Confused about CA vs CS? Get Eligibility, Syllabus and Subjects, Entrance Exams, Admission, Job Scope, Salary, and Top Colleges.
CA is a 4.5-year course with rigorous training in accounting, financial management, auditing, etc. At the same time, CS is a relatively shorter, 3-year course in the field and the public sectors on business's legal aspects, specifically on corporate governance. CA or CS are two up-and-emerging choices for students to opt for, after class 12 or graduation in professional courses.
These courses benefit students looking for career advancement options as both open their world to a stream of opportunities. Aspirants may wonder which method of study is better for them, CA or CS, while pursuing professional courses. Read through the article to resolve the dilemma of CA vs CS.
Table of Contents
- Key Highlights
- How to Become a CA?
- How to Become a CS?
- Exam Season
- Syllabus & Subjects
- Mandatory Work Experience
- Career Prospects
- Which One to Pursue?
CA Vs CS: Key Highlights
Although CA and CS are pretty similar, they do have some distinctions. The key highlights of CA vs CS are listed in the following table.
|Full-form||Chartered Accountancy||Company Secretary|
|Course Duration||Four to five years||Three years|
|Course Fees||INR 2 Lakh||INR 1 Lakh|
|Average Salary||INR 7.95 LPA||INR 5.90 LPA|
CA Vs CS: Overview
A Chartered Accountant is an accounting expert who has been certified by a statutory authority as qualified to handle tasks relating to accounting and taxes of a firm. The course requires high financial understanding and grit to pursue it till the end. All CAs have to undergo a mandatory articleship of 3 years, making them well qualified in the field and start their firms or be employed by top companies. Their jobs include filing tax returns, auditing financial statements and company procedures, and keeping investment records. Chartered Accountants are also qualified to advise businesses on various investments and wealth management affairs.
Read More: CA
A qualified Company Secretary handles the legal elements of a company. It is also important to note that the company secretary functions as a conscience seeker and acts as a principal. A CS is in charge of completing tax returns, maintaining records, advising the board of directors, and ensuring that the company follows all legal and statutory laws.
Read More: CS
How To Become A CA?
To become a CA, aspirants must have the opportunity to spend at least five years in a qualified company. Secretary who handles the legal elements of a company years pursuing the course. This makes CA a professional course and allows students to practice right after they complete the course and are fully qualified.
CA Foundation Exam
Firstly, students must register themselves under the ICAI – which is the body governing all CAs.
Students going through the Foundation route must register with ICAI after class 12 to appear for the CA Foundation exam. This is an entry-level exam for students pursuing CA, covering the basics of accounting and business acumen. Students can clear this exam usually with self-study or minimal training.
CA Intermediate Exam
After clearing the Foundation exam, students must enroll for the second level of examinations: CA Intermediate Exams. Students opting to pursue CA after graduation (any stream except Fine Arts) can enroll directly in the Intermediate Exam. Students must have secured at least 50% in their undergraduate exam to qualify for Intermediate Exams.
The exams have a vast and extensive syllabus, which makes clearing both sets of paper in one attempt challenges. Many students opt to clear one set of exams before moving to the next.
Students must also complete an additional four-week course in ICITSS(Integrated Course on Information Technology and Soft Skills) before moving to the next step.
After clearing graduation and their IPCC exams, students are expected to pursue an articleship of 3 years in a CA firm. This articleship provides them with practical experience in the field and helps them fully understand the course’s extent. Students can start earning during the articleship itself.
CA Final Exam
The CA Final Exam has eight papers in all. These papers are conducted in two groups, including auditing, financial reporting, risk management, etc. Students must have completed the Advanced Course in ICITSS before appearing for the exams. They can appear for the exams during the last six months of their articleship period or after. Students must clear both groups of papers before registering themselves as Chartered Accountants with the ICAI.
The course is long, requires constant determination, and students who are not deterred by tedious work. It takes five years to complete the course and become a CA professional, but the career path ahead is illustrious.
How To Become A CS?
As compared to CA, the course for CS takes a shorter duration to complete. The course is designed similarly, with a foundational, intermediate, and advanced examination and a mandatory training period. However, the course is entirely different from CA, as CS focuses on the legal aspects of the business. Students who aspire to become CS have to follow the steps below.
CS Foundation Exam
Students in class 12 must have scored 55% in aggregate scores from any stream (except Fine Arts). They can register themselves with the ICSI, the governing body over all CS for the Foundation Exams. The exams are held in June and December, and students can opt for the month of their convenience. On passing these exams, students are eligible for the second step of exams, which is the CS Executive Exam.
CS Executive Exam
Students who have completed their graduation in any stream (except Fine Arts) can skip the Foundational Exam and appear directly for the Executive Exam. The students who have passed the CA Foundation Exams are also exempted from the CS Foundation and can directly appear for the Executive Exam.
To be eligible for this exam, students must have completed the following courses by the ICSI
- Student Induction Program, which lasts seven days
- 70 hours of Compulsory Computer Training Program before the Executive Exam
CS Professional Exam
The CS Professional Exams are held in two groups. Students can appear for both groups in one attempt or separate them after this course comes a critical part of their training. This is the Management Training Programme, which is mandatory for all CS Professionals to complete. It is a 15-month hands-on training program that helps students become industry professionals. After this program is completed, students can register with the ICSI as fully qualified CS professionals.
CA Vs CS: Exam Season
CA students can appear for the qualifying exams in May or in November.
There are essentially two attempts in a year for anyone appearing for the exams, and many students who are unable to clear both sets of papers in one go can clear one set first before doing the second.
CS exams are held in June and December, following a similar pattern as CA.
CA Vs CS: Syllabus & Subjects
As a financial accounting and management course, CA concerns itself with studying accounting, mathematics, and statistics principles before moving on to advanced and specific topics.
The study of CAs includes knowledge of taxation, cost accounting, auditing, financial reporting and management, risk management, and performance evaluation.
In contrast, CS is a course in the legal area covering modules and courses over company laws, tax laws, compliance management, corporate governance, ethics, etc.
The CS Final Exam also covers knowledge about restructuring, advances tax laws, secretarial audits, and listings in stock exchanges.
CA Vs CS: Sphere of Employment
CA or Chartered Accountancy is a course that concerns itself with the financial aspects of the business.
It revolves around auditing, taxation, maintaining records of financial transactions, etc.
They are also sometimes consulted during major financial decisions and manage the finance of any business entity.
Company Secretaries or CS are concerned with the legal aspects of the business, especially corporate governance.
Company Secretaries are concerned with corporate governance structures, shareholder meetings, legal compliance of the company with regulations, etc.
They are the source of communication with regulatory and external stakeholders. CS is responsible for the contract negotiations, risk management, and property management of the company.
CA Vs CS: Mandatory Work Experience
The CA course requires a mandatory three-year articleship period.
They can complete their articleship period under the supervision of any certified CA. After completing their articleship period, students can complete the course and register themselves with the ICAI as Chartered Accountants.
On the other hand, the CS course requires students to complete the 15 months compulsory Management Training Program to register with ICSI as a Company Secretary.
CA Vs CS: Career Prospects
CA and CS are the most sought-after technical specialists in the finance sector. This makes their job opportunities expansive, and they can easily find employment in any sector of the economy. Let's discuss the career aspects of CA Vs CS courses below.
CA: Chartered Accountants are some of the most sought-after technical specialists in the world of finance, specializing in the maintenance and assessment of a company's financial health. Chartered Accountants now have prominent positions in both the public and commercial sectors.
CS: All firms require the services of a company secretary. Company secretaries are responsible for tax, legal, and investment matters. Many businesses engage independent corporate secretaries, while others use firm-provided services. A competent corporate secretary can work in various companies, from financial institutions and banks to heavy industry and government agencies.
|Job Profiles||Auditing, Taxation, Business Advisor, Financial Advisor||Assistance to Board of Directors, Company Registrar, Legal Advisors, Corporate Policymaker, Chief Administrative Officer, Corporate Planner, Managing Director, Investor Capital Markets Relations Manager|
|Top Recruiters||KPMG, Deloitte, PwC, E&Y, JP Morgan Chase, Lodha & Co, Luthra & Luthra, ICICI Bank, Kotak Mahindra, State Bank of India, HDFC Bank, SS Kothari Mehta & Co.||ACB Group of Companies, Monolith Industries Ltd, Jaypee Group, Punjab National Bank, SNG & Partners, HCL Technologies Ltd., Indian Railway Finance Corporation Ltd.|
|Average Salary||INR 7.95 LPA||INR 5.90 LPA|
CA Vs CS: Salary
After completing their courses in CA or CS, students can expect to earn entry-level salaries according to industry averages. This would be close to INR 8 LPA for Chartered Accountants, while Company Secretaries make around INR 6 LPA. As their careers progress, Company Secretaries are expected to see an increment of around 50% in their salaries in the first seven years of their career. Likewise, Chartered Accountants with more experience under their belt can look for wages close to INR 11- 12 LPA.
|CA Salary||CS Salary|
CA Vs CS: Which One to Pursue?
CA Vs CS: Which is better? - The courses of CA or CS are highly challenging and have very intensive methods of studying involved to be successfully registered. It is estimated that only 10-15% of the initial applicants make it to the end, making their jobs highly competitive and market. Students planning on studying CA or CS must fully understand the full scope of each course before deciding.
Focus Areas: The CA course depends heavily on the mathematical and quantitative skills of the students. The students are required to be well versed in mathematics and statistical aptitude. The CS course requires students to be good at communication, reasoning, problem-solving, logical thinking, and qualitative reasoning.
Career Growth: There is no lack of opportunities for CAs or CS graduates in the market. Within the private and the public sectors are multiple opportunities and roles that CS students can take after completing their course. This makes their career illustrious and very rewarding. While CAs have similar job profiles everywhere, they have the added advantage of being recognized and valued internationally. Most CAs have little difficulty transferring their practice to different countries, while CS may struggle with it.
While selecting CA or CS, students must keep their interest areas and aptitudes in mind. The course that suits their needs best would be a better option to select in the long run.