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Difference Between CA Vs CS: Which Is Better?

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The advancement of the world is a reason for the start of new businesses and expanding old firms. As and when these companies grow, professionals are required to organise finance and manage the organisation, and these two roles come respectively under Chartered Accounting – CA and Company Secretary – CS. Therefore, these roles can be challenging. CA and CS are completely different domains and deal with entirely different aspects. However, both are highly reputed roles in a business and present promising growth. For those new to the field, you would want to know what exactly is a CS or a CA? What are the requirements between CA vs CS? 

The blog below answers these questions and provides more clarity on the two branches.

Key Differences Between CA Vs CS 

When a student is making a career decision, they must understand the key differences between CA vs CS. The two are very different fields from one another despite the similar resonating sounds and domains. Check some of the differences here: 

CriteriaCACS
Course NameChartered AccountantCompany Secretary
Course StructureFoundation CourseFoundation Programme
Intermediate CourseExecutive Programme
Final CourseProfessional Programme
Post-10th-class students can enrol in the Foundation Course. Students can use Direct Entry or pass the Foundation Course for the Intermediate Course. After passing the Intermediate Exam, students proceed to the Final Course.12th pass (or equivalent) students from Arts, Science, or Commerce can join the Foundation Programme. Graduates from any field (excluding Fine Arts) can join the Executive Programme. The Professional Programme can be pursued after completing the Executive Programme.
Duration5 years2-3 years
Duration of Practical Training3 years1.75 years
Entrance TestCA Foundation or CA Common Proficiency Test (mandatory)CSEET or Company Secretary Executive Entrance Test (mandatory for undergraduates; Commerce graduates can directly join the Executive Programme)
Job ProfilesInternal Auditor, Tax Auditor, Statutory Auditor, Finance Controller, Forensic Auditor, Legal Advisor, Corporate PlannerAssociate Company Secretary, Chief Advisor
Who is it for?Suitable for those with strong conceptual understanding and analytical reasoning skills.Ideal for those with good organisational, legal, and financial skills.

What Is CA?

CA or Chartered Accountant is someone who manages a company’s auditing process, which is broken down into verification, examination, and investigation to ensure compliance with regulations. 

  • Some of the critical responsibilities of Chartered Accountants include preparing financial statements, analysing financial data, providing tax advice and planning, and performing audits to ensure that financial statements are accurate and compliant with accounting standards.
  • Becoming a Chartered Accountant involves completing a rigorous programme of study, usually at a university or college, and then completing a period of supervised practical experience. 
  • In many countries, including India, Canada, and the UK, Chartered Accountants must pass professional exams before being granted their designation. 
  • Chartered Accountants may work in various industries, including public accounting firms, financial institutions, government agencies, and private corporations. Between CA vs CS, the former warrants good economic health of an organisation.

What Is CS?

A CS or Company Secretary is a professional responsible for ensuring that their organisation complies with legal and regulatory requirements and may advise on governance and compliance issues. 

  • Company Secretaries are experts in corporate laws, corporate governance, and related fields. 
  • Company Secretaries may work in various industries, including public and private corporations, government agencies, and non-profit organisations.
  • A Company Secretary’s responsibilities might differ with the company but the crux of it is to maintain compliance with legal and regulatory requirements. 
  • Between CA vs CS, the latter is usually in a top position as they have direct collaboration and communication with company heads and CEOs. Apart from this they also represent a middleman between the organisation and the local authorities.

Detailed Comparison Of CA Vs CS

CA and CS are two of the most sought-after courses in commerce. Both courses offer many opportunities and promise a prosperous future, but each has unique intricacies. To help you determine the right path, let’s examine their primary focus, opportunities, expertise, difficulty, and salary.

Main Focus

  • The CA programme centres on auditing, accounting, financial analysis, and taxation. It covers the principles and application of accounting, mathematical and statistical tools, and their relevance in business and finance.
  • The CS programme, on the other hand, focuses on company law, corporate governance, and communication. It oversees essential aspects of business communication, legal knowledge, and company management and administration.
  • CA course is oriented towards accounting, while the CS course is oriented towards law.

Opportunities

  • Students pursuing a CA career enjoy opportunities in both the public and private sectors. Every organisation needs a CA to manage accounts and taxes. Roles include statutory or internal auditors, tax or finance managers, and certified public accountants.
  • CS graduates find opportunities in corporate planning and strategic management, and they can work as secretarial auditors or compliance officers.
  • Both chartered accountants and company secretaries can work independently, either by starting their firms or being self-employed.

Expertise

  • CA requires a quantitative approach, necessitating strong analytical skills and proficiency with numbers.
  • CS requires a qualitative approach, demanding strong communication skills, multitasking abilities, and attention to detail.
  • Essential skills for CA include IT proficiency and general business awareness, while CS requires company law and management expertise.

Difficulty

  • Both CA and CS are rigorous professional courses requiring dedication. The difference in difficulty lies in their curriculum and passing criteria.
  • CA involves numerical problems and case studies, while CS includes more theoretical subjects. Many students find CA subjects more challenging due to their practical nature, whereas CS is more theoretical.
  • The CA exam is often considered tough due to its extensive syllabus and complex pattern. To score above the pass percentage, one must manage time well and study diligently for at least 2 hours daily.

Eligibility Criteria Between CA Vs CS

The eligibility criteria for both these branches vary drastically, as they contribute to different aspects of an organisation’s functioning.

Eligibility Criteria For CA:

Eligibility Criteria For CS:

Course Duration: CA Vs CS

Chartered Accounting generally takes around 4-5 years, depending entirely on the individual’s performance and examination-passing ability. The CA course is divided into three levels: foundation, intermediate, and final. Each level is essential and must be cleared if a license is to be acquired. The final course is three years long and includes 2.5 years of professional training. The duration is if the student clears all the exams in a single attempt.

The system for acquiring the final license is almost the same for CA and CS. Even with CS, the candidate has three levels: foundation, executive, and professional. After completing or during the professional level programme, the candidate must also undertake professional training for a few months. It takes 3-4 years to complete the CS course in a single attempt.

Pros And Cons of CA

Although being a chartered accountant is a prestigious and sought-after career option, it comes with its own advantages and disadvantages. Students should consider these factors before making a decision.

Pros of CADescription
Versatility and Career FlexibilityThe CA profession offers a wide range of career options and flexibility.
High DemandChartered accountants are in high demand both in India and internationally.
Legal AdvocacyA CA can represent clients in legal matters.
Attractive SalaryChartered accountants earn an impressive six-figure salary.
Essential Role in OrganisationsEvery organisation needs a CA, ensuring a constant demand for their expertise.
Job Security and Steady GrowthThe CA field is secure and offers steady career growth.
Cons of CADescription
Rigorous CourseThe CA course is demanding, making it difficult to develop other skills.
Continuous LearningCAs must stay updated with industry changes, requiring ongoing education even after securing a job.
High CompetitionThe CA field is highly competitive, leading to significant pressure.
Client Base DevelopmentBuilding a client base is challenging.
Long Working HoursCAs often work long and monotonous hours.
Stressful DeadlinesMeeting deadlines, especially at the end of the financial year, can be very stressful.

Pros and Cons of CS

The profession of company secretary also has its set of benefits and drawbacks. It is crucial to evaluate whether this course aligns with your career goals carefully.

Pros of CSDescription
Cost-Effective CourseThe CS course is affordable.
Good Remuneration and GrowthIt offers competitive salaries and growth opportunities.
No Deadline StressCompany secretaries do not face stress from meeting tight deadlines.
Flexible Working HoursThe profession offers flexible working hours.
Travel OpportunitiesThe CS role often includes significant travel opportunities.
Industry InsightsInteraction with senior authorities and knowledgeable individuals provides deep industry insights.
Cons of CSDescription
Lower IncomeThe income for a CS is not as high as that of other professions.
Long Work WeeksThe profession involves long work hours.
Extensive PaperworkThe role requires handling a lot of documentation and paperwork.
Slower Career GrowthCareer progression is slower compared to that of a CA.

Curriculum Between CA Vs CS

Students planning to pursue either must be well-aware of what the examinations are going to cover. The curriculum and subjects for CA are divided into three levels.

Foundation course:

  •    Principles and Practice of Accounting
  •    Business Laws and Business Correspondence and Reporting
  •    Business Mathematics and Logical Reasoning & Statistics

Intermediate course:  

Business Economics and Business and Commercial Knowledge

  • Group I: Accounting, Corporate Laws and Other Laws, Cost and Management Accounting, Taxation (Income Tax and GST)
  • Group II: Advanced Accounting, Auditing and Assurance, Enterprise Information Systems & Strategic Management, Financial Management & Economics for Finance

Final course:

  • Group I: Financial Reporting, Strategic Financial Management, Advanced Auditing and Professional Ethics, Corporate and Economic Laws
  • Group II: Strategic Cost Management and Performance Evaluation, Elective Paper, Direct Tax Laws and International Taxation, Indirect Tax Laws

Between CA vs CS, the curriculum for CS is also divided as per its three levels.

Foundation programme:

  • Business Environment and Law
  • Business Management, Ethics and Entrepreneurship
  • Business Economics
  • Fundamentals of Accounting and Auditing

Executive programme:

  • Module I: Company Law, Securities Laws and Capital Markets, Economic and Commercial Laws, Tax Laws and Practice
  • Module II: Company Accounts and Auditing Practices, Industrial, Labour and General Laws, Corporate and Management Accounting, Securities Laws and Compliances

Professional programme:

  • Module I: Governance, Risk Management, Compliances and Ethics, Advanced Tax Laws, Drafting, Pleadings and Appearances
  • Module II: Secretarial Audit, Compliance Management and Due Diligence, Corporate Restructuring, Insolvency, Liquidation and Winding-up, Resolution of Corporate Disputes, Non-Compliances and Remedies.

Differences In Subjects

In this CA vs CS comparison, we will examine the syllabus of the two courses. Although both fields are in the same domain, they impart different knowledge and skills suited to various sectors:

CA SubjectsCS Subjects
Fundamentals of AccountingCompany Law
Auditing and AssuranceTax Law
Financial Management and Cost AccountingEconomic Labour and Industrial Law
Direct TaxesGeneral and Commercial Laws
Management AccountingBanking Laws
Financial AnalysisInsurance – Laws and Practices

How To Become A Chartered Accountant In India? 

Both career paths in CA and CS start with a background in commerce but eventually diverge. Aspiring chartered accountants need strong mathematical skills to handle extensive accounting and budgeting tasks. Here are the steps to become a CA:

  1. Register with ICAI: Enroll with the Institute of Chartered Accountants of India.
  2. Pass CPT and Obtain a Degree: Qualify the Competency Professional Test (CPT) and pursue a degree in Commerce or a related field.
  3. Clear IPC: Pass the Integrated Professional Competence (IPC) exam.
  4. Complete Articleship: Gain work experience through a minimum of 3 years of articleship under a professional CA.
  5. Pass Final Exam: Clear the final CA examination.

How To Become A Company Secretary In India?

For those interested in a career as a Company Secretary, strong critical thinking skills are essential for managing company profiles and participating in decision-making. Here are the steps to become a CS:

  1. Register with ICSI: Enroll with the Institute of Company Secretaries of India.
  2. Complete Foundation Course: Undertake an 8-month Foundation course.
  3. Complete Executive Programme: Pursue a 1-year Executive Programme for additional qualifications.
  4. Complete Professional Course: Undertake a 1-year Professional course for specialisation.

For Pursuing CS After Graduation:

  1. Graduate in Commerce: Complete a 3-year undergraduate programme in Commerce or a related field.
  2. Complete Executive Programme: Undertake the 1-year Executive Programme.
  3. Complete Professional Course: Undertake the 1-year Professional course.

Steps To Become A Chartered Accountant (CA) Globally

Becoming a Chartered Accountant (CA) outside of India involves several key steps. Here’s a guide on how to pursue this prestigious qualification in various countries:

  1. Check Eligibility Criteria: Each country has specific requirements for becoming a CA. For instance, in the UK, candidates must have a degree from a recognised institution and pass the exams administered by the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants (ACCA) or the Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales (ICAEW).
  2. Choose the Right Institute: Identify the relevant professional accounting body in the country where you intend to work. For example, in Australia, you would need to join the Chartered Accountants Australia & New Zealand (CA ANZ).
  3. Meet Education and Work Experience Requirements: Different institutes have varying requirements for education and work experience. For example, in the UK, you need a degree and a specified amount of work experience before applying for the CA qualification.
  4. Pass the CA Exams: After meeting the eligibility criteria, you must pass the CA exams set by the professional body. These exams typically cover subjects such as accounting, auditing, taxation, and financial management.
  5. Gain Practical Experience: Most CA qualifications require a certain amount of practical experience, which can be obtained through articled training or working in a professional accounting firm.
  6. Maintain Professional Development: After becoming a CA, it is essential to maintain your professional development by completing continuing professional development (CPD) courses and staying updated on the latest accounting standards and regulations.

Steps To Become A Company Secretary (CS) Globally 

Becoming a Company Secretary (CS) in another country  involves several essential steps. Here’s a concise guide on how to pursue this career path in various countries:

  1. Meet the Eligibility Criteria:
    • Requirements vary by country but typically include holding a bachelor’s degree or equivalent.
    • Some countries may also require passing an entrance exam or having relevant work experience.
  2. Enroll in a CS Programme:
    • Identify the relevant professional body for governance or accounting in the country where you wish to practice, such as the Chartered Governance Institute in the UK or the Governance Institute of Australia.
    • Enroll in their CS programme, which usually includes foundation, executive, and professional levels.
  3. Pass the CS Exams:
    • Complete the required coursework and pass exams set by the professional body at each level (foundation, executive, and professional).
    • Exams typically cover subjects such as corporate law, accounting, taxation, governance, and compliance.
  4. Gain Practical Experience:
    • Fulfill the mandatory practical training or articleship requirements set by the professional body.
    • This practical experience is crucial for developing the skills and knowledge needed to work effectively as a CS.
  5. Obtain Membership:
    • After completing the programme and training, apply for membership with the professional body.
    • Membership allows you to use the designated CS title and practice as a qualified Company Secretary.
  6. Maintain Professional Development:
    • Regularly participate in continuing professional development (CPD) courses to stay updated on the latest regulations and best practices in the field.


Please Note: The specific requirements can vary slightly by country, so it’s important to research the particular criteria in the country where you wish to practice. However, the general process involves meeting eligibility criteria, completing a CS programme, gaining practical experience, and obtaining professional membership.

Career Prospects

Regarding job opportunities for CA vs CS, graduates can find lucrative positions in private and public sectors. The demand for qualified CAs and CSs is growing, allowing candidates to pursue various roles across various industries. Here are some top companies for CA and CS professionals:

CACS
DeloitteAditya Birla Group
PriceWaterhouseCoopersTATA Steel
KPMGBosch
Ernst and YoungBharat Forge
Grant Thornton InternationalTATA Consultancy Services
ICICI BankIBS Software
BDO InternationalIDFC Mutual Fund
SS Kothari Mehta and CoSomaiya Group
Luthra and LuthraErnst and Young

CA Vs CS Salary

The average salary for a Chartered Accountant (CA) in India is approximately 7 to 8 lakhs per annum, potentially earning more depending on qualifications and experience. In contrast, a Company Secretary (CS) usually starts with a salary between 3 to 4 lakhs per annum, with an average of 5 to 6 lakhs in India. 

  • Generally, CAs earn higher wages compared to CS professionals, as CAs possess more authority and can represent clients in legal matters, similar to a lawyers.
  • Regarding career prospects, CA is ideal for those aiming for careers in finance or accounting, whereas CS is more suitable for higher-level managerial roles or legal management. 
  • The decision between CA and CS depends on individual preferences, career aspirations, and skill sets, as both paths offer unique career opportunities and growth.

CA And CS Salaries Across The World: Students who pursue CA or CS outside of India can earn on an average up to $51,000. In senior positions, this number only grows. 

Which One Is Easier Between CA And CS?

Whether CA or CS is easier depends on several factors, including the individual’s strengths, interests, and career goals. Here’s a comparison to help you decide:

CA (Chartered Accountant)

  • Difficulty Level: Generally considered more challenging due to its rigorous curriculum, extensive syllabus, and focuses on practical application.
  • Course Structure: Involves multiple levels (Foundation, Intermediate, Final), extensive exams, and a mandatory 3-year articleship.
  • Subjects: Focuses on accounting, auditing, taxation, and financial management, requiring strong mathematical and analytical skills.
  • Exams: Known for having a lower pass rate, making it more challenging to clear in a single attempt.
  • Commitment: Requires significant dedication, long study hours, and continuous learning even after certification.

CS (Company Secretary)

  • Difficulty Level: Considered less challenging compared to CA, with a more theory-based curriculum.
  • Course Structure: Includes Foundation, Executive, and Professional levels, with less emphasis on practical training.
  • Subjects: Focuses on company law, corporate governance, and business communication, demanding strong legal and organisational skills.
  • Exams: Higher pass rate compared to CA, making it relatively easier to complete.
  • Commitment: Requires dedication but generally involves fewer study hours compared to CA.
CA is ideal for those with strong analytical and numerical skills interested in accounting and finance. It is more demanding and time-intensive. CS is better suited for those interested in law, corporate governance, and organisational management. It is relatively more manageable and less time-consuming.


Ultimately, choosing CA and CS should be based on your strengths, interests, and career aspirations. Both paths offer rewarding careers but cater to different skill sets and professional goals.

FAQs

Q: Is CS better than CA?

A: There is no definitive answer whether CS is better than CA, as both qualifications offer distinct career paths and opportunities. The choice depends on individual preferences, skills, and career goals.

Q: Who earns more CA or CS?

A: On average, Chartered Accountants (CAs) earn higher salaries than Company Secretaries (CSs). 

Q: Can CA be done with CS?

A: Yes, it is possible to pursue both CA and CS qualifications, as they are complementary and can enhance one’s career prospects.

Q: Is CS difficult to pass?

A: The CS course is considered relatively more manageable than the CA course, but it still requires significant effort and dedication to clear the exams as it can be time consuming. 

Q: Which type of CA is best?

A: There is no single “best” type of CA, as the specialisation depends on the individual’s interests, skills, and career goals. The different types of CAs include Audit CAs, Tax CAs, Management CAs, and more.

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