NCFM vs CPA – Which Has More Credence? There is a significant difference between NCFM and CPA Certifications. And you need to pick one, according to your career aspirations. Don’t worry we are here to help.
NCFM emphasizes on stock market whereas CPA is all about handing accounting for public enterprises. Both courses are from finance domain and but they’re significantly different in scope, job opportunities, areas of work and curriculum. Let’s look few guidelines on the basis of which you should pick one of the courses.
- Think about your career aspirations. Not everyone wants to be a public accountant or stock broker. And if you think money is the distinguisher between these two, forget money for some time. If you’re good in your subject matter, you will earn a lot of money without any hassle. The problem is not money; rather concentrate on the curriculum. We will describe in detail everything that you need to know to make a decision. But make sure you know where you want to go.
- Think long term, not short term. The usual trend is to choose something which is chosen by your friends and colleagues. But don’t do it just because your friends are doing; do it because you want to grow bigger in 5-10 years down the line. Long term perspective is important as that will help you make better decisions.
- Finally make sure that you have the persistence to stick to the course till its last. If you leave in between then money, time spent and investment in your career will all be wasted.
To make sure that you get to take the best decision, we have put together this article in a proper sequence which will enable you to know about these courses in detail and will also help you see the key differences and exam requirements for each of the course. Let’s dive in and look at the flow of the article.
- NCFM vs CPA Infographics
- What is NCFM (National Stock Exchange’s Certification in Financial Markets)?
- What is CPA (Certified Public Accountant)?
- NCFM vs CPA – Key differences
- Why pursue NCFM?
- Why pursue CPA?
NCFM vs CPA Infographics
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Lets understand the difference between these two streams with the help of this NCFM vs CPA Infographics.
NCFM vs CPA Summary
|Certification Organised by||• NCFM is organized by National Stock Exchange (NSE), India. It offers a lot of courses to its students. NCFM is one of the most esteemed courses offered by NSE.||• CPA is organized by American Institute of CPAs. But they don’t provide license to the students who pass out. The licensing authority is of the Board of Accountancy of the particular state you pass out from.|
|Number of levels||• NCFM has three levels to clear. If you enrol for NCFM certification, first you need to pass Foundation Modules; then once you’re through you need to sit for Intermediate Modules (the most comprehensive) and lastly you need to go through the Advanced Modules.||• CPA is significantly easier if you talk about levels. It has only one level to clear.|
|Mode/Duration of exam||• The examinations for different modules can be taken anytime, at the convenience of the students.||• To become CPA, you need to hold your nerve as it’s a mammoth exam. If you want to clear CPA, you need to sit for a whopping 14 hours exam.|
|Exam Window||• There are total 155 exam centres where the students can take the tests. Along with that they can also give the exam at their own pace. There’s no such window in case you choose to give exam at your own convenience.||For sitting for CPA, you have four exam windows per year. You can sit for the exam during January 1 - March 10, April 1 - May 31*, July 1 - September 10 and October 1 - December 10.|
|Subjects||NCFM has a huge list of modules. Let’s have a glance at them.|
- Algorithm Trading Module
- Financial Markets: A Beginner's Module
- Mutual Funds: A Beginner's Module
- Currency Derivatives: A Beginner's Module
- Equity Derivatives: A Beginner's Module
- Capital Market (Dealers) Module (CMDM)
- Derivatives Market (Dealers) Module (DMDM)
- Investment Analysis and Portfolio Management
- Fundamental Analysis Module
- Financial Markets (Advanced) Module
- Securities Market (Advanced) Module
- Derivatives (Advanced) Module
- Mutual Funds (Advanced) Module
|Let’s look at the subjects of CPA.
- Auditing & Attestation (AUD)
- Financial Accounting & Reporting (FAR)
- Regulation (REG),
- Business Environment Concept (BEC)
|Pass Percentage||• As there are many modules inherent within NCFM modules, the pass percentages vary. Usually students who score more than 50%-60%, clear the module.||In 2015, the pass percentage for AUD, FAR, REG and BEC are cumulatively 47.28%, 46.75%, 49.43% and 56.48% respectively.
In 2016, the pass percentage for AUD, FAR, REG and BEC are cumulatively 46%, 46%, 48% and 55% respectively.
|Fees||You have to separately enrol for each certification. The fees for each certification are around US $30 to $110. It’s very low compared to CPA if you consider only one certification. But if you club all the certification, it may be more than the fees of CPA.||The fees for CPA are around US $3000.|
|Job opportunities/Job titles||NCFM covers a varied range of modules and subjects. Thus your chances of getting employed are much higher. But mainly you can be a trader, stock broker, financial market consultant, investor, dealer and sometime even analyst (if you have knack for financial management as well).||Job opportunities for a CPA are many. You can work in a consulting firm or regional or local firms as accountant or financial advisor. The top three job opportunities of a CPA are public accountant, internal auditor and management accountant.|
What is NCFM (National Stock Exchange’s Certification in Financial Markets)?
- NCFM is one of the best online testing and certification programmes which help students get into financial market. If you would like to go in financial analysis, you should opt for other courses (like CFA/MBA) in financial domain. But if you want to be an expert in capital and financial markets, then NCFM is the right course for you.
- The best part of NCFM is its flexibility. You can give exam online and at the same time, you can give exam on the internet as well. It allows the students to give the exam beyond the scope of test centres. By allowing this flexibility students can also choose to give exam at per their convenience. Thus they can set convenient time, date and place to sit for the exams.
- NCFM is not for the faint hearted. Even if they have so much flexibility to sit for the exams, the exams are usually very tough and to get the certification students have to clear many modules.
What is Certified Public Accountant (CPA)?
- Once you have passed out of CPA you will be able to advise people from all domains of business. You will be able to analyse and understand the need of public enterprises and will be able to offer customizable solution to the organizations. Students who aspire to be the best accountant for public enterprises should pursue CPA.
- As per the statistic given by AICPA, it is seen that students who are certified under CPA earn at least 15% more than the students who are non-CPA. 15% is not a small amount. Because once you join an organization, usually you get a promotion of 15% at the end of the year. But if you do CPA, you get that additional 15% right away.
- Once you complete your CPA you would be able to charge for your services as an authority in accounting. But the main emphasis of CPA is public enterprises and public accounting. Even if you would be thorough with accounting for other enterprises, your forte would be public accounting. So before enrolling for CPA program, think through and then decide.
For more details on CPA, you can refer Nuts and Bolts of CPA Exam
NCFM vs CPA – Key Differences
There are significant differences between these two courses. Let’s have a look at them.
- Entry barrier: NCFM has no entry barrier. It is one of the toughest exams to clear as it goes in depth and students need to learn and study a lot to clear all the modules, but still this course can be done by anyone who has keen interest in capital and financial market. But if you want to sit for CPA and get certified, you need to complete 150 hours credit hours. And even if you clear the exam of CPA you will not get the license. You need to handle the licensing procedure separately.
- Exam: To pass NCFM, all you need to do is to prepare for one module and give the exam. Each exam is of different duration and the numbers of questions are also varied. But the exam procedure is much more flexible than CPA. CPA has four parts exam schedule and it’s being seen that sitting for exam is not always convenient for students.
- Approach: The main focus of NCFM is to cover and educate students about capital and financial market. From a novice to an expert trader, anyone can do this course and learn the basics as well as the advanced levels module. Thus it has more relevance with the way financial market works and it’s not just theory questions. Whereas CPA is more comprehensive in its approach. It teaches public accounting along with business skills. But it lacks the practical approach like NCFM.
- International Repute: NCFM is a course which is recognized nationally. The modules and the curriculums of NCFM have more relevance with Indian financial market and thus it has only national repute. Whereas NCFM is a global certification. Even if CPA is more prevalent in USA, it has a base of students from all over the world including India.
- Flexibility: NCFM is one of the best courses in terms of flexibility. If you want to complete NCFM curriculum, you need to study on your own, give exam on your own and you can choose the time, date and place of exam. Can you imagine any other course which offers this sort of flexibility? NCFM not only offers online testing opportunities, it also helps students to avail the exam via internet and at their own convenience. Whereas CPA is not as flexible as NCFM.
- Length of the course: NCFM is a huge course. You need to complete a lot of modules to get the certification. But in case of CPA, you need to clear 4 subjects and it has only one level.
Why pursue NCFM?
- The first reason to pursue NCFM is because it’s so flexible that anybody can do it. All you need to have is an expertise over the subject and willingness to clear the exam in one go.
- The fees of NCFM are much lower than one can imagine. You will get a certification under US $30. Can you beat it?
- NCFM is recognized and organized by National Stock Exchange (NSE). The reputation of NSE is unparalleled.
- NCFM course can be done with any other certification course. If you’re doing MBA in Finance, you can sit for certification of NCFM and clear it simultaneously.
Why pursue CPA?
- Once you have done your CPA, you would have expertise in accounting, auditing and taxation and you would be considered as an authority in these fields.
- Once you complete CPA, you will receive a license which will help you practice accounting and charge for your service. You can also join a public enterprise. Report says that 20% of accountants join public enterprises. Doing a CPA will help you bridge the gap.
- Passing CPA is much easier than any other courses in finance domain. Look at the pass percentages. It’s higher than any other courses in financial domain.
We began the discussion with what to pick and what not to? But now after the articulation of details, you can get it that you can do CPA along with NCFM certification. Both courses will not be mutually exclusive; rather NCFM & CPA, both certifications will help you become a better professional.