Difference between CFA® Program and CA

Finance students usually have a plethora of options to choose from, however, making the right pick is not easy given the confusion which comes along every choice.

“Choice, choices, choices! Choose rightly. Choose the things that brings you highest fulfillment.
Commit your life to the choices you have made.”

― Lailah Gifty Akita, Think Great: Be Great!

Choosing a right career option is not that easy, and you need to consider viable options, career prospects, skill sets, financial and time investment, etc. Finding the right career path which suffices your career objective is quite necessary so that you do not end up following a wrong option. We have come up with comparison articles that will help you get some clarification about which profile to opt for. Let’s explore the differences between CFA and CA in this article.

Which option to choose?

Both options have lot of differences, since they prepare you to specialize in completely different avenues. Hence, choice has to be ultimately made on the basis of your inclination/area of interest.

Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA) Chartered Accountant (CA)
www.cfainstitute.org www.icai.org
Build Career Profile in
Beneficial for a career Investment Banking and Portfolio Management. CAs are ideal for a career in Audit and Taxation.
Exam Format
  • Level I: basic knowledge and comprehension questions focused on investment tools; some questions will require analysis.
  • Level II: emphasize more complex analysis, along with a focus on valuing assets.
  • Level III: require synthesis of all the concepts and analytical methods in a variety of applications for effective portfolio management and wealth planning.

(Source: https://www.cfainstitute.org/programs/cfaprogram/exams/Pages/index.aspx)

  • CA CPT: Entry level test
  • CA IPCC: First Stage of Theoretical Education
  • CA Final: Final Stage of Theoretical Education

(Source: http://www.icai.org/post.html?post_id=4524)

Completed graduation or be in the final year of graduation. You need to have completed 16 years of education before enroling. Passing 10 + 2 examination is a must to appear for CA CPT.
Globally Recognized Recognition only in India
Curriculum is designed in such a way with core focus on:

  • Investment Analysis
  • Portfolio Management
  • Wealth Planning
  • Analytical Methods
Curriculum emphasizes on:

  • Audit
  • Accountancy
  • Taxation
  • Financial Management
  • Corporate Law, etc.
Duration can span around 2 to 5 years depending on the clearing all the levels. Duration of the course is around 3.5 to 4 years including the articleship tenure, subject to clearing the exams at first attempt.

Answer these questions:

  • What suits you? Investment Banking or a career in Accountancy/Reporting/Audit.
  • Do you want a profession that is credible outside too?
  • How much financial and time investment are you willing to do?
  • Which curriculum are you more comfortable with?

The Verdict:
If a profile of analysis, number crunching and challenging environment of stocks is your forte, go for CFA. On the other hand, if you think that the dynamic world of auditing, accounting standards, financial consultancy, taxation, is just for you, Chartered Accountancy is the apt option for you.

CFA Institute does not endorse, promote, or warrant the accuracy or quality of the products or services offered by IMS Proschool. CFA® Program are trademarks owned by CFA Institute.