Chartered Accountant (C.A.)

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Chartered Accountant (C.A.)


Chartered accountants, commonly abbreviated as CAs, are experts in accounting practices and financial management. Their aim is to enhance decision-making and improve organizational performance through financial management, assurance and other specialized expertise. CAs have a commitment to serve the public in its best interest which means working with a high level of integrity and ethics.

CAs track and summarize every dollar that is spent and earned in a company, even down to the last cent. Therefore, every sale, purchase and profit transaction that occurs within a company or even the expenses of an individual person will show up on a CAs financial reports. Many people attempt to file their own taxes and manage their finances without the help of an accountant, yet lack the standard training and knowledge to prepare financial statements. Often these people make crucial errors and end up hiring an accountant to fix the problems they create. Accountants work according to specific guidelines learned in school and are trained to help both individuals and companies organize and manage their daily finances.

Chartered accountants organize and review accounting systems and prepare financial information for individuals, companies and other organizations. Those working in public practices provide income tax planning services, financial statement preparation, systems consulting, forensic and investigative accounting services and may even act as a trustee in a bankruptcy proceeding. Traditionally, accountants were responsible for completing mounds of tedious paperwork, especially during peak seasons. However due to the explosion of Electronic Data Interchange (EDI) into the market, the conventional role has changed allowing the accountant to spend more time on analyzing financial statements instead of dealing with red tape thereby broadening the services accountants offer.

Some CAs have expanded their technological skills to enhance their role as accountant. Many are now developing, designing and even installing software programs and developing technology plans and budgets. This again alters the established role and makes the accountant a virtual consultant. As the times are changing paper files to computer files, so is the role of an accountant.
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  Interests and Skills  
Chartered accountants love to work with numbers and money. They are logical people with clear and concise thinking capacities, enjoy working both alone and in a team environment, posses the ability to communicate effectively with people and in writing and finally, like solve challenging financial and mathematical problems in innovative ways. Working with other people's money and finances requires confidentiality, accuracy and strict attention to details. CAs must have high ethical standards and work critically and objectively.

Accordingly, CAs should be interested in computers and programming, constantly working on updating their skills to meet the rapidly changing programs. Most CAs enjoy having clear, organized methods in their daily work routines and are generally analytical and practical people. Finally, some CAs enjoy teaching and directing the activities of others.

  Typical Tasks  
  • Examine and analyze records such as journal and ledger entries, bank statements, inventories, expenditures, tax returns and other accounting and financial records, documents and systems
  • Ensure financial recording accuracy and compliance with established accounting standards, procedures and internal controls
  • Plan, set up and administer accounting systems and prepare financial information for an individual, department, company or other establishment
  • Examine accounting records and prepare financial statements and reports
  • Develop and maintain cost finding, reporting and internal control procedures
  • Prepare income tax returns from accounting records
  • Analyze financial statements and reports and provide financial, business and tax advice
  • May act as a trustee in bankruptcy proceedings
  • May supervise articling students or another accountant
  • Predict revenues and expenditures and submit reports to management
  • Direct activities of workers performing accounting and bookkeeping tasks
  • Adapt accounting and record-keeping functions to current technology of computerized accounting system
  • Chartered accountants generally work in comfortable office settings. Hours of work are constantly changing depending on the organization, level of responsibility and time of the month. Longer hours are required during company budgeting time, month-end deadlines and the early spring tax season with year-end corporate work and personal tax returns. Accountants working in the public service or consulting firms are required to do a bit of traveling to client's offices. Otherwise, an average day will involve office desk work, computer work and interpersonal work dealing with clients.

  Workplaces, Employers and Industries  
  • Chartered accountants (CAs) are usually employed in both the public and private sectors including businesses, government services, management consulting practices, corporate and personal tax preparation offices, banks, stock exchanges, credit offices, public accounting offices, educational institutions and real estate. CAs are vital in all businesses and industries because they deal with all financial and money matters.

  Long Term Career Potential  
Becoming a chartered accountant is an excellent stepping stone for careers in government, business, public practice and academia. Numerous top business professionals and leaders started their careers as CAs and have moved on to become presidents of companies and even chief financial officers. Experienced CAs may advance to senior management positions within their organization and some may decide to impart their own knowledge and experience and teach at the post-secondary level. Industry CAs may also get promoted to positions like controller or treasurer and become partners in the firms they work for. Also, government CAs may rise into the role of internal auditors, budget officers, accounting managers, information systems managers or senior financial executives.

  Educational Paths  
Becoming a chartered accountant (CA) requires a number of key educational steps. First and foremost, a university degree with a possible exception for mature students in some jurisdictions. Secondly, the completion of specific university courses, such as economics or finance. Thirdly, the completion of an approved student professional program or a comparable training program . Fouthly, several years of practical on-the-job training and experience and finally, a passing mark on the uniform evaluation and thus accreditation.

Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2014-15 Edition,
Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Employment Statistics, 2002,

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