Accountancy is an interdisciplinary profession, in which students are required to grasp the core elements of business practice, communicate effectively with clients, and master certain technical skills such as data input. A degree in accounting in India is often a combination of two subjects, namely accounting and finance, or accounting and law.

To study accountancy, students should ideally demonstrate attention to detail, an excellent grasp on numbers, and strong organizational skills. These skills should complement your commitment and dedication to pursue the profession.

An accountant is responsible for the management and analysis of transactions and capital holdings – the world of business essentially rests on their shoulders.

Students must acknowledge and accept how continual learning and relearning the subject to accommodate the changing nature of markets and laws, will lead to personal growth.

The first year of an accounting degree course lays the foundation for students to learn the overall role and functions of an accountant, including the company structure and business computing. In the second or third year, some courses may offer paid work placements.

Accountants have long since moved away from calculators!
A career in accounting and finance is in high demand in India. | Source: Unsplash

Getting Started with Accounting

Accountants are always in high demand, enjoying a high degree of job stability and a top tier salary. Once in the profession, accounting and financial professionals can expect good upward mobility and might even be able to establish profitable private practices.

Many chartered accountants get jobs within government ministries and agencies, cataloging tax revenues to a department or managing contract expenses. A chartered accountant may also choose to work for personal clients, helping to minimize their tax bill and offering financial advice.

Studying direct and indirect tax laws as part of your accountancy course can also help accountancy students enter the professional world of law practice in India.

Before you decide on specific education requirements, qualifications, or experience, begin your journey in accounting with good mathematics skills and enthusiasm. Many university courses in accounting and finance require prospective candidates to show high grades in Maths, Business, or Economics at the time of application and registration to courses.

Educational Qualifications Requirements

There are many courses in Indian colleges covering the basics of accounting without the additional requirement of previous school experience. However, if you studied accountancy in school, as a commerce student, then you may be exempt from certain exams because of your strong foundation, as opposed to someone just starting out with no experience in the relevant subjects.

A degree gives you useful knowledge about accounting theory. But, the courses offered by the many accounting institutes provide the practical experience and practical skills needed for a successful career within this sector.

Corporate accounting, tax accounting, financial auditing, or certified management accounting - whichever specialization you choose as a professional chartered accountant in India, a strong foundation course is mandatory for your future success. Such courses help you identify your unique traits, acquire knowledge, and experience to take up an accounting role.

Types of Degrees in Accounting

Once you start exploring your options in accounting as a career, though, you'll find that many different career opportunities are available at many different education levels. The underlying rules and principles of accounting may be the same across all these courses although the specialization will differ.

A row of closed doors. Choosing between accounting exams can be difficult.
Choose between various specializations in accounting while deciding your graduate or post-graduate course | Source: Pixabay

Certificate or Diploma in Accounting

While searching for information on CA courses in India, you are likely to come across several results online about certificate and diploma courses in accounting. These are the most basic courses that aspiring CA candidates can take up to start their accounting journey.

A diploma course in accounting usually takes a year to complete, ending with a final year exam or a series of exams to assess the progress of candidates throughout the course calendar. A certificate course, on the other hand, may require just three or four courses, laying the foundation necessary to start a job.

Bachelor's Degree in Accounting

To become a certified public accountant (CPA), the minimum course requirement is a bachelor's degree in accounting. Under the present COVID-19 restrictions, candidates can also online accounting degree courses.

In addition to a CPA license qualification, many bachelor's degree courses in India also offer specializations in in-demand fields, such as forensic accounting, accounting information systems, and actuarial science.

Master's Degrees in Accounting

Master's degree courses in accounting are in high demand with the increasing competitiveness in the job market has become more competitive. Accountants and finance professionals look for education credentials that would set them apart from the rest of the candidates while seeking a job.

For this reason, colleges and universities are offering online master's degrees in accounting. Some of these courses do not even require a residency or time on campus. Moreover, the colleges try to keep their online programs as affordable as possible.

MBA in Accounting

Many accountants today choose a Master of Business Administration (MBA) with an accounting specialization. Although not easily associated with each other, an MBA and accounting degree augurs well for chartered account professionals in India.

These new combinations of subjects emphasize management along with advanced accounting skills, giving finance professionals more preparation for leadership positions.

The demand for MBA programs in India is quite high. Therefore, it is easy to find affordable online MBA programs in subjects such as accounting, financial auditing, and related specializations.

Ph.D. in Accounting or Doctorate in Business Administration

Until recently, a doctorate in accounting was quite unheard of. However, with increasing specializations in the job profile of chartered accountants, two types of doctoral degrees in accounting are becoming popular. They are Doctor of Business Administration (DBA) and a Ph.D. in accounting.

DBA is a professional degree, intended for people who want to professionally work in the field of accounting and finance management. DBA focuses more on leadership and the use of accounting knowledge and expertise in an administrative capacity.

A Ph.D. in accounting is meant for accountants who want to take up teaching jobs at the college or university levels or conduct their own research. The course focuses more on research, writing, and teaching skills. Candidates can consider either degree if they wish to work as professional corporate consultants, entrepreneurs, or an accounting guru.

man adjusting tie
Increase your reputation in the accounting world with a doctoral degree in accountancy or business administration. | Source: Pixabay

The Institute of Cost Accountants of India (ICMAI)

The Institute of Cost Accountants of India (erstwhile The Institute of Cost and Works Accountants of India) was established in 1944 as a registered company under the Companies Act. Its overall objectives include the promotion, regulation, and development of the profession of cost accountancy.

Courses on Offer

The ICMAI offers three levels of courses in accounting. The subjects and topics offered in each course are grouped according to the level of accounting education, experience, and expertise of the candidates. While candidates new to the world of accounting can start with a foundation course, professional chartered accountants can brush up their skills in final course.

Foundation Course

  • Fundamentals of Economics and Management (FEM)
  • Fundamentals of Accounting (FOA)
  • Fundamentals of Laws and Ethics (FLE)
  • Fundamentals of Business Mathematics and Statistics
  • Intermediate Course

  • Financial Accounting (FAC)
  • Laws & Ethics (LNE)
  • Direct Taxation (DTX)
  • Cost Accounting (CA)
  • Operations Management & Strategic Management (OMSM)
  • Cost & Management Accounting and Financial Management (CMAFM)
  • Indirect Taxation (ITX)
  • Company Accounts and Audit (CAA)
  • Final Course

  • Corporate Laws & Compliance (CLC)
  • Strategic Financial Management (SFM)
  • Strategic Cost Management - Decision Making (SCMD)
  • Direct Tax Laws and International Taxation (DIT)
  • Corporate Financial Reporting (CFR)
  • Indirect Tax Laws and Practice (ITP)
  • Cost and Management Audit (CMAD)
  • Strategic Performance Management and Business Valuation (SPBV)
  • Your grammar lessons should include rule exceptions
    The ICAI sets the standards of operation when it comes to accounting and financial activities in the country. | Source: Pixabay

    The Institute of Chartered Accountants of India (ICAI)

    The Institute of Chartered Accountants of India (ICAI) is a statutory body established by an Act of Parliament for regulating the profession of Chartered Accountancy in the country. The ICAI is the second largest professional body of Chartered Accountants in the world, with the following objectives:

    • Regulate the profession of Accountancy
    • Education and Examination of Chartered Accountancy Course
    • Continuing Professional Education of Members
    • Conducting Post Qualification Courses
    • Formulation of Accounting Standards
    • Prescription of Standard Auditing Procedures
    • Laying down the Ethical Standards
    • Monitoring Quality through Peer Review
    • Ensuring Standards of Performance of Members
    • Exercise Disciplinary Jurisdiction
    • Financial Reporting Review
    • Input on Policy matters to Government

    The ICAI grants accreditation to chartered accountants in India. ICAI-accredited accountants are held in high regard as it reflects not only their professional attainments but also their devotion to serving the interests of the public while maintaining high ethical standards and discipline in accounting practices.

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    Shreyanjana is an archaeologist who ironically finds the written word to be the most powerful means of storytelling. A travel buff and a photography enthusiast, she has been writing and sharing stories of all sorts ever since she can remember.