CA vs CS: Most students get caught in a dilemma while choosing between a CA (Chartered Accountant) or CS(Company Secretary). Both are popular choices among students and promise a successful career, but there is a significant difference between the two, which we will discuss in this article.
While both are equally good professional options for commerce and non-commerce students, the deciding factor for which one is a better course depends on the individual’s interests.
Understanding what these courses are, their opportunities and an overall brief comparison between them will help you decide which is better.
To help you make an informed decision, we will first describe these terms in detail.
What is CA?
ICAI, i.e., The Institute of Chartered Accountants of India, is the only authority to grant the CA degree and conduct the exam. Upon completion of class 10th, students can register for the CA course in ICAI. After passing class 12th, they can appear in the CA common proficiency test.
A chartered accountant’s role involves accounting, taxation, auditing, financial management, and knowledge of corporate laws. As every organization needs financial management, the scope of CA is wide. Chartered accountants can work in various businesses, industries, consultancy, and chartered accountant firms, financial institutions and can also do independent practice.
What is CS?
ICSI (The Institute of Company Secretaries of India) is the authority that offers the CS course in India. It is for aspirants who wish to practice as a company secretary in India and abroad. A company secretary is an expert in corporate laws, security laws, capital market, and corporate governance.
Company secretaries are in-house legal experts responsible for all regulatory compliances of a company. Aspirants need to have passed class 12th/graduated to be eligible for this course. One needs remarkable decision-making and critical thinking skills to pursue a career in CS.
CA Vs CS Overview
The table below gives an overview of CA and CS:
|CA Vs CS Overview
|ICAI (The Institute of Chartered Accountants of India)
|ICSI (The Institute of Company Secretaries of India)
|Levels of CA course
Candidates can enrol in the CA foundation course after the 10th class. To apply for the CA intermediate course, candidates can either follow the Direct Entry route or clear the CA foundation course. After successfully passing the intermediate examination, a student enters the final level of the course, i.e., the CA final course.
|Levels of CS course
12th pass (or equivalent) students of Arts, Science, or Commerce stream can pursue the foundation program. Graduates of all streams, excluding Fine Arts, can pursue the executive program. One can pursue the professional program only after completing the executive program of the CS course.
|Duration of Practical Training
|CA Foundation or CA Common Proficiency Test(Mandatory)
|CSEET or Company Secretary Executive Entrance Test(Mandatory for undergraduate candidates. Commerce graduates can directly apply for the Executive Program)
|Who is it for?
|Those who are good at conceptual understanding and analytical reasoning.
|Those who have good organizational, legal, and financial skills.
Comparing CA vs CS
CA and CS are the two most popular courses in the commerce stream. Both courses give students a wealth of prospects and promise a bright future, but each also has its own complexities. To help you choose the right course we will look at their main focus, opportunities, expertise, difficulty, and salary.
- The CA course focuses on auditing, accounting, financial evaluation, and taxation. It teaches about the concepts and application of accounting, understanding of mathematical and statistical tools, and their application in business and finance.
- The CS course emphasizes company law, corporate governance, and communication. It teaches critical aspects of business communication, legal aptitude, and knowledge about the management and administration of companies.
- To put it simply, the CA course is accounting and the CS course is law-oriented.
- Students pursuing a career in CA enjoy opportunities both in the public and private sectors, as every organization needs a CA who can manage accounts and taxes. Some of these are statutory or internal auditors, tax or finance managers, certified public accountants, etc.
- Those pursuing a career in CS find opportunities in corporate planning and strategic management. They might also work as secretarial auditors or compliance officers.
- Both chartered accountants and company secretaries have the option of working independently for firms starting their own firms/being self-employed.
- CA requires a quantitative approach. Hence one must have strong analytical skills and be good with numbers.
- CS requires more of a qualitative approach, i.e., one must have strong communication skills, multi-tasking skills, and attention to detail.
- Some hard skills one must have to pursue a CA are IT proficiency, general business interest, and awareness. On the other hand, the hard skills required for CS are expertise in company law and management.
- Both CA and CS are professional courses and require hard work. The difference in the difficulty of the two courses lies in their curriculum and passing marks
- CA deals with numerical and case studies chapters on the other hand CS has more theoretical subjects. Most students tend to find CA subjects more challenging because they have a practical approach while CS has a theoretical approach.
- Many students consider the CA exam difficult owing to its vast syllabus and complex pattern. If you aim to score above the CA pass percentage have to make proper use of your time and devote at least 2 hours sincerely to studying daily.
- A fresher CA is offered anywhere between 6-7 lakhs per annum which can increase up to 40-70 lakhs based on experience, work profile, skills, firms, and international postings. The pay also increases for those who pass the exam in the first attempt and rank holders.
- A fresher CS usually earns 3-5 lakhs. With the increase in experience, they can earn up to 17 lakhs. If he or she is a rank holder, the salary might increase.
- The average income earned by chartered accountants is more than that of company secretaries. The average salary of a CS in India is 6 lakhs per annum whereas the average income of a CA in India is 8 lakhs per annum.
Pros and Cons of CA
Despite being one of the most sought-after and prestigious career choices in India, like any other profession, the chartered accountant also has its pros and cons. Students must first consider these before arriving at a decision.
- The profession of chartered accountant has a lot of versatility and career flexibility.
- Demand for chartered accountants is significant both in India and abroad.
- A chartered accountant can be a lawyer in favour of the client.
- A chartered accountant has an impressive six-figure salary.
- As every organization requires a chartered accountant they have a high demand.
- The field of chartered accountant is secure, and stable with steady growth.
- The CA course is rigorous and cracking the exam is tough which leaves little time to develop other skills.
- Chartered accountants have to stay up-to-date with the ins and outs of the finance industry, this requires constant learning even after securing a job.
- There is a high level of competition in the CA field which puts one under a lot of pressure.
- Developing a client base is hard.
- Working hours as a CA are long and monotonous.
- Chartered accountants have to meet deadlines at the end of every financial year which is very stressful.
Pros and Cons of CS
CS also has its fair share of advantages and disadvantages. It is important to make a sound decision and figure out if this course is right for you or not.
- The CS course is cost-effective.
- This course offers good remuneration and growth opportunities.
- A company secretary has no stress about meeting deadlines.
- The CS profession has flexible working hours.
- The CS profession comes with a lot of travel opportunities.
- One gets to learn a lot about the industry by interacting with higher authorities and intelligent people.
- The income of a CS is not up to the mark.
- The work weeks in this profession are long.
- There is a lot of documentation and paperwork.
- Career growth is slow when compared to CA.
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CA Vs CS FAQs
What is the CA (Chartered Accountant) course?
The CA course, conducted by the Institute of Chartered Accountants of India (ICAI), focuses on accounting, taxation, auditing, financial management, and corporate laws. It is a comprehensive program for those interested in financial management.
What is the CS (Company Secretary) course?
The CS course, offered by The Institute of Company Secretaries of India (ICSI), specializes in corporate laws, security laws, capital markets, and corporate governance. Company secretaries are responsible for regulatory compliances within a company.
What are the main differences between CA and CS?
The CA course is more accounting-oriented, focusing on financial aspects, while the CS course is law-oriented, emphasizing corporate laws and governance. CA deals with quantitative aspects, and CS requires strong communication and qualitative skills.
How long does it take to complete CA and CS?
The CA course typically takes 5 years to complete, including practical training. On the other hand, the CS course consists of three levels – Foundation, Executive, and Professional – and takes 2-3 years to complete.
What are the opportunities for CAs and CSs?
CAs can work as auditors, tax managers, finance controllers, or even start their own firms. CSs find opportunities in corporate planning, compliance roles, and can work as secretarial auditors. Both can also work independently.