How to become a CA In India?
Ridhi.Khurana, 01 Nov 2019

How to become a CA In India? - Students are always looking forward for courses which seem interesting and help them earn a good amount as well in future. It is well accepted that choosing a career is a great deal for all, be it a bright student who always secured the top position, or an average one who had to struggle at every point. All educational fields have a variety of courses from the ones that everyone eyes for, to those which becomes the last choice. Chartered Accountancy is one such course for commerce students that tops the list of professions aimed for by most. The course involves a lot of complexities and here, its an attempt to simplify the same for aspiring candidates so that going through the article below clarifies the picture. The Institute of Chartered Accountants of India (ICAI) is the conducting body for Chartered Accountancy course which includes three stages of exams and training as well.

There are two ways for admission into CA course:

  • Through Foundation course

  • Through Direct Entry

Through Foundation Course

Stages towards becoming a Chartered Accountant after class 12th through foundation route:

  1. CA Foundation

  2. CA Intermediate

  3. Articleship Training

  4. CA Final


  1. CA Foundation

A candidate who has appeared in class 12 examination is eligible for CA Foundation registration and can appear in exams only after passing class 12. After registering with the ICAI Board of Studies (BoS), candidates who opt to become a CA after 12th have to have a 4 month study period which makes one eligible to appear in the following session of CA Foundation exams. One has to fill the CA Foundation exam form before each session to appear in the session. The registration into Foundation course is valid for a period of 3 years.

There are 4 subjects as provided below, that one has to pass in order to qualify Foundation course:

  • Principles and Practice of Accounting

  • Business Laws and Business Correspondence and Recording

  • Business Mathematics, Logical Reasoning and Statistics

  • Business Economics and Business and Commercial Knowledge

The passing criteria requires candidates to score at least 40% marks in individual subjects and 50% in overall aggregate. The one who doesn’t score as per the requirement has to appear all over again in all 4 subjects in the next attempt.

If he/ she passes in the exams, i.e. qualifies CA Foundation programme, the next step is CA Intermediate registration.


  1. CA Intermediate

After successful registration into the CA Intermediate course, candidates have to complete 8 months of study period. After that, a candidate has to fill CA Intermediate exam form and mention the group he/ she wants to appear for. There are two groups in CA Intermediate with 4 papers/ subjects in each group. Candidates have the option to appear for one group in one go or appear for both groups simultaneously. The 8 subjects of CA Intermediate are as follows:

CA Intermediate Group 1:

  • Accounting

  • Corporate and Other Laws

  • Cost and Management Accounting

  • Taxation

CA Intermediate Group 2:

  • Advanced Accounting

  • Auditing and Assurance

  • Enterprise Information Systems & Strategic Management

  • Financial Management & Economics for Finance

The passing criteria requires candidates to pass individual subject with 40% marks or more and the overall score to be more than 50% respectively. There is a provision of exemption as well for students of CA Intermediate who score above 60% in a subject. If a candidate who appeared in group 1 and passed 2 subjects with score above 60 and couldn’t pass the other 2, in such a case he can apply for an exemption in subjects in which he scored 60+ marks. With this, he can appear in the rest of the two subjects and the other group of CA Intermediate in the exam session that follows.


After enrollment into CA Intermediate course, candidates have to complete Integrated Course on Information Technology and Soft Skills (ICITSS) before starting with articleship training.


  1. Articleship Training

Candidates enrolled into the course of Chartered Accountancy have to undergo 3 years of practical training without which, CA course is not complete. A candidate can register for articleship after passing one or both groups of CA Intermediate, as the case may be. During the last two years of this training, candidates have to complete Advanced Integrated Course on Information Technology and Soft Skills (AICITSS) before appearing in the CA Final exams. However, the training has a tenure of 3 years, while being in the last 6 months of the training period, candidates can appear for CA Final exams.


  1. CA Final

Candidates who have passed both groups of CA Intermediate are eligible for CA Final registration. Those who have completed both ICITSS and AICITSS and are in the last phase of articleship training, are eligible to fill CA Final exam form and appear in the exams. There are 2 groups in CA Final as well with 4 papers in each group which makes a total of 8 subjects in the Final level. Here again, the candidates have the option to appear for one group at once. The CA Final subjects are as follows:

CA Final Group 1:

  • Financial Reporting

  • Strategic Financial Management

  • Advanced Auditing and Professional Ethics

  • Corporate and Allied Laws

CA Final Group 2:

  • Advanced Management Accounting

  • Information Systems Control and Audit

  • Direct Tax Laws

  • Indirect Tax Laws


Here again, a candidate has to score a minimum of 40% marks in each subject and an overall aggregate of 50% or above for passing CA Final. The provision of exemption applies here as well wherein a candidate having scored above 60% in a subject can apply for exemption in that particular subject. This relieves them of appearing all over again in such subjects. Exemption shall be applicable for the next three terms of exams.


4. Apply for ICAI Membership

A candidate who has accomplished the articleship training and has passed both the groups of CA Final is eligible to apply for the membership of the Institute of Chartered Accountants of India (ICAI).


Through Direct Entry

ICAI has provided students with a chance to enjoy exemption from CA Foundation course by reason of specific qualification. The following categories of candidates are eligible for direct entry into CA Intermediate course:

  • Graduates/ Post- Graduates of Commerce stream (with minimum 55% marks)

  • Graduates/ Post- Graduates of streams other than Commerce (with minimum 60% marks)

  • Candidates who have passed the CS Executive conducted by the Institute of Company Secretaries of India (ICSI)

  • Candidates who have passed CMA Intermediate conducted by the Institute of Cost Accountants of India (ICMAI)

Those who opt to become a CA after graduation or other qualification are admitted into the CA Intermediate course through direct entry have to undergo a mandatory 9 month practical training after CA Intermediate registration. After completion of this training period, candidates can fill the CA Intermediate exam form and appear in the exam session that follows. Further procedure includes the following steps which have been dealt with above in detail:


  • Pass one or both groups of CA Intermediate

  • Enroll into Articleship Training

  • Pass both groups of CA Intermediate

  • Register into CA Final course

  • Complete 3 years of Articleship Training

  • Pass both the groups of CA Final

  • Apply for ICAI membership


Duration of CA Course

It is well known amongst the student community, as well as those common people of our society who are not much into depth of CA course, that it takes years to become a Chartered Accountant. But one should not be disheartened as that is not the case for all the aspirants. The minimum duration of Chartered Accountancy is:

  • Around 5 years for candidates who enter after class 12th through Foundation course

  • Around 4 years for candidates who enroll into Intermediate course through direct entry.


Tips for students of Chartered Accountancy

Candidates who are planning to start with the Chartered Accountancy, i.e. plan to become a CA after graduation or after 12th, or are already enrolled in the course, may have a look at the tips to be kept in mind:

  1. Its well known that the course of Chartered Accountancy is not easy, but rarely do people accept that it's not that hard. Those are also normal humans who crack all the levels in one go. Hence, keep a positive mindset while you enter the course and let that positivity prevail throughout.

  2. Patience is the key that works when you encounter a deadlock. Checkout what CA Intermediate topper Jyoti Agrawal has to say, the girl who failed her first attempt and secured AIR 2 in the second time.

  3. As recommended by the CA Final Toppers, the best source to study and prepare for CA exams is the ICAI issued Study material for all subjects, groups, and levels of Chartered Accountancy. Only after exhausting the official study material should a candidate refer additional books or notes.

  4. Don’t just get into books for preparation and first go for making a fool-proof strategy. One should surely do ‘Hard Work’ but not at all ignore the ‘Smart Work’. First take up the lengthy topics that have been asked repeatedly in the previous sessions. Topics that are short, or the ones that are rarely asked, can be left for latter studies.

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