If you have a knack for numbers and a passion for commerce, you may be a perfect fit for the finance industry. There are several positions within this profession where you can use your skills and exercise to reap many lucrative opportunities. 

It can be tough to decide where your niche lies and how to earn the right qualifications. Many commerce students consider chartered accountancy as their ultimate goal, as they play to pursue work in auditing or taxation with an Indian firm. Others feel stock and bonds are more up their alley as they see a bright career in investment advisory services. 

The big money-making question is — where do you belong?

Ask yourself this, do you think you are more equipped to handle financial statements or investment portfolios? 

Would you be better suited for wealth management or tax management? 

CFA or CA, which is better? If you are uncertain and can’t decide between the two, don’t worry. Stay on this page to explore your options thoroughly. To help you figure out where your strengths and interests lie, we highlight the difference between CFA and CA qualifications. 

The CFA course 

The chartered financial analyst program had its humble beginnings in 1962. Since then, it has grown steadily to become one of the most prestigious financial certifications in the world. The investment industry is a highly unpredictable and complex place that needs well-trained, competent professionals. The CFA course is designed to create a high caliber of finance experts who can meet the demands of this volatile sector. 

So far, there are more than 130,000 CFA members across over 150 countries. However, this number keeps increasing as more and more investment companies are looking to hire CFA-qualified experts. 

Benefits of the CFA course 

  • The CFA program is globally acknowledged as the standard of excellence
  • The syllabus covers core concepts, finance-centric theory and practical applications
  • It enhances your resume and gets the attention of many top-notch recruiters 
  • You can network with the best professionals and companies in the business as a member of the CFA societies 
  • It broadens your horizons and increases your earning potential 

Syllabus 

These ten subjects are taught in all three CFA levels

  • Ethics and Professional Standards
  • Portfolio Management
  • Economics
  • Corporate Issuers
  • Alternative Investments
  • Equity Investments
  • Fixed Income
  • Quantitative Methods
  • Financial Reporting and Analysis
  • Derivatives

Career opportunities 

You can apply for the position of:

  • Investment banker
  • Wealth manager 
  • Risk analyst 
  • Hedge fund manager
  • Portfolio manager
  • Financial analyst 

Salary expectations:

  • Starting salaries are around Rs 6 to Rs 8 lakhs a year
  • With experience, the figure can increase to Rs 15 lakhs
  • Once established as a senior professional, the annual salary can cross Rs 50 lakhs

The CA course 

As a traditionally renowned profession, chartered accountancy is generally the first choice for many commerce students. The CA course is authorised by the Institute of Chartered Accountants of India (ICAI). They enable CA holders to work with some of the finest financial firms in India, including government offices. As accounting experts, they are qualified to take on several challenging tasks related to accounting, auditing, taxation and corporate finance. One of the reasons the CA community commands a lot of respect is the high level of difficulty of the course. The exams are challenging and rigorous, with a large number of students unable to pass on the first attempt. However, the ones who clear the program enjoy a lot of success in their careers. 

Benefits of the CA course

  • The qualification has instant recognition within Indian firms 
  • It offers a stable and secure career 
  • Chartered accountants are highly knowledgeable and skilled in accounting
  • The certification enables you to take on strategic roles in the company 
  • You can set up your own practice or become a consultant 

Syllabus 

The CA course is divided into three modules

  • CA Foundation: 
    • Has four subjects 
  • CA Intermediate 
    • Has eight subjects
  • CA Final 
    • Has eight subjects 

Career opportunities 

CA professionals can work in the following job roles:

  • Internal auditor
  • Finance manager
  • Forensic auditor
  • Company Secretary 
  • Tax manager 

Salary expectations 

  • Starting salaries are Rs 6 to Rs 7 lakhs per annum
  • Mid-level professionals can increase their earnings to Rs 13 – Rs 15 lakhs 
  • Senior CAs take home over Rs 40 lakhs a year 

Read – How to get a job after CFA level 1

CA vs CFA 

Let’s take a closer look at the differences between the two courses 

CACFA
Industry focus The program teaches students the various aspects about accountancyThe CFA course deals with the various aspects of investment management 
Syllabus subjects The subjects include business law, auditing and assurance, taxation, strategic management, corporate laws and economic lawThe subjects include portfolio management, ethics, financial reporting and quantitative methods
Exam details
  • The CA exams are known to be one of the toughest boards to clear in India 
  • Only 3 to 8 percent clear the second and last levels on the first attempt 
  • You have to pass all three levels, finish 100 hours of IT training and 3 years of articleship before becoming a chartered accountant 
  • The CFA exams are harder than college exams but not as tough as the CA papers
  • You must clear all three levels and acquire 36 months of relevant work experience to become a CFA charter holder
Eligibility 
  • You should be a commerce graduate with a minimum score of 55%
  • Non-commerce graduates need at least 60% 
  • 12th-year students can apply for the foundation course 
  • You can appear the Level 1 exam in the final year of your graduation.
  • Professionals with 4 years of relevant experience can apply
  • All candidates must have a working international passport
Duration of course The CA program can take 5 years to complete The CFA course can take between 2 to 3 years to finish
RecognitionThe CA course is widely acclaimed in IndiaThe CFA program is acknowledged in over 150 countries, including India

Read – CFA Scholarships and are you eligible for them

What if you can’t choose between CFA and CA? 

If you are undecided, there is no law that says you can’t do both. Students who are young and without any professional or personal obligations can spare the time and effort it would take to acquire both certifications.

Why does it make sense to do both? There are a variety of reasons 

  • You are undecided about your career path in finance 
  • You may choose to work in India as well as abroad for a few years 
  • You want a comprehensive and detailed knowledge of finance and accounting 
  • There are subjects in both courses that benefit the other 
  • If you plan your time efficiently, you can do both programs simultaneously
  • It looks good on your resume 

Once you acquire both qualifications, you can reap the many benefits of holding both certificates 

  • You can get a job as a financial analyst with a major global company 
  • There are more opportunities available in India and abroad 
  • Financial MNCs, international banks and the big 4 firms are more likely to hire CA and CFA-qualified professionals 
  • Most CA holders find the CFA exam relatively easier to clear 
  • If you are interested in pursuing a career in technical analysis, hedge funds, or portfolio management, both courses will give you an advantage 
  • The CA course teaches you how to make a financial statement, while the CFA course will help you analyse the financial statement 
  • A dual certification can be of great value during salary negotiations

Why IMS Proschool’s CFA course is ideal for you

If you have been hunting for a high-quality coaching class that fully prepares you for the CFA exams, your search ends with Proschool. As one of India’s best professional training schools, the institution is well-known among finance and accounting experts in the finance industry. The school has a carefully designed study plan, incorporating active learning methods and practical application techniques to help students become proficient. That’s not all they offer. Here below are a few more reasons why Proschool students become world-class CFA holders. 

  • An illustrious faculty that comprises of experienced industry specialists 
  • The teachers offer personalised attention to ensure each student can grasp the material 
  • The school is up-to-date on the latest industry developments and processes
  • You have an incredible collection of study resources at your disposal 
  • There are video recordings, study prep books, mock tests and over 2,000 practice papers to help you study better
  • You can get over 170 hours of physical classroom time or learn through the online sessions

In conclusion 

The CFA is one of the world’s best financial certifications in investment management. The CA is India’s elite accounting qualification. Both are challenging yet rewarding credentials that can help your career progress to higher levels. However, when choosing CFA or CA, which is better for you?

Hopefully, this post has helped you gather enough information to answer the above questions. It comes down to your aptitude. If you love the dynamic and complex world of stock markets and investment portfolios, you should apply for the CFA.

Prefer the more precise and structured world of accounting and auditing? You are a CA at heart. 

If you still can’t decide, consider studying for both courses. Your eye-popping resume with two prestigious certificates will make you an unstoppable force during interviews. Not to mention, a CFA and CA salary is also something you’ll have to look forward to. 

Get all the details about the CFA course here