Finishing XIIth standard studies often leads to an area of confusion of – What Next? Standing at the cusp of a life-changing moment, it feels that life was certainly easier so far with minimal decisions to be made. But now that you are an adult, a decision regarding your future is knocking at the door. Without doubt, a career choice is not an easy decision to make. A storm of questions occupies your mind and add to that a peer pressure of matching up to the footsteps of your genius friends.

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This world of finance and accountancy is huge, it is like an ocean of opportunities and choices to avail of. Often people sign up for a course, leave it midway and at times even regret doing it post completion. You feel like a common man who has been a victim of excellent marketing and sales techniques by purchasing an unwanted insurance policy or credit card. Students are often misguided into these courses and at times even bought into these seeing their successful cousins.

We at VGLD aim to simplify complex things for our students, enabling them to understand concepts and logics in an easier manner. Out here, we have compiled a list of most exciting and rewarding career options in finance and accountancy worlds which one can look forward to enter into. This blog will be structured to provide vital information on four aspects – course description, eligibility, time taken (for all exams), and career prospects.

1. Chartered Accountancy (CA)

Course Description – Chartered Accountant is by far the most premier accountancy course available in India. It is conducted by The Institute of Chartered Accountants of India (ICAI) which was formed by a statutory act of the Parliament of India. It is the only authority in India which can confer the coveted degree of CA in India. Its detailed curriculum, in-depth coverage of subjects like accounting, financial management, both direct and indirect taxation (, costing, corporate laws, auditing naturally equips its students and members with all-round knowledge required to excel in their careers. The course is divided into three stages – Foundation, Intermediate and Final. There is also a mandatory practical training requirement to be undergone for a period of 3 years before earning the title of CA.

Eligibility – Any student who has cleared his/her class 12th examinations in any stream (commerce, science, arts, etc.) can enroll themselves for this course through the Foundation course route. There is an alternative route, called the Direct Entry route wherein commerce and non-commerce graduates/post-graduates can enroll themselves directly into the second stage – Intermediate.

Time Taken – On an average, students take about 4.5-5 years to complete this course.  

Career Prospects – ICAI Members have numerous opportunities in terms of career prospects, and few like company audits, tax audits, other Income Tax verifications, certifications are exclusively reserved for Chartered Accountants. In addition to these, CA’s have options to join the job market in fields of accountancy, consultancy, financial planning, financial analysis etc.

2. Chartered Financia Analyst (CFA)

Course Description – Conducted by The CFA Institute based out of the USA, it is globally considered to be a platinum standard in the field of finance. It aims to develop skills and acumen to meet the growing demands of society by specializing in areas like financial analysis, portfolio, and investment management. CFA Charter is one of the most sought-after and common accreditations for individuals seeking to make a career in finance. It is an internationally recognized degree thus giving its members and students all across the world an equal footing. The course is divided into three Levels – Level I, Level II, and Level III with a requirement to undergo practical training as well to apply for the CFA Charter.

Eligibility – Candidates must have completed their graduation in any field, possess a valid international passport and must live in a participating country permitted by the US OFAC.

Time Taken – Most students complete this course in about 3-4 years.

Career Prospects – CFA awards its successful candidates with global opportunities in the most lucrative job profiles like Investment Banking, Portfolio Management, Trading, Research Analysis, Wealth Management, Investment Strategies etc.

3. Enrolled Agent (EA)

Course Description – The enrolled agent course is conducted by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) of the USA. An Enrolled Agent is a federally authorized tax practitioner who is empowered by the US Department of the Treasury to represent taxpayers before the IRS to perform functions like audits, appeals and advisory services. It has exclusive rights in certain functions before the US IRS. They generally have unrestricted in matters like to which taxpayers they can represent, what types of tax matters they can handle, and which IRS offices they can represent clients before.

Eligibility – Students do not require any prior qualification. They must be of at least 18 years of age and then have two options – either they can clear a three-part comprehensive IRS examination or they need to have at least 5 years of consecutive working experience with the IRS in a position that regularly engages in applying and interpreting the provisions of the Internal Revenue Code and regulations.

Time Taken – Most students complete this course in about 3 months.

Career Prospects – Successful candidates have numerous opportunities like working as a tax practitioner with Big 4 accounting firms, work with taxation departments of BPOs & KPOs. EAs can also look to work for US-based MNCs across the world. Additionally, CA’s registered for practice in India can look forward to expand their practice services beyond Indian shores to USA.

4. Certified Public Accountant (CPA)

Course Description – Conducted by The American Institute of Certified Public Accountant (AICPA), CPA is the only license permitted to carry out accounting services to the public in the USA. It is one of the most sought-after crown jewels in the world of accountancy profession. With dominance of US-based companies in Fortune 500 companies, it is a natural choice for many students in their pursuit of excellence in accountancy. The course tests students in just four papers wherein exams are conducted throughout the year on a rolling basis. To obtain CPA License, a student must also obtain a working experience of minimum two years (applicable in most states in the USA).

Eligibility – Bachelor’s degree in any stream of Commerce, Accounting, Finance, Science or Arts. Additionally, candidates must ensure to obtain 120 CPE credits to take CPA examinations and 150 CPE credits to get a CPA license.

Time Taken – Most students complete this course in about 6-9 months.

Career Prospects – Successful students can look forward to a global career by getting into jobs across the world. They can be employed in the USA and other countries by US-based MNCs for various roles like assurance services, foreign accounting, international accounting, internal and external auditing, tax and financial planning, consulting services etc.

5. Chartered Certified Accountants (ACCA)

Course Description – ACCA stands for The Association of Chartered Certified Accountants. It is a global body of professional accountants which provides its certified members a global accreditation. ACCA is recognized globally with over 170 countries approving it. ACCA course is based on IFRS – the most advanced, detailed and adopted accounting standards in the world with over 150 countries requiring its use. The course is divided into three levels – Applied Knowledge, Applied Skills, and Professional. Later, students are required to undergo a 36-month practical training to be qualify as a Qualified Professional Accountant.

Eligibility – A student should have completed 18 years of age and qualified the 10+2 exams with an aggregate of 65% in Mathematics/Accounts and English and a minimum of 50% in other subjects.

Students pursuing graduation courses in field apart from Commerce can also join in and pursue their dream of a career in Global Accountancy.

Time Taken – On an average, students complete this course in about 2 years.

Career Prospects – ACCA qualified students can look forward to lucrative roles like finance controllers, financial planning and analysis, fund accounting, financial management, business analysis, management accounting and risk management. And the cherry on top – all these opportunities are available globally.

7. Certified Management Accountant (CMA)

Course Description – Conducted by the Institute of Management Accountants (IMA) based out of US, it is It is often regarded as the gold standard in the world of management accountancy profession due to its advanced-level certification methodologies and syllabus. Exams are conducted across three cycles throughout the year. It tests students in only two papers namely, Financial Planning, Performance and Analytics and Strategic Financial Management. Additionally, students are required to complete at least 2 years of continuous professional experience in the field of Accounting & Finance to be eligible for becoming a member of the prestigious IMA.

Eligibility – Students must have cleared their 10+2 examinations and later obtain a bachelor’s degree or an equivalent degree from a renowned institute in a relevant field

Time Taken – Students complete this course in just 6 months.

Career Prospects – Successful students and members can look forward to a glorious career upon completing this course. Job opportunities in decision-making roles like Financial Manager, Financial Planning & Analyst, Cost Accountant, Management Accountant, Risk Manager etc. are available for members to choose from.

8. Financial Risk Management (FRM)

Course Description – Considered to be the global standard for financial risks, FRM course is conducted by the Global Association of Risk Professionals. It is one of the most recognized certifications in the financial market across the globe for risk managers. Exams are conducted thrice in a year – May, August and November giving students multiple options to choose from. The course is split into two stages – Part I and Part II. In addition to clear these examinations, to obtain the FRM certification, candidates must also undergo a working experience of at least two years.

Eligibility – Students must have cleared their 10+2 examinations with at least 50% secured in their examinations.

Time Taken – Students are generally able to complete this course within just 1 year.

Career Prospects – Each company faces varies kinds of risks like credit, market, liquidity, etc. as part of running their operations and thus employ FRM certified professionals to take a professional care of such risks. Qualified members can look forward to job profiles like Investment Banking, Trading, Risk Management, Portfolio Management, Wealth Management, Risk Consultancy, Research Analysis etc.

9. Actuarial

Course Description – Conducted by the Institute of Actuaries of India, an Actuarial course prepares an individual in the field of Insurance industry. An Actuary qualified person who is able to calculate financial and commercial impact and valuation of uncertainty and risk of future events under various extreme situations to help the industry in its growing demands. Students need to pass in a total of 13 subjects to attain fellowship. The entire course is divided into four stages – Core Principles, Core Practices, Specialist Principles, and Specialist Advanced.

Eligibility – Students must be at least 18 years old and must have completed their 10+2 education from any recognized board.

Time Taken – Students are generally able to complete this course within 5-6 years.

Career Prospects – With growing penetration of Insurance in India, there is a growing demand for actuaries qualified personnel who can help in product design and pricing, valuation, asset liability management, research, and analysis.

 

Conclusion

To wrap up things, we have come across a plethora of career options to choose from. One need not go with only traditional courses like B.Com, CS but rather to expand their horizon and take up courses which are in global demand. One need not be in a rat race and take up conventional courses, rather take up opportunities which are challenging and rewarding at the same time. One can enter into any of these courses to have a prosperous career and earn handsome salaries.

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