CPA CA Key Differences

CPA or CA – The Key Differences

The Certified Public Accountant (CPA) designation in the United States and the Chartered Accountant (CA) designation in India are both prestigious accounting certifications, but they have several key differences:

Professional Organizations

CPA: Issued by the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA) in the United States.
CA (India): Issued by the Institute of Chartered Accountants of India (ICAI).

Educational Requirements

CPA: Requires a bachelor’s degree with a specified number of accounting and business courses, typically 150 credit hours of education.
CA (India): Requires passing the CA Foundation, Intermediate, and Final exams, which can be pursued after 10+2 education.

Examination Structure

CPA: Consists of a four-part exam covering auditing and attestation(AUD), business environment and concepts (BEC), financial accounting and reporting (FAR), and regulation (REG). 2024 onwards BEC will be replaced by 3 optional disciplinary subjects:
Business Analysis and Reporting (BAR) Information Systems and Controls (ISC) Tax Compliance and Planning (TCP)
CA (India): Involves multiple levels of exams, including theoretical, practical, inter and final exams, covering subjects like accounting, taxation, law, and auditing.

  • CA Foundation course examination (4 papers)
  • CA Intermediate examination (8 papers)
  • CA Final examination (8 papers)


CPA: The time required to become a CPA can vary, but it typically takes 1-2 years to complete the educational and exam requirements.
CA (India): Becoming a CA in India can take 4-5 years or more due to the multi-stage exam process.


CPA: Focuses on U.S. Generally Accepted Accounting Principles (GAAP) and U.S. tax laws.
CA (India): Covers Indian accounting standards, taxation laws, and business regulations.

Global Recognition

CPA: While primarily a U.S. qualification, it is recognized internationally, and CPAs can practice in various countries with some additional requirements.
CA (India): Primarily recognized in India, although Indian CAs can also work in other countries but may need to meet additional requirements.


CPA: Allows for various specializations, including forensic accounting, taxation, audit, information systems, compliance and planning, business analysis & reporting.
CA (India): Offers specialized courses within the CA framework, such as Information Systems Audit (ISA) and Insurance and Risk Management (IRM).

Regulatory Environment

CPA: Regulated by state boards of accountancy in the U.S., leading to variations in licensing requirements across states. The CPA exam is conducted by the AICPA.
CA (India): Regulated by the ICAI, providing uniform standards across India.

Both certifications have their merits and are highly respected within their respective regions. The choice between CPA and CA often depends on one’s career goals, location, and area of interest within the field of accounting.To know more about CPA US check:

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