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Chartered Accountancy: Most Demanding Career Option

Updated on October 15, 2015
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Chartered accountancy is a very interesting, challenging, rewarding and highly appreciated career. It is a professional degree course that offers a huge scope for the aspirants. Initially constituted in the year 1854, chartered accountants were the first accountants to form a professional accounting body. The title 'Chartered Accountants' has become an internationally recognized professional designation. Today, chartered accountants are demanded in almost every sector including public, private and government organizations. It would be right to say that chartered accountancy is the core of all businesses whether big, medium or small.

With the growing demand for accountants, several students are looking forward to pursuing this career path. According to the statistics, over 1 lakh students appear for the CA exam in any given year. There are over 2.5 million qualified accountants throughout the world including chartered accountants. In a recent TheCityUK's London Employment survey, it has been revealed that the jobs in accounting and management consultancy have grown by 4.7%, which is the biggest increase in the financial and related professional services industry. According to this survey, the accounting and management consultancy jobs accounts for over 36% of all financial jobs in London with around 2,60,500 people employed. On the whole, over 7,20,000 people are employed in financial and professional services in London.

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Who is a chartered accountant?

A Chartered Accountant or CA is a highly qualified professional who has completed the required degree level study along with workplace experience. A person in this position is a member of the national professional accounting body of the country. After becoming a CA, an individual can choose either be employed with a firm as an employee or can choose to set up his/her own independent practice.

These professionals usually work in all areas of business and finance. Audit, taxation, financial and general management, managing accounting systems and processes, company law, business recovery and insolvency are some of the most common working areas of chartered accountants. Moreover, the typical job duties of these professionals include:

  • Day-to-day management and review of company's financial systems and budgets

  • Conducting financial audits on frequent basis to determine the financial position of the company

  • Preparing and maintaining various accounting and financial records

  • Providing financial advice as and when required in regards with budgets, tax planning, acquisitions, business transactions and so on

  • Performing forensic accounting to detect and prevent fraud

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Many companies have come forward in this field with numerous jobs for chartered accountants. In order to make a successful career in this field, candidates are required to have certain set of skills such as communication, reading comprehension, critical thinking, mathematical skills, ability to monitor, time management skills and social perceptiveness. All these skills are essential for becoming a successful professional in chartered accountancy field.

Different types of professional accounting bodies for CAs

Below is the list of countries with the professional accounting bodies for Chartered Accountancy

Australia: The Institute of Chartered Accountants in Australia

Bangladesh: The Institute of Chartered Accountants of Bangladesh (ICAB)

Bermuda: The Institute of Chartered Accountants of Bermuda works with the Canadian Institute of Chartered Accountants and American Institute of Certified Public Accountants

Canada: The Canadian Institute of Chartered Accountants (CICA)

Czech Republic: The Institute of Chartered Accountants of the Czech Republic

European Union: The Mutual Recognition Directive, EEA and Swiss nationals

India: The Institute of Chartered Accountants of India

Ireland: Chartered Accountants Ireland, the Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales and the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Scotland

Nepal: The Institute of Chartered Accountants of Nepal (ICAN)

New Zealand: The New Zealand Institute of Chartered Accountants

Pakistan: The Institute of Chartered Accountants of Pakistan (ICAP)

Singapore: The Institute of Singapore Chartered Accountants (ISCA)

South Africa: South African Institute of Chartered Accountants (SAICA)

Sri Lanka: The Institute of Chartered Accountants of Sri Lanka

United Arab Emirates: United Arab Emirates Chartered Accountant (UAECA)

United Kingdom: the Institute of Chartered Accountants in England & Wales (ICAEW), the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Scotland (ICAS), Chartered Accountants Ireland (CAI)

United States: The Certified Public Accountant (CPA)

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Scope for accountants in various organizations

Accountancy field offers a broad scope for accountants. They can choose to work for a private organization, government agency or for a non-profit firm, depending upon their interest and opportunities available. Additionally, the job responsibilities of private accountants may vary as per the company or industry in which they are employed. Typically, private accountants are involved in:

  • Recording and analyzing the financial information

  • Ensuring that the financial transactions are accurate and current

  • Providing advice and support to other members of the organization

  • Providing suggestions in diverse areas including marketing, strategic planning, product development, operations, finance, etc.

  • These professionals may also require conducting an internal audit to make sure that the accounting records are accurate as per the companies policies.

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Emerging opportunities for Chartered Accountants

Since accounting professionals are always in demand, several new opportunities are emerging in the current times for these professionals to fulfill key roles in assorted areas, such as:

  • Electronic Commerce: Owing to the rapid growth of electronic commerce, various e-commerce platforms such as consumer-to-business (C2B), business-to-business (B2B), Internet services, mobile technology services and many more are emerging in the market. For building and maintaining financial systems integrated into these e-commerce platforms, professional accountants are required. These professionals are high in demand for ensuring that the systems and tools used in electronic commerce meet the demand criteria for data integrity, security, privacy, and reliability.

  • Information Technology: These days, information technology is playing a key role in supporting enormous activities of both the profit-oriented and non-profit organizations. The growing use of IT systems has created assorted opportunities of accountants in various field such as information system design, system development, information system security and control, information systems management, etc.

  • Continuous assurance: The growing demand for timely base information to determine the time between an event and acting upon related information is also leading to the demand of accounting professionals.

  • Risk assessment: In order to effectively manage the risks associated with business, accountants are required. These professionals are required to ensure that identification of business risk is comprehensive and effective mitigations are in place to manage various risks.

  • General Business Management: Accounting professionals are also in demand for general business management purpose in various organizations.

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Challenges for chartered accountants

As various innovations and developments are constantly taking place and inducing change and dynamism in long-standing accounting processes and practices, the accountants are facing numerous challenges to learn new things. In order to remain active in the current situation, it is vital for professionals to learn new ways of doing things. For instance, information technology competency is amongst the biggest challenges for chartered accountants in the current times. Earlier, accountants used to prepare records in manual ledgers and similar mechanized systems. Now, time and technology has changed. In recent times, the growing use of computers and other innovations in telecommunications have resulted in the automation of accounting systems and processes. Thus, it has become essential for accountants to develop their capabilities to use different new IT systems.

Over the years, careers in finance and accounts have gained immense popularity, especially the chartered accountant career has emerged as the most prestigious career option in the recent times. Candidates with required skill set and the right personality for the career must explore this profitable career option. Making a career in this profession can be really rewarding for the competent professionals. Additionally, this is a career that offers respect, prestige, and great prospects along with excellent financial rewards.

Do you have the aptitude and personality to become a CA?

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