A Complete Guide To Chartered Accountancy (CA) Course

If you’ve always loved mathematics and data but didn’t really have an inclination towards programming, Chartered Accountancy might be the right field for you. Many students decide to take up this course but only a handful manage to clear it. It is no surprise that the designation of a CA is one of the most respected ones in India. However, the fact that it is difficult to crack shouldn’t stop you from taking the course. If you’re considering Chartered Accountancy as a career option, here’s everything you need to know before you start your journey.

What is Chartered Accountancy?

The Chartered Accountancy programme features subjects like accounting, auditing, and taxation to help you get a much deeper understanding of the financial world and enable you to manage corporate finances. It is a globally recognized accounting certification program. In India, CA exams are conducted by the Institute of Chartered Accountants of India (ICAI). There are three levels of the exam that one needs to clear to get the designation of a Chartered Accountant, and it takes almost 5 years to complete the course.

Course Details

The Chartered Accountancy course has three levels: Foundation, Intermediate, and Final, as well as a three-year practical training component. The course curriculum for Chartered Accountancy primarily deals with concepts such as budget planning, market research, and management of an organization’s working capital among other topics.

Each level of the course has a well-planned curriculum to ensure the students get a proper understanding of the course they are pursuing. Let us explore more about each of the three levels.

1. Common Proficiency Test (CPT)

The CPT is the entry-level or the foundation test of the Chartered Accountancy course. You can apply for CPT, after completing your Class 10 board examination. High school graduates who wish to enrol in CPT  can complete the mandatory registration form and pay the required money. The CPT exam is held twice a year on a Sunday in June and December.

CPT is an objective type test with four subjects, namely, Fundamentals of Accounting (60 marks), General Economics (50 marks), Mercantile Laws (40 marks), and Quantitative Aptitude (50 marks).

2. Integrated Professional Competence Course (IPCC)

For the IPCC or the intermediate level test of the CA exam, there are a total of 7 subjects which are divided into two groups: Group 1 (4 subjects) and Group 2 (3 subjects). Applicants have a choice to either appear for both groups together or give them one after the other. 

You need to score at least 40 marks in each subject to clear the examination. The minimum scores required to clear Group 1 and Group 2, are 200 and 150 respectively. However, if you fail to meet the sectional cutoff for any group but still manage to score 60 marks in any subject, you will be exempted from taking this subject in your subsequent attempts.

3. Final Course (FC)

The final level of the CA exam consists of 2 groups with 8 papers to be cleared. Candidates who clear both groups of the CA Intermediate course (IPCC) are given 2.5 years (minimum) of practical training and are required to complete AICITSS (Advanced Integrated Course on Information Technology and Soft Skills). Before registering for the CA Final exam, candidates need to clear both groups of the intermediate level. CA Final is conducted each year in May and November. 


Routes To Becoming a CA

According to the Scheme of Education and Training, an applicant can pursue the Chartered Accountancy course either through the Foundation Course Route or the Direct Entry Route. The Foundation Course is the first level of the CA test and can be taken immediately after graduating from high school. In contrast, the Direct Entry option is for candidates who have finished their graduation degree.

  • The Foundation Route:

For the entry-level CA foundation course, the candidate must have qualified both the class 10 and class 12 board exams with a 50% aggregate score in class 12.

To take the second level test (CA Intermediate), you must have completed the CA foundation course and received a 50% to 60% aggregate score in your bachelor’s or master’s degree.

You must have cleared Groups 1 and 2 of the CA Intermediate exam to appear for the CA final exam. In addition, you must take a 4-week AICITSS and 2.5 years of articleship training.

  • The Direct Entry Route:

Non-commerce graduates/postgraduates need to have a minimum of 60% aggregate or equivalent grade from any recognized university examination to be eligible for the direct entry route.

The applicants who have completed the Intermediate level examination administered by The Institute of Cost Accountants of India are also eligible for the direct entry route. 

How to become a CA?

Planning to start your journey to become a CA right away? Here is a step-by-step guide to help you apply for the CA exams:

Step 1: Apply for CPT

To take the CPT, the first step is to fill out the registration form available on the official website of ICAI. You can apply for the same after completing class 12. Students who have cleared the class 10 board examination can start their application for CPT but can only appear for the test after clearing class 12.  If you decide to enrol after graduation, you can directly apply for the IPCC (2nd level) if you are a commerce graduate with 55% or have graduation degree of any other stream with 60% aggregate marks.

Step 2: Apply for IPCC

After clearing CPT, you can fill out the application for IPCC. Keep in mind that you must complete 35 hours of the orientation programme and 100 hours of ITT training to appear for the IPCC group exams.

Step 3: Clear IPCC Group Papers

After finishing the 9-month IPCC course, candidates must appear for the IPCC group 1 and 2 exams. To advance to the articleship stage, you must clear the Group 1 test. If you fail to qualify for group 2, you can clear it during the articleship stage, too.

Step 4: The Articleship Stage

It is a 3-year-long practical training that can be done after clearing the group 1 exam of IPCC. Students are required to finish a 15-day course on general management and communication skills after completing their articleship training.

Step 5: The Final Round

A student becomes eligible for the final exam after successfully clearing groups 1 and 2 of the IPCC course.

Step 6: Appearing for the final exam

You can appear for the CA final exam either during your articleship training or after completing it. In case you choose the former option, the rest of the articleship training can be completed after appearing for CA final exams. 

After clearing the CA final exams, you become an ICAI member and are a designated Chartered Accountant. 


CA is a much-coveted job due to its respectable reputation and excellent salary. Your salary largely depends on your skills and work experience. To have a high work profile and appealing compensation, a CA must be skilled in financial accounting, budget management, audit, risk management, and strategic management as well as have good communication skills. The average salary of a CA in India is approximately INR 8,06,154.

The ACCA qualification is recognized in over 180 countries including Canada, Singapore, and Australia. If you’ve made the decision to become a global CA and are contemplating your next move, we can help you take a step forward. Check out our Association of Chartered Certified Accountants (ACCA) course to learn more. To advance your portfolio and build professional skills, try Zell Education’s interactive courses that offer flexible training timings. Get in touch at +91 7208885600 or email us at reachus@zelleducation.com.

Can I become a CA without enrolling in any coaching center?

Since Chartered Accountancy is a correspondence course, the exam conducting authority offers essential study materials to the students. Acing this course requires a good strategy, determination, and consistent efforts. If you find it difficult to understand the concepts, it is preferable to attend coaching classes or enrol in online courses. Moreover, if you are looking to enrol in programs like ACCA or CFA to build a stronger finance base, we at Zell Education offer a variety of courses for you to choose from.

How is Chartered Accountancy different from Cost Accountancy?

The primary difference between the two courses is that a CA course focuses on accounting, taxation, auditing, and finance. On the other hand, a Certified Management Accountant (CMA) course focuses on budgeting, costing/pricing, assets, liabilities, and analysis, among other things.

Does ICAI provide scholarships to CA students?

Yes, the ICAI provides scholarships under 4 categories to CA students. The four scholarship programs available are Merit, Merit-cum-Need based, Need-based, and Weaker Sections Scholarships. These scholarships are given out twice a year (April and October). Students can apply for scholarships using the ICAI website's recommended application form.

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