Is the above question haunting you and troubling you? If yes, then consider yourself lucky as we will try to answer this today. Like you, many have heard and read about all the courses however not able to make their mind on which to go with.
The problem of plenty is always a good problem to have, therefore today when students have multiple options to chose with, it’s only better they decide after much thought and understanding.
So let’s start with CA i.e. Chartered Accountant. The course is governed by the Institute of Chartered Accountant of India. It was established on 1 July 1949 as a statutory body under the Chartered Accountants Act, 1949 enacted by the Parliament (acting as the provisional Parliament of India) to regulate the profession of Chartered Accountancy in India.
As of December 2017, the Institute has 2,80,221 members out of which 1,89,707 are Associates and 90,514 are Fellows. Along with this, there are several lacs of students currently pursuing the course. Post the course completion the students are equipped with skills around Indian Laws, Taxation, Audit, Costing, Financial Management etc.
With the number of global tie-ups that ICAI has been able to do, the institute is now able to get very good global acceptability. The CA’s can open their practice or chose to work in any industry. The salaries for CA’s start from anywhere in the range of 6-8 lacs and can go up to several crores of Rs.
Moving to ACCA, it is a 100 plus year Accounting body with over 2 Lac members and over 5 lac students in over 180 countries. They have offices all over the world including in Mumbai, London, US, Canada, Australia, Dubai, etc. Therefore a truly global organization that has been able to build a reputation of giving the best accountants all over the world for a century.
Like CA, ACCA students are equipped with skills around Indian Laws, Taxation, Audit, Costing, Financial Management etc. The salaries too in India are in similar ranges for fully qualified ACCA members, salaries start from 6 lacs and fresh ACCA affiliates with 4.5 lacs.
The biggest difference between CA and ACCA is that ACCA’s lack the local tax and law knowledge and are also not allowed to sign the financials. Therefore they cant open their practice. However many have overcome this by starting their practice and making an Indian CA one of the partners.
The ICMA(Institute of Cost and Management Accountant) previously known as The Institute of Cost & Works Accountants of India (ICWAI), is a premier statutory professional accountancy body in India with the objects of promoting, regulating and developing the profession of Cost & Management Accountancy. Like CA, ACCA, ICMA is also a professional qualification that is gained after a lot of effort and time.
Unlike CA/ACCA where students learn all aspects of Finance and Accounting, the ICMA makes the student specialize in cost accounting. Cost and management accounting is the key to the business today and a lot of success is dependant on the strength of management accountants.
Therefore budgeting, forecasting, planning, and analysis are core areas. Students can quite easily make good careers in MNC’s where Cost Accountants are in real demand. The salaries are similar where a Big 4 would hire a CMA for 6 plus lacs.
So as we can see, all the courses are similar, it only depends on what’s your core area. If you are not sure about where you want to specialize then do ACCA/CA. However, if you know the Cost Accounting is where your heart is then go for CMA.