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What is a Chartered Accountant (CA)?

Is your current pursuit to reach your career goal of becoming a CA? CA is one of the highly regarded professions in India and as a high school student, you may be unaware of where to start to reach your goal of becoming a CA professional. You can consider this blog your guiding journal and thus, to guide you on the right path, we will break up all the information into condensed parts so that it will be easy for you to ingest it.

What is Chartered Accountancy (CA)?

Chartered Accountancy (CA), commonly known as Accountancy, is a professional field more suitable for Finance aspirants, who generally like to deal with Money Management. The field is an advanced study of complex financial management related to financial accounts, budgeting, auditing, business strategy and payment transactions. Chartered Accountancy is the most-loved professional field by numerous Indian students, as studying it places them in the zenith of the financial field, which is acquiring or earning the role of a Chartered Accountant.

What is the industry definition of the role of a - Chartered Accountant?

A Chartered Accountant is a finance professional who assists business firms, individuals or governments in handling their money vigilantly. They provide expert advice on meticulously handling their hard-earned money to ensure they don't get dried out on money during their essential and critical period. Besides giving expert advice, they also guide them to manage their capital funds and invest them in the right policies.

A Chartered Accountant can be a full-time working professional for a firm, government or an individual and can also be a freelancing employee assisting people as and when they require.

Why should one give the Chartered Accountancy Exam in India?

  • Giving the CA exam makes you fully comprehend the finance field and the CA profession. Since you will be learning all the necessary concepts of finance and implementing them during Articleship, you will be efficient and attain the expertise in handling the finances of others.
  • Passing the CA exam can help you continue your profession in abroad countries like Australia, Bahrain, Canada, Djibouti, Dubai, Ireland and the UK. The benefit also indicates that you don't have to give another exam to get a licence to work as a CA in the above-mentioned countries.
  • Passing the CA exam also makes you eligible to become an Entrepreneur, managing your business and finance single-handedly without any other professional assistance.
  • Being a CA, you can choose the core service you want to provide others. It can be Budgeting, Auditing, Taxation or providing Business Strategies to others.
  • Since you are aware of the pulse of the country's economy, your work/service has much demand in various industries and you also will be paid well for it.

Getting Aware of the Roles and Responsibilities of a Chartered Accountant (CA)

Roles of a CA:

  • A CA dedicatedly aids Businesses, Individuals and Governments in keeping track of their finances.
  • He/she will work towards the growth of the country's economy by taking part in country's financial and economical-related actions.
  • The professional is also responsible for performing various functions such as tax planning, budget forecasting, financing and developing book of accounts.
  • With the implementation of the GST, the work and contribution of a CA towards any person's financial growth has grown tremendously.
  • The professional's skills can be exploited to the fullest after applying the GST.

Responsibilities:

  • Communicating or connecting with clients, individuals and businesses.
  • Advising clients on areas of financial improvement.
  • Supervising junior colleagues.
  • Preparing and submitting reports and recommendations following the audits.
  • Creating financial statements for monthly and annual accounts.
  • Conferring terms with suppliers.
  • Preparing bills (Invoicing).

Do you know the Professional Fields where a CA can Work?

  • Businesses and Industries
  • Chartered Accountant Firms
  • Consultancy Firms
  • Institutions (Educational, IT, Bank, Tax and Audit, etc.)
  • Capital Markets
  • Financial Institutions
  • Independent and Private Practice

A Brief on the Institute of Chartered Accountants of India (ICAI)

The ICAI - Institute of Chartered Accountants of India is the regulating and authorising body of the CA exam. The ICAI conducts the CA exam for CA aspirants twice a year - in May and November. The question papers are set in a way that tests the students' core financial knowledge, assessing their competency and capacity to work as a Chartered Accountant in an unsupervised and professional environment.

Let us now explore the complete CA Course Details to understand the process of registering for the exams, attending and clearing them. More information is given about the question papers asked in the exams and the weightage of marks allotted to them.

The Path to Become a Chartered Accountant (CA) in India

The pathway established by the ICAI to make students reach their goal of becoming a CA is clear and precise. The governing body has categorised two different paths for students. One is the CA Foundation Path and the other is CA Intermediate Path or the Direct Path.

CA Foundation Path

CA Foundation Path is allocated for students who have just completed their higher education till Class XII and to attend the CA Foundation Path exam; students must have passed their XIIth final exam. Students choosing this Path must clear all the three levels of the CA exam. 

They are: -

  • Level - 1: CA Foundation
  • Level - 2: CA Intermediate
  • Level - 3: CA Final

CA Intermediate or Direct Path

CA Intermediate Path or Direct Path is exclusively for i) students who completed their graduation or postgraduation in Commerce or other streams, ii) students who cleared the Company Secretary (CS) Executive exam conducted by the Institute of Company Secretaries of India (ICSI) and iii) students who have cleared the Certified Management Accountant (CMA) exam conducted by the Institute of Cost Accountants of India also known as Institute of Cost & Work Accountants of India (ICWAI).

Commerce graduates must score an average of 55% to be eligible to attend the CA exam and non-commerce graduates must score an aggregate of 65% overall to sit for the same.

This Path only has two levels and is enough if students pass only these two levels.

  • Level - 2: CA Intermediate
  • Level - 3: CA Final

The CA Foundation Path for Students Passed their Class XII

As we saw above, the Foundation Path has three levels (CA Foundation, CA Intermediate and CA Final) which are mandatory for Class XIIth students to clear them all.

ICAI has mandated that, every student must clear a level to move into another. For instance, if a student fails in a level, he/she will not be eligible to move to the next. The particular candidate must re-sit for the exam, clear it and only then has the eligibility to sit for the next level exam.

The CA Foundation Path has a series of courses and exams, which students must study and clear in order to successfully complete this path to become a CA professional.

We are providing the series of steps to be followed in order to progress to the next step and conclude the CA Foundation Path.

  • STEP - 1: Register for the CA Foundation Course after completing your Class XII in the ICAI Board of Studies (BoS).
  • STEP - 2: Complete the four-month study period, studying the main four papers of the CA Foundation exam.
  • STEP - 3: Appear for the CA Foundation exam and clear all the 4 papers.
Completing all three steps means that you are through Level - 1, the CA Foundation.

  • STEP - 4: Register for the CA Intermediate Course in the same ICAI Board of Studies.
  • STEP - 5: Study for 4 weeks, the Integrated Course on Information Technology and Soft Skills (ICITSS).
  • STEP - 6: Study for the CA Intermediate Course papers, which are totally 8, for 8 months.
  • STEP -7: There are two groups in CA Intermediate, each group containing 4 papers. Clear a part of the group, i.e., 4 papers, to move to the next step.
  • STEP - 8: Register for the Articleship (Practical training) for three years in the ICAI BoS.
  • STEP - 9: Clear the group 2 of the CA Intermediate exam, which has another 4 papers.
Completing until step 9 reveals that you are through the Level - 2, the CA Intermediate.

  • STEP - 10: Register for the CA Final exam in the ICAI BoS.
  • STEP - 11: Start your Articleship, through which you will gain practical skills and learn to implement your theoretical knowledge in a professional environment like firms, institutions, industries, etc. The time period of the Articleship (Practical training) is 3 years, which is mandatory and part of the CA exam. During your Articleship, you will also be learning Advanced Integrated Course on Information Technology and Soft Skills (AICITSS) for 4 weeks.
  • STEP - 12: After completing your Articleship or during the last 6 months of it, attend the CA Final exam and clear it.
  • STEP - 13: If you are taking the CA Final exam during the last months of your Articleship, remember to complete it after giving your exam.
  • STEP - 14: On successful clearance of all the 8 papers in the CA Final exam, register yourself as a member at ICAI to be designated as a qualified and professional Chartered Accountant.

Completing until step 14 declares that you are through Level - 3, the CA Final.

In other words, clearing all the 20 papers of all three levels in a single attempt reflects that you are officially and legally a certified Chartered Accountant of India and can rightfully practice your profession in any firm in the country.

Read More: CA Course Details After 12th

CA Intermediate Path or Direct Path for Commerce and Non-Commerce Graduates and Post Graduates

The CA Intermediate Path or Direct Path follows the same path included in the CA Foundation Path but from the Step - 4. Since graduates and post-graduates are taking the exam, they are exempted from the Level - 1, which is the CA Foundation. As we saw above, CA Intermediate Path has only two levels, the CA Intermediate and CA Final. Let us see the steps involved in completing the Path and becoming a CA professional.

The following steps must be accomplished in the given order to reach the CA Final exam and work as a Chartered Accountant in India.

  • STEP - 1: Register for the CA Intermediate Course in the ICAI BoS.
  • STEP - 2: Study for 4 weeks, the Integrated Course on Information Technology and Soft Skills (ICITSS).
  • STEP - 3: Study for 9 months the CA Intermediate Course papers, which are a total of 8.
  • STEP - 4: Clear one group of the CA Intermediate exam, that is, 4 papers.
  • STEP - 5: Register for the Articleship.
  • STEP - 6: Give the group 2 exam of the CA Intermediate exam, which are the another 4 papers and clear it.

Completing till Step - 6 means that you are through the Level - 1 of the CA Intermediate or Direct Path, which is the CA Intermediate.

  • STEP - 7: Register for the CA Final Course.
  • STEP - 8: Start your Articleship through which you will indulge in practical learning under a practising CA in a firm and get a stipend. The study period of Articleship is 3 years which is mandatory to appear for the CA Final exam. As a part of your Articleship, you will study for 4 weeks the Advanced Integrated Course on Information Technology and Soft Skills (AICITSS).
  • STEP - 9: On completing your Articleship or during the last 6 months of it, appear for the CA Final exam and clear it.
  • STEP - 10: If you chose to give your CA Final exam during the last 6 months of your Articleship, remember to conclude your Articleship after giving the exam.
  • STEP - 11: On successful clearance of the CA Final exam, register yourself as a member at ICAI to be employed as a professional Chartered Accountant.

Completing till the Step - 11 officially demonstrates that you are through the Level - 2, the final level of the CA Intermediate Path and ready to be hired or start your career as a licensed Chartered Accountant in India.

Are Indian Students living Abroad eligible to give the CA Exam?

Yes, but the options are very limited. The ICAI has established only four exam centres in abroad cities, which are Abu Dhabi and Dubai (UAE), Kathmandu (Nepal) and Muscat (OMAN).

Being a foreign national, can I attend the CA exam in India?

No. Being a foreign national, you cannot attend the CA exam unless you have Indian Citizenship and an Indian passport.

Exam Fees, Registration Time, Validity of Registration Time, Question Format and Other Imperative Details of the CA Exam - Latest Update of 2023

Exam Level

Registration Time

Validity of the Registration

Exam Fees

Question format

Negative Marking

Medium of Exam

CA Foundation

For May 2023 exam - the last date to register - January 1, 2023

For November 2023 exam - the last date to register - July 1, 2023.



3 Years

3 Years

₹ 9,800

₹ 9,800

Paper 1 & 2 - Subjective Type Questions

Paper 3 & 4 - Objective Type Questions

For Subjective questions - No Negative Marking

For Objective questions - ⅓ mark is deducted



Both English & Hindi

CA Intermediate

For May 2023 exam - the last date to register - September 1, 2022

For November 2023 exam - the last date to register -  March, 2023 

4 Years

4 Years

₹ 13,000

₹ 13,000

Paper 1 & 2 - Subjective type questions

Paper 3 & 4 - Objective type questions

No Negative Marking in the entire eight papers

Both English & Hindi

CA Final

For May 2023 exam - the last date to register - January 1, 2023

For November 2023 exam - the last date to register - July 1, 2023

5 Years

5 Years

₹ 22,000

₹ 22,000

Each question has two parts. 

The first part has an MCQ question for 10 marks. 

The next part has subjective-type questions in the form of case studies.

For subjective type questions - No Negtaive Marking.

For Objective type questions - 25% deduction 

Both English & Hindi

Get to Know the Other must-know facts about the CA Exam:

  • CA Foundation Course was earlier known as Common Proficiency Test (CPT). This term is still used in some places to indicate the CA Foundation Course or Level - 1.
  • CA Intermediate course was formerly known as Integrated Professional Competence Course (IPCC).
  • During Articleship, students are given permission to study only one additional course outside of ICAI's authorised courses.
  • To study this additional course, students must fill the form 112.
  • Graduates and Post-graduates of Commerce and Non-commerce stream must complete 35 hours of Orientation Programme and 100 hours of Information Technology Training (ITT) at any ICAI branch before starting their Articleship.
  • Out of the three years of Articleship, students must spend 2 years of their study period under a practising CA and another 1 year under a professional CA, called Industrial Training.
  • On an average, the time taken for an ordinary candidate to become a CA is 6 to 7 years.

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