CPA stands for Certified Public Accountant and these exams are conducted by American Institute of Certified Public Accountant (AICPA) . The CPA takes a minimum of 7 months and a maximum of 1 year to complete.
On the other hand, CA stands for Chartered Accountant and these exams are conducted by Institute of Chartered Accountants of India (ICAI) and this course takes an average of 4 to 5 years to complete.
The key question that arises is whether the CPA benefits the career path or CA? There is no clear winner because both qualifications will help to grow the technical, accountancy and business management skills of a professional accountant. Moreover, both CPA and CA holders tend to be equally spread across commercial and public accounting – so each qualification provides maximum flexibility to work across the industry.
Still the question comes to mind which is better among the two? One might be in a dilemma in selecting the right credential CA or CPA? Since the choice between CA and CPA is a big career decision, lets make a discussion which help one to take an informed decision on the same line also to look on the advantage of Indian CAs to opt for Canadian or Australian CPAs as an alternative to CPA US course.
CPAs and CAs are both highly qualified accountants that operate within a rigorous code of conduct. Broadly speaking, CAs tend to have a greater focus on the technical aspects of accounting and a deeper understanding of complex taxation matters. CPAs focus on accounting and business management as a whole.
Every business needs a good accountant, making it one of the most stable industries you can get into. But if you’d like the freedom to explore even more job opportunities in the future, then you should consider specializing as a certified practicing accountant (CPA) or a chartered accountant (CA).
CPAs and CAs do similar things with some big differences. A CPA or Certified Public Accountant can be defined as a qualified accountant certified by the AICPA (American Institute of Certified Public Accountants), having the highest level of competence in domains like finance, accountancy, and financial information services. A CPA is an international degree and the same as a lot of significance in English-speaking countries.
On the other hand, a CA can be defined as a Chartered Accountant certified by the ICAI (the Institute of Chartered Accountant in India), having expertise in finance and accountancy. A CA is a Chartered Accountant in India, and an aspirant can enroll for this course right after clearing his class 12 examinations.
1. Key Differences Between CPA vs CA :- At a Glance
The key differences between a Certified Public Accountant (CPA) and a Chartered Accountant (CA) are provided below:
1.CPA stands for Certified Public Accountant, whereas CA stands for Chartered Accountant.
2. CPA being an international degree, is recognized worldwide, whereas CA being an Indian degree, is majorly recognized in India and to some extent in a few Middle Eastern countries
3. American Institute of Certified Public Accountants or AICPA offers a CPA course, whereas the Institute of Chartered Accountants in India OR ICAI offers a CA course.
4. A CPA course is comparatively expensive as compared to a CA course.
5. An individual holding a CPA degree will be entitled to receive more salary as compared to an individual holding a CA degree.
6. A CPA course is not that difficult as compared to a CA course.
7. A CA course takes more time to complete in comparison to a CPA course. The minimum time taken for an aspirant to clear CA is around 4 to 5 years, whereas the minimum time taken by an aspirant for the completion of a CPA course is 7 months, and the maximum taken is one year.
8. The exams in CPA are conducted online, whereas the exams in CA are conducted offline.
9. Article-ship for a minimum of three years under a Chartered Accountant firm is mandatory in CA for an aspirant to attain his or her CA license, whereas the same is not applicable in the case of the CPA course.
10. CPA is a one-time online exam, whereas CA exams are executed at 4 different levels- Common Proficiency Test (CPT), Integrated Professional Competence Course (IPCC OR IPCE), article-ship for three years under a CA firm, and final exam.
11. CPA covers International Financial Reporting Standards (IFRS) as well as US Generally Accepted Accounting Principles (GAAP), whereas CA covers Generally Accepted Accounting principles (GAAP).
2. Eligibility Criteria
1. You need to clear Bachelors in Commerce (B. Com) with a first-class or you need to have a Bachelor’s in Commerce and also a Post-Graduation Degree.
2. And if you have Indian CA’s designation with B. Com than also you can appear for CPA examinations.
If you want to appear for Indian CA Examination,
1. You need to appear for Common Proficiency Test (CPT) after appearing in Senior Secondary Examination (recognized by the Central Government of India).
2. CPT Examination is held in June & December every year, so the first step you need to do is you need to register for Common Proficiency Test 60 days prior to the test i.e., on or before 1st April & 1st October.
3. Career Opportunities
CPA designation will open a door of wide varied options. After getting your CPA certification you can work under various accounting fields such as
· International Accounting, Internal & External Auditing
· Consulting Services, Forensic Accounting
· Assurance services, Taxation & Financial Planning, etc. With its global recognition, you will find the best place to work anywhere in many countries. See the list of Top Accounting firms
Similarly, CA Designation will also provide you many options in the specialized areas of accounting such as
· Auditing, Taxation, Corporate Finance, Corporate Laws.
· After getting your CA Certification you can either work in the existing top firms of Accountancy or you can start your own independent professional practice.
4. Salary Comparison
The average salary earned by the CPA Professionals (in India) is found to INR 7,68,552 per year. Most people move on to other jobs if they have more than 10 years’ experience in this field.
A Chartered Accountant (in India) earns a salary of INR 6,08,976 per year on an average. Skills that are associated with high pay for this job are Evaluation and Management Auditing, Budget Management, Financial Analysis, Strategic Accounts, and Financial Advisor. People in this job generally don’t have more than 10 years’ experience. Experience strongly influences income for this job.
5. Roadmap for CA to CPA Australia: Mutual Recognition Agreement
CPA Australia has a Mutual Recognition Agreement (MRA) with ICAI.
Pathway to CPA membership
The following steps demonstrate the pathway to Associate CPA membership for full members of ICAI under the conditions of the current MRA.
You may be eligible to apply for Associate CPA Australia membership if you:
1.1 Are a member of good standing with ICAI and not currently subject to any disciplinary sanctions or investigations
1.2 Did not gain entry to ICAI membership through another MRA, any other similar pathway agreements or any special member pathway
1.3 Have successfully completed the ICAI exams and the ICAI practical experience requirements
1.4 Hold a university degree recognized by the Australian Government Department of Education, Skills and Employment as being at least equivalent to Australian bachelor degree level. Or
1.5 Have at least five years’ work experience in professional accounting.
Upon verification of application, once you become an Associate member of CPA Australia, you must successfully complete the following course and subject:
· Better Practice in Governance and Accountability (Online)
· Global Strategy and Leadership subject of the CPA Program
When complete, you will advance to CPA status, receive a CPA certificate and will then be able to use the letters CPA after your name.
6.Roadmap from CA to CPA Canada: Memorandum of Understanding (MOU)
If you are a fully qualified member of the Institute of Chartered Accountants of India (ICAI), learn how you can earn your Canadian CPA designation.
CPA Canada has finalized the Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) on Reciprocal Membership Arrangement with the Institute of Chartered Accountants of India (ICAI) on behalf of the CPA provincial and territorial bodies and the Chartered Professional Accountants of Bermuda.
If you are a fully qualified ICAI member in good standing (obtained a membership through completion of the accounting body’s qualification process and not through a recognition agreement with another accountancy body), and you obtained your designation while not a resident of Canada, you may have rights to advanced standing in the CPA certification program through the MOU. Please note that MOU pathways generally lead to certification only. The right to practice public accounting may require additional examination and/or experience requirements.
1.Education and examination
ICAI members seeking their Canadian CPA designation under this agreement are:
1.1 Exempted from all CPA Professional Education Program (CPA PEP) modules, but are strongly encouraged to complete Capstone 1 and Capstone 2 (completion of these modules is not mandatory)
1.2 Required to pass the Common Final Examination
Assessment of experience for certification is determined by post qualification experience as an ICAI member. All members with:
2.1 More than five years of post-qualification experience and no recognized university degree are exempt from assessment of experience
2.2 More than two years of post- qualification experience and a recognized degree are exempt from assessment of experience
2.3 Applicants with less than specified post-qualification experience will be subject to a review of their practical experience obtained pre- and post-qualification.
2.4 All relevant experience must have been gained as a member or student of the Institute of Chartered Accountants of India.
It is noteworthy that Indian CAs has avenues to get both Australian and Canadian CPA without taking any extra exam. Thanks to the MRA/MOU systems. Things are not like that for CPA US course . There is no such system exist between AICPA and ICAI at present.
Considering the value and outcome, CPA US course stands atop the Canadian and Australian CPAs. Taking into account the Indian CA and CPA US course, it can be stated that both designations have their own pros and cons, it is not an easy task to opt between CPA & CA as both have a successful career.
If you are interested in working abroad or in a multinational company, then you should opt for a CPA. Alternatively, if you want to start your own audit practice in India, opt for CA. Additionally, the CA exam is less costly as compared to the CPA examination.
When taking decision it has to be kept in mind that CPA US course is a global credential where the door is wide open for a successful candidate to get job in MNCs with coveted recognition while the same door is quite narrow for an Indian CA. Hence, obtaining a CPA US course certification even after completion of CA appear highly beneficial.
What is US CPA ? Why and How to become a US CPA – A complete guide on CPA US Course including Eligibility, Details, Duration, Syllabus, Job & Salary, Exam & Pass rate, Structure of US CPA exam, Fees, etc….continue reading ..
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