Southern India Regional Council.

Coaching

Oral and postal coaching will be arranged by the ICWAI for the students. Fee for oral coaching for the foundation course is Rs. 3,750 (Rs. 3,500 for postal coaching).

Subjects for the foundation course are as follows: organisation and management fundamentals; accounting; economics business fundamentals; business mathematics and statistics. Students must get a minimum of 40 per cent of the total marks in each paper and an aggregate of 50 per cent of the total marks to qualify the foundation course.

Intermediate

The next stage is to register for the intermediate course. Besides those who are qualified in the foundation course, graduates in any discipline including commerce are also eligible to go for the intermediate course.

Registration fee should be remitted along with the duly filled-in applications.

Deadline

A registered student has to pass the intermediate and final examinations of the institute within seven years from the date of registration, failing which the registration shall be cancelled.

The council also provides postal tuition for the applicants. The fee for the intermediate course is as follows: Cost of prospectus and application form - Rs. 200 (prospectus is common, containing information on foundation, intermediate and final examinations), students’ registration fee - Rs. 500, student practical training fee - Rs.1,000, postal tuition fee including study materials - Rs.7,000, oral coaching fee including study materials - Rs.11,000, examination fee per stage or group - Rs.700 and fee for computer hands-on training - Rs. 6,000.

The fee will be revised from time to time.

Two groups

The intermediate course consists of two groups with six papers.

After successful completion of the intermediate examination, one should undergo compulsory industrial training at least for one year. He/she is also required to complete the compulsory computer training.

Those who have obtained ‘A’ level certificate of DOEACC or PGDCA or MCA certificate will be exempted from the computer training.

The industrial training of 12 months covers the following areas: orientation of the organisation, cost and management accountancy, financial account and management accounting general office services.

Final

No one shall be admitted to the final examination unless they have qualified the intermediate examination and got their registration numbers from the ICWAI. Registration form for the final examination is available at the ICWAI chapters. In the final exam stage, Coaching Completion Certificate (CCC) should be obtained.

The student is required to submit a dissertation under the guidance of a person having FICWA or FCA or FCS, university professor or associate professor. The fee for the final examination comprises: postal tuition fee (including study materials) Rs. 9,000, oral coaching fee Rs. 14,000, examination fee per stage or group Rs. 800 and modular training fee Rs. 2,000.

Final syllabus covers capital market analysis and corporate laws, financial management and international finance, management accounting, strategic management, indirect and direct tax management, management accounting - enterprise performance management, advanced financial accounting and reporting, cost audit and operational audit and ethics, business valuation management. Those who pass the final examination get the graduate membership. Those who gather one-year experience are eligible to get associate membership, and after three years’ experience, become a fellow of the Institute (FICWAI).

Career prospects

Many members of the institute are holding positions like managing director, finance controller, chief accountant, cost controller, marketing manager and chief internal auditor. Some of them run successful businesses. Many offer cost consultancy services and teach cost and management accountancy in colleges.

Cost accountancy qualification has also been recognised by the academic councils of many universities in India for the purpose of admission to Ph.D. courses in commerce. Bachelor’s degree holders who have ICWAI qualification are eligible for registration for M.Phil. and Ph.D. in commerce and allied disciplines.

The All-India Council for Technical Education (AICTE) treats fellow members of the institute on a par with Ph.D. holders in so far as appointment of lecturers and professors in professional or management institutes is concerned.

GOPAKUMAR KARAKONAM