Difference Between CA and CS
CA or Chartered Accountant is conducted by ICAI (Institute of Chartered Accountants of India) and it can be opted by individuals who are keen in learning the skills pertaining to accountancy, audit, and taxation whereas CS or Company Secretary is conducted by ICSI (Institute of Company Secretaries of India) and it can be pursued by individuals who are interested in managing the legal matters of a company.
Many students are confused between which course to take from the two extra-ordinary courses that are CA and CS. But in this article, we will see the details of both of the courses and how they help students get ahead in their professional careers.
To give a simple overview, a student should go for CA if the student wants to make his/her mark in accounting initially. Because later in the last module of the exam, you will have so many subjects which will allow you to choose any domain of finance you like. But first, you need to be exceptionally good in accounting to clear the first and second modules.
A CS is someone who will take over the corporate governance of the company. S/he will be a master of corporate laws and practice and will be able to act as a direct advisor to the board of directors of the company. To pass CS, you need to have a special liking for Law and how it works from a company perspective.
To get a detailed purview of both the courses, let’s look at the following sections step by step.
What is Chartered Accountancy (CA)?
This is one of the most esteemed courses in India. Students who have commerce background are the perfect fit for this course. But now, even students with varied backgrounds like science and arts are also joining this prestigious course to be able to make their mark in their professional careers.
But chartered accountancy is not for the faint-hearted. If you want to pursue CA, the first quality you should possess is resilience. Because it’s one of the toughest exams in India! People often compare CA with CPA, but CPA is easier than CA, as CA needs more in-depth study and more involvement.
If you can clear three levels in one go, you would be able to become a CA within 3 years. Having said that, most people don’t clear it in one go or even in two-three attempts! You need to study hard and consistently to clear the exam. If you want to pursue CA, think twice before enrolling.
What is Company Secretaryship (CS)?
Company Secretary used to be easier. But now, it has become as hard as CA. By saying hard we don’t mean to scare you. It means that the filtering is so strict that very few can get to clear all three modules. Imagine the scenario, only 3 people out of 100 clear all three modules last year.
As it has become as hard as CA, the value of CS has also increased. If you want to act as an advisor to the MD or CEO of the company, you should choose this course. Because you will be considered as an expert in corporate law and practice and drafting!
CA vs CS Infographics
CA vs CS Comparative Table
|Certification Organised by||CA is one of hardest exams to pass. It is being conducted by the Institute of Chartered Accountants of India (ICAI).||CA is one of hardest exams to pass. It is being conducted by the Institute of Chartered Accountants of India (ICAI).|
|Number of levels||To qualify as a Chartered Accountant, you need to qualify for 3 levels. First is Competency Professional Test (CPT). Once you clear CPT, you are eligible to sit for Integrated Professional Competence (IPC). If you clear PCE, you will be able to give the Final exam.||Even CS has three levels. First you need to clear the Foundation course, then Intermediate and then you can sit for the Final course.|
|Mode/Duration of exam||There are many subjects in each level of Chartered Accountancy. Each exam in each level is of the duration 3 hours||Each exam in each level has two papers and each paper is of 1.5 hours duration. As a whole each exam in each level takes about 4 hours with 1 hour break in between|
|Exam Window||CA Final Exams will be start from 2nd May 2017 to 16th May 2017.||CS Exam June 2017 on 3rd and 4th June 2017. CS Professional exams will be conducted from 1st June 2017 to 10th June 2017|
|Subjects||• The subjects for CA are as follows – |
- Fundamentals of Accounting (Paper 1)
- Quantitative Aptitude (Paper 2)
- Mercantile Law (Paper 3A)
- General Economics (Paper 3B)
- General English (Paper 4A)
- Business Communication (Paper 4B)
Group I –
- Advanced Accounting (Paper 1)
- Law, ethics and communication (Paper 2)
- Cost Accounting and Financial Management (Paper 3)
- Taxation (Paper 4)
Group II –
- Advanced Accounting (Paper 5)
- Auditing and Assurance (Paper 6)
- Information Technology and Strategic Management (Paper 7)
Group I –
- Advanced Accounting (Paper 1)
- Management Accounting and Financial Analysis (Paper 2)
- Advanced Auditing (Paper 3)
- Corporate Laws and Secretarial Practice (Paper 4)
Group II –
- Cost Management (Paper 5)
- Management Information and Control System (Paper 6)
- Direct Taxes (Paper 7)
- Indirect Taxes (Paper 8)
|• Let’s look at the subjects of CS –
- English and Business Communication (Paper 1)
- Basic Economics and Business Environment (Paper 2)
- Financial Accounting (Paper 3)
- Elements of Business Laws and Management (Paper 4)
- Information Systems and Quantitative Techniques (Paper 5)
Group I –
- General and Commercial Laws (Paper 1)
- Company Accounts and Cost and Management Accounting (Paper 2)
- Tax Laws (Paper 3)
- Management Information Systems and Corporate Communications (Paper 4)
Group II –
- Company Law (Paper 5)
- Company Secretarial Practice (Paper 6)
- Economic Labour and Industrial Laws (Paper 7)
- Securities Laws and Regulation of Financial Markets (Paper 8)
Group I –
- Advanced Company Law and Practice (Paper 1)
- Secretarial Practice Relating to Economic Laws and Drafting & Conveyancing (Paper 2)
- Secretarial, Management and Systems Audit (Paper 3)
Group II –
- Financial, treasury and Forex Management (Paper 4)
- Corporate restructuring – Law and Practice (Paper 5)
- Banking and insurance – Law and Practice (Paper 6)
Group III –
- World Trade Organization – International Trade, Joint Ventures & Foreign Collaboration (Paper 7)
- Direct and Indirect Taxation – Law and Practice (Paper 8)
- Human resources management and industrial relations (Paper 9)
|Pass Percentage||Unlike any other professional courses, CA is very tough nut to crack. Only 5.75% of students could clear the exam in 2015|
The Pass Percentage of Nov 2016 Exam is 32.53% (Both Groups)
|In 2015, the pass percentages of CS is also very less. In 2015, only 3.61% of students cleared all the modules.
CS Pass Percentage 40%
|Fees||The total fees for the CA course are very reasonable. Any student who can study hard and have a knack for accounting can do all three levels of CA within US $ 900 - $1000 including registration and examination.||Even the fees for CS are also very low. It’s around US $500|
|Job opportunities/Job titles||Job opportunities for CAs are massive. The top 5 job opportunities are in Accounting, Auditing, Taxation, Management Accounting and Consulting firms||CSs can work as legal experts, corporate planner and strategic manager, chief advisor to the board of directors and as executive secretary to MD or CEO of any reputed company.|
|Pro-tip||If you can complete your CA, you will have much respect and recognition in the society and along with that you can choose many careers as each subject in the final module of the course is an industry.||As CS you can take care of the corporate governance and the various company laws in the organization. After completion of CS you will be treated as an expert in Company Laws and Practice.|
Key Differences Between CA and CS
There are many differences between these courses, though they both are equally hard and sought after courses.
#1 – Expertise
CA needs to have more of a quantitative ability than qualitative ability. On the other hand, CS needs to have a more qualitative approach to his/her career. A CA needs to have good analytical skills; she/he should be good with numbers also be able to handle the pressure. CA needs to be accurate in every number and there’s no room for errors. In the case of CS, she/he should be very good in law and management also needs to be pretty good in communication as she/he needs to advise the board of directors of the company.
#2 – Authority
Often clients need someone who can act as a lawyer in their favor. If you’re a CA, you can act as a lawyer. But a CS doesn’t have the authority to defend his client or represent him in any case. This is one of the advantages of having a CA degree over CS.
#3 – Focus
In the case of CA, the main focus is on accounting. However, in the later module of the course, CA has many subjects from various domains to make the course comprehensive. In a word, the focus of the CA course is quantitative. CS, on the other hand, emphasizes on corporate law. As CS has to communicate with the board of members quite often, thus CS course is made qualitative. Even an HR subject is also included in the last module of CS. To talk about the end of the course, CA is more comprehensive as it includes various subjects; CS is more global as people at ICSI understand the value of soft skills along with the technical skills.
#4 – Hiring Priority
It’s being seen that CAs are mainly hired by audit and consulting firms and firms with global repute whereas CSs are being hired by public enterprises and government organizations. That doesn’t mean that CAs and CSs are not being hired by other industries. The above is just a trend being noticed in recent times.
#5 – Salary Differences
If a company needs someone in the finance domain, generally the company prefers CAs over CSs as CA has a much broader scope of knowledge and expertise compared to CS. But you cannot demean CS as a course. It’s equally good. But there’s a significant difference in salary for CA and CS. A good CA earns almost double of what a good CS earns in the market. It may be because of the authority and power CA can exercise in favor of his/her clients.
Why Pursue CA?
There are a few reasons for which you should pursue CA –
- CA is a professional course that can give you instant credibility. Once you clear CA you will be called an expert of many domains.
- CA is a course that needs a lot of pursuances and while pursuing this course you will learn a lot about hard work, resilience, and intelligence. These are the life skills you require to make your mark in any professional career.
- CA has a great reputation and authority. Even if you don’t want to join a company, you can do your own practice. It’s one of the self-employed professions that are revered in the society like doctors and engineers.
Why Pursue CS?
CS has a limited scope but it’s much advanced from a global perspective. Let’s see why you should pursue a CS.
- Once you complete your CS, you will be treated as an authority of company laws and communication. Both will be great tools to run a company.
- As a CS, your biggest advantage is you can directly advise the board of directors and they will act as you say in legal matters. Imagine the responsibility you have as a CS.
- Even if CA is given more prominence, CS is equally tougher and only a few people can clear it that makes you one of the best in a whole of students and professionals.
You will get the best results if you can do both courses. But it’s not easy to pursue both of the courses simultaneously. If you would like to pursue even one of these, remember it’s a full-time job. Part-time work will not help you crack these exams. You need to study really hard. Go through the above details and pick what best suits you.
This has been a guide to CA vs CS. Here we discuss the details of both of the courses and how they help students get ahead in their professional careers. You may also have a look at the following articles –