CA Course Guide - Here Is How To Become a CA

A Chartered Accountant (CA) is a professional who handles various aspects of financial analysis and reporting such as accounting, auditing, taxation, and related advisory services.

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CA foundation course

CA Course - Overview

ICAI, which stands for ‘Institute of Chartered Accountants of India’, is the statutory body in India authorized to recognize Chartered Accountants. It also acts as a regulatory body in managing the CA profession in the country. An individual must complete the course designed by ICAI to become a member of ICAI.

The CA course has three levels:

  1. CA Foundation,
  2. CA Intermediate, and
  3. CA Final

In addition to these exams, a student is required to complete 2 years of practical training, also known as ‘Articleship’.

CA Course Duration

The CA course typically lasts 48 months including articleship training. However, because of the direct entry program, students who enroll in the CA course have a shorter timeline after graduating.

If any student fails to clear any of the CA exams, an additional 6 months will be added to the overall duration. 

  • CA Course Duration Timeline: Total 48 Months 
  • Study Period for CA Foundation: 4 Months
  • CA Foundation Result Waiting Period: 2 Months
  • Study Period for CA Intermediate: 8 Months
  • Exams and Results Period for CA Intermediate: 2 Months
  • Articleship Training: 2 Years (as per the new scheme)
  • CA Final Preparation: 6 months
  • Final CA Result: 2 Months

 

Let's understand the CA course duration with the help of an example. Vidhi plans to embark on her journey to become a Chartered Accountant in 2024. Here's a step-by-step breakdown of her path.

CA Foundation

Study Period: If Vidhi gets herself registered for the CA Foundation on or before 1st Feb 2024, she'll be eligible to appear in the June 2024 exams. She will need to dedicate herself to studying for the CA Foundation course for at least 4 months, from Feb to June 2024.

CA Foundation Exam: She will take the CA Foundation exam in June 2024.

Result Waiting Period: CA Foundation results are usually released about 2 months after the exam, so that she will get her result around August 2024.

CA Intermediate

Study Period: Having successfully cleared the CA Foundation exam, Vidhi will need to devote around 8 months of  studying for the CA Intermediate course.

Exams and Results Period: If Vidhi takes her CA Intermediate exams in May 2025. After the exams, she'll have to wait for the results, which are typically announced around 2 months later.

Articleship Training

Duration: With the Intermediate stage behind her, Vidhi can focus on her articleship training. This training lasts for 2 years as per the new scheme.

CA Final Exam

Study Period: After completing her articleship, Vidhi will be ready to start preparing for the CA Final exams, which require 6 months of focused effort. 

Exam & Result Waiting Period: Assuming Vidhi sits for her CA Final exams in May 2028, she will get her final CA results in the next 2 months. 

Therefore, by July 2028, Vidhi will be able to finish her CA journey and will likely receive her final CA qualification.

CA Course Fees

Foundation Course:

The total fee for the CA Foundation Course is Rs.9,200. There is another optional fee of Rs.600 for the subscription of journals. The fee structure is as follows:

  • Registration form - Rs. 200
  • Registration fees - Rs.9000

Intermediate Course:

The total fee for the Intermediate Course is Rs.18,000 for two groups and Rs.13,000 for a single group. The fee structure is as follows:

Registration Fees

  • for both groups – Rs.15,000
  • for a single group – Rs.11,000

Student’s Activity Fees – Rs.2,000

Note: This needs to be paid only once. When a student is registering for the second group, this need not be paid again.

Registration Fees for Articleship – Rs.2,000

Final Course:

The Fee for the Final Course is Rs.22,000.
Exam Fee: INR 3,300 (both groups), INR 1,800 (single group)

Training Programs:

AICITSS Training: INR 7,500 (IT), INR 7,000 (soft skills).

CA Course Registration

Students can visit icai.org to register for the Foundation Course. They can also click the following link and follow the instructions: ICAI Login

Important dates for registration under the CA New Scheme have been published by ICAI as follows:

  • Registration deadlines (last date) under existing scheme: 1st May 2024 (Foundation) for September 2024 Exam, 1st May 2024 (Intermediate and Final under Existing Scheme)
  • First examination under the new scheme: June 2024 (Foundation), May 2024 (Intermediate and Final)
  • It may be noted that students have students who have registered in Intermediate Course either through Foundation Route or Direct Entry Route up to 1st January 2024 are elligible in appearing in September 2024 Intermediate Examination.

 

The Foundation Route

The first step for a student to become a Chartered Accountant is to enroll for the Foundation Course with the Board of Studies (BoS) after clearing the Class X examination. Foundation Examination is conducted thrice a year in January, June and September. 

The registration process is through ICAI’s Self Service Portal

Students can attempt the Foundation exams in the month of May immediately after their class XII exams. In case they fail to meet the eligibility, criteria mentioned above after their class XII results are out, their Foundation registration will be cancelled, and Foundation exam results invalidated.

Each subject in CA Foundation is tested for 100 marks and the subjects in the syllabus are:

  • Paper 1: Accounting (100 marks)
  • Paper 2: Business Laws (100 marks)
  •  Paper 3: Quantitative Aptitude (100 marks)
           • Business Mathematics
           • Logical Reasoning
           • Statistics
  • Paper 4: Business Economics (100 marks)

Paper 1 & 2 are subjective type (100%) and Paper 3 & 4 are objective type (100%). There is negative marking of 0.25 mark for every wrong answer in objective type papers. 
To clear the CA Foundation, a student must get a minimum of 40 marks in each subject and an average of 50% across all papers. Also, the MCQs carry negative marks. If the student does not clear either of the marks-based criteria, the student may take the exam again 6 months later and attempt to clear the level.

Study Period: 4 months study period is required before appearing in Foundation Examination.

The validity period for registration in the Foundation Course is for 4 years from the first eligible attempt in the Foundation Examination. Revalidation is not permitted at the Foundation level.

A student is declared to have passed the Foundation examination, if he/she obtains at one sitting a minimum of 40% marks in each paper and a minimum of 50% marks in the aggregate of all the papers

The registration for CA Foundation Course is valid for 4 years  from the first eligible attempt in the Foundation Examination and Revalidation is not permitted at the Foundation level.


 

CA Intermediate

CA Intermediate or CA Inter is the second level of the Chartered Accountancy course. It consists of two groups of three subjects each. Intermediate exams are held thrice in a year i.e., in the month of May/June, September and January.

CA Intermediate Course:

There are 6 papers in Intermediate Course which are as under:
        Group I
             Paper 1: Advanced Accounting (100 marks)
             Paper 2: Corporate and Other Laws (100 marks)
                 •Section A – Income-tax Law (50 marks)
                 •Section B – Goods and Services Tax (GST) (50 marks)

             Paper 3: Taxation
        Group II
             Paper 4: Cost and Management Accounting (100 marks)
             Paper 5: Auditing and Ethics (100 marks)
             Paper 6: Financial Management and Strategic Management
                 •Section A – Financial Management (50 marks)
                 •Section B – Strategic Management (50 marks)

There will be 30% case scenario/ case-study based MCQs and 70% descriptive questions in 
all the six papers of Intermediate Examination.  There is no negative marking in MCQ based questions in Intermediate Examination


Registration:
Fee for registration in both the groups of Intermediate Course is Rs.18,000/-.After registration for the intermediate course, students are required to undergo a study period of eight months.

CA Intermediate exams are held thrice in a year i.e., in the month of May/June, September and January.

The students who wish to appear in the May cycle should get themselves registered for the intermediate course before September in the previous year and the students who wish to appear in the January cycle should get themselves registered for the intermediate course before May in the previous year.

Students from the CA foundation route can register themselves either for one group or both the groups of the intermediate course. However, the students from the direct entry route have to register themselves for both groups simultaneously.

Intermediate Course registration is valid for 5 years and can be revalidated any number of times for a further 5 years period by paying a revalidation fee of Rs.400/- or as decided by the Council from time to time. Revalidation is permitted only once for Intermediate Course.


Passing Criteria:

A student is declared to have passed the Foundation examination, if he/she obtains at 
one sitting a minimum of 40% marks in each paper and a minimum of 50% marks in the 
aggregate of all the papers.

After CA Intermediate:

After clearing either or both the groups of CA intermediate, a student has to undergo an articleship/ practical training for a period of 2 years.

Before the commencement of articleship, a student has to undergo 2 practical trainings of 4 weeks duration each i.e.,  ICITSS and AICITSS.

All these three trainings are compulsory in nature.

  • The Intermediate student has to undergo ICITSS (IT/OC) courses before commencement of Practical Training for both the Routes (Foundation/ Direct Entry). 
  •  A student is required to complete AICITSS (AIT & MCS) after completion of 
    Practical Training but before appearing in Final Examination.

 

CA Final

CA final is the last level course to be completed for an aspirant of Chartered Accountancy. Once the student has cleared the Intermediate level, he/she enters the last leg of CA, i.e., CA Final Course.

The Final Course consists of two Groups - Group I and Group II. The Course covers Group I which consists of Three Core papers, and Group II which consists of Three Core Papers and One Elective paper.

CA Final Group 1 

  1.  Financial Reporting (100 Marks)
  2.  Advanced Financial Management (100 Marks)
  3.  Advanced Auditing, Assurance and Professional Ethics (100 Marks)

CA Final Group 2 

  1.  Direct Tax Laws and International Taxation (100 Marks)
  2.  Indirect Tax Laws (100 Marks)
  3.  Integrated Business Solutions (100 Marks) (Multi-Disciplinary Case Studies with Strategic Management)

There will be 30% case scenario/ case-study based MCQs and 70% descriptive questions in 
all the six papers of Final Examination.  There is no negative marking in MCQ based questions in Final Examination.

Paper-6: Integrated Business Solutions (Multidisciplinary Case Study with Strategic Management) which is entirely case study based, would be open book examination. 
Assessment for all the other five papers would be through closed book examination.

Self-Paced Module
Self-Paced Online Module is a course which a student can learn and qualify at his/her own pace after registering for Final Course. At the time of registration of Final Course, students would also be registering for Self-PacedOnline Modules. 

  • ICAI has integrated this module into the New Scheme of Education and Training.
  • Students can study these modules independently and take online tests.
  • The module has four sets: Sets A, B, C, and D.
  • Sets A and B cover mandatory subjects like economic laws and strategic cost and management, which were removed from the old CA Final syllabus.
  • Sets C and D are electives, students will have the option for selecting the subjects, students can choose their study topics and progress at their own pace during their articleship.
  • A passing score of over 50% is required in each module

Registration:

Student can register for the Final Course any time after passing both the groups of Intermediate Examination. At the time of registration for Final Course, students would also be registering for Self-Paced Online Modules.  Fee for registration in both the groups of Final Course is Rs.22,000.

The validity period of registration in the Final Course is for 10 years from the date of registration in the Final Course which can be revalidated every 10 years with revalidation fee of Rs.500/-. 

CA Final Course Passing Criteria 

After completing the articleship training and passing both the Final Course groups with a minimum of 40% in each subject and 50% overall, a student can enroll as a member of ICAI and be designated as a CA.



Here is a comprehensive view of the route for clearing CA

 

CA Course - CA Final route

 

The path of clearing all three levels is called the Foundation Course route, and the most taken by CA aspirants. However, there is another route called the Direct Entry Route that is preferred by students who wish to take up CA after completing graduation.

The Direct Entry Route

The direct entry route is mainly intended for students who have completed certain educational qualifications and have relevant work experience. This option allows them to skip the Foundation level and begin the CA course at an advanced point. Here are the key points of the Direct Entry Route:

Eligibility: Students must fulfill one of the following requirements to be eligible for the Direct Entry Route:

  1. Commerce graduates with a bachelor's degree and at least 55%.
  2. Postgraduates in commerce with at least 55% marks.
  3. Graduates/postgraduates in other disciplines with a minimum of 60% marks.
  4. Those who have passed the Intermediate level from the Institute of Cost Accountants of India (ICAI) or Institute of Company Secretaries of India (ICSI)

Study Period: The eligibility criteria for the CA Intermediate Course remain the same as before. However, direct entry applicants must now undergo 8 months of studying to sit for the examinations. Articleship can be commenced only after passing both groups of CA Inter. Previously, before appearing for the CA Intermediate exams, direct entry students must complete nine months of practical training.

 

For better understanding of how to appear through the direct route, see the pictorial representation below

FAQs

How do I start on my CA journey?

Simply put, start with registration. Get the material, Study with a diligent and focused approach. Enroll & start your journey!

Why CA Course?

The average compensation for a CA at the beginning of his career is around 7-8 lakh INR per annum. This is higher compared to most other professional courses. There is a single regulatory body certifying an individual as CA compared to other courses which are offered by many institutes thereby reducing disparities among CAs, unlike students who pursue other courses from various colleges.

Is CA a difficult course?

Becoming a CA is not tough as long as the applicants are committed, diligent, and sincere. This course requires a good amount of effort from the student. Long study hours and concentration are key when preparing for the CA examinations.

Can I enroll in the CA Course after class 12?

Yes. Students who have passed class 10 under legally recognised board in India or an equivalent exam recognised by the Central or State Government can signup for the CA Foundation Course.

Can I do CA after graduation?

Graduate students can very certainly become CAs. They are not, however, required to take the CA foundation exam. After undergoing an eight-month study period, these applicants are qualified to take the CA intermediate exam.

Is CA an expensive course?

It’s not as expensive as a professional finance degree like MBA. The whole cost of the CA course in India, including ICAI fees, books, study materials, coaching, and tuition costs, doesn’t exceed Rs. 4 lakh.

What is the CA New Syllabus?

The CA New Syllabus is an up-to-date curriculum created to meet the changing demands of the financial and business worlds. In a nutshell, it includes a shorter articleship duration, a new syllabus, and a higher stipend. As an aspiring professional, you should stay current with these changes and plan your CA career to succeed in this demanding but rewarding field. You can glance the new syllabus on our Course Guides.

How to prepare for CA?

To prepare for CA exams online, start with a structured study plan. Utilize reputable online resources, join virtual study groups, practice mock tests, and seek guidance from experienced mentors. Stay disciplined and focused to excel in your exams.

Online classes aid CA preparation by offering flexible schedules, access to expert instructors, interactive learning resources, and peer support. They facilitate comprehensive coverage of the syllabus and self-paced study.