If not CA, then what?

alternative finance & accounting courses to chartered accounting

No doubt, the Chartered Accountancy qualification is one of the best career options for commerce graduates. This qualification can be pursued without digging deep into any pockets and at the same time jobs are easily available in metro cities as well as non- metro towns. It gives both the options: Working after completing the qualification i.e. working for someone such as an MNC, a CA firm or Working for one self i.e. practicing audit and taxation in one’s own advisory firm . But even with such an excellent option, parents and students are looking for other options Low passing rates and cut-throat competition are the two major causes underlying the demand of other options. The typical passing rate in the Chartered Accountancy course is less than 7%. Combine this with the popularity of the exam (Ask any student in a well-known commerce college What career is she opting for, CA is one of the most common answers) and you get intense competition to clear the exam. The huge number of registrations for CA shows its demand and acceptance level in our society but it also creates stiff competition at both the levels i.e. exam level and after the exam at the job market level. As the CA Institute does not want the job market to be flooded with CAs, it reduces the passing rate commensurately. Despite this the number of CAs are increasing annually which leads to a mismatch between demand and supply in the job market i.e. many new CAs chasing fewer jobs. These situations have forced students and parents alike to look for other meaning qualifications.

Since the last couple of years, CIMA – Chartered Institute of Management Accountant is increasingly accepted as one of these options for parents and students. CIMA , the world’s largest professional body of Management Accountants , has been established in the year 1919. CIMA has more than 215000 members across the world and is accepted as a global qualification in more than 4500 companies. Recently, the MOU between AICPA (World’s leading accounting body or as some say the CA of USA) and CIMA has led to all the members of CIMA Global being conferred a joint qualification CGMA . This tie-up has also enhanced CIMA acceptability in the USA.

The focus of CIMA qualification is business. It gives an overall perceptive of the business rather than just focusing on auditing and taxation. It covers Financial Accounting – how to measure Finance, Management Accounting – how to measure Cost and Enterprise – how to manage or start a Business. It also covers emerging areas of business such as Big – data Analytics , Financial Reporting, Costing Software, etc. More than 90% of CFOs and CEOs in European countries are CIMA members.

CIMA qualification has total 17 exams spread across 4 levels and after each level candidates will be awarded a Certificate or Diploma from CIMA Global

Here is a comparison of the two qualifications

1. Global Acceptance: Due to the presence of qualifications in 177 countries, CIMA has better global acceptance than the CA.

2. Statutory Requirement: Due to the Indian statutory requirement, many functions of auditing can only be performed by a CA.

3. Jobs: CA find jobs everywhere in India but due to intense competition, salary level has been reducing gradually. CIMA qualified aspirants can find jobs globally. Due to fewer CIMA qualified personnel in India and increasing number of MNCs in India there is more demand for CIMA members especially in metro cities.

4. Passing rate: Passing rate in CA exams is very low which is in the range of 5-8% while the passing rate in CIMA exams is in the range of 40-60%.

5. Flexibility in the qualification: CA does not offer much flexibility in the qualification, one has to clear all the subjects of one level together to go into the next level but in CIMA, one can clear one exam at one time, which gives enough time for the candidates to prepare for one exam. Moreover in CIMA, exemptions are available after every level. For example commerce graduates get 5 exemptions and an MBA Finance or a CA can benefit from 12 exemptions.

6. Article-ship: It is mandatory to go for an article ship of 3 years before one completes the CA Qualification . Stipend generally is very low in an article ship. In CIMA, you need to have 3 years of relevant work experience. This work experience can be gained before pursuing the qualification, after pursuing the qualification or along with the qualification.