The Journey of Completing CA Course : CA Foundation to CA Final

Ultimate guide on becoming Chartered Accountant in India

In this article, we have covered the entire journey of how to complete a CA course – the challenges faced, tips and tricks required to crack exams, fee structure, Articleship struggles, and ultimately attempting CA final exams.

CA course in india

Chartered Accountancy is one of the most challenging courses in the world, and one of the most rewarding careers of all time. Yet, many of us leave this course in the middle.

CA Course Duration

  • Many people ask, how many years it takes to become a Chartered Accountant in India.  The entire journey of prefixing CA in front of your name takes at least 4.5-5 years in India.
  • There is a common myth that becoming a CA in India is extremely difficult and takes a very long time. It depends upon the number of attempts you take.
  • Students who prepare for the exam with proper strategies are able to clear the exam on the first attempt.
  • Students who even after witnessing the failure in exams do not change their techniques and strategies are stuck in the CA course.

CA Foundation course – Eligibility, Direct Entry, Syllabus & FAQ’s

  • The first step to becoming a Chartered Accountant in India is to appear for CA Foundation, earlier it was Common Proficiency Test (CPT) an OMR-based exam of 200 marks but now the ICAI has started conducting the CA Foundation exam. Students can online register for the CA Foundation exam.
  • The registration for the CA foundation course is valid for three years and can be re-validated any number of times for a further three years by paying revalidation fees of Rs. 300.

Direct entry in CA course

  • Students who commence the Chartered Accountancy Course through the direct route are not required to appear for CA foundation exams.
  • They can directly appear for CA intermediate exams but some guidelines have been prescribed by ICAI for direct entry students. The guidelines are prescribed below.

Direct Entry Students who register for the intermediate course on or after 2nd February 2013

  • Students need to enroll for Orientation(OP)  and Information Technology Training(ITT) after submission of the registration form for the Intermediate Course and need to complete (OP) and ITT before starting practical training.
  • They are required to complete 9 months of practical training on the 1st day of the month in which the examination is to be held.
  • Students registered for the course on or after 2nd February 2013 are eligible to appear in the Intermediate (IPC) Examination to be held from May 2014 or onwards.
  • Students who have registered before 2nd February 2013 can click here.

How many subjects are there in the CA foundation?

Currently, there are four subjects in the CA foundation exam which are as follows.

  • Principles and Practices of Accounting.

The core subject of Chartered Accountancy is accountancy and students need to have a stronghold over accounting concepts to clear the exams. Science students need to take coaching on Accounting as the syllabus is quite vast.

  • Mercantile Laws and General English

The second subject is Mercantile Law which is equally new for the Commerce as well as Science students.

The subject revolves around general laws like the Indian Contract Act, Partnership Act, and Sales of goods act and is one of the easiest subjects if understood well.

While the syllabus of General English is quite similar to high school English.

  • Business Mathematics and Logical Reasoning & Statistics

The third subject comes is “Business Mathematics, Logical Reasoning and Statistics”. Science students have the upper hand over commerce students in this subject as science students possess deeper knowledge with respect to mathematics and statistics as compared to commerce students.

  • Business Economics and Business and Commercial knowledge

The fourth and the last subject “Business Economics and Business and Commercial Knowledge”. The subject consists of two sections

The first section is Business Economics and the second one is Business and Commercial Knowledge. The syllabus of Business Economics and Business and Commercial Knowledge is similar to that of Class 11th and 12th.

This subject can fetch you more marks because this is the subject that you will able to comprehend easily and relates to day to day life.

CA Intermediate course – Eligibility, Registration, Syllabus & How to clear

Moving on to the next level in CA Course. Congratulations to all the students who cleared the CA Foundation on the first attempt and those who didn’t should focus on the next attempt without wasting any time. You can check out our article on How to come back after failure in CA exams?

After clearing the CA foundation my personal advice is not to become overconfident and start planning for CA intermediate/IPCC.

CA Intermediate registration process and fees

CA Intermediate registration is to be done by submitting an online form on the Institute of Chartered Accountant of India website.

Step by Step Guide for Registration Form

  • The first step is to fill in the required information in the fields mentioned in the form.
  • The second step involves the payment of fees is to be done after filling the entire form. After the payment has been made, the system will automatically generate the confirmation form, which the student needs to get printed.
  • And the third step is to within 7 days of the date of online registration, submit the registration confirmation form along with the following documents to the concerned Regional Office in consonance with the address, duly signed by the student.

Documents required for CA Intermediate registration

  • Demand Draft/Pay Order towards Intermediate (IPC) Course registration fee. The registration fee is Rs. 9,000 for both groups and the Articleship registration fee is Rs. 2,000. (If online payment not made)
  • Submit a certified copy of the mark sheet of Class 12th or its equivalent Central Government acknowledged examination pass marks statement.
  • A copy of CPT/CA Foundation Pass marks statement, if applicable (Students are advised not to wait for CPT/CA Foundation marks statement from Examination division for registration to Intermediate (IPC) Course but proceed for Intermediate (IPC) Course registration with a copy of downloaded CPT mark statement).
  • Candidates who have opted via Direct Entry Scheme have to submit a certified copy of Graduation/ Post Graduation mark statements/mark sheet of Intermediate level examination of the Institute of Company Secretaries of India or the Institute of Cost Accountants of India.
  • The recent color photograph should be attached to the printed online successful registration confirmation form.
  • In the case of foreign students, a copy of their nationality proof has to be sent along with other documents.
  • An attested copy of proof of special category certificate of SC/ST, OBC, and differently able students.

Intermediate registration is valid for 4 years and can be re-validated any number of times for a further 4 years period by paying a revalidation fee of Rs.400/- or as decided by the Council from time to time.

How many subjects are there in CA Intermediate?

The subjects covered in Group 1 are as follows for New Syllabus students.

  • Paper-1: Accounting (100 Marks)
  • Paper-2: Corporate Laws & Other Laws (100 Marks). Paper 2 contains Company Law for 60 marks and Other Laws for 40 marks.
  • Paper-3: Cost and Management Accounting (100 Marks)
  • Paper-4: Taxation (100 Marks). Paper 4 contains Income-tax for 60 marks and Indirect taxes for 40 marks.

The subjects covered in Group 2 are as follows

  • Paper-5: Advanced Accounting (100 Marks)
  • Paper-6: Auditing and Assurance (100 Marks)
  • Paper-7: Enterprise Information Systems & Strategic Management (100 Marks). Paper 7 contains Enterprise Information system for 50 marks and equivalent marks for Strategic Management.
  • Paper-8: Financial Management & Economics for Finance (100 Marks). Paper 8 contains Financial Management for 60 marks and Economies for finance for 40 marks.

How to prepare for CA Inter both groups?

The most important thing to understand about CA exams is not B.Com exams. They require a lot of dedication and planning and execution. Without planning and consistency, you will not be able to clear the exams.

To clear CA Inter exams in one go, these points will surely help you.

  • Be a first mover

Start off early and prepare a plan. Give yourself the full 9 months to read through, understand, and embed all the key concepts in your head. This will save you a lot of time for revision and try to complete your coaching as early as possible.

  • Build concepts and develop an understanding of the subjects

ICAI is not looking to pass everyone. They are only looking to pass those who absolutely deserve it.

To prove that you do, in fact, deserve the title of CA, you’ll have to demonstrate that your concepts and foundations are rock solid.

Don’t be ashamed to go back to your CA foundation Mercantile Lawbook to brush up your concepts or even your first 11th accounts books to relearn fundamentals that you feel you’re not quite up to the mark.

  • Consistency

I repeat and repeat consistency is the key to ace CA examination whether final or Intermediate.

You will not be able to remember the taxation subject if you do not read it on a daily basis. A consistent person always wins. Remember this.

  • Make a timetable

Allocation of time is very important as students try to make the best use of time but are unable to allocate time in the long term. So a timetable is necessary.

  • Difficult but not impossible

Societal expectations, parent’s pressure build tremendous pressure on students, and students sometimes lose all the hopes. This is the biggest mistake done by students.

Remember one thing, all the chartered accountants were once students and were no smarter than you.

  • Motivation

Is CA something you really want to do? Then you’ll be adequately motivated. Is CA something you’re doing just so you’ll be better off when pursuing other goals in life? Use the other goals to motivate yourself to complete CA.

  • Execution

The most important thing is execution, if you are just planning and planning and not executing then you are committing a blunder by fooling yourself.

Maintain your health, because your health is going to play an important role in clearing the exam. Those exam days require continuous efforts and good health will help you to execute the laid plans.

All you need to know about CA Articleship

The next stage is not exams rather a practical experience. What a CA actually do?

After clearing CA intermediate exams, students are left perplexed by Orientation faculties and several questions pop up in our minds like

  • How can I become a learned CA with a secured future? 

  • What should I prefer Generalization or Specialization?

  • How should I find a firm which considers employees as assets, not just machines?

  • What if I joined a midsize firm and I learned nothing or the boss exploited me? 

These things must be discussed prior to commencing training in any firm. Remember, your practical training plays a big role and builds your professional character for your life.

How to clear CA final exams on the first attempt?

People have done it before and determined people will do it in the future also. After intense research and experiences of qualified Chartered Accountants, this post has been written and all the guidelines to clear CA Final Exams in the first attempt have been shared.

  •  Motivation

You will have to be really determined and ready to sacrifice a lot. A daily motivation dose will be necessary.

It is difficult for the students to get time for studies during articles but sheer hard work and motivation will bring positive results.

  •  Planning

Make a realistic plan and stick to it. No need to underestimate the mammoth syllabus of the CA final.

Dividing the subjects and allocating time after taking into your account, your capabilities and office working hours, the plan should be made. Planning is easy but executing it without deviating from it is a difficult task.

  • Avoid Distractions

Avoid social media and other things that are the source of distraction, you better know,5 months before the exam. This will help you to save a lot of time and develop your ability to stay focused. Or you possess the thunderous ability to divert your focus from other things to studies instantaneously.

ICAI libraries can be joined during this time. A study partner, a person who challenges you and tries to bring the best in you, that person can ease the path for you.

  •  Cover whole syllabus

Don’t be one who depends upon luck to clear the exams. Complete the whole syllabus and do not skip important topics.

ICAI doesn’t follow any trends in examinations and you can see unexpected questions in the exam.

  • Study Material and Practice Manuals

Students are often misguided by the coaching teachers to read their reference material before the exam. Reading ICAI material is necessary, there is no substitute for it.

Practice mock tests but do not become the victim of mock tests, they do not reflect the real story.

  • Presentation and Keywords

Charts and Headings are necessary for ISCA, Standards on Auditing(SA’s) are necessary for Audit.

Your handwriting matters a lot in the CA examination.

  • Handwritten Notes

Prepare your own notes that will be revision material for you to prepare just before the exams.

When you are going to read them, you will feel that you have read them before and memorize the keywords automatically.

  •  A day before the examination day

One day leave is granted before the exam day, efficient utilization of time and resources, and proper planning of that day is required.

Allocate the time as per the size of the topic and try to revise the whole syllabus.

  • During the exam

Students get terrified after looking at a difficult exam. Many qualify Chartered Accountants share their experience as the difficult the exam is, the easier is the checking is, and vice versa.

ICAI is testing your mental capabilities, whether you are able to face the aftermath of difficult exams. Be patient and don’t leave the next exam.

FAQ on CA course and CA Articleship

A Science student can become a Chartered Accountant in India. There are a lot of students who have shifted from a science background to a commerce background and have successfully completed CA/CS/CMA.

Students who took Maths as a compulsory subject have an edger over non maths students. Non-Maths students can prepare statistics and some easy topics and appear for the CPT exam.

In CA Intermediate and CA Final, no subject is linked with Mathematics of high school.

It is advisable for the students who want to do a job in the future must go for Specialization and students who want to start Practice in the future should opt for Generalization.

This choice is also impacted by the firm, some firms can make you an expert in most of the fields, if you give your heart and soul to learning things.

Big 4’s and other Big 20’s CA firms offer specialization in particular departments like Internal Audit, Statutory Audit, IDT, DT.

While medium-sized firms offer a touch of everything that a CA in practice should be aware of. There are some pros and cons of both types of firms.

This is completely your’s choice which type of firm you should select.

The answer is a big ‘NO’ because I have worked in one of the Big 4’s and there are long working hours. If you are in the Audit department, you will be sent somewhere far away from your place and that really disturbs the work-life balance in long term.

You will not be able to meet your family and friends. But the work you do brings a sense of pride in you and that’s happiness.

I have listed down factors and the firms that must be considered upon while selecting CA firms or Big 20’s.

  • Location
  • Workplace environment
  • Working hours
  • Exam leaves
  • B.Com leaves or other professional course leaves.
  • Exposure areas

One should never opt for dummy Articleship. Students who opt for dummy training never get exposure to the practical world and spend most of the time in studies only.

Later on, when they apply for a job. They face a lot of issues plus it brings a lot of disrepute to them if somebody gets to know about their practical experience.

This again depends on personal choice.

If you think you are capable enough to clear the remaining group after commencing practical training then you must go on otherwise it is advisable to start Articleship after clearing both the groups.

The firm will not grant you leaves again and again for appearing in the exams. It will get hectic for you plus most firms will allow only a month’s leave.

After the first and second year of Articleship, students are eligible to appear for the CA Practical training exam

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