Difference Between CFA and CA
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.
Choose between two careers may be very confusing. Of course, your entire career depends on this decision; taking it will not be easy and then deciding between the two toughest career options: CFA® (Chartered Financial Analyst) and CA (Chartered Accountant). Maybe a little information can help you decide between the two.
What is the Chartered Financial Analyst® (CFA®)?
The CFA® Program focuses on investment management. The top employers include the most respected financial corporations globally, e.g., JPMorgan, Citigroup, Bank of America, Credit Suisse, Deutsche Bank, HSBC, UBS, and Wells Fargo.
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 a practitioner’s standpoint.
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 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.
What is a Chartered Accountant (CA)?
CA is an internationally recognized profession, and a chartered accountant can work in all fields of business 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 and a vigorous training process 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 auditorAuditorAn auditor is a professional appointed by an enterprise for an independent analysis of their accounting records and financial statements. An auditor issues a report about the accuracy and reliability of financial statements based on the country's local operating laws.. The international recognition of this degree gives you the ability to 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 Infographics
CFA and CA Exam Requirements
#1 – CFA® Requirements
- CFA® requires four years or 48 months of a combination of education and relevant work experience, which is acceptable by the CFA® institute. However, the examination of the 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 to become a member of the CFA® institute, along with registering as a member of 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.
#2 – CA Requirements
- To enter 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 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 the option of working in the industry.
- Before being articled, the trainee also has to complete a 100 hrs IT training and also soft skills development orientation program.
|Organizing body||The CFA Institute, USA, conduct the exams.||The exams are controlled by the Institute of Chartered Accountants of India (ICAI)|
|Pattern||The course is divided into 3 levels. ||The course is divided into 3 levels. |
|Duration of course||If a candidate can clear all the levels in the first attempt, then he/ she can complete the course in a span of 4 years.||A candidate can complete all the levels within a span of 4 to 5 years.|
|Syllabus||The course covers the following topics. ||The core curriculum includes |
|Exam fees||The cost of the course varies between $2,550 and $3,450. It includes exam fees of $700-$1,000 per level and a one-time registration fee of $450. The exam fee varies depending on the time of registration.||The cost for the entire course lies in the range of $900 to $1,100.|
|Jobs||Some of the Common Profiles include ||Some of the Common Profiles include |
|Difficulty||It is one of the most difficult exams, and only 1 out of every 10 candidates clear the exam. The pass rate for the June 2019 exam for Level I, Level II, and Level III stood at 41%, 44%, and 56% respectively.||It isn’t easy to clear the exams. During November 2019, only 10.2% (old course) and 15.1% (new course) of the candidates cleared both groups of CA Final exams.|
|Exam Date||Upcoming exam schedule for 2021 ||The upcoming exams are expected to start from Jan 21, 2021.|
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 245,000 global candidates registered for the June 2020 CFA® exams that were scheduled to be held in 193 cities across 95 different countries.
For more information, refer to- CFA® Programs.
Why Pursue CA?
CA gives you the flexibility to work in all the industries as an auditor, accountant, and budget analyst. CAs can offer its services in the capital marketCapital MarketA capital market is a place where buyers and sellers interact and trade financial securities such as debentures, stocks, debt instruments, bonds, and derivative instruments such as futures, options, swaps, and exchange-traded funds (ETFs). There are two kinds of markets: primary markets and secondary markets. as well. CAs can set up their practice and develop their clients; they can also work in a CA firm or join companies that can be government, private, and public sectors. CA can be practised internationally. CAs is 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 auditorsAuditorsAn auditor is a professional appointed by an enterprise for an independent analysis of their accounting records and financial statements. An auditor issues a report about the accuracy and reliability of financial statements based on the country's local operating laws. and work on increasing the company’s profitability.
Both of these credentials are of the 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 :-)
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This has been a guide to CFA vs CA. Here we discuss the top differences between CFA and CA professions along with their exam requirement. Do we also discuss why to pursue them? You may also have a look at the following articles –