Chartered accountants work in all fields of business and finance, including audit, taxation, financial and general management. Some are engaged in public practice work, others work in the private sector and some are employed by government bodies.
Chartered accountants’ institutes require members to undertake a minimum level of continuing professional development to stay professionally competitive. They facilitate special interest groups (for instance, entertainment and media, or insolvency and restructuring) which lead in their fields. They provide support to members by offering advisory services, technical helplines and technical libraries. They also offer opportunities for professional networking, career and business development.
In India, chartered accountants are regulated by the Institute of Chartered Accountants of India(ICAI) which was established by the Chartered Accountants Act, 1949. Associate members of the ICAI are entitled to add the prefix ‘CA’ to their names. Members who are in full-time practice, and have completed five years of practice, can add ‘FCA’ as a prefix to their names.
Entry to the profession can be made by taking the CPT[after completion of schooling (12th grade). Alternatively, graduates may take the intermediate exam.
The intermediate examination is divided into two groups of subjects. On clearing the first group of the IPC level, the student has to get training as an articled assistant for three years in a chartered firm. In the third year of training, before taking the final exam, trainees have the option to work in any industry. A comprehensive 100 hours of information technology training and an orientation programme for soft skills development have to be completed before being articled.
For overall development, the student has to undergo two training courses in soft skills and communication, named GMCS I and GMCS II, which usually last for fifteen days each. GMCS-I has to be completed within one year of being articled, while GMCS-II and advanced information technology training have to be completed in the final year of articleship or can be undertaken after the exams.