CFA® vs CA – Which is Better? CFA focusses on Investment Management and covers topics in Finance like Corporate Finance, Ethics, Equity Investments, Derivatives, Fixed Income while preparing you for careers in Investment Banking, Research, Portfolio Management. Whereas, CA focusses on Accounting, Taxation, and Auditing and prepares you for careers in budgeting, accounting & auditing, and management accounting.
That phase when you have to choose between two careers is but of course very confusing as you do not know what decision to make. Of course, your entire career depends on this decision, taking it definitely is not going to be easy. And then deciding between two toughest career options that is CFA® (Chartered Financial Analyst) and CA (Chartered Accountant). May be a little information can help you decide between the two.
Appearing for CFA Level 1 exam? – Do have a look at this awesome 70+ hours of CFA level 1 Training
We will discuss the following in this article –
- CFA® vs CA Infographics
- What is a Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA®)?
- What is Chartered Accountant (CA)?
- CFA® vs CA Exam Requirements
- Why pursue CFA®?
- Why pursue CA?
CFA® vs CA Infographics
Reading time : 90 seconds
Lets understand the difference between these two streams with the help of this CFA® vs CA Infographics.
CFA vs CA Summary
|Certification organized by||CFA is organized by The CFA Institute (American Based Institute)||CA is organized by The Institution of Chartered Accountant of India (ICAI)|
|Number of levels that need to be cleared||CFA is a simple 3 year course of three levels Level 1,2 and 3 all the levels are a course of 1 year each||To clear CFA you need to clear 3 levels that takes about 4 years and more to clear successfully, these levels are CPT, IPCC and the finals. CPT is a course of 2 years, IPCC is 1 year and so are the finals|
|Duration of exams||Across CFA Part I, II, III levels, there are morning and afternoon sessions of 3 hours each||Each exam at each of the levels is of 3 hour duration. It takes at least 4 years to complete CA including all of the three exam levels.|
|Exam window||CFA Part I, II & III level exams are conducted on the first Saturday of June every year, Part I exam can also be taken in December||CA and IPCC Final Exams will be start from 2nd May 2017 to 16th May 2017.|
|Focus subjects||CFA focuses on ethics, accounting, corporate finance, equity investments, fixed income and portfolio management||CA focuses on business environment and concepts, financial accounting and reporting, audit and attestation and regulations.|
|Passing percentage||To clear CFA you need Level 1 42%, level 2 46% and for level 3 54%.|
The 14-year average pass rate for all three levels of CFA (from 2003 to 2016) was 52%
|To clear CA you need Audit and Attestation 46.35%, business environment and concepts 55.46%, financial accounting and reporting 47.60% and finally for regulation 49.41%.
The Pass Percentage of Nov 2016 Exam is 32.53% (Both Groups)
|Fees||CFA fee is approximately $1350 including registration and examination.||CA fee is approximately $ 900 - $1000 including registration and examination|
|Job titles||CFA: Investment banking, portfolio management and equity research||CA: Public accounting, management accounting, government accounting and internal auditing|
What is the Chartered Financial Analyst® (CFA®) charter?
The CFA® Program focuses on investment management. The top employers of charterholders include the most respected financial corporations in the world, e.g., JPMorgan, Citigroup, Bank of America, Credit Suisse, Deutsche Bank, HSBC, UBS, and Wells Fargo, to name a few.
Many of these are Top investment banks , but the CFA® Program focuses on the knowledge and skills most relevant to the global investment management profession from the standpoint of a practitioner.
Investment professionals who hold the CFA®designation (or CFA® charter) meet rigorous educational, work experience, and ethical conduct requirements.
Only those who complete three graduate-level examinations, four years of work experience, and annual membership renewal (including an ethics and code of professional conduct attestation) are permitted to use the CFA® designation. Complementary codes and standards (such as the Global Investment Performance Standards and Asset Manager Code) help enhance this professional distinction.
If you want to also consider CPA or CFA® and want to understand their quick comparison, please have a look at the following –
What is Chartered Accountant (CA)?
CA is an internationally recognized profession and a chartered accountant can work in all fields of businesses and finance for example taxation, auditing, and general management. CA’s can be employed by government bodies, public and private sector companies as well. In-short skilled CA’s are always in demand in all industries. The candidates have to qualify through different levels of examinations along with vigorous process of training to become a qualified CA.
A CA can manage financial accounts for an organization, be a tax accountant, management accountant, be a budget analyst and of course the most interesting an auditor. The international recognition of this degree gives you the ability of even working abroad under this qualification. To remain professionally competitive the chartered accountants institute encourages members to undertake a minimum level of continuing professional development.
CFA® vs CA exam Requirements
- CFA® requires 4 years or 48 months of combination of education and relevant work experience which is acceptable by the CFA® institute. However the examination of individual level needs to be completed before the same.
- The CFA® program needs to be completed by mastering the latest CFA® syllabus and clearing 3 6 hourly examinations.
- It is important becoming a member of the CFA® institute along with registering as a member with your local CFA® member’s society.
- Most importantly you need to adhere to the code of ethics and standard of professional conduct of the CFA® institute.
- To enter into the profession you can appear for CPT after clearing your 12th or you can directly take up the intermediate exam after you complete your graduation.
- The intermediate exam that is divided into 2 groups is to be cleared after completing the 1st group that is the IPC level the candidate needs to undergo training as an article assistant for a minimum of 3 years in a chartered firm.
- During the 3rd year of training before the candidate appears for the finals the trainee also gets an option of working in an industry
- Before being articled the trainee also has to complete a 100 hrs IT training and also soft skills development orientation program.
Why pursue the CFA® designation?
The differentiating benefits of earning the CFA® designation include:
- Real-world expertise
- Career recognition
- Ethical grounding
- Global community
- Employer demand
The sheer demand for the CFA® charter speaks to the difference it makes.
More than 160,000 CFA® exam registrations were processed for the June 2015 exams (35% in the Americas, 22% in Europe, Middle East, and Africa, and 43% in Asia Pacific).
For more information, refer to- CFA® Programs
Why pursue CA?
CA gives you the flexibility of working in all the industries as an auditor, accountant and also a budget analyst. CAs can offer their services in the capital market as well. CAs can set up their own practice and also develop their own clients; they can also work in a CA firm or they can also join companies that can be government, private and public sectors. CA can be practiced internationally. CAs are in demand in the manufacturing and the finance industry. They do not necessarily need to work on excel sheets, calculations, numbers and number crunching, they can also work as auditors and work on increasing the company’s profitability. CA is also a very good and settled career option for women these days.
Other Useful Comparisons
CFA® vs CA, both of these credentials are of highest weightage in the accounting and finance industry. Both of which will require dedication and sincere efforts to get through. Whichever is your choice, All the very best 🙂
If you learned something new or enjoyed the post, please leave a comment below. Let me know what you think. Many thanks and take care. Happy Learning!