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CA or CS - Explained

Both Company Secretary and Chartered Accountants are two very important professionals needed in the corporate world. Chartered Accountant is an expert in accounting in finance , while the Company Secretary is an expert in company law and corporate legal compliances.

In real life world, these two qualifications have considered similar in between but most people are often confused between two. The reality is that these qualifications are often compared as preferable career options for graduates. Before reading this article you need to understand that both CS and CA are premier management professional qualifications with different expertise. Here we are trying to give you some points of differences between the two for you to choose which has to be followed.

Company Secretary

Company Secretaries are management professionals who act as compliance officer and also consultant to the board of directors of companies on management, administration, corporate laws, compliance issues etc. The job more as an advisor to the management, handling situations involving of conflict of interest, related transactions, compliance matters related to financial reports, developing and implementing corporate strategy and execution.

Chartered Accountant

Professionals who minimize risks, losses, maintain accounts of firms, companies with their accounting expertise are called Chartered Accountants. They work across various domains of business such as audit, taxation, investment, finance, budgeting, project execution, financial management etc. which in turn will improve efficiency of the organisation and also profitability.

For the efficient management of complex corporate management the support of Company Secretaries and Chartered Accountants are very important. They use their skills to help the management of the companies for their efficient and smooth functioning.

As professionals their differences can be as follows

1. How to start?

The starting point of both the professions are from commerce back ground, but not compulsory , as a student can commence the course just after plus two of any stream. The main advantage of these two qualifications are pure mathematics have no role to play here. But a basic understanding of mathematics will be of great help for a Chartered Accountant students, but not so in the case of Company secretary course.

Institute of Chartered Accountants of India (ICAI) conducts Chartered Accountant course and Institute of Company Secretaries of India (ICSI) conducts Company Secretary course. Both these institutions are formed under acts of Parliament. ICAI have is origin back before independence but ICSI is formed in 1980 formally.

Process become a Company Secretary (CS)

Following are the steps to become a Company Secretary.

  1. Register for CS Executive Entrance Test(CSEET) which will be conducted four times a year. Any student after completing plus two can register and appear for the entrance test and the registration for executive programme will be available only after successful completion of CSEET.

  2. Start learning executive programme for one year. Attempt the examination for executive. The examinations will be conducted twice in a year.

  3. After completing the executive course the mandatory training need to be started.

  4. The training schedule will be 15 days online and 15 days offline Executive Development programme arranged by ICSI.

  5. After completion of Executive Development Programme, the 21 months training will be started. This training can be done under a practicing company secretary or a company which is recognised by ICSI.

  6. While pursuing the training the student can register for professional programme and attempt the examination.

  7. The final step for qualifying is another one month or two month Corporate Leadership Development Programme arranged by ICSI for sharpening the skills of corporate leader for the students.

  8. In all first attempt case the total duration for the course is three years.

Process to become a Chartered Accountant (CA)

To become a Chartered Accountant, need to go through the following steps:

  1. Register with the Institute of Chartered Accountants of India (ICAI) for foundation programme just after completing XII examinations.

  2. Exemption from Foundation programme will be available for graduates and ICSI/ICWAI intermediate passed students. Commerce graduates need to have 55% marks and other graduates need 60% marks for direct entry to intermediate programme.

  3. After foundation register for Intermediate course.

  4. Undergo four weeks Integrated Course on Information Technology and Soft Skills (ICITSS). It should be completed before starting the practical training.

  5. Appear for Intermediate examination and clear.

  6. Register for mandatory three years practical training.

  7. While undergoing training, the student can register for final exam and can appear for examination during the last 6 months of practical training.

  8. Before writing the final examination complete four months of Advanced ICITSS.

  9. Become a Chartered Accountant.

2. Duration

Both Chartered Accountancy and Company Secretary course have three levels. But if we look into the duration of the course, CS takes around three years to complete but Chartered Accountancy take five years to complete. Note that the duration calculated as training and study done simultaneously.

3. Subjects

The subjects you will study as part of a Chartered Accountancy course will focus on domains such as Accounting, Banking, Finance, Taxation, etc.

Some subjects include:

  1. Fundamentals of Accounting

  2. Cost Accounting and Financial Management

  3. Auditing and Assurance

  4. Management Accounting and Financial Analysis

  5. Direct Taxes

  6. Indirect Taxes

  7. Corporate laws. Strategic management.

As Company Secretary course is focused more on legal curriculum, the papers are more focused on law. This will help the CS to become and expert of Corporate Law. Subjects include.

  1. Basic Economics and Business Environment Economic laws

  2. General and Commercial Laws

  3. Tax Laws

  4. Company Law

  5. Economic Labour and Industrial Laws

  6. Company incorporation and closure

  7. Arbitration  and Conciliation laws.

4. Nature of Work

Company Secretaries help the management of an organisation to conduct different statutory and non statutory meetings for the efficient conduct of the business. CS will be responsible for all types of compliance related activities of the company. Company Secretaries organize and prepare agendas to oversee policies, maintain statutory books, deal with correspondence, collate information, write reports, advise members on the legal, governance, accounting and tax implications of proposed policies.

On the other hand, Chartered Accountants are finance and accounts people who takes care of financial management of the organisation. They calculate taxes; prepare tax returns, review account books and accounting systems, conducts different types of statutory and non statutory audits for efficiency and use of accepted accounting procedures. They assess financial operations and make best-practices recommendations to management, suggest ways to reduce costs, enhance revenues, and improve profits. Chartered Accountants helps the management to reduce risk issues, improve strategic management, planning and execution of budgets etc.

5. Workplaces

Company Secretaries have the option of joining corporate sectors as they assimilate and maintain corporate laws, governance, administration, board and shareholders meetings, etc. Company Secretaries can also practice along with other professionals, take academic assignments, consultancy assignments etc. The Companies Act, 2013 stipulates that the appointment of a Company Secretary is compulsory for a company with a paid up capital of more than 10 crores.

In the same way the appointment of Chartered Accountant is mandated by law and they have much more diversified options for selecting a workplace. They also can take employment assignments, independent practices or any other areas as approved by ICAI.

We can now understand that both CA and CS are very important and premier management courses with lot of opportunities, but dedication with planning is required to complete the course. They get elevated to enviable stature in corporate world.

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