CA vs CS

Difference Between CA and CS

CA or Chartered Accountant exam is conducted by ICAI (Institute of Chartered Accountants of India), and is taken by individuals who are keen in learning accountancy, audit, and taxation. Whereas, CS or Company Secretary exam is conducted by ICSI (Institute of Company Secretaries of India) and is pursued by individuals who are interested in managing the legal matters of a company.

CA vs CS – Explained

Both Chartered Accountant (CA) and Company Secretary (CS) are important certifications for accounting professionals. While some duties are common between them, the two professional designations are very different. While a CA is primarily engaged in accounting functions, a CS is engaged in corporate compliance and liaising with the shareholders with accounting and reporting.

To get a detailed purview of both the courses, let’s look at the following sections step by step.


CA vs CS Infographics


CA vs CS  – Comparative Table

Organizing bodyInstitute of Chartered Accountants of India (ICAI)Institute of Company Secretaries of India (ICSI)
PatternDivided into 3 Levels
  • Level I – Common Proficiency
  • Test (CPT)
  • Level II – Integrated Professional
  • Competence Course (IPCC)
  • Level III – CA Final
Divided into 3 Levels
  • Level I – Foundation Course (Only for Undergraduates)
  • Level II – Executive Program
  • Level III – Professional Program
Duration of Course4-5 years2-3 years
  • Fundamentals of Accounting
  • Auditing & Assurance
  • Cost Accounting & Financial Management
  • Direct Taxes
  • Management Accounting
  • Financial Analysis
  • Basic Economics & Business Environment
  • Tax Laws
  • General & Commercial Laws
  • Company Law
  • Banking & Insurance – Law & Practice
  • Economic Labour & Industrial Laws etc.
Exam fees~$950~$500
  • Internal Auditor
  • Government Accountant
  • Public Accountant
  • Management Accountant
  • Strategic Manager
  • Corporate Planner
  • Chief Advisor to Board
  • Executive Secretary to MD/ CEO
DifficultyVery difficultVery difficult
Exam DateWill begin from 21st January 2021Will begin from 1st June 2021

CA vs CS – Which is Better?

The decision of which certification course is a better option revolves around what the aspiring candidate wants to do in his/ her career. If the candidate wants to become a specialist in international accounting standards, then he/ she should pursue CA, while if the candidate wants to work in corporate compliance, he/ she should opt for CS. Let us understand the different aspects of the two certification courses in more detail in the following sections.

Skills Obtained

As a CA one develops more of a quantitative bent of mind than a qualitative, while a CS becomes more adept at taking a qualitative approach. Invariably, the CAs have good analytical skills, and they are very good with numbers as they need to be accurate with every number and there is no room for errors. On the other hand, the CS is very good in legal management and communication as they are usually part of the advisory body of the board of directors or CXOs.


In either CA or CS, a candidate needs to clear three levels. However, the time required to complete them differs from the course structure and the professional training requirement. On average, a candidate takes 4 to 5 years to complete CA, while CS is a relatively shorter course and a candidate usually takes 2 to 3 years to complete the course.

Eligibility or Experience Required

An aspiring candidate can start pursuing either CA and CS after completing the 12th standard (HSC). An applicant with graduation in commerce doesn’t need to appear for the CS Foundation exam (level I); no such exclusion is provided for the CA certification. A 3-year articleship is mandatory for a CA candidate, while 15 months of management training is a must for a CS candidate.


The syllabus of CA focuses on domains such as finance, accounting, taxation, banking, etc. and some of the major subjects include Fundamentals of Accounting,  Auditing & Assurance, Cost Accounting & Financial Management, Direct Taxes,  Management Accounting & Financial Analysis etc. On the other hand, the syllabus of CS helps in becoming an expert in company law, and some of the major subjects include Basic Economics & Business Environment, Tax Laws,  General & Commercial Laws, Company Law, Banking & Insurance – Law & Practice,  Economic Labour & Industrial Laws etc.

Career Opportunity and Salary

After becoming a CA, one can apply for jobs in accounting, auditing, consultancy, taxation etc., whereas as a CS, one can apply for jobs as strategic managers, legal experts, executive secretary to CXOs, corporate planners, chief advisor to boards etc. In the UK, the median salary of a CA is around $44,000, while it is around $11,000 in India. In the UK, the average salary of a CS is around $51,000, while it is around $8,000 in India. It is important to understand that the potential compensation primarily depends on the location of work, type of training and years of experience.

Fees and Passing Rates

The exam fees for both CA and CS are very low. While the CA course costs around $950, the CS course cost around $500. The difficulty level is very high in both cases, which can be ascertained from their low passing rates. The below table represents the outcome of the CA exams held during November 2019.

CA Final examOld courseNew course
Group – I only26.94%17.34%
Group –II only23.09%28.15%
Both Groups10.19%15.12%

The below table represents the outcome of the CS exams held during June 2019.

Executive programOld syllabusNew syllabus
        Module – 111.51% 
        Module – 216.78% 
Professional ProgramOld syllabusNew syllabus
        Module – 127.13%27.82%
        Module – 230.73%24.73%
        Module – 333.34%27.76%
Foundation Program64.53%

Exam Availability

Usually, the CA exams are conducted during May and November every year, while the exams for CS take place during June and December every year. The upcoming exams for CA are expected to start from 21st January 2021, while that of ICAI are expected to start from 1st June 2021.

How to Enroll?

To enroll for the CA course, one needs to visit the official website of ICAI, register for various programs at student services and make the fee payment for the relevant exam. On the other hand, to enroll for the CS course, one needs to visit the official website ICSI, register at online services and make the fee payment for the relevant exam.


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 hard. Go through the above details and pick what best suits you.

Recommended Articles

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 –

Reader Interactions


  1. N@nce says

    Hey I work for a nationalised bank and am having 4.5 yrs experience in banking. Is there any way of waiver in article ship of Ca?

    • Dheeraj Vaidya says

      Hi Nancy, I am not sure if there is one on this.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *