If you’re a Chartered Accountant in India, you are already in the elite group of finance professionals. There are approximately 300,000 CAs in India, a large figure seen in isolation but when compared to the population it presents a different picture. CAs in India represent a mere 0.002% of the population. They are thus in great demand. With the Indian economy rapidly growing and businesses flourishing, the need for experienced accounting professionals is increasingly being felt. There are plenty of opportunities in the world of business and finance and if you’re thinking about what to do after CA, this guide is here to help you do just that.
Why should you think beyond being a CA?
While there are plenty of perks and benefits of being a CA such as a cushy job and a steady flow of income, it does come with a few caveats. It often involves working long hours with little compensation, especially if you have an independent practice. The work often gets monotonous and the deadlines can be stiff. If you see yourself doing more diversified work in the corporate world, you should definitely think about what to do after CA.
05 Career options after pursuing a CA
By now you have understood the importance of having a diversified financial skillset to be successful in corporate finance. This is not just about better pay and perks but also identifying the role most suitable for you. With time and experience, many CAs gradually tilt towards more challenging roles such as being an investment banker or a forensic auditor. If you think you’re ready to don a new hat, here are some interesting career options for you.
- Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA): After completing your CA, CFA is a good path to pursue. Being a CFA allows you to be an equity research analyst or a portfolio manager of high-net-worth individuals. You have to pass the CFA charter exam conducted by the CFA Institute to become a CFA. There are three levels in the exam; once you pass all three stages, you join the exclusive group of CFAs in the world. One major advantage of getting the CFA charter is the fact that it is a reputed certificate and is valid in several countries.
- Company Secretary: The monetary benefits of being a company secretary after getting the chartered accountant degree are greatly enhanced. You can earn up to 15 LPA with a combination of CA and CS. The package gets better as you gain more experience. Consequently, many candidates opt for the CS course to get a lucrative package in the corporate world. Company Secretaries primarily handle corporate governance, legal compliance, and company law matters. Your CA knowledge complements these responsibilities well. The Institute of Company Secretaries of India (ICSI) conducts the CS exam twice a year. After the CA, you have to pass the Executive and Professional Stages of the CS exam to be a qualified CS in India.
- Investment Banker: Becoming an investment banker after completing the CA course in India can be a rewarding career path. Investment banking requires strong analytical and problem-solving skills. Your CA training should help you in this regard, as financial analysis is a core aspect of the job. Investment banking offers a structured career progression. Corporate giants like JP Morgan, Morgan Stanley, Standard Chartered, Deloitte, and Goldman Sachs provide great opportunities in the investment banking sector. Being an investment banker in any of these companies is a dream come true for finance professionals.
- MBA: If you’re planning to run a business someday, the skills of business administration and corporate governance will incredibly complement your accounting knowledge. Getting an MBA degree gives you deep insights into business administration, i.e. how to run a business effectively. You can do an MBA in Finance to complement your CA degree. The grueling hours put in your CA preparation would come in handy while pursuing an MBA. It is a matter of fact that many IIMs prefer candidates with a CA degree and they are treated with respect. It means your prospects are bright with an MBA degree as your accounting knowledge and entrepreneurial ability become an invaluable service to companies.
- Indian Audit and Account Service/ Indian Corporate Law Service: If you’re a CA and thinking about what to do after CA, you could explore a career in civil services. All you have to do is sit for the UPSC exam and join the Indian Audit and Accounts Service (IA&AS) or the Indian Corporate Law Service (ICLS). The Union Public Service Commission conducts the exam each year for the post of the three All-India Services (IAS, IPS, and IFS) as well as Group-A Central Services. The IA&AS as well as ICLS falls under the Group-A services. Although the monetary benefits of a government job are limited compared to the private sector, the prestige and experience this job brings is unparalleled.
After completing the CA course, many chartered accountants look for a diversified role in the corporate world. If you think your calling lies somewhere else then the thought of what to do after CA must have crossed your mind. Fortunately, there are several career options that let you utilise your training as a CA and leave your mark in corporate finance. From being a CFA and pursuing an MBA in Finance to being a finance entrepreneur, you can be anything you want.