Jatin was always good with numbers. His inclination towards accounts could be sensed ever since he had opted for commerce stream. It was no surprise when he decided to opt for a career in Accountancy. However, he was confused with too many options and wasn’t sure of the correct path. That’s when he decided to write to his maternal uncle, Mr. Rajesh, who was a CFO at an esteemed organization in India. Mr. Rajesh was very fond of Jatin and saw great potential in him. He wasted no time in replying back to him with complete details.
Who does not know about the importance of an accountant? A company survives on the basis of strong financials and accountants play an important role in ensuring the authenticity of the numbers. The financial statements, fund flow, cash flow, treasury and audit activities of a company are supervised by an accountant. If he fails to monitor even a single step, it could result in a big loss for the company.
As an accountant, you must have good analytical skills and an eye for details. It is not just enough to have theoretical knowledge for being an accountant. You also need to possess practical knowledge and superlative numeric abilities.
In India, there are three kinds of accountants-Financial Accountant, Cost Accountant, and Management Accountant. All the three are equally coveted and prestigious profiles and require immense hard work and dedication. If you want to know the details about each of these fields and how to get there, read on.
A financial accountant is primarily concerned with keeping a track of the company’s financial transactions. As a Financial Accountant, you will be aware of the standardized guidelines, the accounting standards and the rules of bookkeeping. You will be completely in charge of recording transactions, summarizing it and presenting it in a financial statement.
Here’s the path to becoming a Financial Accountant
- Graduate in Commerce with Accounting majors (B.Com)
- Join as a Junior Accountant/ Intern or Bookkeeping assistant
- Get skilled in MS Tally and other Accounting software: Advanced technology and new software are continuously introducing new things that can enhance your performance. So, it’s important to remain updated.
- Join an institute that trains you to become a professional accountant. These institutes typically teach you about GST, TDS, Computerised Accounting, E-payment, Auditing, Share Market, etc.
- A Masters’ Degree in Accounts will help you to move to a higher position as an accountant and get a job in the big corporate companies.
However, if you want to aim higher, and I suggest you do so, you must set your eyes on Chartered Accountancy (CA). The most prestigious designation in the field of accounting is that of a CA. As a Chartered Accountant, you will be a member of ICAI and will have the authority to conduct audits. The path to becoming a CA is as follows:
Whether you want to become a Chartered Accountant or a Financial Accountant, there are certain skills that you must cultivate. Remember, not just theoretical, but practical knowledge is also equally important.
Soft Skills: Solution-oriented, Analytical mindset, problem-solving attitude
Technical Skills: Accounting skills, Mathematical skills, Software skills
As a Cost Accountant, you will be responsible for budgeting, cost management, and asset management within a company or organization. Your responsibilities include Planning, Analysing and Collecting data to determine the cost of each of the activities such as the purchase of raw materials, labor, and inventory. This, in turn, would be used in determining the cost of the product/ service sold by the company.
Cost & Management Accountancy (CMA) is the primary qualification awarded by the Institute of Cost Accountants of India.
The steps to becoming a Cost Accountant in India:
The Path Ahead:
Cost Accountants often move to higher designations within the management accounting world, such as a Budget Director, Internal Auditing Manager, Pricing Manager, Accounting Manager, or a Chief Cost Accountant. Eventually, a Cost Accountant can rise to the cadre of a Chief Financial Officer, Treasurers or Presidents of corporations.
As a Cost Accountant, you will have the privilege to work in close collaboration with senior management. It is an opportunity to gain rich experience and build a professional network that is leveraged later for more benefits.
Point to Consider:
As a Cost Accountant, you may have to work in a manufacturing plant during the course and be involved with the operations of raw materials and labor costs. This can also involve multiple shifts and as well as doing the analysis of the work in process, keeping inventory counts of a particular product or managing overhead costs.
Soft skills: Research Capabilities, Problem Solving, and Analytical skills
Technical Skills: Experience with cost-estimating software, Strong knowledge of accounting, Calculation and Numeric skills
If you have decided to become a management accountant, you can be assured of a rewarding career ahead. Management Accountants analyze and interpret the financial information to make crucial business decisions. A management accountant is a culmination of a Good Accountant and Business Manager.
Some of the reasons why Management Accountants are in huge demand in India are:
- Proliferation of KPOs
- More Indian companies going global
- Adoption of IFRS
- The need for Cost Management
- Faster requirement
To become a Management Accountant in India, you need to become a member of the Chartered Institute of Management Accountants (CIMA). On fulfillment of the CIMA Professional Qualification, you will be awarded the Chartered Global Management Accountant (CGMA) designation.
A CIMA professional’s roles and job descriptions go beyond the finance, along with strong fundamental skills. The CIMA curriculum will teach you strategic skills and management skills. Their core activities involve:
- Information analysis for business decisions,
- Creating a business strategy for wealth and shareholder value,
- Risk identification and management, planning and budgeting, current trends, charts, etc.
Lastly, keep your interests in place before arriving at a decision. Begin with introspection and ask yourself a few questions.
- Do I possess the qualities needed to become an accountant?
- Can I start a successful career right after graduation or do I need a master’s degree?
- Should I work for a large corporation or firm, or would I start off on my own?
- Am I ready for the challenges that come during the course of becoming an accountant?
- Am I ready to upskill myself?
Once you get answers to these questions, you can call yourself mentally prepared to embark on this journey to be a top-notch accountant.
All the best!