Career FAQs: Accountancy

What are the skills required to do well in this career?
Accountants are employed by organisations or private clients to audit accounts, provide financial advice and undertake accounts administration.Candidates need to be high on the following skills to do well in this career:
  • self-motivation
  • integrity
  • ability to reflect on one's own work as well as the wider consequences of financial decisions
  • business acumen and interest
  • organisational skills and ability to manage deadlines
  • teamworking ability
  • communication and interpersonal skills
  • proficiency in IT
  • analytical ability
  • a methodical approach and problem-solving skills
  • high level of numeracy
  • What are the various professional paths in this career?
    Chartered Accountant
    As a chartered accountant you'll give advice, audit accounts and provide trustworthy information about financial records. This might involve financial reporting, taxation, auditing, forensic accounting, corporate finance, business recovery and insolvency, or accounting systems and processes.You'll have the choice of many different settings to work in, including public practice firms and industry and commerce, as well as in the not-for-profit and public sectors. Working strategically, your aim will be to maximise profitability on behalf of your client or employer.

    As a chartered accountant, you'll need to:
  • manage financial systems and budgets
  • undertake financial audits (an independent check of an organisation's financial position)
  • provide financial advice
  • liaise with clients (individuals or businesses) and provide financial information and advice
  • review the company's systems and analyse risk
  • perform tests to check financial information and systems
  • advise clients on tax planning (within current legislation to enable them to minimise their tax liability) and tax issues associated with activities such as business acquisitions and mergers
  • maintain accounting records and prepare accounts and management information for small businesses (accountancy)
  • advise clients on business transactions, such as mergers and acquisitions (corporate finance)
  • counsel clients on areas of business improvement, or dealing with insolvency
  • detect and prevent fraud (forensic accounting)
  • manage junior colleagues
  • liaise with internal and external auditors (where applicable) and deal with any financial irregularities as they arise
  • produce reports and recommendations following internal audits or public-sector audits
  • prepare financial statements, including monthly and annual accounts
  • arrange financial management reports, including financial planning and forecasting
  • advise on tax and treasury issues

    Company Secretary:
    Company secretaries are responsible for ensuring that an organisation complies with standard financial and legal practice and maintains high standards of corporate governance. Although, not strictly required to provide legal advice, they must have a thorough understanding of the laws that affect their areas of work.A company secretary, also known as head of governance, holds a strategic position at the heart of governance operations within an organisation and acts as a point of communication between the board of directors and company shareholders - and in some cases an organisation's executive management.

    Chartered public finance accountant
    As a chartered public finance accountant, you'll be responsible for ensuring the effective operation of accounting and financial activities in public sector organisations. It's your job to make sure that public money is being spent properly.Generally, public finance accountants work for public bodies, such as local and central government and publicly-funded organisations, such as charities. Your main duty will be financial reporting and control. Roles in private sector companies that provide services to the public or not-for-profit sector on a consultative basis tend to focus more on reviewing financial systems and efficiency than on central accountancy activities.
  • Which are the top institutes to study accountancy at the graduation level?
    Chartered Accountancy Course is a professional course in accounting introduced in our country in 1949, with the enactment of the Chartered Accountants Act. The Institute of Chartered Accountants of India (ICAI) was formed the same year. This Institute is both an examining and a licensing body. It is the responsibility of the institute to conduct the Chartered accountancy (CA) Course. The course involves a blend of theoretical education and practical training which run concurrently for a period of three years and equips a student with knowledge, ability, skills and other qualities required of a professional accountant. Headquartered in New Delhi, the ICAI has five Regional Councils in Mumbai, Chennai, Kolkata, Kanpur and New Delhi and 117 branches across key locations in the country. The Institute also has 20 Chapters in various overseas locations. Being the governing body, only the ICAI has the power to impart education and train students for the CA programme, grant memberships to successful candidates and certify CAs for practice in India.
    What are the various steps involved in becoming a Chartered Accountant in India?
    To become a CA, the following steps are required:
  • Enrol for Foundation Course after appearing in Class 12thExamination conducted by an examining bodyconstituted by law in India or an examination recognized by the Central Government as equivalent thereto.
  • Complete four months Study Period. Register till 30th June/ 31st December for being eligible to appear inNovember/ May Foundation Course Examination.
  • Appear in Foundation Examination after passing in the Senior Secondary Examination (10+2 examination)conducted by an examining body constituted by law in India or an examination recognised by the CentralGovernment as equivalent thereto. Note: Commerce Graduates/Post-Graduates (55%) or Other Graduates/Post-Graduates (60%) are exempted from the foundation examination an get direct entry into the intermediate course.
  • Join Intermediate Course after passing Foundation Examination.
  • Undergo Four Weeks Integrated Course on Information Technology and Soft skills (ICITSS) consisting ofCourses on Information Technology and Orientation Course at the earliest but these are to be completedcompulsorilybefore commencement of their articleship.
  • Appear in Intermediate Examination on completion of 8months of study course as on first day of the month inwhich theexamination is to be held.
  • Join articled training after passing either of the Group or Both Groups of Intermediate Course and aftersuccessfully undergoing ICITSS.
  • Clear the balance Group (if any) of Intermediate Examination.
  • Register for Final Course.
  • Successfully undergo Four Weeks Advanced Integrated Course on Information Technology and Soft skills(AICITSS) consisting of Courses on Advanced Information Technology and Management Communication Skillsduring the last two years of practical trainingbut before appearing in the Final Examination.
  • Appear in the Final Examination on completion of the practical training or whileserving last 6 months ofarticled training on or before the last day of the month preceding the month in which the examination is to beheldafter successful completion of AICITSS.
  • Complete articled training of 3 years.
  • Pass Final Examination.
  • Enrol as a member of the ICAI and be designated as “Chartered Accountant”
  • What are the prospects in this career?
    Careers in finance and accounts have gained tremendous popularity in the last decade. In accountancy the most prestigious career option is that of a Chartered Accountant. A Chartered Accountant is a person who is accepted as a member of the Institute of Chartered Accountants of India (ICAI) after having passed the Final examination of the chartered accountancy course conducted by the institute.

    Chartered Accountants specialise in accounting, auditing and taxation. They also serve asmanagement and corporate caretakers.Moreover, according to the Company Act only CAs in professional practice are allowed to be appointed as auditors of companies in India.

    Many multinational companies have come forward in the Chartered Accountancy field. ICICI Prudential, Kotak Mahindra, Birla Sun-Life, Tata MG Life, Reliance, HDFC Standard Life, SBI Life, ING Vysya Life, ICICI Lombard, Royal Sundaram, IFFCO Tokio, Tata AIG etc. are some of the top companies in this domain. All Chartered Accountancy companies come under the Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority (IRDA) which is established to regulate, promote and ensure orderly growth of General Chartered Accountancy industry in India.
    Can you give some useful links to explore this career in greater detail?