Chartered Accountancy & Company Secretary
These professions have traditionally been held in high esteem, both due to the difficulties in qualifying, and also due to the independence and authority that they command. Of late the competition has increased, and many qualified CAs and CSs are not finding the path as smooth as it used to be. Nevertheless those who are good in their work have the unique advantages of being their own bosses, commanding respect, and making good money.
Chartered Accountants have an edge over Company Secretaries because the former can do most of the work of the latter, but not vice versa. A Company Secretary is statutorily required by every limited company, but in many cases companies find ways of bypassing the statutory requirement, hence the limitations in employment.
Basically both are consultants or executives who monitor and guide corporate houses (including government companies, NGOs, trusts, etc.) in their legal, financial and statutory requirements. Once qualified, a person is assured of being put in the top management bracket of the organization. However, most qualified CAs and CSs prefer to remain self employed and do the work of a number of clients.
ENTRY: to both the fields is basically after graduation in any field, but one can enroll after passing 10+2 in order to start foundation course. One has to pass the entrance exam for CS at the +2 level, whereas those with a graduation with 55% marks are directly enrolled. The study material is provided by the respective institutes, and one can go through the studies either entirely by correspondence, or by attending coaching classes, which are also provided by the same institutes. The fees in both cases is very reasonable. Exams are held every six months for the first level, known as Intermediate, as well as the final level, which qualifies the candidate. Supervised practical work is compulsory in both fields.
Passing in all the subjects is tough as only a limited number of candidates are declared successful. Many candidates have to appear more than once, and there are instances of people having to make half a dozen attempts before they qualify, or give up.
APTITUDE: The aptitude for CA would be a skill with figures, concentration ability, a systematic and meticulous way of working, and good analytical skills. For CS one requires an aptitude for law and management, good communication to deal with various types of people, and the ability to fit in the corporate environment.
FUTURE: As mentioned earlier, the future for young professionals in these fields is not as good as it used to be. The options are either employment as Finance Manager /Company Secretary, or private practice (one cannot do both). Private practice brings in good financial rewards, but there is an element of risk involved in this. Those having combined qualifications like CA and CS, or other financial degrees, have an edge over those with single qualifications. Once a person makes a break, he/she will have a sparkling future ahead