How to become a Chartered Accountant

By: Admin | Posted on: Mar 29, 2020

In today’s complex global economy, highly skilled and talented professionals are always highly valued.  Chartered accountants pave the path to organizations, businesses, communities, and individuals to achieve their strategic and financial goals – with integrity and vision.

In almost every organization CA’s hold influential positions as decision-makers, business leaders and trusted advisers. Chartered Accountant plays a very crucial role in organizations or businesses or individuals success path in achieving their tough goals. 

What is the meaning of Chartered Accountant?

A chartered accountant or CA is a designation for accounting professionals around the world (in many countries). In the United States, CA’s are called Certified public accountant. In other words, a Certified public accountant (CPA) professional is equivalent to the CA.

CA typically works on one or more of the following areas:

  • Audit and assurance,
  • Financial accounting and reporting,
  • Management accounting, and
  • Applied finance or taxation.

A CA credential proves that he/she has the qualifications to audit financial statements, file a business's tax return, and offer advisory services to clients and many related services.

Members of the Institute of Chartered Accountants of India are known as Chartered Accountants.

Institute of Chartered Accountants of India

ICAI is the professional accounting body of India. It was established on 1 July 1949 under the Chartered Accountants Act, 1949 to regulate the profession of Chartered Accountancy in India.

CA G.P. Kapadia was the first president of ICAI.

In the world, ICAI is the second largest professional Accounting & Finance body. It issues technical standards like Corporate Affairs Standards (CAS), Standards on Internal Audit (SIA),  etc. for practicing Chartered Accountants. ICAI works closely with the government of India, finance regulator and stock market regulator.

ICAI formulates and issues accounting standards that are to be followed by corporates in preparation and presentation of financial statements. Further ICAI also formulates Engagement, and Quality Control Standards, Standards on Internal Audit, Corporate Affairs Standard, and Accounting Standards for Local Bodies, etc.

An individual to become a member of ICAI or Chartered Accountant has to apply for membership by passing all three levels of examinations instructed by ICAI and completing three years of practical training.

How to become a Chartered Accountant?

In order to become a chartered Account or CA or a member of ICAI, Indian national has to clear/pass all three levels of the exams.

  • CA Foundation Exam
  • CA Intermediate Exam
  • CA Final Exam

Below are the details about each level in detail.


The individual has to clear 3 levels of examination and complete three years of practical training to become a Chartered Accountant.

Level 1: CA foundation Exam

CA Foundation exam is the entry-level exam Chartered Accountancy Course. It is a national level exam conducted by ICAI twice a year. It was previously known as CA – CPT exam.

Important Points to Know about CA Foundation.

Name Of The Exam

 CA Foundation 

Conducting Body

 Institute Of Chartered Accountant Of India (ICAI)

Level of Exam

 National Level

Frequency of Exam

 Twice in a Year ( May and November)

Mode Of Exam


Mode  Of  Registration


Number Of Papers


Medium of Exam

English/ Hindi
(English compulsory for Section B of Paper 2)

Basic Eligibility

Class 12 passed or Appearing for Class 12 in Current Year


Graduates and Post Graduates or Candidates with Equivalent Qualification

Official Website


Who are not eligible for CA Foundation Exam?

Candidates who have completed graduation or Post graduation might not go for the CA Foundation exam. Also, candidates who cleared the Intermediate levels of ICMAI or ICSI might not go for the CA Foundation exam.

CA Foundation Course

Below are the steps to clear CA Foundation.

Step 1: Pass the 10+2 or Intermediate and register with the Board of Studies (BOS). Candidates should complete the CA Foundation registration, for May session by December 31st and for the November session by June 30.

Step 2: Successfully complete the CA Foundation study period of four months.

Step 3:  Before the given deadlines Apply for CA Foundation. Also, make sure you passed class 12.

Step 4: Appear for the CA Foundation examination either in November or May, after passing 10+2 examination.

Step 5: Qualify the CA Foundation Course and get yourself registered for the Intermediate Course.

Note: Timelines, exam patterns, and syllabus or any information provided here is provided keeping the year 2020 patters. CA Foundation is one of the three major stages to become a Chartered Accountant.

CA Foundation 2020 Exam Pattern

CA Foundation exam has 4 papers. Paper 1 and Paper 2 are subjective. Paper 3 and Paper 4 are of an objective.

  1. Each paper is of 100 marks with a maximum duration of 3 hours.
  2. There is negative marking for Paper 3 and paper 4.
  3. To pass the CA Foundation exam, candidates must score a min of 40% marks in each paper and a min of 50% marks in aggregate of all the papers.

Type of Questions

Paper 1 & 2 – Subjective/ Long Answer Questions
Paper 3 & 4 – Multiple Choice Questions

Medium of Examination

English or Hindi
(Section B of Paper 2, i.e., Business Correspondence and Reporting are conducted in English Medium only)

Mode of Exam

Offline (Pen and paper)


CA Foundation Papers

As we know CA foundation contains 4 papers. And below is the list of papers.



Paper 1

Principles & Practice of Accounting. (100 Marks)

Paper 2

Business Laws And Business Correspondence
a) Business Laws (60 Marks)
b) Business Correspondence And Reporting (40 Marks)

Paper 3

Business Mathematics, Logical Reasoning, And Statistics
a) Business Mathematics (40 Marks)
b) Logical Reasoning(20 Marks)
c) Statistics (40 Marks)

Paper 4

Business Economics and Business And Commercial Knowledge
a) Business Economics (60 Marks)
b) Business and Commercial Knowledge (40 Marks)


Level 2: Intermediate

General Information:

The ICAI offers Intermediate (Integrated Professional Competence) Course to candidates who cleared the 10+2 and CA Foundation course. CA intermediate has 8 subjects. The subjects of the CA Intermediate Course are classified into two groups, the student can study and appear in the examination group-wise or both the groups together.

Group I

Paper-1: Accounting (100 Marks)

Paper-2: Corporate and Other Laws (100 Marks)

Part I: Company Law (60 Marks)

Part II: Other Laws (40 Marks)

Paper-3: Cost and Management Accounting (100 Marks)

Paper-4: Taxation (100 Marks)

Section A: Income-tax Law (60 Marks)

Section B: Indirect Taxes (40 Marks)

Group II

Paper-5: Advanced Accounting (100 Marks)

Paper-6: Auditing and Assurance (100 Marks)

Paper-7: Enterprise Information Systems and Strategic Management (100 Marks)

Section A: Enterprise Information Systems (50 Marks)

Section B: Strategic Management (50 Marks)

Paper-8: Financial Management and Economics for Finance (100 Marks)

Section A: Financial Management (60 Marks)

Section B: Economics for Finance (40 Marks)

  • The candidate who has passed the CA foundation examination is eligible for registration to CA Intermediate Course.
  • The candidate who completed the erstwhile CA Foundation Examination or Professional Education (Examination-I) or (CPT) shall be eligible for enrolment to CA Intermediate Course subject to complying with relevant conditions.
  • The ICAI allows Commerce Graduates/post-graduates with aggregate of min 55% marks or other graduates/post-graduates with aggregate of min 60% marks and Intermediate level passed students of Institute of Company Secretaries of India and Institute of Cost Accountants of India to take CA intermediate course.
Registration and Exam

CA intermediate exams are generally conducted twice in a year, in the months of May and November.

Candidates have to register for CA intermediate exams in the online registration form in course registration forms under the “students tab” of the ICAI website. Candidates have to fill the form and the requirement payment through the payment gateway provided. After the successful completion of the payment, the system will generate the automatic form. Take the printout of the generated form.

Candidates need to submit the print out of the duly signed online registration form along with the below documents within 7 days of the date of online registration to the regional office.

  • Candidates through Foundation Route have to submit an attested copy of mark sheet of Class 12th or its equivalent Central Government recognized examination.
  • Candidates through Direct Entry Route have to submit an attested copy of the Graduation/ Post Graduation mark statements/mark sheet of Intermediate level examination of the Institute of Company Secretaries of India or the Institute of Cost Accountants of India.
  • One recent color photograph the same as the one affixed on the printout of the online registration form.
  • If the candidate/student is foreigner, attested copy of proof of Nationality,
  • Attested copy of proof for special category certificate, i.e., SC/ST, OBC, differently-abled.

Level 3: CA Final Exam

The CA Final exam is the last level of exam in the Chartered Accountancy Course. CA final exam is the platform where all the knowledge of the student is tested which is gained in due course of articleship training and your study for CA Foundation and/or CA Intermediate is tested.

ICAI conducts CA Final exams twice yearly, in the months of May and November. Each paper is conducted in a single day. You can attempt all papers either or both groups Syllabus.

CA final exam is in offline mode. The exam is conducted in English or Hindi

CA Final Group I - Structure with Syllabus

Paper 1: Financial Reporting (100 Marks)
Paper 2: Strategic Financial Management (100 Marks)
Paper 3: Advanced Auditing & Professional Ethics (100 Marks)
Paper 4: Corporate Laws & other Economic Laws (100 Marks)

CA Final Group-II - Structure with Syllabus

Paper 5: Strategic Cost Management & Performance Evaluation (100 Marks)
Paper 6: Elective Paper (100 Marks)

Students have the option to choose from:

  • Risk Management
  • International Taxation
  • Economic Laws
  • Financial Services & Capital Markets
  • Global Financial Reporting Standards
  • Multidisciplinary Case Study

Paper 7: Direct Tax Laws (70 Marks) and International Taxation (30 Marks)

  • Part I: Direct Tax Laws (70 Marks)
  • Part II: International Taxation (30 Marks)

Paper 8: Indirect Tax Laws (100 Marks)

  • GST (75 MARKS)
  • Customs & FTP (25 Marks)

CA Final Passing Requirements

Candidate can appear for either one group of papers or both groups of papers together. Appearing/taking a group means that the candidate should appear for all papers in that group.

If the candidate appears for only one group, the minimum requirement to pass the group is that:

  1. Candidate should obtain a minimum of 40% marks in each paper of the group and
  2. Candidate should obtain a minimum of 50% marks in the aggregate of all papers of the group

Candidate can appear for both groups simultaneously, then-candidate needs to clear both groups if:

  1. Candidate meets the minimum requirements to clear a group individually or
  2. Candidates should obtain a minimum of 40% marks in each paper of both the groups and a minimum of 50% marks in the aggregate of all papers the groups taken together.

Candidate can appear for the groups any number of times. If the candidate fails in one attempt, they can try the exam the next time when they conduct the exam. For instance, if the candidate failed a group in May attempt. They can appear in November! And similarly, if the candidate wishes to attempt only one group in May attempt. They can try to attempt other groups in November.

You can get certain exemptions depending on marks obtained from old attempts.

Advanced Integrated Course on Information Technology and Soft Skills - AICITSS

Candidates who are undergoing Practical training are required to do AICITSS during the last 2 years of Practical training and also before being eligible to appear in the Final Examination.  Below are the two courses on AICITSS

Accounting Technician Course

ICAI introduced the Accounting Technician Course this course is for candidates who passed Group-I of IPCC and completed one year of practical training under a member.

After obtaining the certificate of Accountant Technician course the person can designate himself as an Accounting Technician. This Certification is introduced to help a large number of candidates who are unable to complete the CA Final Examinations and obtain membership.

ICAI agreement with IGNOU

ICAI has entered an agreement with Indira Gandhi National Open University, to help the CA students to acquire a Bachelor's degree by attempting a few papers. For instance, a bachelor's degree in Commerce can be obtained from IGNOU, with a major in Accounting and Finance provided. For this, the student has to provide the grades received in CPT and IPCC and to pass the mandatory term-end examination conducted by IGNOU. This is a very good initiative,  this way many students can get both the degrees without rewriting the same subjects.

 ICAI offers study materials and describes the syllabus in great detail via a prospectus. While ICAI claims that this study material on the website is sufficient for motivated students to study, most students opt to attend oral coaching classes or learns from e-learning portals.

I hope this article on an overview of the Chartered Accountant course in India is helpful. Do put your queries or feedback in the comment suggestion. All your questions will be addressed by our panel of experts.

Tags : What is CA ICAI CA Exams Accounting Technician Course AICITSS CA Eligibility CA Final CA foundation



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